Guardian Lion Stephen, Stitt
When HSBC decided to build its third Headquarters at 1 Queen's Road Central, opened in 1935, it commissioned two bronze lions from Shanghai-based British sculptor W W Wagstaff (d 1977, aged 82). This commission was inspired by two earlier lions that had been ordered for the new Shanghai office opened in 1923. Cast by J W Singer & Sons in the English town of Frome, to a design by Henry Poole RA, these lions had quickly become part of the Shanghai scene, and passers-by would affectionately stroke the lions in the belief that power and money would rub off on them. They became known as Stephen and Stitt: an in-joke. Stephen was named for A G Stephen, formerly Manager Shanghai, and in 1923 the Chief Manager of HSBC, and G H Stitt, the then Manager Shanghai. Stephen is depicted roaring, Stitt quiescent, and again insiders said that this represented the characters of these two famous bankers.