in Civilised by beasts

This chapter introduces the main argument of the book: that animals have been an important part of urban change during the nineteenth century. The chapter situates the book in the historical literature on human–animal relationships, on cities and on nineteenth-century Dublin. The chapter argues that recapturing animal presence in the city is an important means of writing a new history of ordinary life in Dublin and other cities. A synopsis of each chapter is also provided.

I was a little incredulous when I heard him say, that ‘man had been civilized by wild beasts’.1

On 10 May 1830, Dr Whitley Stokes spoke to a hall packed with Dublin’s ‘gentlemen and noblemen’. He congratulated them on the foundation of a zoological society, a project he had been advocating for at least a year. Humans owed the beasts an education, he joked, because ‘man had been civilized by wild beasts’. To convince those who were ‘a little incredulous’, Stokes explained that the first cities had been founded to protect humans from beasts. Ancient men and women gathered behind walls ‘to guard against their inroads’.2

But no wall kept the beasts out of nineteenth-century Dublin. People like Stokes had brought thousands of them into the city to help create the urban civilisation that they enjoyed. Stokes had probably been hauled to his lecture by a horse, while an ox or a cow may have been killed in a city slaughterhouse to provide him with meat for his dinner. While he spoke, pigs settled down to sleep in sties and dogs wandered alleys looking for a scrap to eat. After his lecture he could have visited Madamoiselle D’Jeck, an elephant who drank champagne on the Royal Theatre’s stage.3 Yet historians of Dublin have ignored the city’s beasts and in doing so they have missed much about urban life during the nineteenth century.

The city, past and present, has often appeared as a human-only space. Nineteenth-century city views, for example, often excluded urban animals. Samuel Brocas’s depiction of Dublin’s main thoroughfare in the 1820s (Sackville Street) shows a quiet scene where a few well-behaved horses are the only animal presence (see Figure 0.1). This image makes it difficult to imagine what every nineteenth-century Dubliner knew: one street to the west lay a warren of butcher shambles crowded with cattle, and even passengers in an elegant carriage could catch the scent of bone boilers and piggeries on the breeze.

Stokes expressed what Dorothee Brantz has called ‘the fundamental premise of modernity’: that nature and culture are separate spheres.4 He also reminds us how important animals were, and are, to defining what it means to be human.5 His historical fantasy of cities created to exclude wild beasts reflected the dominant ideas of his class about the relationship between nature and culture, history and natural history, urban and rural, human and animal. Such ideas did more than provide flowery rhetoric for speakers launching new voluntary associations. Ideas about animals in particular shaped reform movements in the city, altered its social and economic geography and affected the daily lives of its human and animal inhabitants. This book examines these ideas about animals, and how they changed, in Dublin between 1830 and 1900. I focus on ideas about human–animal relationships and the role of animals in the city. The book shows that as the middle classes became increasingly engaged in urban improvement they also sought more control over animals and how they were used. Driven by concerns about order, poverty and public health, urban elites implemented new ways of dealing with urban animals, from dog licensing to slaughterhouse surveillance. In doing so they had to negotiate with Dubliners of all classes and with the physical presence of the animals themselves.6 The chapters that follow explore this negotiation and how it is entangled with the story of urban change.

The city that Dubliners now live in is the result of attempts to resolve what Keith Thomas has called ‘the human dilemma’. Thomas argued that the idea of human ascendancy over nature was gradually eroded in early modern England by the appearance of new ideas such as a duty of kindness to animals and an enthusiasm for ‘wild nature’. These ideas led to the development of the human dilemma: the conflict between a desire to live in a civilisation dependent upon the exploitation of nature and a feeling that such exploitation is wrong. For Thomas, the emergence of this dilemma is a feature of modernity in England, where ‘a mixture of compromise and concealment have so far prevented this conflict from having to be fully resolved’.7 English society has invented ways to avoid the conflict by, for example, concealing the slaughter of food animals and doting on captive wild animals.8 This book investigates the particular human dilemma that arose in Dublin and the acts of compromise and concealment it engendered.

