Secrets of Hyde Park

4 Feb

November 2017


Oh, hi!  I didn’t see you standing there.

What’s that?  You want to know all about the secrets of Hyde Park in London, England?!  Well, how about you settle for one interesting fact and a couple of licks right on the kisser?  Deal?

Okay then – well, follow me!  I’ll be your historical guide dog as we stroll into the past and uncover the Secrets of…Jurassic Bark!

*clears throat*

I mean, the Secrets of…Hyde Park!

Hyde Park (as well as the adjoining Kensington Gardens) was, of course, my favorite place to hang out while Jo and I were in London, and we went there pretty much every day.  We walked for hours, enjoyed a scrumptious Christmas dinner at a café, hit on Santa at the Winter Wonderland Festival, even tried our first taste of kangaroo!  And ran into our fair share of well-to-do older ladies wrapped in fur coats and jewels while walking their spotless dogs.

But let’s not beat around the bush…



* Skeleton: “Care to dance, little lady?”  Woman (screaming): “I hate daaaancing!”  Geez, fine then.


* No, no…there aren’t these kinds of dead bodies in Hyde Park.  HOWEVER, during the plague, many poor bastards fled to Hyde Park as a last resort in escaping the inevitable.  So, yes, there is a “plague pit” filled with victims right beneath Hyde Park.  But no zombies. 😉

Well, what kind of bodies then, man?!


* No, definitely not.  Well, maybe.  Ahhh, the suspense is killing me!!


Behind Victoria Gate Lodge, virtually hidden from view and unknown to a fair share of people, is a Victorian era pet cemetery!  It opened in 1881 by accident and officially closed in 1903, when there were some 300 animals buried there.  According to George Orwell, the cemetery was “perhaps the most horrible spectacle in Britain.”

Um, no, George – that creepy caterpillar on your lip you called a “mustache” was the most horrible spectacle in Britain.

The cemetery isn’t open to the general public, save for the rare tour here n’ there.  So Jo had to contact the Royal Parks services and ask for permission for us to enter…in addition to paying a hefty entrance fee.  Oh, well.  Jo thought it was worth it to catch a glimpse of this fascinating piece of history.

Jo honestly was stunned to learn of this place, having thought that pet cemeteries were more of a contemporary concept.

I didn’t even know I could die.  So I guess we were both surprised.

The first dog to be buried here was “Cherry,” a Maltese Terrier.  The family of Cherry was close to the gatekeeper at Victoria Lodge, Mr. Winbridge.  So, when Cherry (in his ripe old age) won a one-way ticket to the big open field in the sky, where rawhide bones and smiley-faced sausages run right into dogs’ open arms, they asked Mr. Winbridge to use his garden as Cherry’s final resting place.  Permission was granted and a tombstone was erected that stated simply, “Poor Cherry.  Died April 28. 1881”

Poor Little “Prince” was a Yorkshire Terrier belonging to His Royal Highness Prince George, Duke of Cambridge’s wife (actually, mistress…but that’s a whole ‘nother story altogether), the actress Louisa Fairbrother.  Prince tragically passed away in the gatekeeper’s lodge after being trampled by horse and carriage in the park.  He was the second pup to be buried here.

And so began the tradition of prominent locals burying their fur babies here.

Mr. Winbridge usually performed the burials without the presence of the owners, who were often“too overcome with grief to be able to face this last cruel parting”.  As a matter of fact, a bereaved Lord Petre, who promised to attend his pet’s ceremony and burial the following morning, could not handle the loss of man’s best friend and actually died during the night.

The tombstones were made of marble, and the graves cordoned off with rope edge tiles, allowing a place for the grieving families to place flowers.

Many of the names we encountered made us chuckle, for we imagined them as characters on a bizarre 70s children’s TV show:

Smut, Scamp, Jack the Dandy (a Sportsman and a Rat), Frizzle, Wobbles, and Freeky.

Others made us stop and wonder, ‘What the hell…??’  Like poor Scum seen above…

…and a cat with the “N” word as a moniker…

…and the tragic ‘Balu. Son of Fritz. Poisoned by a cruel Swiss. Berne – 1899’.

