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TOUR OF THE MONTH

The Beatles take London
The Beatles take London

ON THIS DAY IN LONDON

22nd January 1970 1st commercial Boeing 747 flight, NY to London in 6 hours

22nd January 1967 Born today: Olivia d'Abo, London England, actress (Wonder Years, Single Guy)

22nd January 1946 Punk pioneer Malcolm McLaren was born in Stoke Newington.go to related location

22nd January 1927 The first ever live football radio commentary for Arsenal v Sheff Utd.go to related location

22nd January 1920 England football manager Sir Alf Ramsey was born in Dagenham.go to related location

22nd January 1876 The Royal Aquarium amusement park opened in Westminster.go to related location

George Wombwell's Menagerie



George Wombwell's Menagerie

This is where Wombwell's infamous menagerie started life.

Location: Old Compton Street

Description: In 1804 George Wombwell opened a cobbling shop somewhere here (can anyone identify where exactly?) on Old Compton Street, which lasted until 1810.

Wombwell was short, stout and a heavy drinker and he nonetheless built up three hugely successful menageries from a starting point of two snakes bought at a bargain price. He put them on display here along with other exotic animals he imported.

In 1810 he founded the Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie and began to tour the fairs of Britain. By 1839 it totalled fifteen wagons. The menageries travelled the length and breadth of England and made him a wealthy man before his death in 1850.

Wombwell bred and raised many animals himself, including the first lion to be bred in captivity in Britain; he named it William in the honor of William Wallace. In 1825 Warwick, Wombwell arranged a Lion-baiting between his docile lion Nero and six bullmastiffs. Nero refused to fight but when Wombwell released Wiliam, he mauled the dogs and the fight was soon stopped.

He was buried in Highgate Cemetery, under a statue of his lion Nero.

From The Book of Days:

A shoemaker by trade, and keeping a shop in Soho, he happened one day to pay a visit to the London Docks, where he saw some of the first boa constrictors which had been imported into England. These reptiles had then no great favour with showmen, as much from fear as ignorance of the art of managing them, and their marketable value was consequently less than it afterwards became.

Wombwell purchased a pair for 75, and in the course of three weeks realized considerably more than that sum by their exhibition. He used afterwards to declare, that he entertained rather a partiality for the serpent tribe, as they had been the means of first opening his path to fame and fortune.


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George Wombwell's Menagerie

This is where Wombwell's infamous menagerie started life.


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George Wombwell's Menagerie

A Danish writer, Johannes W Jensen, also a Nobel prize winner, have written a story about Wombwell comming throug a little village south of Aalborg (the main city of northern Jutland)with his circus (menagerie).It is a very fine story (1900)But has Wombwell been in Denmark before his death 1850, or is it fiction. (Peter Jensen Solhaven 14 7800 Skive Denmark)
Posted by Peter Jensen Solhaven 14 7800 Skive Denmark on 2009-08-26
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