The chapters that follow analyse Dublin from the foundation of the Zoological Society (1830) to the publication of a public health report condemning the presence of food animals (1900) in terms of ideas about human ascendancy and the emergence of the human dilemma. The idea of human ascendancy over animals persisted almost unchallenged well into the nineteenth century in Dublin. Poverty and politics made asserting distance between human and animal particularly important. The human dilemma that emerged became one of the driving forces behind urban improvement. Yet in contrast to early modern England, the most important ideas leading to ‘compromise and concealment’ in Victorian Dublin were not ideas of kindness towards animals or interest in nature but concerns about poverty, order and health. Certain forms of animal exploitation (private slaughter houses, home pig-rearing, uncontrolled dogs, small dairies) seemed to risk Dublin’s reputation as a metropolis of Ireland and to prevent the city from improving. To bourgeois Dubliners, such activities made Dublin seem uncivilised. Dublin could become more civilised, many thought, by introducing new ways of controlling and concealing certain types of animal exploitation. In other words, the more the city approached Stokes’s idealised human-only civilisation the better it would be.

Most nineteenth-century cities housed a menagerie of domestic animals. Historians have demonstrated that new forms of transportation such as railways and trams expanded dependence on horses and did not eliminate the use of urban livestock to supply fresh meat and milk.9 Bacon curing, rendering and tanning remained urban industries.10 The urban fashions of pet-keeping and visiting animal spectacles expanded during the nineteenth century.11 As a consequence, animals have begun to appear more frequently in urban history. For example, horses have been studied as symbols of social status but also urban technologies and drivers of economic systems.12 Pets, particularly dogs, are now integrated into historical accounts of the rising urban middle classes during the nineteenth century.13 Urban pigs and cattle feature in narratives of sanitary improvement.14 City slaughterhouses have a wide literature of their own.15

Emphasising animals in the city in this narrative of Dublin provides a new perspective on familiar aspects of urban change including public health, transportation, policing and associational culture. This book reveals a Dublin integrated into the agricultural ebbs and flows of Ireland rather than insulated from them and a city where class, religion and politics affected attitudes towards pigs and cattle and dogs. Efforts to control, regulate and conceal the exploitation of animals also reflected middle-class ideas about the city’s poor.

A focus on human exploitation of animals intersects with key areas of interest to urban historians. For example, animals provide another perspective on class relations because social class shapes a person’s experience of the non-human world. Stephen Mosley has suggested that socio-environmental history should consider differences in ‘access to nature and its resources’, how social divisions might affect the way people experience their environment and how they think about environmental problems and dangers.16 Such differences shaped experience of urban as well as rural life. The ability to exploit animals and the animals available for exploitation differed across social classes. Attempts to reform practices of animal-keeping in cities often brought the middle and lower classes into conflict and pitted immigrants against established residents.17 Class also affects an urban resident’s exposure to animal nuisances. Poor urban residents are most likely to suffer from rat infestations while wealthy suburbanites risk Lyme disease carried by deer ticks.18 The burden of pollution, often from animal exploitation, fell (and falls) most heavily on the poor.19 The urban lower classes often resisted efforts at reform because measures such as centralised abattoirs and laws about beating horses disproportionately affected their working lives.20

The expanding field of urban environmental history highlights the importance of animals to the creation and development of cities. William Cronon’s ground-breaking history of Chicago, Nature’s Metropolis, examines the impact of changes to meat processing on the city and its hinterland.21 Clay McShane and Joel Tarr have demonstrated the degree to which reliance on horses shaped nineteenth-century American cities.22 Yet few individual cities have been examined with a focus on the consumption, control and regulation of animals over time. Most urban histories of animals concentrate on specific categories of animals such as horses or pets.23 Harriet Ritvo’s work on animals in Victorian England has not been surpassed but its focus is not urban.24 Peter Atkins’s edited volume Animal Cities covers a variety of animals in multiple cities across the nineteenth century.25 Hannah Velten’s history of animals in London reveals the potential richness and variety of urban animal stories over many centuries but its episodic nature tells us less about urban change.26 Frederick L. Brown’s history of Seattle demonstrates the potential of studying animals in a single city. Brown argues that the process of sorting animals into categories, and the difficulty of agreeing on clear categories, played a crucial role in the creation of specific patterns of social and economic segregation.27 Spatial history work on animals in other American cities shows the extent to which cities evolved in relation to ideas about where animal businesses should be.28 More recently, Thomas Almeroth-Williams’s City of Beasts has argued that animals contributed at least as much as humans to Georgian London’s economic and social transformations.29

While this book is not strictly an urban environmental history, the stories within it suggest the entanglement of urban and rural worlds and the processes by which people try to separate the spheres of ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. 30 As the following chapters will show, Dublin capitalised on the agricultural industries of Ireland, and these industries shaped the city in specific ways. New markets and networks of transportation were created to serve them and these changed the urban ‘habitats’ of humans.31 Most of the regulations introduced around animals between 1830 and 1900 sought to alter the urban environment by removing animals, and their wastes, from it.

