Speculation about what was inside the time machine that had just landed ranged from a giraffe to ‘a Frenchman’ to a sultan, but it was a 40ft wooden girl in a green dress who was eventually hoisted out of the spaceship barrel. She wore old-fashioned aviator spectacles.
The crowd stared, open-mouthed, while the red velvet dressed footmen swarmed over her like Lilliputians and, working the wires, got her to take off her helmet. Then she set off down Regent Street, taking the back route to Horse Guards Parade. No one had the faintest idea what any of it meant, but it didn’t much matter: as the puppet and the elephant met up on a concourse in readiness of a London walkabout.