A Potted Chronology of Llamas in the UK

The intention here is to make a listing of known facts to help establish a chronology of llamas in the UK. To date there is no detailed history of llamas in the UK although rumours abound regarding the past. This is the start of building an evidence base from which a history can be written. The first 3 entries are extracted from Helen Cowie's fabulousbook on Llamas which tells us more about alpacas than llamas in the UK. Individuals are encouraged to contribute to this listing stating their source using the submission form below.

1805

21 March - Llama exhibited at Brooke's Menagerie in London. Morning Chronicle.

1814

30 April - Llamas shown at Norwich and Yarmouth Fairs Ipswich Journal.

Poster for Wombwell’s Touring Menagarie, undated but thought, by virtue of a written note on it, to be 22 August 1825. Description of Elepho Camelus ( lama?)

Poster for Wombwell’s Touring Menagarie,  20 August 1828

 

1828

The Llama Hut at London Zoowas one of the earliest buildings on-site, it was designed by Decimus Burton. It was the first animal house to be built from brick and was completed by 16 May 1828. A clocktower was added in 1829. The building still exists today as a First Aid centre.

1829

A white and a brown llama described at London Zoo (opened in 1828) in their Guide to the Gardens of the Zoological Society pp. 8-9. One described as morose.

1834


Camelids. Equus Quaccha, Dromedary and Lama.
by Latreille from Cuvier; Animal Kingdom
1834

In 1835, a publication called the “List of the animals in the Liverpool Zoological Gardens” shows us that Charles Tayleur donated a Llama that he kept at Parkfield to the Zoo, 
pair-of-llamas

1835

27 November - Mention of llama from Liverpool Zoological gardens performing in the pantomime Bluebeard Liverpool Mercury


1836 - Goldsmith in his famous History of Man and Quadriceps (1838, p. 326) claims that George III had several llamas at Windsor Park but not were long lived.  Perhaps the answer lies in what he writes:

1841 

from The History of Progress in Great Britain, Volume 1

1844

Lithograph of llamas at Knowsley Hall drawn from life December 1844 by B. Waterhouse Hawkins

Royal Agricultural Society held a meeting at Liverpool where alpacas and llamas? were exhibited at Lord Derby's estate in Knowsley.

1846

6 June - Much dissatisfaction having arisen among the artizens engaged in the production of the Llama Cloth in the West of England, by reason of a rumour that it was the intention of the Messrs. Nicoll, of Regent-street, to remove such manufacture nearer to the metropolis, those gentlemen have issued a circular denying such to be their purpose, and which has allayed the fears of a….
John Bull (London, England), Saturday, June 06, 1846; pg. 350; Issue 1,330.

25 July - Some notion of the exquisite texture obtained by the aid of the Llama wool may be gained from the fact that, without destroying the waterproof character of the cloth, the Messrs. Nicoll, of Regent-street, have succeeded in making their registered Paletot, for the present hot weather, of a lightness almost astonishing.  John Bull (London, England), Saturday, July 25, 1846

1851

27 September - Mention of 21 alpacas/llamas sold on death of the Earl of Derby from his estate at Knowsley. Illustrated London News. Said to fetch a fair price between 33 and 65 £.  Morning Post  13 October, 1851. Said to be unrivalled collection in Europe. Morning Post 26/12/1851

  • 1 Llama Sold for £28, Mr Atkins, proprietor of Liverpool Zoo.

    1 Llama (old), past its best days Sold for £26, Jamrach, a German from Hamburg

    1 Llama, female Sold for £33, Herring, of London, for Sir W. Fielding, Fenniscaule, Lancashire

    1 Llama, female Sold for £30, Atkins, for out of the country

    1 Llama, female (fawn) Sold for £28, Vekeman, Antwerp Zoological Society 

Various mentions of llamas appearing at travelling shows up and down the country

1852

19th June - Sir Henry William Fielding, Fenniscoul, near Blackburn, has 4 Llamas, a young one, a few days old, from the one bought at Knowsley. 

