BARCLAYS' iconic eagle emblem, which has stood over Poole for more than 30 years, was painstakingly brought down to earth yesterday.

The 14ft-wide aluminium eagle, which weighs 1.3 tonnes, was removed from the top of Barclays House in Poole town centre with the help of two cranes.

And its safe descent from 117 ft was greeted with a sigh of relief by the firm charged with overseeing the delicate operation.

Jeff Baldock, managing director of Coastal Transport Site Services Ltd, said: "It's been a really enjoyable job for us. We've got it down safely, no one's been hurt, there's no damage and it's all gone well.

"Of course I was a tiny bit apprehensive but you just have to prepare well and try and foresee any problems.

"Really it's just a bigger job than normal. We don't get too many high profile jobs but we're happy when they do come along. I thrive on stuff like this."

Worst job of the day went to the workers who perched in a basket more than 100ft up in the air while connecting all the lifting straps and chains to the eagle.

All the fixtures and fittings were then unbolted from the inside and emblem slowly lowered. It will now be placed in storage until Barclays decide what to do with it.

There have been reports that Barclays is preparing to drop the 317-year-old eagle logo in response to concerns from its Dutch merger partner ABN Amro that the design had Nazi connotations.

But a spokesperson for Barclays said: "It's nothing sinister. The eagle is coming down purely because it is out of date branding.

"We are still committed to the region and its removal is not linked to any deals that have been ongoing."

However, the bank itself will be following suit and moving out of Barclays House by 2010, heading for a 100,000sq ft building in nearby West Quay Road after shedding 1,000 jobs.

A Daily Echo web poll earlier in the year found 93 per cent of respondents in favour of keeping the eagle emblem.