Here is the twenty-first weekly digest for Animal History Daily, which I'm running on Twitter (@hannahvelten) every day for 2014. Using the #AHD tag, I find random titbits of animal history from the British Newspaper Archive (@BNArchive) on the appropriate day, from any year (generally the 1800s). This week I've been tweeting about pets.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK:
Is this an image of Palmer's Pet Store in Camden Town? The shop closed in 2005 after sales of animals crashed, with children wanting an iPod or a computer for Christmas rather than a budgie.
The pet shop, opened in 1918, used to sell more exotic fare - Charlie Chaplin bought two Abyssinian kittens, and chimpanzees were also for sale.
The original frontage of the shop is still in existence, with signs advertising 'Talking Parrots' and 'Monkeys'.
I found a first-hand account of someone who worked there - sounded chaotic!
21st May - 1886: Parrots, Parrots - Grey, Green, Lorie birds for sale - William Cross, Largest Importer in the World, Liverpool. Also pet monkeys (Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough)
22nd May - 1916: Curator of reptiles adopts 'Popocatepetl' the ocelot cub; kept in study on bed of cottonwool and eats morsels of pigeon & rabbit (Derby Daily Telegraph)
23rd May - 1846: Newfoundland dog so jealous of new pet lamb that took first opportunity to grab it, and walk 1/4 mile to drown it in the Thames (Berkshire Chronicle)
24th May - 1913: King & Queen visiting Chester when one of crowd shouted: 'Three cheers for the King'; in reply a pet parrot said, 'Shut Up!' (PIP)
25th May - 1927: Jennie, the badger, 'adopted' Mr Wellaway by following him along the street. She willingly submits to petting & lives in house (Western Morning News)
26th May - 1900: Will bees ever become drawing-room pets? Mrs Baden-Powell installed swarm in straw hides behind glass, causing much amusement (The Graphic)
27th May - 1876: A Sheep Fond of Practical Jokes - Provost in Scotland had pet lamb and it would wait at open window above house entrance and fall onto unsuspecting house visitors; all complained but finally sheep disappeared after it fell on Provost himself (Grantham Journal)
And finally (just because)... William Cross (the seller of parrots above) also seemed to do a roaring trade in tortoises. Seems they were sold to the public by all sorts of middle-men, including fishmongers! - as pets and garden pest-killers. From The Era 03 December 1881.
Hannah Velten - author of