Two lion sculptures can be found guarding many of the HSBC offices around the world today. The first pair of lions was created in 1923 for the new Shanghai office of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. They were soon nicknamed Stephen and Stitt after two senior managers of the bank – Stephen is the roaring lion. Following the popularity of the lions in Shanghai, a similar pair was commissioned in 1935 for the new Hong Kong head office building. This pair suffered shrapnel wounds in 1941 and were removed at some point during the Second World War by occupying forces. They were rescued, returned home and reinstated in October 1946.
When HSBC's new global headquarters was opened in Canary Wharf, London, it was only fitting that Stephen and Stitt were included in the design too. The lions at 8 Canada Square are exact replicas of the Hong Kong pair. Each lion weighs close to one ton – with eight lucky coins buried in the base as tradition dictates.