Animals provide a new perspective on the history of nineteenth-century Dublin. Despite its status as a nascent capital, historians have had much less to say about modern Dublin than other European cities. The historical narratives of nineteenth-century Dublin include the rise of the middle classes, the development of social segregation, rising nationalism in the Dublin Corporation, the growing problems of poverty and public health, and the city’s modernity (or lack thereof).32 The view of Victorian Dublin as a city in decline has lingered despite attempts to dislodge it.33 All of these narratives have shaped this book in some way, but by using new sources and a new approach I have been able to show a different side of the city.

While evidence of Dublin’s grinding poverty, high mortality rate and economic stagnation are plentiful, our understanding of the multi-layered experience of ordinary life in the city remains hazy.34 Mary Daly’s comprehensive social and economic history has not been challenged, but it begins in 1860 and is not concerned with the textures of daily life.35 Jacinta Prunty’s work on the Dublin slums is wonderfully detailed on the living conditions of Dublin’s poor and the efforts to remedy them but this is only one side of the city.36 Research on Dublin’s middle classes continues to grow, balancing out the emphasis on poverty. For example, Susan Galavan’s work on suburban housing development brings nuance to bourgeois home lives and demonstrates the significance of the building trade to the evolution of both the city and its middle classes.37 Stephanie Rains’s study of the city’s shopping districts has given insight into ordinary lives but particularly the relationship between city and suburb.38 A growing literature emphasises the engagement of Dublin’s bourgeoisie in a vibrant scientific culture.39

But we are still missing the use of a wider range of sources, voices and perspectives with which to make sense of what David Dickson has called Dublin’s ‘hybridity’ and complexity. His recent survey of Dublin since medieval times provides three chapters on the nineteenth century and introduces the idea of ‘four cities’, or four social layers, as a corrective to the commonplace that Dublin was divided neatly into wealth and poverty.40 Yet in seeking to ‘understand the evolution of the city’, he argues, ‘the focus has to remain disproportionately on those who actually wielded influence’, and the definition of who wielded influence has remained narrow.41 While a recent article setting ‘an agenda’ for urban history in Ireland notes the importance of learning more about class and the role of women in cities, references to the environment, to animals and to the relationship between urban and rural change are absent.42

This book supports the importance of the middle classes to urban change, but instead of examining them in isolation these chapters bring them into conversation with those people and places they sought to reform. Focusing on animals helps to reveal aspects of daily life and relationships between classes because, as Frederick Brown has observed, those in power often had different ideas about the role of animals than those with less power.43 Animals help to evoke the tensions and variation that characterised nineteenth-century Dublin, a city that could be described at the fin de siècle as ‘a hundred years behind the times—a faded capital’ but also a ‘bright and cheerful city’.44 I use animals to consider nineteenth-century Dublin on its own terms, to see it as a place created by reforming ideas and resistance to them, by rich and poor, by the needs of humans and by economic and cultural reliance on animals. The city emerges not as a failure but as a reflection of a unique set of social, political, economic and environmental circumstances.

In shaping my approach to this history of nineteenth-century Dublin I have drawn on the work of many scholars who seek to include animals in history. Early work such as that by Keith Thomas and Harriet Ritvo focused on human ideas about animals, how these ideas changed over time and how they reflected other social and cultural shifts.45 More recent work has sought to embed animals more directly into the historical narrative. Susan Nance, for example, has argued for historicising animals in the way that we do humans, rather than assuming animals never change.46 She uses Thomas’s work to propose the idea of ‘animal modernity’, a specific period in history where the lives, experiences and bodies of animals have been changed by human action.47 Nance has also suggested that writers of animal history should avoid ‘passive-voice or animals-as-objects prose’ which reduces animals to ‘raw materials of supposedly independent human action’.48

