Welcome to “W” Day!! Can you believe it’s been almost a Whole month already? Time certainly flies When you’re having fun!! Well, I have tWo critters for you, White elephants and Wilberforce!
White elephants were revered in Siam (now known as Thailand) as a lord or king. King Mongut of Siam received the gift of a white elephant in 1854. The elephant was treated very well – he lived in the king’s palace, wore gold rings on his tusks as well as golden chains and a gold crown. He also wore a special cloak of purple velvet with scarlet and gold fringe. This very special elephant had important officials, attendants and slaves to care for him. Wow! I wouldn’t have minded being a white elephant!
My next “W” is Wilberforce, the No. 10 Downing Street cat, who from 1973-1986 presided over the official London residence of the Prime Minister of England. Shortly after his arrival the resident mice ran for safer quarters and his job as official mouser was over. But he remained at 10 Downing through 4 different prime ministers, often basking in the sun on the front steps. Fans were unable to pet him because of security concerns but Wilberforce received bundles of Christmas cards throughout his life.
There have been many 10 Downing Street cats but none seemed to catch the public’s attention the way Wilberforce did!
Here’s a list of the other Downing Street cats with photos if they’re available (if I got any wrong, don’t blame me, blame Wikipedia!):
Treasury Bill 1924 Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald
Peter 1929-1946 Prime Ministers: Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee
Munich Mouser 1937–40, 1943 Prime Ministers: Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill
Nelson 1940 Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Peter 1941–46 Prime Ministers: Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee
Peter II 1946 Prime Minister: Clement Attlee
Peter III 1946-1964 Prime Ministers: Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home
Peta 1964-1976 Prime Ministers: Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath
Wilberforce 1973-1988 Prime Ministers: Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher
Humphrey 1989-1997 Prime Ministers: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair
Sybil 2007-2009 Prime Minister: Gordon Brown
Larry 2011-Current Prime Ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May
Freya 2012-2014 Prime Minister: David Cameron
I also have to give a shout-out to Gladstone, he’s the Chief Mouser at Her Majesty’s Treasury Office.
Also of interest is Palmerston who is the Chief Mouser at the Finance Office. He was recruited from the Battersea Cat and Dogs Home at the age of one in 2016 (he recently celebrated his 2nd birthday) and in the past year has brought home 26 mice and a large rat. His minders say that’s an estimate because he also eats what he catches! Palmerston also has a Twitter following and whenever foreign diplomats are in the office many of them want to meet him and have their photo taken with him. With all these fans, however, he has at least one enemy. Down the street from where his home is lives Larry, the #10 Downing Street mouser. The two of them have been caught on film fighting several times. I guess each wants to be the Alpha cat of government service! Here is a link to a recent news article about him that includes a short video: Go HERE.
That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed “W” day! I’ll be back tomorrow with “X”!