Our History

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has witnessed many exciting changes since it was founded over 150 years ago. Here we share some of the milestones in the history of the UK's oldest and most famous animal rescue centre

History and tradition

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has a long history.  It was founded in 1860 by Mrs Mary Tealby and moved to its present location in 1871. Cats began to be accepted in 1883.  The Home has enjoyed royal patronage since 1884 and many of its staff and animals served in the World Wars. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has been a part of southwest London for as long as people can remember.  In a world where things are constantly changing the organisation stands for altruism and simplicity, old fashioned values that represent a welcome constant in people's lives.

1860 - 1895

Mary Tealby's signature 1860

1860 - The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs is established by Mrs Mary Tealby in Holloway, North London

1862  - Charles Dickens pens an article entitled Two Dog Shows in his newspaper in support of the new Home

1871 - The Temporary Home moves to Battersea, where it has remained ever since

1883 - Battersea starts taking in cats

1895 - The Home uses 32 tonnes of biscuits and 420 gallons of milk, and receives 36,873 visitors

1898 - 1914

Battersea in 1895

1898 - Due to a rabies epidemic in London the Duke and Duchess of Portland open the Home's first country site in Hackbridge, Surrey

1904 - The Home opens on Sundays

1909 - Two motor vans and six horse-drawn vans are hired to collect the strays of London

1911 - The Home starts collecting stray dogs from London police stations

1914 - 100 sledge dogs are housed at the Hackbridge site in preparation for Ernest Shackleton's second Antarctic Expedition

1918 - 1979

Centenary van Battersea

1918 - Airedale Jack, a Battersea dog trained at the War Dog School, dies on the front line in France after delivering a vital plea for reinforcements. His batallion is saved and Jack receives a posthumous VC

1934 - The country site at Hackbridge is sold and Battersea opens a new site in Bow, East London

1956 - Queen Elizabeth II becomes the Home's patron

1960 - Battersea celebrates its centenary

1970 - Beaufort Kennels at Battersea are opened by the Duchess of Beaufort

1979 - Battersea acquired Bell Mead Kennels on the edge of Old Windsor

1984 - 1998

HM The Queen 1991 Tealby opening

1984 - Prince Michael of Kent becomes President of the Home, the first full-time veterinary surgeon is employed and 20,000 dogs and 870 cats arrive

1986 - A new kennel complex is opened at Bell Mead Kennels by Her Majesty The Queen

1990 - Battersea introduces microchipping

1991 - Tealby Kennels is opened by Her Majesty The Queen. The Home introduces dog behavioural assessments

1995 - Battersea holds the first Annual Reunion in Battersea Park, the Rehabilitation Department is born, and 9,000 dogs and 1,602 cats arrive

1998 - The BBC films a documentary series on the Home

2000 - 2012

Red the Lurcher

2000 - The BBC returns to Battersea to film a third series and the Lost Dogs & Cats Line is launched

2002 - We changed our name to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and relaunched our website

2004 - Red the Lurcher enjoys world-wide fame after he's caught on camera regularly escaping from his kennel and liberating canine chums to share in a little midnight feasting

2005 - Our new logo is launched

2007 - The BBC returns to make a new series, Animal Rescue Live

2008 - The website is relaunched again

2009 - Work starts on a new, state-of-the-art cattery at the London site

2010 - Battersea celebrates its 150th Anniversary and its £5million London cattery is opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall

2011 - Battersea resident Larry the cat moves into his new home at 10 Downing Street. The charity launches its 'Staffies. They're Softer Than You Think' campaign

2012 - ITV film Paul O'Grady. For The Love of Dogs at Battersea, with a seven-part first series and Christmas Day special

2013 - Paul O'Grady. For The Love of Dogs wins a National Television Award, and filming starts on a second series.

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