Wednesday 6 December 2023

For how long has Battersea Dogs & Cats Home been caring for cats?

My understanding is that Battersea Dogs and Cats is now called 'Battersea'. It is celebrating 140 years of caring, rescuing and rehoming cats. That timeline needs to be explained because Battersea was founded by Mary Tealby in 1860 when it was called "The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs".

Whittington Lodge is the small building bottom-left. Image: Battersea.

It wasn't until November 1882 that the public unanimously voted for the charity to accept cats as well as dogs. The vote, apparently, came about because of a surge of unwanted cats roaming the streets of London and the West End at that time. The first cat resident at Battersea occurred in December 1883, which is why we have the 140 years during which the charity has been caring for cats.

Battersea is 163 years old. Specifically, it was started on October 2nd, 1860. 

The home was initially established in Holloway, London and it moved to Battersea in 1871. 

I had thought that Battersea was the oldest cat and dog rescue centre and animal rehoming centre in the world but that might not be the case because Wikipedia states that it is one of the UK's oldest and best known. 

I think it's actually better than that and I would like anybody to tell me if I'm wrong. I think Battersea is the oldest rehoming animal shelter in the world by which I mean the longest-standing organisation of this type in the world.

There is actually a very old cat shelter surrounded by modern buildings at Battersea (see picture above). This unique building was created to house unwanted cats by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It was and is the first purpose-built cattery in England and it has been awarded a grade II listed building status.

I think it is this building which allows us to award Battersea with the accolade that it is the oldest cat rescue and rehoming organisation in the world. This unique building is called Whittington Lodge.

It is exceedingly rare for such a building to survive and when you visit Battersea you see this old building in the middle, entirely out of place with the now modernised shelter which Battersea has become. They've poured millions of pounds into it to update it.
P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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