Two small easy to overlook plaques can be found in the V&A’s central garden, both memorials to much loved canines.

It’s likely that both plaques were placed there by the same person, Sir Henry Cole, inventor of the Christmas Card, but for this venue, also the organiser of the Great Exhibition of 1851, and later the first director of V&A museum, which was funded from the exhibition profits.

According to the V&A, Jimmy, as Henry Cole referred to his dog, died of a cold in January 1879.

The other is more mysterious, although it seems a person called Alan, who was a friend of Henry owned that pooch, and they often walked together.

What is curious though is that Henry Cole’s letters mention a third dog, Pickle — who doesn’t have a memorial here.

To find the two plaques, head into the central courtyard garden from the front entrance, and turn right. The plaques are around the corner next to the doors.

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One comment
  1. Corinne Concannon says:

    Hi Ian,
    Aren’t those plaques great! Alan Cole was actually Henry Cole’s son. The director and senior staff lived in residences above the museum galleries: Henry Cole moved in with his wife, their five children and four servants in 1863, hence burying the dogs in the garden because it was their home. The V&A has introduced a free guided tour at 11:00 every day called Designing the V&A (I’m one of the guides.) If you’re interested, it starts in the new Blavatnik Hall rather than at the main entrance.
    Also, do go along Gallery 102 until you reach the old Learning Centre, then peep through the small window for a view of the old South Court. A secret hidden gem of London. The plan is to renovate the gallery back to its original C19th glory. There are information boards nearby which give more detail.
    Thank you for your website, I’ve recently signed up and really enjoy your blogs.

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