A Victorian Dog Story

Here’s a very delightful guest post coming up. But first to my introduction.

Speke’s Monument, Kensington Gardens


Whatever one feels about London, the city of my birth (Acton; North-West London, to be more precise), there’s no denying that it has some glorious parks.

One of those wonderful parks is Kensington Gardens that is located not that far from the Royal Albert Hall. Or as Wikipedia puts it:

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park.

So keep that image in your mind as we turn to today’s guest post.


A Victorian Dog Story


If you are ever in the UK, wander through Kensington Gardens (past the palace where Princess Diana resided) and go Northeast, behind Victoria Lodge; you will find a pet cemetery. Mentioned by Peter Pan author, J.M. Barrie, in his work The Little White Bird, over 200 dogs, cats and birds have been laid to rest here. All of its inhabitants were once beloved pets.
The cemetery was started by the lodge keeper around 1881; the first dog to be buried in Kensington was her “Cherry”, a Maltese terrier who died of old age. The second dog was “Prince”, once belonging to the Duke of Cambridge (no relation to the present Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton!). Struck by a carriage, this dog’s simple gravestone reads: “Poor Prince.” Though the cemetery is no longer active, contemporary guests can take pictures of the tiny tombstones and read such sentiments as “Maudie, An Old Friend”, “Darling Dolly My Sunbeam, My Consolation”; and “In Loving Memory of Our Faithful Little Friend Wobbles.”
Keeping dogs as pets gained popularity in the 19th century. As sanitation conditions started to be regulated, animals such as pigs, cows and sheep were banned from the streets. So dogs that were once kept outside were now invited by the fire. The dog changed from being a worker to being a member of the family. In 1837 there were about 140 dog nappers; they stole lap dogs from the wealthy and charged hefty ransoms for their return. A Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs opened in 1860; ultimately this became The Battersea Dogs Home, where strays could be adopted. For more information on the Victorian cult of the dog, I would recommend At Home and Astray by Philip Howell. Meanwhile, if you are searching for a name for your new pet puppy, you might want to consider Dandie, Dash or Eos, pronounced ee-oohs–if they were good enough for Queen Victoria’s pooches, they may be good enough for yours!
Let me close with the words of the author: Annabelle Troy
An American who loves UK culture, I alternate my time between New York City and London. I’m the author of four books available on Amazon: Jane Eyre Gets Real, A Cure for Cecily, The Grace of the Hunchback, and Hansel and Gretel Inside the House of Candy.  Inspiration comes to me through literature, history and magic.
Here’s the cover of that first-named book.
511hedjbc8lI don’t know about Jane Eyre but Annabelle Troy comes over as real enough!

10 thoughts on “Wanderings!

  1. What a great post, Paul! I did not know about the pet cemetery. I did know that Queen Victoria loved her dogs & that she was instrumental in popularizing the Pug. Thanks for this delightful read by Ms. Troy. I will have to check out her other books.


  2. Such a delightful post Paul.. Yes the Victorians held their pets in high regard especially among the gentry .. In an old Abbey we go walking through it has a pet cemetery .. It is railing off around each grave where there are not only gun dogs but horses too buried with remembrance plaques.. Thank you for this post Paul


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