Beastly London: A History of Animals in the City
Horse-drawn cabs rattling down muddy roads, cattle herded through the streets to the Smithfield meat market for slaughter, roosters crowing at the break of dawn—London was once filled with a cacophony of animal noises (and smells). But over the last thirty years, the city seems to have banished animals from its streets. In Beastly London, Hannah Velten uses a wide range of primary sources to explore the complex and changing relationship between Londoners of all classes and their animal neighbors.
Velten travels back in history to describe a time when Londoners shared their homes with pets and livestock—along with a variety of other pests, vermin, and bedbugs; Londoners imported beasts from all corners of the globe for display in their homes, zoos, and parks; and ponies flying in hot air balloons and dancing fleas were considered entertainment. As she shows, London transformed from a city with a mainly exploitative relationship with animals to the birthplace of animal welfare societies and animal rights’ campaigns. Packed with over one hundred illustrations, Beastly London is a revealing look at how animals have been central to the city’s success.
(London, 1953), p. 57. 7 Ibid., p. 54. 8 William H. Forsyth, ‘The Medieval Stag Hunt’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, X/7 (March 1952), pp. 204–6. 9 ‘Royal Sports in Olden Time’, New Sporting Magazine (January 1866), p. 22. 10 Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500–1800 (London, 1984), p. 145. 11 Fitter, London’s Natural History, p. 56. 12 Philip L. Armitage and Jonathan Butler, ‘Medieval Deerskin Processing Waste at the Moor
15 March 1825. 88 Grantley F. Berkeley, My Life and Recollections (London, 1865), vol. II, p. 101. 89 Ibid., p. 103. 90 Thomas, Man and His Natural World, p. 153. 91 Ibid., p. 157. 92 ‘Henry VIII: April 1546, 11–20’, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, vol. XXI, Part 1: January–August 1546 (1908), pp. 287–305. 93 ‘Plague’, Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia: 1579–1664 (1878), pp. 329–49. 94 Lord William Lennox, ‘Here’s Sport
Street, off Euston Road, as late as 1926, and the longest survivor was S. P. Snewin in Oldhill Street, Hackney, whose herd survived into the 1960s.117 Asses’ milk on sale in Kentish Town, c. 1760. Cows were not the only livestock that provided milk to Londoners. Since 1780, Dawkins of Bolsover Street, W1, had been selling asses’ milk.118 It was a luxury costing twice as much as cows’ milk, because the yields were low, and it was a favourite cure used by physicians to nourish weak individuals
over the fire. Once the wheel was set in motion, the dog was forced to run to keep up with the motion and this constant pressure on its forepaws caused the legs to turn out – much like the dachshund’s.246 The butcher used large dogs to make meat deliveries and keep control of cattle, and midden dogs were used to haul rubbish to the midden or rubbish dump. The earliest attempt at a complete classification of dogs was Dr Johannes Caius’s Of Englishe Dogges (1576, translated from Latin) and he
and family in 1881, because he was a member of their family: He was an accomplished dog of the world, and delighted in giving drawing-room entertainments. Dressed up as a soldier, in a little uniform coat, a helmet, and a musket, he was an inimitable sentinel. But as a sick baby carefully tucked up in a perambulator he always ‘brought down the house’ . . . So intelligent and so amiable a dog assuredly deserved a Christian burial.49 Once Cherry had been buried in the park, word spread and for