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Famous topiary elephant in Finsbury Park loses its head in crash

PUBLISHED: 10:20 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:44 13 August 2019

A vehicle crashed into a topiary elephant in Ambler Road last night. Picture: Martin Evans @evansma

A vehicle crashed into a topiary elephant in Ambler Road last night. Picture: Martin Evans @evansma

Archant

A beloved topiary elephant in Finsbury Park has lost its head after a car crashed into it last night.

Architect and topiatrist Tim Bushe stand at the junction of Romilly Road and Ambler Road, posing in front of his hedge art creations. Picture: Naomi ShillingerArchitect and topiatrist Tim Bushe stand at the junction of Romilly Road and Ambler Road, posing in front of his hedge art creations. Picture: Naomi Shillinger

Firefighters were called to the property on the junction of Ambler Road and Romilly Road at about 12.15am, amid "reports of a vehicle in collision with a garden wall".

No humans were trapped or injured but the largest of the three famous elephant hedges, which have brought pride to the area for the past seven years, lost its head in the collision.

The crash comes four days after the Gazette reported the famous elephants were under threat, as the man in the first-flat overlooking them was considering cutting them down due to people hiding behind the hedges to take drugs.

Tim Bushe, the architect and topiarist who created and continues to maintain the elephants, was "weeping gently" as he learned of the carnage this morning.

A vehicle crashed into a wall in Romilly Road last night, damaging the head of a topiary elephant. Picture: @deannieweanieA vehicle crashed into a wall in Romilly Road last night, damaging the head of a topiary elephant. Picture: @deannieweanie

He told the Gazette: "It's unbelievable. God has got it in for them at the moment. That's going to be an interesting reconstruction job, if at all possible."

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Asked if he believed the largest elephants, which he affectionately refers to as the male, can be salvaged, Tim added: "It's possible but it will take years. The hedge is a very old, so it will take four to five years to get it back."

Neighbours had been fighting to stop the man from chopping down the hedges, so the crash has come as a huge blow.

Tricia Zipfel, of Blackstock Triangle Gardeners, told the Gazette: "There was a huge crash last night and the fire engines were here for a long time, but we had gone to bed.

"It sounded like two cars crashing into each other."

She added: "It would be catastrophic [if an elephant has been destroyed], well not catastrophic, that's a bit extreme, but the trouble with something like this is once it's damaged it takes a long time to replenish."

Tricia said the wall has been "completely smashed" and the head of the elephant has been "uprooted from the ground" but not "snapped off at the roots". Neighbours are trying to get a tree surgeon to the scene today, in the hope speedy action could help return the elephants to their "former glory".

Did you see what happened? Are you the driver? Call Lucas at the Gazette newsdesk on 07785 616244 or email lucas.cumsikey@archant.co.uk

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