18 June 2010
A new set of ten stamps from Royal Mail celebrates a landmark anniversary of the Battersea Home for Dogs and Cats, which, during the last 150 years, has cared for more than three million animals. ...
The original Battersea Home for Dogs opened its doors to the stray canines of Victorian London in 1860. The first Home, established by Mary Healby in Holloway, North London, was originally intended as a ‘temporary home for lost and starving dogs’. However, a high demand for the service meant that the Home quickly outgrew its original premises and the Centre moved to Battersea in 1871. Twelve years later, a £500 donation allowed the service to expand to accomodate the rehoming of stray cats. By this time, the home was using 32 tonnes of biscuits and 420 gallons of milk annually. Within a year, more than 200 cats had arrived at Battersea, and by 1907, another building was designed by architect Clough Williams Ellis, to house the increasing number of cats brought to Battersea.
In 1909, two motor-vans and six horse-drawn vans toured the streets of London, following up regular reports of stray animals, which could be rescued and given food and shelter. Nowadays, local authority animal welfare officers regularly bring dogs and cats to Battersea’s three centres.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home 150th Anniversary
The ten stamps in the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home 150th Anniversary set feature photographic portraits of seven dogs and three cats, by animal photographer Steve Hoskins. The breeds featured are Border Collie, Bulldog cross, Domestic short-hair cross, Domestic short-hair cross Tabby, Jack Russell cross, Lurcher, Mastiff, Mongrel and Terrier cross. Each of the animals on the stamps was of the animals rehomed by Battersea, with some rehoused after their owners died. The Home’s policy to ‘never turn away a dog or cat in need’ holds as true today as it did in the 1860s. Royal Mail’s illustrated presentation pack contains all ten Battersea Dogs and Cats Home stamps, with the story of the Home and an explanation of its work today. Julietta Edgar, Head of Special Stamps at Royal Mail said: ‘Stamps featuring animals have always been extremely popular with collectors and non-collectors alike, and I think these wonderfully charming and expressive images are a great way to mark the achievements of Battersea Dogs & Cats home.’