Here is the ninth 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).
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
taken from a 'Brain Pickings' article
'The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs'
by Maria Popova
Celebrating 90 years of eclectic dog-themed art and literature from The New Yorker archive - do read the article....
Plus a sample of the book can be found here
This week's #AHD offerings: death of an animal dealer, Animal Guards, dog with a wheelbarrow, collapsed theatre, guano, 'Baldwin Pony' and George Cansdale.
26th Feb: 1923: John D. Hamlyn, famous animal dealer of St George's East London, dies. He imported birds, beasts, falcons, crocodiles and snakes (Cork Examiner)
27th Feb: 1940: Call for volunteer Animal Guards in Dundee, under the auspices of National Air Raid Precautions for Animals Committee (Dundee Courier)
28th Feb: 1776: At Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, Signor Ferzi performing with his pupils, includes 'exhibit of a Wheel-Barrow and Dog' - dog act (Caledonian Mercury)
1st March: 1828: Collapse of Brunswick Theatre, Well Street, killed team of dray horses from Mr Elliott's brewery as they passed by in street (Northampton Mercury)
2nd March: 1854: Royal Agric. Soc. debated substitutes to Peruvian guano - Newfoundland cod and seal 'waste' from fisheries wld make fine manure (Inverness Courier)
3rd March: 1889: 'Baldwin Pony' fell during 'parachute' descent at Sanger's Circus, Sheffield, when rope snapped - cruelty case in court next week (Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper)
4th March: 1953: TV review of George Cansdale's London Zoo series; went to aquarium to see 'vicious-looking' and 'most picturesque' fish (Yorkshire Evening Post)
Stories behind the 140-characters:
1) The following is an extract from Beastly London (my latest book): 'John D Hamlyn of 221 St George Street, East, was best known for dealing in monkeys. He allegedly supplied all the monkeys for the Monkey Show at Alexandra Palace in 1889, but Mr Cross of Liverpool hotly contested this in the pages of The Era newspaper. One of Hamlyn's advertisements read: 'Proprietor of the Smallest Zoological Trading Establishment in the World... Note - There are several Dealers claiming to have the Largest Establishment, I am content to have the Smallest.'
2) August 1939 and the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) is established to bring together the veterinary profession, the animal welfare charities and the Government to deal with issues concerning the domestic animals caught up in WW2. The following month it created an army of 'Animal Guards' who would undertake the mass registration of the nation's pets: 'animal wardens on every street.' The Guards registered pets and distributed collar tabs (2m of them) made by ICI out of celluloid. If registered pets became lost during bombings, the owners could be notified. (Info from Clare Campbell's Bonzo's War: Animals Under Fire 1939-1945)
3) John L Elliot was a brewer in Pimlico (he would later become partners with the Watney family in the Stag Brewery) - one of his drays narrowly escaped the falling debris of the Brunswick Theatre (in Whitechapel), but the rear dray was 'overwhelmed, and the team of animals were killed on the spot'.
4) A little bit of background about Peruvian guano - the poo and remains of seabirds (cormorants, pelicans and gannets) - which was imported in huge quantities from S. America to provide a natural fertiliser for booming 1850s British agriculture. However, 1854 saw problems: guano prices were rising sharply and there were problems with a fluctuating supply - Antony Gibbs & Sons of London (who built Tyntesfield, now a National Trust property) was the sole importer from 1848-1861 - plus, the main British crop of turnips needed a phosphatic rather than a nitrogenous manure ... alternatives had to be sought. But guano came through above other animal waste manures to reign supreme until the late 1870s, when The War of the Pacific (between Peru and Chile) stopped the trade. (info from W.M. Mathew 'Peru and the British Guano Market, 1840-1870 The Economic History Review New Series, Vol.23, No.1 (Apr. 1970), pp112-128)
5) After the death of the 'Baldwin Pony', the RSPCA brought a case of cruelty against John and George Sanger in Sheffield Court. For the act, the pony was taken in a basket to the roof of the circus, 30ft up, and then taken out and let down by wires attached to a girth around its body. It was killed after falling 20ft to the ground and breaking its hind leg. The Court eventually ruled that the performance must not be repeated with another animal, although there was no conviction for cruelty... I have no idea why it was named the 'Baldwin Pony'. Anyone?
Hannah Velten - author of