These Little Piggies… Are Made of Flowers!

These floral pigs stand amid the flowers on a roundabout outside the entrance to Tamworth Railway Station, and they are the nicest things about the station, which is truly horrible – it’s a concrete monstrosity, and the second-tier of the car park is even worse, because it looks as if it’s been made from a giant construction kit. And, I might add, I took my life in my hands to take these photos, because I had to stand in the road, with cars and taxis hooting at me. Fortunately they can’t travel very fast on the station forecourt, but I had to move pretty quickly to get out of their way!
Tamworth’s floral pigs – some prankster has given the one on the
left a pair of glasses.
Anyway, these beautiful living sculptures were created a couple of years ago to commemorate two Tamworth Pigs (A Tamworth Pig is a rare breed animal) who escaped on the way to the slaughter-house. The duo, who were only five months old, ran off as they were being moved from a lorry to an abbattoir: they swam across a river, and hid in gardens and a wooded area, in Malmsbury, in Wiltshire (which is actually quite a long way from Tamworth).
A side view of the pigs, showing the way they are made from
small succulent plants.
It was a week before they were captured, but during that time the pigs hit the national headlines and were acclaimed as heroes. They were nicknamed Butch and Sundance, after the American outlaws, and there was a campaign to save them from being killed. Eventually the Daily Mail bought the pigs (who were brother and sister) from the owner, and they were homed at the Rare Breeds Centre near Ashford, in Kent, which is also a long way from Tamworth. So where, I hear you ask, is the connection to the town in which I live? Read on, and all will be revealed…

Here’s a Tamworth Pig I photographed a couple
 of years ago at a children’s farm near Tamworth.

It was back in 1998 that the Tamworth Two were saved, and in the years that followed Butch (a sow), and Sundance (a boar) became huge attractions at the animal sanctuary, where Butch died in 2010, and her brother the following year. By then they had become something of a legend – and what better place could you find for a memorial than the town where the breed of Tamworth Pigs was first developed?

And here’s a little Tamworth Piglet snapped at the same place.

For it is believed they were bred in the early 19th century, by Sir Robert Peel, while he was Chief Secretary for Ireland. It’s thought he brought Irish pigs back to his home at Drayton Manor, and crossed them with his own herd. Peel, who was MP for Tamworth for many years, went on to become Home Secretary (when he founded the Metropolitan Police) and served two terms of office as Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria.

This is the statue of Sir Robert Peel
which stands in front of Tamworth
Town Hall – and no, awful though the
weather has been, it hasn’t snowed –
this was taken in winter!

Tamworth pigs are very distinctive, with long legs and a long snout, and they are covered in reddish hair, so are known as Sandybacks, and the name is also given to people born and bred in Tamworth. These days they a rare breed, but their meat is reckoned to be very flavoursome, and to be excellent for pork and bacon – since I am vegetarian, I cannot vouch for this.

I’d love to know how these floral sculptures are made. There are several in Tamworth (not all of pigs!), and they are very eye-catching. I think some kind of wire framework is filled with earth and planted up, but what stops it all falling out, or being washed away in the rain? By the way, please note that I’ve deliberately I’ve avoided all piggy puns, because they’ve been done to death in the past.

For more Saturday Snapshots see  Alice’s blog at

54 thoughts on “These Little Piggies… Are Made of Flowers!

  1. What a fascinating story! A friend of mine loves flowers. I'll share your post with her.

    I can relate to putting oneself in danger for photos. One of these days, an animal will not take kindly to how close I step for a snapshot.


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