Like, literally…What. The. Hell??


* Not just dogs were buried here…some cats and monkeys too!  This 24-year-old cat was apparently “a king of pussies.”


But what really stunned us…okay, I was busy sniffing everything and couldn’t wait to get back to, ya’ know, living and running in the park.  Rather, what really stunned Jo was the fact there were so many heartfelt sentiments on the tombstones.

Jo always thought of the Victorian elite as giving off an air of restraint, being priggish and prim.  Show emotion?  Don’t be silly!  Marrying for money, then secretly (or not so secretly) amassing a slew of lovers not unlike a collection of Beanie Babies.  Too busy worrying about how they appear to society than to provide a lap for an animal to rest their weary head upon.

To peer through these little windows of time, where it was quite obvious many of these humans actually cared for another living being, was fascinating!

* This one’s a little hard to see, but it says:  “for six years our loving and most devoted friend… so lonely without our darling sweetheart…

when our lonely lives are over and our spirits from this earth shall roam, we hope he’ll be there waiting to give us a welcome home.”


There were so many other touching inscriptions such as:

‘Darling Dolly – my sunbeam, my consolation, my joy’

‘Here lie two faithful creatures, Snap and Peter. ‘We are only sleeping master.’

‘My Ba-ba – never forgotten, never replaced.’

‘The sunshine of the house is gone.’

‘In life the firmest friend, the first to welcome, foremost to defend’ – Byron

‘These little lives, so short in years are as the flowers that bloom awhile, are gone and we are left in tears. In faith and hope of reunion.”

‘To our gentle lovely little Blenheim, Jane – she brought the sunshine into our lives, but she took it away with her.’

‘In memory of Jim – a little dog with a big heart.’


This was a really cool piece of Victorian London history to experience up close and personal, and a great reminder that, hey, we animals really are the bee’s knees, and we don’t live neeearly as long as we should.  It’s precisely that reason why we love harder, play longer, listen better, and are more loyal than any human out there, and we ask very little from the world in return.  So take a page from the animal book, humans…because we only get one shot at this life.

And on that note…I leave you with the rest of our Hyde Park/Kensington Garden series of photos. 🙂

* Just sporting this season’s hottest fashion trend, the Christmas jumper. 😉


* Jo and I went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park!  This festival was INSANE.  It had the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, circus shows, Cinderella on ice, and rides out the wazoo.


* Bavarian Christmas market? Check!  Glühwein (mulled wine)? Check!  Jo buying a Viking drinking horn to enjoy her Scotch in?  Double check!

We even tried kangaroo for the first time!  And it was pretty. damn. tasty.

* Outside of the ice sculpture exhibit.  Was waaay too cold for this lil doggie, so I hung out with this lovely lady

* Inside the ice exhibit


* Jo being so short she can’t even pull off being an ice mermaid properly


* After the exhibit, we waited in line fooorever to see Santa so I could give him my wish list.  A little boy who was waiting in line said straight to my face, “I hate you, dog!”

So I told Santa I wanted him turned into sausages.



* Just some talented folks performing “Hitchcock in the Park” 😀


* We had many people ask us if I was wearing Furberry Burberry.  Jo had no idea what that was and had to Google it.  The answer is no.  She’s too cheap to buy me that stuff.


* Kensington Palace!

* Queen Victoria statue, which was sculpted by her daughter


* Prince Albert Memorial…can you see lil ol’ me?



* This was right after I was hot on the trail of a squirrel…sniffing everywhere…an intense episode on Investigation DOGscovery!


* George I used to keep his edible turtles in this pond


* Peter Pan statue:  J.M. Barrie used to walk his dog in Kensington Gardens, and it’s also where he met the five boys who were inspiration for the “Lost Boys” and whose guardian he eventually became

Up Next:  What do Chewbacca, Shakespeare, and the Dalai Lama all have in common?  I got to meet them!