There are many shades of history between fully historicising animals and considering them as inanimate objects. Frederick Brown, as an environmental historian, does not really engage in the issue of animal agency but considers that ‘animals constrain human actions’.49 Thomas Almeroth-Williams uses Bruno Latour’s actor–network theory to reach a similar conclusion about animals in Georgian London. He argues that the city was a hybrid created by humans and animals. The idea that humans relied on animals for industrial advancement is different than how Thomas understood animals in history but does not quite extend to re-periodising human history.50

My approach to looking at animals in nineteenth-century Dublin is that of a social historian, influenced by environmental history and animal studies. My actors are people and I am interested in how people think about animals. Nonetheless I have tried to be sensitive, where sources allow, to animal lives and experiences. In each chapter I have pointed to ways that human exploitation of animals affected animal lives as well as humans.51 In Dublin, for example, demand for meat crowded more cattle into city markets, city slaughterhouses and city quays waiting for ships to England. The humane movement had some success in improving the treatment of working animals but the city also demanded more of them. The dog fancy encouraged the elimination of certain types of dogs and changed acceptable dog behaviours. The city that emerged at the end of the century was a compromise between reformers’ desires for markers of urban civility and the need to accommodate continued exploitation of animals. Using an animal for food or transportation or entertainment has always required that humans make at least basic accommodation to the needs and characteristics of the animal in question. As Brown and Almeroth-Williams have shown in different cities, Dublin’s animal residents often constrained the actions of its human ones.

My social history orientation has determined my choice of sources and my approach to them. To get an idea of what kinds of animals the city used, where they existed and how they were regulated, I have relied on administrative records such as the archives of city government, parliamentary papers and the archives of voluntary societies. To help establish how people thought about animals I have also examined diaries, periodicals, pamphlets, ballads, images, poems and fiction. And to further analyse the workings of the animal economy I have consulted travel guides, trade directories and business records. Animals inhabit all of these sources; you only have to look for them.

Although it may be possible to tell a story of Dublin showing how beasts actively civilised people, I interpret ‘civilized by beasts’ in the way Stokes intended. He argued that people created civilisation as a response to animals, to protect themselves from the predation of beasts in the wilderness. The process of civilising, he suggested, created barriers between people and animals. I am interested in this process of creating barriers, the people and the ideas that drove it. Like Erica Fudge, I see animals as being central to defining what it means to be human and thus ideas about animals have played an important role in defining what is special about the city, often considered a pinnacle of human creation.52 Some people considered the city the only place where civilised life could occur. Samuel Haughton, for example, claimed that Ireland’s rural residents ‘do not live, they only vegetate’, by contrast with the ‘livelier people’ of the city who experienced literature and culture.53 Reformers invested in the cultural promise of the city saw the control or concealment of certain animals as a means of pushing the real city closer to an imagined ideal.

This book might also be considered a contribution to the study of governmentality in urban contexts because the human dilemma has been a driving force behind new practices of power. Michel Foucault introduced the term governmentality to explain the transition from early modern to modern forms of governance. He argued that a modern government’s power lay not in the ability to take life from subjects but to shape lives by collecting data about a population and applying this data to governing them. Foucault demanded the study of power as a practice, and pointed to ‘the idea that power and power relations are located in the fabric of everyday life’.54 Efforts at ‘compromise and concealment’ created new ways to exercise power, from the regulation of slaughterhouses to the euthanising of stray dogs. Despite this connection, I have not explicitly focused on governmentality in these chapters because my aim here is different. Rather than show how power is exercised, I want to give readers a fuller sense of what it was like to live in nineteenth-century Dublin and who its residents were. Studies of governmentality can obscure the individuals who wielded power, while my intention is to reveal new actors who played a role in shaping Dublin.55

The book follows a chronological and thematic approach, with each chapter examining different ways that animals were thought about and used.

Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the idea of human ascendancy and on the ways that Dubliners’ ideas about animals, and their distance from humans, shaped reform in the city between 1830 and 1850. Chapter 1 introduces the Dublin Zoological Society (f. 1830, DZS) and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (f. 1840, DSPCA). The comparison of these organisations shows how difficult it was to challenge the idea of human ascendancy in Dublin’s specific social, religious and political context. While the politics of tolerance supported the Zoological Society, the politics of nationalism hindered the DSPCA. Urban reformers who sought to control how the poor used animals risked being accused of favouring animals over the Irish people. Chapter 2 covers the Great Famine and argues that a desire to reassert human ascendancy over animals is reflected in reform movements during and after the crisis. I focus on debates over feeding the poor and improving urban public health. In both cases the way to be human, the way for a city to be civilised, was to live on animals rather than with animals.

Chapters 3 and 4 are concerned with the human dilemma, or how Dubliners tried to reconcile their exploitation of animals with concerns about civility, health, morality and class. Chapter 3 focuses on the impact of a post-Famine shift to livestock farming on Dublin. Ireland’s reliance on cattle exports coupled with increased urban meat consumption forced the Dublin Corporation to consider how to capitalise on cattle without allowing the city environment to become degraded. I argue that coping with cattle during life, slaughter and death changed the infrastructure, environment and regulation of the city. Chapter 4 shifts to the example of regulating dogs and pigs as a way of exploring how Dubliners decided which animals were wanted in the city. The chapter examines the simultaneous rise of the middle classes and the Dublin Metropolitan Police and their respective roles in changing how animals were controlled. I argue that policing animals affected social classes differently, eliminating the poor man’s pig and the roving cur while allowing for the persistence of large pig slaughterhouses and expensive pedigree dogs. Both chapters show that ideas about how to regulate animals in the city were contingent on social factors specific to time and place rather than a fixed idea that all urban animals were nuisances at all times.

By the closing decades of the century, Dublin had the trappings of a modern city by bourgeois Victorian standards, including a system of trams and a system of bye-laws regulating urban life. Yet many of the problems complained of in earlier decades had not disappeared. Chapter 5 argues that Dublin in the final decades of the nineteenth century was a city created by compromised solutions to the human dilemma: still full of animals and the evidence of their exploitation but regulated and controlled in new ways. The chapter shows how different animals had come to be associated with different ideas of what a city should be. In the Epilogue I bring the story forward to consider how nineteenth-century changes affected the city in the twentieth century.

What ties these chapters and their different characters and stories together is a narrative of the growing influence of a number of groups including the middle classes, the police and the Dublin Corporation. One way in which these groups asserted their power was by attempting to implement new ideas of what a city should be like. Proliferating bye-laws to regulate animal businesses, policing cruelty to animals, building Zoological Gardens, licensing dogs, removing pigs, building a new cattle market and public abattoir: these were all acts of modernisation in the eyes of those who pursued them.56

Older residents of Dublin still recall a city with ‘horses and cattle and pigs flying about the streets’.57 This city slowly vanished during the twentieth century although the observant can still find traces of it today. Boot scrapers adjacent to doorways in the neighbourhoods of Smithfield and Stoneybatter attest to the dirty business of driving and selling cattle in the nearby market. Street names such as Bull Alley, Cow’s Lane and Stable Lane recall former businesses. Large sheds behind derelict buildings once held dairy cattle and probably a few pigs (see, for example, the former Emerald Dairy, Figure 0.2). Horses remain sequestered in vacant lots and yards around the city; they still prance around the city’s most desirable squares for €25 per ride. Twice per year, horse dealers sell them in the former market square (see, for example, Figure 0.3, Smithfield horse fair). And of course urban residents eat meat and drink milk in even larger quantities than their forebears. Thousands of cats and dogs keep them company. But these animals simply do not have the same presence in urban life, or our idea of urban life, that they once had. Dogs do not roam free. Food animals appear only as images on supermarket packaging or restaurant signs. The horse is no longer ‘king of the roads’.58

The story of how we got from the animal city of the past to the animal city of the present is a story worth telling. Even the animals we don’t see are part of the modern city: they live on in bye-laws, in cultural habits and in social and economic geography.

Setting the scene: nineteenth-century Dublin and its animals

For readers less familiar with nineteenth-century Dublin and Ireland, a little additional background may prove useful. This book begins in 1830 when the foundation of the Dublin Zoological Society and the emergent movement for the humane treatment of animals overlapped with a rising Catholic political voice. The book closes in 1900 when a public health inquiry condemning the continued presence of slaughterhouses and dairies in the city coincided with advancements in horse and mechanised transportation.

