Book. Anti-vivisection campaigners unveiled their memorial to a little brown dog in 1906 in Battersea, London. That dog’s treatment had been the centre of a libel trial making London medical schools the focus of national criticism. This was the famous Brown Dog Affair. This memorial taunted scientists, provoking passions so high that thousands demonstrated and 24-hour police guards were needed to prevent the memorial’s destruction. In 1910, it was removed in a midnight operation and never seen in public again.
In 1985, a replacement was installed in London’s Battersea Park. A new design; a new idea. It was an award-winning sculpture by new artist, Nicola Hicks. But this statue provoked controversy, too. The statue was placed upon a plinth sponsored by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the National Anti-Vivisection Society. That plinth immediately returned brown terrier dogs to the anti-vivisection controversy earlier in the century. After protests, this second brown dog statue was quietly transferred to an inconspicuous corner of the park. It stands there today. At the very least, it’s a lovely, thought-provoking sculpture. The plinth seems to be a different conversation.
This book is a photo-essay about the second brown dog statue, which combines Nicola Hicks’ sculpture and the anti-vivisection plinth. Historian Joe Cain compares first and second statues, tells a little about their history, and provides an original photographic record and description of the second brown dog statue.
This book revives a small piece of London history, in the London Borough of Wandsworth and the district called Battersea. It also catches a glimpse of a fascinating story involving political activism, history of science, and a small brown terrier dog who came to symbolize an issue we continue to struggle with today.
Joe Cain is Professor of UCL History and Philosophy of Biology. He specializes in the history of evolutionary biology and the history of science and society in London (more).
Cain, Joe. 2013. The Brown Dog in Battersea Park (London: Euston Grove Press), 32 pages and 20 images.
ISBN13: 978-1-906267-35-3 (paperback)
Recommended price: £6.99 | $13.99 | €12.99
dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 (inches)
dimensions: 216 x 216 (mm)
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Ford, Edward K. (1908) The Brown Dog and His Memorial (London: Euston Grove Press), 56 pages. 2013 complete facsimile of 1908 pamphlet.
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The Brown Dog in Battersea Park is presented here in its entirety. It also is available through the digital repository, Archive.org.Joe Cain (2013) The Brown Dog in Battersea Park. ISBN 9781906267353.
The Brown Dog in Battersea Park is available on Creative Common license, CC BY NC for non-commercial use. For any other uses, contact Euston Grove Press.
Locations of two Brown Dog Statues in Battersea, London
Location of both Brown Dog Statues in Battersea in a larger map