Battersea, one of the UK’s oldest animal welfare charities, is marking 150 years on 3 June 2021 at the world-famous South-West London centre with exciting changes to come for all members of the public to enjoy.
Mary Tealby, founded Battersea in 1860, and set up residence in Holloway, North London, where she lived. The rescue centre was known as the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs at the time. In 1871, the Home moved seven miles Southwest to Battersea where the charity has stayed ever since, and even changed its name to represent the local area.
It is thought the reason for the move to the other side of London was due to complaints from the neighbours in a crowded North London street and Battersea was on the outskirts of London back then. At the time, the Home took in around 850 dogs a month and a larger site was needed to accommodate the increasing amount of stray dogs (it wasn’t until 1883 that Battersea first started taking in cats). On 3 June 1871, the first ever Committee meeting took place at the new site in Battersea.
In an article from The Graphic, published in December 1871, the Battersea premises had “sixteen spacious pens, or stalls, eight on each side of a central avenue […]. There is an extensive exercise ground, a kitchen where the dogs’ food is prepared, and an infirmary. On the occasion of our visit the 200 inmates appeared in excellent health, only four of them being in the infirmary. The oldest inhabitant of the home had been there two months.”
Fast forward 150 years, the now world-famous animal rescue centre has recently undergone some major changes and now has some of the best facilities in the world to care for thousands of dogs and cats that come in every year. The Battersea London centre has a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, modern cattery and kennels, as well as office space for support staff. Battersea is here for every dog and cat and a new hydrotherapy suite has just opened for bookings for members of the public and their dogs.
Work is still currently being carried out to improve the rehoming kennels behind a new reception area for when the charity is ready to welcome back regular visitors.