The period 1830 to 1900 encompasses significant political, economic and social changes to the city with impacts on humans and animals. Dublin, between 1830 and 1900, experienced a small population growth from about 230,000 people to around 260,000.59 This rise masks periods of decline and is insignificant compared with many British, American and European cities. Influx from rural areas provided around 30 per cent and up to 40 per cent of the population, although many of these migrants may have continued onward to Britain.60 The majority of the population was poor. Poverty, along with mortality, increased over the time period.61

Only a very small percentage of Dublin residents could vote and thus participate in local or national politics. In 1840, legislation reformed the municipal corporation of Dublin in line with other towns and cities in the United Kingdom. Before 1840 the Corporation had been considered a Protestant stronghold, and separately appointed boards performed many civic functions such as street maintenance and public health. Both Catholic Emancipation (1829) and the reforms of 1840 ensured that the city’s elected government became increasingly Catholic and nationalist. Councillors included professionals and elite businessmen but also an increasing number of shopkeepers and publicans.62

The changing composition of civic government was accompanied by changing duties. The Dublin Improvement Act of 1849 consolidated many tasks under the Corporation including public health, paving, water and lighting. Four committees divided these duties among themselves as well as those of overseeing markets, Corporation property and taxation. The post-Famine expansion of the livestock trade meant that the Corporation held control of an economic keystone in the city’s cattle market. Although bound by parliamentary legislation produced in London, the Corporation created bye-laws that shaped the day-to-day running of the city. The Dublin Metropolitan Police (founded in 1836) provided an enforcement wing for bye-laws while voluntary associations and lobby groups sought to shape them. Voluntary associations provided a significant voice for Protestant Dubliners, whose 20 per cent minority in the city declined over the time period.63 From the middle of the century many well-to-do Dubliners retreated to the growing suburbs but they continued to influence urban change through government and voluntary associations. Expanding and diversifying transportation networks facilitated this from the first railway (1834) to the first horse tram (1872).64 The quest for a healthful atmosphere drove suburban migration and also focused the energies of many reformers. Parliament passed several rounds of public health legislation (most significantly in 1866, 1874 and 1878) and sponsored two commissions of inquiry into the city’s health (1880, 1900).65

As this book demonstrates, many of these changes affected animals and trades using animals. Transportation demanded an increase in horses; public health demanded a decrease in pigs and cattle. Public health initiatives also sought to control and clean up after those animals that remained and to regulate how they were housed and slaughtered. Economic changes increased the size and importance of the cattle market. Policemen rounded up stray dogs and arrested drovers who beat cattle.

Until 1901, when Dublin absorbed several suburbs, the city was very compact and ringed by two canals and the Circular Road. The map in Figure 0.4 was printed in 1865 for Thom’s street directory.66 The city’s boundaries are indicated on the map by a thick black line. The River Liffey divides the city into north and south while the dashed line from Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) in the north down Westmoreland Street in the south provides an east–west division. The four quarters of the city created by these divisions are related to concentrations of particular animals and to social and economic gradients.

What cannot be seen on the map is gradients of social and economic status that Dubliners would have known and experienced. The western and northern areas of the city were poorer than the southern and eastern portions. Areas of particular deprivation were scattered throughout the city, but foci included Inn’s Quay Ward in the north-eastern inner city and South City Ward in the south-western district. In the eighteenth century the north-east of the city had held the prosperous and elegant squares, but fashion later moved to the south-east and its adjacent suburbs.

Not only people but animals had specific urban distributions. While butcher shops and livery stables could be found just about everywhere, large concentrations of particular businesses characterised certain areas. For example, the tanning business was conducted almost exclusively in the area around Watling Street along the south side of the River Liffey. Large numbers of slaughterhouses dominated several districts including the areas around Thomas Street, Townsend Street, Ormond Market and Moore Street (indicated by butcher cleavers). Animals were penned and exported from the quays on the north side (indicated by a cow’s head in the north-east quadrant). Livery stables and veterinary surgeons took advantage of the Georgian houses that fashion had abandoned. Horses, carriages, cabs, omnibuses and later trams thronged Sackville Street, in contrast to Brocas’s sedate depiction. Three horseshoes on the map indicate areas with substantial numbers of horse businesses. The cattle market (1863) and the public abattoir (1882) hugged the north-western edge of the city (indicated by a cow’s head). In 1830 grazing fields had dominated the area around the market but by 1900 housing had encroached on most of the open space. Pigs were widely distributed but concentrated near bacon-curing businesses and the provision markets of the south-western edge (indicated by pig silhouettes).


1 ‘Zoological Society’; Richard Lalor Sheil is paraphrasing the speech of Whitley Stokes, Freeman’s Journal (11 May 1830).
2 ibid.
3 ‘Theatre Royal’, Freeman’s Journal (5 May 1830).
6 Susan Nance, Animal Modernity: Jumbo the Elephant and the Human Dilemma (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), p. 4.
7 Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500–1800 (London: Penguin, 1983), p. 303.
8 Nance, Animal Modernity, p. 3.
10 See, for example, Peter Atkins, ‘Animal wastes and nuisances in nineteenth-century London’, and Sabine Barles, ‘Undesirable nature: animals, resources, and urban nuisance in nineteenth-century Paris’, in Peter Atkins (ed.), Animal Cities: Beastly Urban Histories (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 19–52, 173–88.
13 Kathleen Kete, The Beast in the Boudoir: Pet Keeping in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Ritvo, ‘Pride and pedigree’; Howell, At Home and Astray; Ingrid Tague, Animal Companions: Pets and Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Britain (State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015).
20 On the humane movement’s class elements see, for example, Ritvo, The Animal Estate, pp. 31–4; and Hilda Kean, Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain Since 1800 (London: Reaktion, 1998), p. 36.
21 William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1992); animals are the central focus of chapter 5, ‘Annihilating Space’.
22 McShane and Tarr, The Horse in the City.
23 See, for example, Kete, The Beast in the Boudoir; Tague, Animal Companions.
25 Atkins (ed.), Animal Cities.
28 See, for example, Andrew Robichaud’s work on San Francisco slaughterhouses and butcher shops: ‘Trail of blood’, Stanford University Spatial History Project (visualisations co-created with Erik Steiner) (2010), (accessed 7 May 2020).
31 One of the best examples in the literature of the relationship between city and country is still Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis.
33 Campbell, ‘The emergence of modern Dublin’; Joseph V. O’Brien, Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), p. 5.
36 Prunty, Dublin Slums.
41 Dickson, Dublin, p. xiv.
43 Brown, The City is More Than Human, pp. 8–9.
45 Thomas, Man and the Natural World; Ritvo, The Animal Estate, pp. 5–6.
48 Nance, ‘Introduction’, p. 3.
50 Almeroth-Williams, City of Beasts, pp. 8–9.
51 See Nance, Animal Modernity.
52 Fudge, ‘A left-handed blow’.
53 Samuel Haughton, ‘Address in public medicine’, British Medical Journal (6 August 1887), 294–95: 295.
55 Gunn, ‘From hegemony to governmentality’. Yes, this paragraph is here because a reader requested it.
56 I refer to the views of the actors themselves that a better and more modern city resulted from these changes. The debate on modernisation and history continues although historians of the city frequently use the term ‘modernity’. For two useful discussions relevant to social history see Raymond Grew, ‘More on modernization’, Journal of Social History, 14:2 (1980), 179–87; and Peter N. Stearns, ‘Modernization and social history: some suggestions and a muted cheer’, Journal of Social History, 14:2 (1980), 189–209. For the idea of multiple modernities see, for example, Dorothy Ross’s explanation in ‘AHR roundtable: American modernities, past and present’, American Historical Review, 116:3 (2011), 702–14.
57 Horse dealer Antoinette Healy, as quoted in Kevin C. Kearns, Dublin Street Life and Lore (Dun Laoghaire: Glendale, 1991), p. 187.
61 Prunty, Dublin Slums, p. 75.
62 Daly, Dublin, the Deposed Capital, pp. 203–5.
65 See Prunty, Dublin Slums, pp. 69–88.
66 For an enlarged discussion of animal geographies in Dublin see Juliana Adelman, ‘Towards an environmental history of nineteenth-century Dublin’, in Matthew Kelly (ed.), Nature and Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019), pp. 139–58.


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