Another week gone as LJMU interns and only four remain meaning four more blog posts. Maybe five. If I’m really feeling mean 😉
Hello and welcome to another Blog by Jade. This week I have decided to focus on The Animal World. It is a 1890 periodical available in the LJMU archives and is a years’ collection of the monthly magazine; The Animal World.
Firstly, a little bit about the week and what made me choose this week’s topic: It has been a busy and sporadic week with illnesses and events meaning Roisin and I have only had two days working together! Despite this, we have made considerable progress in researching and developing a timeline for our exhibition. For the timeline we had to conduct research about significant events from 1820-1910. One of which being the founding of the RSPCA.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; what does the RSPCA have to do with this periodical? Well, with the help of Google and the many other sources LJMU has to offer, I can tell you:
The story stars with the abolishment of the slave trade which began as a campaign spearheaded by devout Christians called ‘Quakers’, who believed all people were made in God’s image: God was the Father of all mankind, all nations were his ‘offspring’ or ‘of one blood’ (Dr Coffey, 2006). The Church of England was quick to add to this, defending animals by quoting religious teachings such as; ‘humans are co-partners with the rest of creation.’ (RS Revision, 2015). With this, Reverend Arthur Broome founded a voluntary organisation that is well known to this day. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was established in 1824 in a London coffee shop. Today, it is commonly known as the ‘RSPCA’ because Queen Victoria later gave permission to add the royal ‘R’.
According to the RSPCA website; when the organisation was founded, it was a challenge to get the British public to recognise animals as sentient beings (RSPCA, 2017). It is said that prior to the formation of the organisation, ‘agents’ would circulate Smithfield Market in order to pursue any mismanagement of animals. It became increasingly apparent that RSPCA advertisement through the Church and Press was not sufficient and so ‘inspectors’ were sought to prosecute (History House, 2016).
This is where The Animal World comes in: it was an RSPCA creation and published by S.W Partridge and Co. This large book with its red cover and gold lettering is a collection of the RSPCA’s monthly magazine bound together. Each issue, dating from January 1890, displays a unique image, which was the magazine’s front cover, centred on different aspects of animal culture in Victorian life. To exemplify, the sketches of animals incorporate exoticism, domesticity, and love and friendship. Each issue follows a similar format with advertisements on the opening pages relating to animals in the domains of shelters and new homes. Following this there is an animal based story with accompanying artwork, a ‘letters to the editor’ section, and then general notices and advertisements (The Animal World, 1890).
The ‘letters to the editor’ section is the key part to this factual-rollercoaster of a blog. It indicates how the culture of keeping pets was communicated in the Victorian era. This book is the hallmark of the Victorians’ changing attitudes and newfound holistic approach towards animals. For example, in February of 1890, an E. O. wrote in to the magazine requesting help from readers regarding the condition of her rather exotic cockatoo.
Then, in the following issue, there is an ‘answers to correspondents’ section, whereby other readers can submit their opinions to others. In this case, two people decided to give advice to E. O. one telling her to take the bird to the vets, and the other to just rub cream on the chest of the cockatoo.
The clear differences between the answers demonstrates the variances of education regarding these animals that each Victorian person has. It is still like this today but with the help of the internet and a century or so of further research in animal health we have a little bit more of an idea. I’d take the cockatoo to the vets, BTW.
There are other answers like this in The Animal World and if you have access to a public library, or even LJMU’s archives I definitely suggest a quick read as they can sometimes be pretty funny and interesting.
To conclude the blog post I will, of course, post the next ‘Puzzle Page’ from the much-loved The Children’s Friend. I hope you all managed to crack the puzzles and I wish you all best of luck with this set:
See you next week!
Blue Cross. (2017). Welcome to Blue Cross for Pets. Available: http://www.oxtowns.co.uk/burford/bluecross.html Last Accessed 2017.
Dr Coffey, J. (2006). The Abolition of the Slave Trade: Christian Conscience and Political Action. Available: http://www.jubilee-centre.org/the-abolition-of-the-slave-trade-christian-conscience-and-political-action-by-john-coffey/. Last accessed 2017.
History House. (2016). A Look at the First Steps on the Road to Animal Welfare. Available: http://www.historyhouse.co.uk/articles/rspca_history.html. Last accessed 2017.
RS Revision. (2015). Animal Rights. Available: http://www.rsrevision.com/gcse/christian_perspectives/carefortheplanet/animals/church.htm. Last accessed 2017.
RSPCA. (2017). Our History. Available: https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/whoweare/history. Last accessed 2017.
RSPCA (1890) The Animal World. London: S.W. Partridge and Co.
Wikimedia. (2017). Blue Cross. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Cross_(animal_charity) Last accessed 2017