It is not the Bermondsey dragon (see St James's one below), but the dragon weathervane of St Mary-le-Bow in the City of London.
The St Mary-le-Bow dragon, 9ft long, first took flight 221ft above the City streets in 1679,.
In the nineteenth century architect James Savage was engaged to do restoration work on the church. As Savage was the architect of St James's Church, perhaps it was from his work at St Mary's that he got the idea of a dragon flying high over Bermondsey.
I am grateful to Chris Williamson for pointing out this link and for these further fascinating details about the older dragon across the river in the City:
'Edward Pearce, a mason, was paid £4 to carve a wooden model, and Robert Bird, a copper smith, received £38 to make it......When it was first raised to its pinnacle, Jacob Hall, a trapeze artist of the day, accompanied it and performed a hire-wire act watched by a large crowd. In 1820, when it was lowered for repairs, an Irish worker rode down on its back, using his feet to manoeuvre it around obstacles.'
|The restored Bermondsey dragon being viewed by the children of St James's School|