Glimpse of the past…Puppy Seller, Shoreditch 1946

It’ll sound unethical (and rightly so) to today’s sensibilities, but for many years Club Row in Shoreditch hosted a pet market every Sunday where punters could buy anything from the tiniest of birds to a fully grown monkey. In 1953 journalist Kaye Webb wrote that “A cacophony of whimpers, yaps, yelps and just plain barking will guide you to the spot…

The market survived until 1983 when new laws banning the sale of live animals on the street were introduced.

The photograph below was taken by the American Life magazine in 1946.

Puppy seller, Club Row 1946 (copyright Life Magazine)

5 responses

  1. I remember being taken to Club Row as a child. It would have been around 1958, and my uncle was looking to buy a dog. There were all kinds of animals and birds there then. I even remember people selling various types of monkeys. I was fascinated at the time, but very glad it has gone. Unfortunately, the puppy farms and pet trade that replaced it are no better.
    Harrods had a huge Pet Department too, and once claimed it could supply any animal a customer required.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thanks Pete, lovely comment- being the old school Londoner you are I had a feeling you’d be familiar with the market 😉

      Did you ever visit the Harrods pet department by any chance? The story I associate most with that is of ‘Christian the Lion’; I wrote an early piece here about him a few years back:

      Thanks again Pete, take care mate.

      1. I only went to Harrods Pet department as a child. My family couldn’t affor to shop there, and it was more by way of an ‘experience’. To me coming from Bermondsey, it was like a palace, and hardly seemed like a shop. I remember seeing snakes and big lizards, but that’s about all.

  2. Sorry to go off topic, but I thought you might be interested in this:

    1. No, that’s ok… I’ve already got my ticket booked! I was planning to do a quick piece on it here too as a promotion.

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