Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

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Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Founded2 October 1860; 162 years ago (1860-10-02)
FounderMary Tealby
HeadquartersLondon, SW8
United Kingdom
Key people
Claire Horton, Chief Executive
Amanda Burton, Chair
Revenue52,713,469 pound sterling (2020) Edit this on Wikidata
Number of employees
555 (2020) Edit this on Wikidata

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (now known as Battersea) is an animal rescue centre for dogs and cats. Battersea rescues dogs and cats until an owner or a new one can be found. It is one of the UK's oldest and best known animal rescue centres. It was established in Holloway, London, in 1860 and moved to Battersea in 1871.

The non-government funded organisation cares for an average of 240 dogs and 145 cats across all three centres at any one time. The charity has cared for more than 3.1 million dogs and cats over its history.


1901 advert for the home

Battersea was established in Holloway in 1860 by Mary Tealby (1801–1865).[1] She called it "The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs".[2] Initially the home was in her scullery but as the number of dogs delivered to her grew she hired some nearby stables funded by herself, her brother and Sarah Major. In 1860 the RSPCA agreed to assist and the committee meetings were held at the RSPCA offices at 12 Pall Mall. The Times ran a story ridiculing the idea of opening a "home" for dogs when there were homeless people in London. It accused Tealby of "letting her zeal ...outrun her discretion".[3] Its most impressive supporter in the 1860s was Charles Dickens. He wrote about a "remarkable institution" that had saved "over a thousand" dogs in 1860. He noted that the dogs were cared for but if necessary humanely disposed of. By 1864 the finances were sound and they were handling 2,000 dogs that year.[3]

Battersea started taking in cats from 1883, but its name remained Battersea Dogs Home until 2002.

During World War II, then manager Edward Healey-Tutt advised against people euthanising their pets because of fear of food shortages. Throughout the war Battersea fed and cared for over 145,000 dogs.

In 1979, Battersea acquired Bell Mead Kennels, which is now known as Battersea Old Windsor in Berkshire and in 1999, Battersea bought a centre in Kent, now known as Battersea Brands Hatch.

In 2002, the name was changed from Battersea Dogs Home to include cats in its name - Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.[4]

In June 2010, Claire Horton joined Battersea in the role of Chief Executive. In 2016, she was named Charity Chief Executive of the Year at the Third Sector Awards for turning around Battersea.[5][6] Horton was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to animal welfare.[7]

Collecting for the home in 2015

To mark its 150th anniversary in 2010, the charity's London Cattery was opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. Royal Mail released a set of stamps featuring a series of dogs and cats that had been adopted by staff.[8] It also launched a commemorative book, A Home of Their Own, which charts the history of the Home. This includes a look at prominent people who have adopted animals such as Elton John, who credited his dog Thomas with helping him through a rough period.[9] Starting in 2011, Battersea implemented the "Staffies. They're Softer Than You Think" campaign to educate the public on the misconceptions about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.[10][11]

On 17 March 2015, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a plaque to officially open the intake kennels named after their founder, Mary Tealby kennels.[12] In 2016, a new state of the art Veterinary Hospital was opened at the London centre.

In 2018 the charity rebranded as just "Battersea" "to be here for every dog and cat". The charity's public affairs work involved spearheading the campaign to increase maximum sentences from six months to five years for the worst animal cruelty crimes in England and Wales. Battersea has been campaigning since 2017.

The charity also launched the Battersea Academy, and launched a campaign "Rescue Is My Favourite Breed" in 2019.


In 1885, Queen Victoria became patron of the home, and it has remained under royal patronage ever since. The Queen Consort is the current patron,[13] and Prince Michael of Kent is the President.


In 1862, Charles Dickens published an article about the home for the magazine All the Year Round. He called it an "extraordinary monument of the remarkable affection with which the English people regard the race of dogs".[14]

TV programmes[edit]

Battersea has featured on many television programmes and documentaries. The Channel 4 programme Pet Rescue which aired in 1997 featured Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. BBC One programme Animal Rescue Live was broadcast live for a week at Battersea in July 2007. The programme was presented by Matt Baker and Selina Scott.

Since 2012, ITV's Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs has been filmed at Battersea.[citation needed] The show won multiple awards including three National Television Awards for 'Factual Entertainment' and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2013. In 2023, the show will be in its eleventh series which was filmed before O'Grady passed away.


Notable alumni[edit]


Battersea Power Station tube station is located adjacent to the site on Battersea Park Road, and is served by the Northern line. Battersea Park station for National Rail and Queenstown Road station for National Rail services are located 3 minutes and 7 minutes walk away respectively.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tealby [née Bates], Mary (1801–1865), animal welfare organizer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/69565. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Kalof, Linda (15 August 2007). Looking at Animals in Human History. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-493-9.
  3. ^ a b Jenkins, Garry (15 September 2011). A Home of Their Own: The Heart-warming 150-year History of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4464-3844-2.
  4. ^ Ardagh, Philip (1 October 2008). Philip Ardagh's Book of Absolutely Useless Lists for Absolutely Every Day of the Year. Pan Macmillan. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-330-43417-1. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Third Sector Awards 2016: Charity Chief Executive - Winner: Claire Horton, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home". Third Sector. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  6. ^ "MBA graduate Claire Horton wins top charity award". Warwick Business School. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  7. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N9.
  8. ^ Prigg, Mark (2 March 2010). "Battersea stamps place in animal history". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  9. ^ "A Home Of Their Own" by Garry Jenkins p.306. Transworld Publishing 2010. Retrieved on the book's Google preview 25 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Staffies-They're Softer Than You Think". Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Rain Rescue teams up with Battersea to show the true soft nature of Staffies". Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Britain's Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque to officially open the... News Photo". Getty Images. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  13. ^ Pet Planet Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 March 2008
  14. ^ Holly Williams (13 August 2010). "Creature comfort: Why London's first dogs' home was met with howls of". The Independent. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  15. ^ "First Ambassador David Gandy". Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Puppy Love for Paul". Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Jacqueline Wilson: toy dog 'most important part of my childhood'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Amanda Holden becomes ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home". Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Palmerston takes up office again as Westminster welcomes its second Battersea cat". 13 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  20. ^ Parkinson, Justin (7 August 2020). "Foreign Office cat Palmerston retires to countryside". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Gladstone the cat lands Treasury job". BBC News. 29 July 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°28′43″N 0°08′41″W / 51.4785°N 0.1448°W / 51.4785; -0.1448