It’s a dog’s life

Press release - 21 April 2008

Canine charity collector comes to the Natural History Museum at Tring

21 April – 13 July 2008

Visitors to the Natural History Museum at Tring this spring will get the chance to see London Jack, a Victorian fundraising dog, when he is put on temporary display in the Museum’s entrance foyer. There were at least four ‘London Jacks’ working at London railway stations between 1894 and 1921, and the dog joining the Natural History Museum at Tring was one of the first.

Charity dogs were first introduced by railway guard John Climpson in the 1880s. Train travellers donated coins into a box carried on the dogs’ backs for the orphans of railwaymen killed at work during the early days of steam. London Jack worked at London’s Paddington station from 1894 until 1900, raising more than £450 in his lifetime. After his death, he was preserved and placed in a glass box where he continued to raise charitable funds. In 1996, he moved to Potter’s Museum at Jamaica Inn in Cornwall and was sold in 2003 after the Museum closed. He later turned up on an internet auction site, before finally coming to the Museum where he has been restored to his former glory.

Museum Manager Paul Kitching says, ‘We’re very pleased to be able to see London Jack return to public display. He was clearly a much-loved dog and we hope our visitors will find his story fascinating.’

This is the latest furry friend to join the Natural History Museum at Tring. The Museum houses an internationally important collection of 88 domestic dogs in Gallery 6 that highlight the impact of selective breeding.

Visitor information

Address: The Natural History Museum at Tring, The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman Street, Tring, Herts HP23 6AP
Dates: 21 April – 14 July 2008
Admission: Free
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.00, Sunday 14.00–17.00
Access: Step-free access is limited to Gallery 1, the temporary exhibition gallery, the shop and Zebra Café. A virtual tour of the upper galleries of the Museum is available in the temporary exhibition gallery.
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 6171
Website: www.nhm.ac.uk/tring

Ends

Notes for editors

  •  The Natural History Museum at Tring is the Natural History Museum’s sister museum in Hertfordshire. It opened in the late 1800s to house the collections of Lionel Walter, second Baron Rothschild and offers outstanding examples of nineteenth-century taxidermy at its very best. The museum was bequeathed to the nation and became part of the Natural History Museum in 1938. The public galleries were modernised, but the fascinating character of the Museum has been retained. 
  • More than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy a glimpse into the fascinating world of a Victorian collector, where they can see a huge variety of wild, weird and wonderful specimens from across the animal kingdom – from armadillos to zebras. 
  • The site at Tring also houses both the stunning Rothschild library and the Natural History Museum’s ornithological collection, which has been based there since the early 1970s.
Cartoon image of lab coats with T.rex name label

In 2003 nearly 12,000 scientists from over 60 countries came to work at the Museum.