Campus curiosities 18

January 13, 2006

In the foyer of Luton University's Postgraduate School stands the statue of a killer.

The effigy in Putteridge Bury, a mansion house on the outskirts of the town, is of an Egyptian stag that laid low Colonel George Sowerby, the former owner of the estate.

The accident happened in 1888, shortly after the Victorian military man returned from training with the 3rd battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.

Sowerby was showing a family of tourists his prize pet - an Egyptian stag.

The animal responded to the arrival of the group by goring the colonel.

The bleeding man was carried back to the house where he was given brandy to "restore him to consciousness". He gasped a few times and then died.

At Sowerby's inquest, none of the witnesses could "offer an explanation of the outbreak of fury on the part of the stag".

In 1940, a prisoner-of-war camp was erected in Putteridge Bury's grounds.

Among the German internees was Werner Enge, who decided at the end of the conflict to stay in Luton. He later became a lecturer in welding at Luton College of Higher Education.

Enge was so moved by Sowerby's story that he created the life-size sculpture of the stag, which he presented to the institution.

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