Mrs Wombwell: A Rare Photograph

Ann Wombwell, hand tinted photograph, private collection, circa 1880

OK, so you have all seen the photograph of Mrs Wombwell (Morgan) from the Bostock programmes and elsewhere, but have you ever seen it like this before:Published by kind permission of the owners.

Here’s also a comparison from the recently added B&W programme.

I am promised a better quality copy in the future. It’s nice to know that these photographs still exist.


Address of Mrs Wombwell

By kind permission of Ordance Survey circa 1869

© London School of Economics & Political Science

When Mrs Wombwell retired from running her former partner’s menagerie she retired to live with her daughter and her husband, Edmond Bramston, in an area of London known as All Souls or St, John’s Wood. She lived at 26 Belsize Avenue as shown in the Ordnance Survey map from circa 1869. Prior to this, she mainly travelled with the menagerie number 1, but has been known to have an address elsewhere in North London, probably Stoke Newington. The Belsize Road address at that time was quite a wealthy neighbourhood, being RED: Middle class – Well-to-do on the Booth Poverty map dated 1898-99 as shown below.

Book Review: Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain Empathy, Education, Entertainment

In June 2014 Helen Cowie from York University published this book in the UK. It is probably the most comprehensive account of zoos and menageries written to date. As a scholar, Cowie’s writing is concise and covers many aspects of the travelling menagerie as well as the zoos up and down the country. Drawing from British Newspaper archives, she tells the tales that make the unique world of the travelling menagerie come to life again.
However, Cowie’s repeat of some overworked accounts leave her text somewhat lacking in authority in places.

Overall though, a good read and one for the committed menagerholic! Weighty price, but there’s an e-book too.

Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain