KIM (parents unknown)
1958 - 1970
My first dog was a fairly unprepossessing black and white mongrel bitch by the name of “Kim”. My Dad bought her for me for the princely sum of £1 one cold Sunday morning around 1958 in Club Row, a street market in the East End of London held in Sclater Street, just off Bethnal Green Road, and not far from Petticoat Lane. The idea was to buy me a nice Cocker Spaniel, but I spotted this one remaining scruffy puppy in a cardboard box on a street barrow, and decided this was the puppy I wanted, and no amount of persuading by my Dad would change my mind. She was duly brought home on my lap in the car, covering my nice new navy blue winter coat in white hairs – my Mum was not impressed!
She was my constant companion as a kid, and I learned to love dogs by having the friendship of this faithful and gentle mutt. Club Row would be considered anathema today, and only closed in 1983 as laws came in to prevent the street sale of live animals. The death of Club Row was inevitable, but brought to a close centuries of tradition dating back to the Huguenots. In 1944 Pathé News covered the street market in its very imitable style, as Mr Cholmondley-Warner describes be-capped Londoners handing over their shillings for new pets. The newsreel footage would have run before the main feature in Britain’s thousands of cinemas and the message was clear – Club Row Market was as much theatre as anything you were likely to see on the stage www.britishpathe.com