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1945

Jenny the monkey

By Roy Dixon

Watching "Our Zoo" on T.V. has brought back childhood memories. In 1945 my father was licensee of "The Engine House Tavern" in Boughton. We had served servicemen regularly during the war and a sailor came to the pub. He had a young monkey which he had acquired on his travels - we presume his wife had refused to house it - so we took it in at the pub. We named her Jenny and I, an 11year old lad, had the job of caring for her before and after school. I fed her on raw vegetables and took her across on the ferry to The Meadows for a run. She groomed our dog for fleas which Mick liked. However the owner of a damaged canvas car roof and the neighbours whose flower boxes she ate were not so happy. My mother had to run to St. Paul's school one day to get me from school because Jenny had escaped and I was the one she responded to.

These events and with winter approaching the family decided she should go to the zoo. An appointment was made and it was decided my aunt would come with me. I walked Jenny on a rope along Boughton and up to the Town Hall where I met my aunt for the Upton bus. The conductor wasn't going to allow a monkey on his bus but my aunt, a formidable lady, insisted. Mr Mottershead met us and accepted Jenny. I visited her on several occasions and was once told off for giving her a drink of cyder. On a later visit I was told she had died of pneumonia.

Another memory from later in the same year. We took American soldiers, stationed at Vicar's Cross, where the Rugby club now stands, to visit the zoo. One was a pig-farmer from Maine who was fascinated by the fact that a lion and a dog shared the same space.

See more: Mammals