Friday, 10 October 2014

Travelling menageries.

Another class this afternoon, this time looking at the Diary of  Henrietta Matilda Crompton  who was born in Yorkshire in 1793 into a very rich family, rich enough to spend each 'Season' in the city of York, entertaining, going to various events like balls, races, theatres and generally dressing up and being seen in the social setting.

It was a really interesting afternoon - we have a very good tutor who gets us all involved in the discussion.   But an aspect of it about which I really didn't know anything was the Travelling Menageries.   In those days folk knew little about the care of animals or 'beasts' as they thought of them.   They were kept in conditions described as 'the finest health, condition and cleanliness, the interiors being rendered warm and comfortable by continued fires being kept'.   At nine o'clock each night all the animals were fed.

These menageries (elephants, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, panthers, polar bears etc.) travelled around the country - they would make huge caravans on the road - some of the trailers would be pulled by horses and some by elephants (there are quite a few pictures on Wikipedia if you want to look at them).

When you think of today's Safari Parks and the fact that we can all see these animals in various wildlife programmes even if we don't want or can't afford to travel to their native countries to see them it is really quite distressing to imagine the life these poor animals had.

I don't think this attitude to wild animals has changed for the better in all parts of the world, but maybe we are slowly getting there.


MorningAJ said...

We still do some pretty horrific things to wild animals and use a number of excuses for doing it - entertainment and science being two of the worst.

Heather said...

I think things are improving slightly - performing animals in circuses are a thing of the past, thank goodness, but there is still a way to go.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hi Pat,
Looks like the internet is straightened out now. Wha-hoo! Kinda missed my blogging friends for the past week.
It distresses my heart to see any animal mistreated in the name of entertainment, or science or even "love." I try to give Josephine as "normal" a cat life as possible. And that includes going outside under our supervision. She gets the occasional bird or whatever. And as much as that distresses me (for the sake of the bird) it is in the nature of cats to stalk, kill, and eat.

Terry and Linda said...

I agree with MorningAJ we do some pretty nasty stuff to wild animals. I hope circus become a thing of the past!


Joanne Noragon said...

I cannot bear to visit a zoo, as decent as the conditions are purported to be. Imagine the menageries!

Penny said...

Pat, being married to a Crompton I immediately sent him looking to see what connection there could be, his were Lancashire Crompton who lived at Riving on, sold to Lord Lever when our lot went to Australia for their health, Beatrice Potter was a relation. He feels there would be a connection so he is now happily researching. In lots of ways he felt there were some similarities, he himself is the last of his generation being the only son of the last of 12 children who didn't marry until in his fifties, so all born in the 1800s, middle to late though. Sorry about this long post but see how far reaching blogging can become.

Cro Magnon said...

I think we Brits have a particular love of animals (I'm sure others do too), and the thought of any creature being mistreated infuriates us. But it happens at home as well as elsewhere. I just wish I had a magic wand.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling.