In 1860, the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs was established by Mary Tealby in a disused barn behind Hollingsworth Street in Holloway, North London.
Within two years of opening the home was visited by Charles Dickens. At the time it was the only rescue centre of its kind in London and, as a dog lover, Dickens was impressed by the care that was given.
The home was in need of support through more funds and bigger premises. In August 1862, Dickens wrote an article in his magazine, All The Year Round, entitled Two Dog Shows, highlighting the work of the home. He drew comparisons between a pedigree dog show in Islington and the poorly funded rescue centre in Holloway, not far away.
Within a mile of that great dog show at Islington, there existed another dog show of a very different kind, and forming as complete a contrast to the first as can well be imagined. For this second dog show is nothing more nor less than the show of the Lost Dogs of the Metropolis – the poor vagrant homeless curs that one sees looking out for a dinner in the gutter or curled up in a doorway taking refuge from their troubles in sleep.
The Two Dog Shows article is credited with being a major turning point in the fortunes of the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs. It helped change public opinion and drew in support and funding, so much so that in 1871 the home moved to its current location in Battersea and the rescue centre that has become famous today.
Location since 1871.
Original location of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.