Walsall’s popular hippo sculpture is moving to a new temporary location this weekend whilst redevelopment work continues in the area he currently calls home. The concrete hippo, affectionately known as Hoppy, will move from The Bridge to outside Walsall Central Library in Lichfield Street in the early hours of Sunday morning. The area around The Bridge is currently the focus of major regeneration work with the construction of a new Primark and Mid-Counties Co-operative food store. As outlined late last year a planning application has also been submitted to create a new permanent location at The Bridge for the town’s historic market.This application is due to be considered by the planning committee in the coming weeks. It is unclear how long Hoppy the Hippo will be at his temporary home but the long term plan is to allow him to relocate back to The Bridge area once all the work in this area of the town centre is completed.
Hoppy received ‘his’ name by popular acclaim back in the early 1970s, when he was first sited outside Lloyd’s Bank on The Bridge and was regularly jumped over by both youngsters and a mayor of Walsall! Hoppy is, however, technically female, as the children’s play sculpture was inspired by the ancient Egyptian goddess Taweret, goddess of children and the northern sky, which is why it was deliberately placed facing north on the ‘banks’ of the Walsall Brook (representing the River Nile) which flows under The Bridge.