4 Replies to “Secrets of Hyde Park

  1. Penny, you had me roaring with your intro and then crying with your oh so true statement about animals being the “bees knees”. You guys are NEVER around long enough – it just doesn’t seem fair. But the love and loyalty you give during your time with us overwhelmingly outweighs the grief we bear when you are gone. Animals are the BEST things on the planet for sure! (especially dogs) Sorry Lilly and ZZ..
    Loved the pictures – the ice sculpture exhibit was outrageous, and Jolene, you look amazing as a mermaid! (and any other thing you want to be, my snoogums) Don’t listen to the naysayers. Now I sound like Mrs. Goldberg for Pete sakes. Which reminds me, did you meet any nice British boys? What about Santa? He was a real cutie! I have quite the urge for a little bundle of joy (smiley face) you know, so let’s get busy! Daylight is burning, girl. Love you both (and Penny says she wants a little brother or sister too) XXXOOO

    • Awww, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Gma! And thank you so much for all of the compliments. 🙂 I was totally going to make it more of a sob fest, but Jo looks hideous when she cries. So I decided against it. 😉 Jo completely agrees with you about the love’n’loyalty:grief ratio. Worth it for all of the wonderful memories made in those short years! I’m going to tell Lilly and ZZ what you said though. For shame, Gma! 😉

      Jo loves that you are like Mrs. Goldberg. Never a dull moment! *boop!* She says she wants a pillowcase with your face on it. The ice sculptures WERE outrageous! Or so Jo tells me. When it comes to Christmas, London doesn’t fuck around. Santa was a hottie! Jo never wanted to be on the naughty list as much as she did when she was flirting with that Santa. Haha! But hey, everybody knows Santa is married. Ho-hum.

      By the way, I think you’re mistaken, Gma – I never said I wanted a brother or sister (I would eat that “bundle of joy”). I said I wanted to smother a hipster. Slight miscommunication, that’s all. 😀 We looove you, and thank you for continuing to read our travels!

  2. Hey Penny. Excellent stories and bylines as usual. Let Jolene know she took some great pictures too. Not really sure how you communicate with her yet (telepathy maybe?), but I know you do in your own way. Guess you’re mighty talented too. I’m guessing you took the pic of Mermaid Jo, aye? She should have quit smoking along time ago seeing as her growth was stunted. Ah, just kiddin’. And your so right about those poor pets. It’s true, all dogs go to heaven. Not sure about cats though. Evil demons? Nay I say. But it’s kind of cool that they weren’t hung up on naming there pets. First thing that popped into their little ol’ noggins I’m thinking. Instead it seems they were very much part of the family and loved dearly. Don’t know what you got till it’s gone so for sure, cherish your loved one for as long as they live and keep there memory in your heart when they feel it’s time to travel on. Looking forward to your next adventure so enjoy and have fun you two! Love Gpa

    • Gpa, we love you! You leave the funniest comments. 😀 And thank you for the compliments! It was very difficult getting pictures that day because of the awkward morning light. Great question on how we communicate! I communicate with Jo via paw stomps and farts.

      Naw, I was handing out pawtographs to my adoring fans outside the ice exhibit, while Jo was pretending to be a mer-bar-maid inside. “Oy, barmaid! There are fish scales in me beer!”

      Jo blames her stunted growth on mom smoking while she was pregnant with her. Stunted growth and a myriad of her other weird human attributes. I just thank the Cosmic Owl every day that I’m a dog. Sheesh!

      Yes, all animals do go to Heaven…but what you didn’t know was that humans turn into dogs n’ cats when they get to Heaven as well. The men turn into dogs, and their nagging wives (or hubbies) turn into cats. Meow this, meow that! Meow, meow, hiss! And the old dogs just curl up and continue to ignore their wives. Then you have the strays (those who never got married) who run the seedy nightCUBS and BAR(k)s. That’s Heaven for ya’. 😉

      Wise words, indeed, about cherishing your loved ones, Gpa! Very true. I know Jo cherishes me. Aaaand I’m still working on returning the sentiment. Haha! Thanks so much, Gpa!! Love ya’ too. 🙂

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