Evelyn Yvonne Theriault

Jamrach’s Animal Store (London, UK) | 1868

In History of budgies | Domesticated on December 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

JAMRACH’S ANIMAL STORE.

In March, 1861, I received a note from Mr. Jamrach, the celebrated dealer in living animals, that he wished me to come at once and see a curious sight at his establishment, 164 Katcliff Highway, facing the entrance to the London Docks. Accordingly I went.

“Well, Jamrach, what now?”

“You shall see, sir.”

He took me upstairs, and opened the door of a room, and there I saw such a sight as really made me start. The moment the door-handle was touched, I heard a noise which I can compare to nothing but the beating of a very heavy storm of rain upon the glass of a greenhouse: I cautiously entered the room, and then saw that it was one mass, windows and walls, of living Australian grass parakeets. When they saw us the birds began to chatter, and such a din I never heard before.

On our advancing a step into the room, all the birds flew up in a dense cloud, flying about just like a crowd of gnats on a hot summer’s evening, their wings causing a considerable rush of air, like the wind from a winnowing machine. Such a number of birds I never saw before together in all my life.

“Why, Jamrach, how many, for goodness’ sake, are there?”

“Well, sir, you see, two ships, the ‘ Orient’ and the ‘Golden Star,’ came in from Port Adelaide, Australia; both ships had birds on board; I bought the lot, and have now three thousand pair of them. There are plenty of people about who would buy twenty, thirty, or a hundred pair, but I took the whole lot of 3,000 pair at a venture, and I am pleased to say we are doing very well with them, and we have not, as yet, lost very many.

The ‘Golden Star’ birds are the strongest, as there were not above twenty or thirty pair in a cage; the ‘Orient’s’ birds die faster, as there were from 200 to 300 pair in a cage. You see, sir, I have put them in two unfurnished rooms;” saying which, he opened the door of another room, and there I saw another edition of the first room, viz. another living mass of these beautiful little birds. Jamrach had fitted up a series of common laths from the floor of the room to near the ceiling, the laths being one above the other; and when the birds got a little quiet, there they sat all of a row —eight to the foot I counted—just like a number of our noble selves on the benches at a public assembly, making a continuous clatter and noise.

Jamrach gave me a couple of dead ones. Their markings are as follows :—A lustrous green breast and body, yellow on the top of the head, and a species of beard on each side of the beak, pencilled with the most lovely violet; back of head and wings yellow, barred with black; tail blue, and body above the tail emerald green. They are about the size of a good big lark, and are very commonly sold at the London bird shops.

Jamrach having shown me the six thousand parakeets, asked me to go into his yard—an invitation which, of course, I accepted. In one little bit of a stable-yard, including the stalls and the loft, I saw the following miscellaneous collection of birds and beasts, all alive and well cared for:—One female zebra, one female wapiti deer, two llamas, four pairs of black swans, one fine jaguar, four emus, one kangaroo, four opossums (one being perfectly white), four pairs of curassows, one male axis deer, five wedge-tailed eagles, one pelican, one sea eagle, one griffin vulture, two Magellanic geese, one Cereopsis goose, one pair of Japanese pheasants, four pair of masked pigs from Japan, one Virginian owl, one pair of porcupines, two maraboos; and, in the next yard, a fine pair of double-humped camels, a fine male yak from Chinese Tartary, and a pair of bisons from the park of the late Marquis of Breadalbane.

All these birds and beasts were for sale.

Source: Curiosities of natural history, Francis T. Buckland, 1868

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  1. Nice article! 🙂

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