1855

26 May - Mention of llamas at Belle Vue Gardens Manchester. Manchester Courier

1857


Camelids. Llama History of the Earth and Animated Nature. Oliver Goldsmith 1857 

1857

Prices for wool as follows:

  • Vicuna, 7s to 7s 7d
  • Alpaca, 3s
  • Guanaco, 2s to 2s 6d
  • Aviru, 2s 6d to 3s
  • Llama 1s to 1s 4d
  • Goat – Cashmere, 2s to 2s 6d
  • Camel, 10d to 12d
  • Bear, 6d to 7d
  • (Alpaca, The Original Peruvian Sheep, Before the Spaniards Invaded South America, for Naturalisation in other Countries. Recommended through the Natural History Society of Liverpool in 1839. By William Danson of 6, Shaw street, Liverpool. Printed by M. Rourke, 3, South John Street, Liverpool, 1852  supplied by Helen Cowie)


  • 1858 


20 March - Auction of llamas transported over 4,000 miles overland from Peru to New York where purchased by British citizen Mr Benjamin Whitehead Gee of Acton, London.  Ledger's The Alpaca: Its Introduction Into Australia

29 May - 39 llamas arrive in Glasgow? from New York imported by Mr B. W. Gee Illustrated London News

From London Illustrated News 10 July 1858

 

10 June - Imported llamas exhibited at Glasgow Cattle Market Inverness Courier/Durham County Advertiser  9/7/1858

19 June - Imported llamas exhibited at  Birmingham on occasion of Queen Victoria's visit. Birmingham Journal

 

 

1862

11 December - Stuffed female llama advertised for sale in The Scotsman

1864

28 May - Llamas exported from England to Ireland County of Wexford Advertiser


Camelids. Alpaca & the Llama, Cassell s Popular Natural History,  1865

1885

20 May -Evidence of llamas in Dublin Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland),

1899

8 April - Llamas described by the Illustrated London News as very unpleasant animals.

20 April - Mention of llamas at London Zoo. The Daily Mail

1890

27 June - Mention of Crystal Palace menagerie being sold the sale of which included a llama. The Daily Mail

1902

Naval's Pet's Peculiarities Western Times , Friday, October 3, 1902, Issue 16385, p.3.

1906 

30 January - Birth of llama at Belle Vue Amusement Park, Manchester. Manchester Guardian

1907

7 August - Mention of llamas being ridden at Mr Wingfield's Menagerie at Ampthill, Bedfordshire The Bystander

1909

7 April - Punch proposes using llamas for hunting

1912

12 March - article described llamas as having all the bad traits of camels - bad tempers, stupidity, obstinate refusal to work and having an objectionable habit of spitting.  Manchester Guardian.

1 April, Mention of llama pulling cart containing children at London Zoo. The Times

1920

17 May film of llama rides at Folkestone

1924

9 April, Mention of Bobbing the llama. Manchester Guardian

13 September - Birth of a llama at London Zoo reported in The Times newspaper.

1926

30 January - Mention of llama farm in Bedfordshire selling llamas to private estates. Manchester Guardian. 11 according to Liverpool Echo 21 Jan

1929

6 July - Argentine llamas arrive at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman

1930

3 May -  12 llamas reported to have landed at the Port of Liverpool from Buenos Aires, the property of Mr H. E. Rogers of Mossley Hill, Liverpool. Manchester Guardian. Travelled on steam ship Bronte, served 28 days quarantine before being distributed to various zoos in the UK The Scotsman 25.5.1930

8 November - Baby llama born at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman

1931

3 January - 2 llamas at private zoo at Ampthill, Beds described in Western Mail

9 February mention of llamas private zoo near Cobham, Surrey  British Movietone News

1932

21 April - Film of llama at Chessington Zoo

30 July - Birth of llama at London Zoo announced by the Illustrated London News

1933

Evidence of llamas at Liverpool Zoo, imported by Mr Herbert Rogers The Scotsman

16 September - Gentleman found guilty of being drunk in charge of a llama in Brixton high street reported in The Times newspaper

1935

17 October - Birth of llama at London Zoo announced in the Daily Telegraph

1937

2 March - Baby llama born at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman

1938

18 April - llama in film of animals at Whipsnade Zoo, British Movietone News 

1939

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret ride llama cart at London Zoo. Photo - Getty collection

17 July - Sudden death of llama at London Zoo - suspicion of posining Edinburgh Evening News

1941

30 May - Llama born at Dudley Zoo Evening Despatch

1942

llama mentioned at Chessington Circus (Picture Post)

1943

20 August - Llama born at Wellingborough Zoo Northampton Mercury

1949

26 November - Llamas said to be performing in the Ray Mammoth Circus

1953

Billy the llama mentioned at circus performing in Oxford (Picture Post)

