Famous Brown Dog Affair in London and the Brown Dog Statues

9781906267339In 1906, anti-vivisection campaigners unveiled a memorial in Battersea, London UK, as their new weapon in a long-running propaganda war. A celebrated libel trial focused attention on the plight of one brown terrier dog, the subject of physiological experiments and classroom demonstrations at University College London. The campaigners lost the battle of the trial, but this new statue was unveiled to win the war against vivisection.

Euston Grove Press publishes two books related to the story of the Brown Dog affair. Edward K. Ford’s (1908) The Brown Dog and His Memorial is a high-quality facsimile of Ford’s contemporary account of events surrounding the creation of the memorial and the resulting protests. It’s a book with a hidden story to tell in itself. Joe Cain’s (2013) The Brown Dog in Battersea Park is a photo-essay of the second Brown Dog statue in Battersea Park, installed in 1985. A new design; a new idea. But it provoked protests, too. Cain’s book examines the sculpture, the sculptor, and draws connections between the two statues.

One little dog…a lot of trouble

Immortalised in bronze, the little brown dog provoked passions for and against. Insulted, pro-science groups attacked the statue itself, marched in protest, and fought back with symbols of their own. Passions ran so high that electric alarms and 24-hour police guards were needed to prevent the statue’s destruction. In 1910, the memorial was removed in the middle of the night, and it never was seen in public again.

Eyewitness account for the first Brown Dog statue

Edward K. Ford was an eyewitness to the demonstrations – or were they “riots”? – in 1907, when UCL medical students campaigned to have the brown dog memorial removed.

The pamphlet containing his account, published in complete facsimile as part of this project, provides a rare on-the-ground description of events. It also includes key material on legal issues, as well as press and public reaction. His anti-vivisection perspective is plain. This remains essential reading for any study of the brown dog affair.

Edward K. Ford very likely is a pseudonym for Emilie Augusta Louise Lind af Hageby (1878-1963), who co-founded the Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society.Brown Dog in Battersea Park cover - front

Photo-essay for the second Brown Dog statue

In 1985, anti-vivisection groups sponsored a replacement, a re-interpretation, and secured its position in a prominent spot of Battersea Park. But this, too, caused protest, and was quietly moved to an inconspicuous nook elsewhere in the park. It stands there today.

This book introduces both memorials, with an original photographic record of the second. The aim is to revive a small piece of London history. Also, to catch a glimpse of a fascinating story involving political activism, history of science, and a small brown terrier who came to symbolise an issue we still struggle to resolve.

Joe Cain is UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology.

Location of the Brown Dog statues in Battersea

Locations of the two Brown Dog memorials in Battersea in a larger map.