Manual Ref* NFnrNOR110 Show 4 images 283

Three Wise Monkeys

County Norfolk   District Council Norwich City Council 
Civil Parish or equivalent Norwich  Town/Village* Norwich - Parks and Gardens 
Road Angel Road 
Precise Location On roof of pavilion in Waterloo Park 
OS Grid Ref TG225103  Postcode NR3 
Previous location(s)  
Setting On Park Building  Access Public 
Artist/Maker Role Qualifier
Alex Johannsen  Sculptor(s)   
Chris Summerfield  Assistant(s)   

Commissioned by

Norwich City Council 

Design & Constrn period

In progress in 2000 

Date of installing


Exact date of unveiling



Abstract Animal Architectural
Commercial Commemorative Composite
Free Functional Funerary
Heraldic Military Natural
Non-Commemorative Performance Portable
Religious Roadside, Wayside Sculptural
Temporary, Mobile Other  

Object Type

Building Clock Tower Architectural
Coat of Arms Cross Fountain
Landscape Marker Medallion
Mural Panel Readymade
Relief Shaft Sculpture
Statue Street Furniture War Memorial
Other Object Sub Type: Architectural sculpture

Subject Type

Allegorical Mythological Pictorial
Figurative Non-figurative Portrait
Still-life Symbolic Other

Subject Sub Type

Bust Equestrian Full-length
Group Head Reclining
Seated Standing Torso
Part Material Dimension
Sculpture  Reconstituted stone  H 140 cm x W 18 cms (approx) 

Work is

Extant Not Sited Lost


Norwich City Council 

Listing status

Grade I Grade II* Grade II Don't Know Not Listed

Surface Condition

Corrosion, Deterioration Accretions
Bird Guano Abrasions, cracks, splits
Biological growth Spalling, crumbling
Metallic staining Previous treatments

Structural Condition

Armature exposed Broken or missing parts
Replaced parts Loose elements
Cracks, splits, breaks, holes Spalling, crumbling
Water collection Other


Graffiti Structural damage Surface Damage

Overall condition

Good Fair Poor


No Known Risk At Risk Immediate

Description (physical)

Group of three seated monkeys cast in artificial stone set centrally in front of the parapet at the top of the pavilion (designed by Captain Sandys-Winsch and opened in 1933, when it is shown in George Plunkett's photograph). The monkey on the left is pointing a camera- the central is wearing headphones- while the one on the right holds a telephone. 

Description (iconographical)

By the late 1890s Norwich was continuing to expand outside the old city walls, in the case of Waterloo Park to the north towards Catton. In 1899 the Norwich Playing Fields and Open Spaces Society suggested the need for a green lung, resulting in the lease of eleven acres, which formed the first Waterloo Park, opened in 1904. The park was remade to the designs of Captain Sandys-Winsch, the city’s superintendent of parks, with a workforce drawn from the large number of unemployed and completed in 1933 at a cost of £37,000. Inevitably the post war years saw a decline in the parks’ workforce with disastrous results for Norwich’s parks. The city undertook major renovation of Waterloo, Wensum, Heigham and Eaton parks with HLF funding from 1998-2001, including the commission for the Three Wise Monkeys and restoration of the pavilion. The monkeys theme arose out of research revealing that the original intention had been to include the Three Wise Monkeys as a central motif. The restorers consequently commissioned a new piece stipulating the Three Wise Monkeys theme. The artist's response however was to suggest a 'modern take' on the traditional motif. In the modern version 'See No Evil' is a photographer- 'Hear No Evil' is listening to music and 'Speak No Evil' is on the phone. Ironically but perhaps not inappropriately all the equipment is actually quite dated. 


Date taken:  15/3/2006
Date logged:  29/11/2007

Photographed by:
Sarah Cocke

On Site Inspection

Date:  15/3/2006

Inspected by:
Richard Cocke and David Hulks

Sources and References

Private communication with the artist 29-Nov-07 / Private email correspondence between developers and photographer Leo Reynolds, accessed 29-Nov-07; (themes/parks/waterloo park pavilion); Anderson, A., photography by Cocke, S., The Captain and the Norwich Parks, Norwich Society, 2000, 45-51 


Date entered:  29/11/2007

Data inputter:
Richard Cocke and David Hulks