1956

14 July, Picture Post

 

1957

10 June - llamas at Battersea Children's Zoo - Film reel

17 July - Birth of llama at Whipsnade Zoo announced in Daily Telegraph.

1963

19 December - Birth of llama at Bristol Zoo announced in the Daily Telegraph.

1964

1 April - Llama and trap at Whipsnade Zoo Coventry Evening News

29 April - Birth of llama at London Zoo to parents Kay and Kim, announced in the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Derek Wallis (Cheshire) buys his first lamas from Haigh Hall (Wigan) (Personal communication)

1966

3 October - Llama born at Stanway Hall Zoo, Colchester Coventry Evening Telegraph

1967

18 August - Llama born at Dudley Zoo, 3 more expected Birmingham Daily Post

1970

30 July -Lama born at Twycross Zoo Coventry Evening Standard

1976

19 July - Llama born at Aberdeen Zoo Aberdeen Press and Journal

1978

Ruth Ruck's Along Came a Llama published (London: Faber and Faber).

13 July - Llamas advertised for hire The Stage

16 August - Elite Llamas Ltd. incorporated  (Paul Rose) (Companies House)

1980

A solicitor who bought one of the 7 surplus to requirement being auctioned by Mary Chipperfields Circus in Over Wallop, near Andover in 1980 to train to spit at disliked neighbours over the garden fence. (The Guardian 20 Nov 1980: 6)

1982

Formation of British Camelid Association.

1988

British Camelids Association founded (incorporated 20th May),  Representing the llama fraternity were Pamela Walker, Derek Williams and Ann and Peter Knowles-Brown alongside Adele Bentley and Jenny Cobb from the alpaca community (Companies House)

The Times ( October 13,  p.7) mentions the auction of Pamela Walker’s Maplehurst Llamas at Stoneleigh 27 lots grossing £87,885.

Peter Bourne (Bremia Llamas) acquires 1st llamas (Personal communication)

1989

12th June - 1st Llama Khama, Bildeston, Suffolk reported in The Times newspaper. Aimed to promote awareness and interest in the animal but turned out a bit of a disaster in that the llamas were uncooperative. Interview with Norma Chandler.

14 November - Mention of Llama Khama and suggests llamas can hit you with spit at about 4 feet with a foul smelling spray. The Sunday Observer


 

The Times Monday, June 12, 1989, Issue 63418, p.3 .

 

12 October - 1st European auctionsale of llamas - Stoneleigh

28 November -Cumbrian farmer was paid £5K compensation when one of his animals was killed by a low flying RAF jet! (The Daily Telegraph,  November 29, 1989, Issue 41814, p.1).


1990  

Evidence of llamas at Windsor Safari Park.

23 June - Mention of llama breeder Paul Rose and of their presence at the Royal Show, Stoneleigh. The Times Newspaper.

1991

22 August - Kilverstone Wildlife Park closed including sale of llamas. Eastern Daily Press

15 September - 1st time llamas entered in Henley and District Agricultural show (described as bad tempered and capable of killing human beings)  the Daily Telegraph.

1992

13 April - Report on Paul Rose's llama farm in Gloucestershire. Said to have 60 llamas, 30 from zoos of Eastern Europe, Daily Telegraph. 

12 November - Mention of llamas in Northumberland. The Times Newspaper.

19 August Experiments started at Aberystwyth and Aberdeen to test suitability of gunacos to revitalise ailing British wool industry. The Times

1994

25 October - Mention of Bruce Wright running llama treks in Thetford Forest, Norfolk, £36 a time. The Times Newspaper

Camelid Vets Association formed

1995

27 January - Mention of llamas living at Alexandra Palace. Daily Telegraph.

1996

29 June - Mention of llamas as the new face of British Farming. Daily Telegraph.

2003

Llamas Constanza and Wolfgang appear in the radio soap -The Archers

2006

The British Llama Society incorporated  1 June. Founding directors were Donald Butler, Linda Johnson, Yvonne Parfitt, David Pryse and Paul Rose. (Companies House) Derived from the British Alpaca Herd Book and Register (incorporated 12 September 2003)

2009

Hillview Llamas started see here

2019 

Defra agree that for contiguous testing only ,  the tuberculin injection (skin test ) used for the purpose of priming the llamas immune system prior to blood testing no longer has to be injected in his armpit .

Submission

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