Friday, 6 July 2012

Richmond, Surrey, The Castle Hotel, Baby Jumbo and Baby Jimbo of the Daily Mirror, c1912

Richmond, Surrey, The Castle Hotel, Baby Jumbo and Baby Jimbo of the Daily Mirror, circa 1912. About a hundred years ago the Daily Mirror newspaper imported into Britain two baby elephants, to be used for promotional purposes. Postcards of them come up occasionally on eBay. They appear to have been used to promote all sorts of events, from early aviation displays to opening restaurants etc. Nowadays we have 'celebrities' with orange skin, tattoos and gleaming teeth to do this sort of thing. I haven't been able to find out much information about these two elephants. It looks like Baby Jimbo died first and Baby Jumbo was left on his (or her) own to carry out the promotional duties, dying a little later. Neither elephant made it to adulthood. Elephants fare better in their native habitat, not freezing cold England. This postcard was taken outside the old Castle hotel in Richmond (also shown in another view below the elephants in a postcard by Bell photo of Harlesden). It was knocked down in the 1980s. Ebay's UK head office now occupies the site where these elephants were photographed. The postcard was photographed and published by Lovell Smith of Richmond. For more old photos visit the Sepia Saturday blog, where the theme this week is elephants.

Click the postcards to enlarge.


11 comments:

  1. Lovely picture of two little doomed elephants. I do agree that those little chaps probably weren’t well-cared for; it was 100 years ago after all. However, these days there are some brilliant conservation programmes going on, and there need to be, as elephant poaching is on the rise due to demands from China for ivory. Those elephants are not better off.

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  2. The people seem to be quite proud posing with a couple of elephants. Interesting postcard and history.

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  3. Is it just my imagination or do the two little elephants look sad?

    Interesting that the photo was taken outside of a saloon bar.

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  4. I wonder whether an elephant in a saloon bar would cause as much havoc as a bull in a china shop.

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  5. That's a great postcard, but I feel sorry for the elephants.

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  6. Great postcards, but how sad for the elephants.

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  7. A superb choice for this weekend, Howard. I'm struck by the two elephant handlers, they have such a close resemblances I think they might be twin brothers, especially given the name of the paper!

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  8. Interesting postcards and story.

    I wonder why elephants were used for promotional purposes. Those poor little elephants!

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  9. Great photographs and the history. Poor elephants!

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  10. I can imagine the elephants would prefer to be just about anywhere else where it's a little warmer.

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  11. Does anyone know how I can get more info on previous staff of the Catle Hotel? My great grandfather was the manager of the restaurant there, somewhere between 1901-1921, so possibly at the time this photo was taken!

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