Monday, 20 October 2014

Terribly Terrific Tigers


We are very sorry for the lack of posting recently but various tragic I.T. occurrences have made it very difficult. Rest assured that we have been wailing over keyboards whilst rending our clothes in a bid to communicate with you.

The letter shown above caused much hilarity in the searchroom a few days ago as it is possibly the poshest letter ever written. David Balfour is being alerted to the fact that his tiger heads have been left in the capable hands of one Mr Sanderson and his correspondent draws attention to the hard won (8 days of stalking!) tiger head of a Mr David Kennedy although " I consider that yours are specimens that are not easily equalled."

Read it do. It'll make you feel like a peasant.


  1. I've missed you guys. I sure hope your I.T. woes are over and done with. Welcome back.

    Well, now. I am amazed at the status of Mr. Balfour's tiger heads!!

    I just read about an aurochs being found in West Orkney. That's something to write home about! ^_^


  2. So...I hope you're not still having I.T. problems! I sent a reply a couple of days ago. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but there was something about archaeologists finding an aurochs skeleton in West Orkney.

  3. Sorry, we have gotten a bit creaky lately.

    How strange, Orkney does not have badgers, squirrels or foxes, but we do have an auroch:

  4. The Servants Institution, of which James Drummond, the author of the letter, was Clerk, had the objects inter alia “ to procure situations for Servants (Members) of irreproachable character” and “to maintain a home where Female Servants may be lodged while waiting for employment” (Oliver & Boyd’s New Edinburgh Almanac for 1862). There is no mention of procuring tigers’ heads. That must have been an extra. I am sure life-long nervous hypochondriac David Balfour never shot a tiger himself. The P.O. Directory lists Matthew Sanderson as a “bird-stuffer”. I think the hunter mentioned must have been Lord David Kennedy, a noted sportsman in India and elsewhere. I found online extracts from a book “Seasons with the Sea Horses” by James Lamont (1861), which mentions that Lamont and Kennedy passed through Orkney on the sloop “Anna Louise” between 9th and 11th June 1859 en route to Spitzbergen, where they bagged 46 walruses, 88 seals, 8 polar bears, 1 white whale and 61 reindeer (another approximately 20 walruses and 40 seals were inconsiderate enough to sink after being shot). Sanderson the stuffer must have been busy!


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