Pets4Homes has launched a search for the body of Huddersfield Ben (1865-1871), the sire of the Yorkshire Terrier breed. There are now an estimated 1.5 – 2 million Yorkies worldwide, and all descend from Huddersfield Ben.
Killed in a carriage accident in 1871, Huddersfield Ben was stuffed and placed in a glass case. He was last spotted between the wars on the mantelpiece of a pub in the north of England – but his current whereabouts are unknown.
Britons are being asked to “search their attics and garages to see if they are unknowingly in possession of a piece of British canine history, and one of Yorkshire’s most remarkable four-legged sons”.
In 1990, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner could not confirm Huddersfield Ben’s whereabouts, noting that he was not to be found in the Tolson Museum, Huddersfield’s major museum documenting the history of the town and its people. Pets4Homes has expanded the search and found that he is not in the collections of other museums in Huddersfield or Bradford.
Dr Bryan Cummins, author of The Terriers of England and Wales, said, “The last written record of Ben is that he was in a glass display case.
“Huxham writes regarding the taxidermied Ben, ‘When she knew I was writing this book, Mrs. Edith Stirk told me …she knew a man who, when he was quite young – and he was then rather old – had visited a pub in the North of England where he saw the stuffed remains of Ben in a glass case on the mantelpiece’.”
Cummins continues, “I am optimistic, and I think that Ben is out there somewhere – in that north of England pub, perhaps (I would like to think Ben is there), perhaps in a private collection, or maybe in a small regional museum – his significance not appreciated.”
Several museums in Yorkshire have expressed a willingness to exhibit Huddersfield Ben, should he be found.