Friday, March 30, 2012

The last of the horse troughs, and colour at Mt Eden

Bill and Barbara Ellis from Torbay took these photos and sent them through.

This, the last of the horse troughs, was suggested by Mrs Agnes Chambers in honour of Henry Alder, first inspector for the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Auckland from 1900.
Inspector Henry Alder, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was instrumental in punishing a haulier named William Gick, of St. Heller's Bay this morning, for working a horse while it was in an unfit state. He saw the animal being driven by Gick in Karangahape Road this morning, and noticed that it suffered considerable pain through having sore shoulders. Gick was brought before Mr James Stichbury JP subsequently, and fined £1 with 7/- costs, His Worship remarking that the horse was in a shameful state, and Gick's employer ought to be prosecuted if he knew the condition in which it was sent out.
Auckland Star 17.9.1903

 And yet ...

A very unusual prosecution for alleged cruelty came before Mr Kettle S.M., in the Police Court this morning, the defendant being Henry Alder, local inspector of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He was charged with having slaughtered a horse on June 16, in the City Pound, in such a manner as to cause it unnecessary pain. He pleaded not guilty. It appears that Alder, in order to put the animal out of its misery, struck it on the head with a hammer three times, and left it for dead. The evidence of witnesses, however, indicated that the horse was not killed, but was struggling for nearly two hours afterwards. The case was dismissed, in view of the fact that there was no intentional cruelty. 

Wanganui Chronicle 27.6.1905

That said, though -- Alder was one of the early shining lights in the history of the animal welfare movement in this country.
"Blue Cross" writes: Was glad to see in a local paper the other day an article on the work of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society, which is, of course, the work of that staunch humanitarian, Mr. Henry Alder. The Society looks after administrative details, but it is Inspector Alder who first, last, and all the time does the actual work. It is work that doesn't gain him much glory, thanks, or riches, but it is the work of a true Crusader in the cause of those who have but few champions and a lot of enemies among mankind. Not that men deliberately rank themselves as enemies of the dumb beasts and the birds, but by their actions they are often more devilishly cruel than one would find it in his heart to believe. It is to circumvent the doings of these that Inspector Alder gives all his time and energy and his store of the latter is nothing less than wonderful.

Among Auckland business men, police, and magistrates he has many good friends, who further his good work, but his worst enemy is the apathy of the general public in regard to it. People shrink from exhibitions of cruelty, but do not consider it their business to take any action to have it punished. It would be a good thing if a really active interest in the doings, of the Society could be roused in Auckland, to find out just how it is working, how it is planning to extend Mr. Alder's work, and what encouragement it is offering to those inclined to give a helping hand by becoming honorary inspectors, or otherwise furthering the cause of the animals by service as well as by cash donations. It's human interest, not merely the kind you get at the Bank, that counts every time!
Observer 7.8.1920

That might even have been Mrs Chambers writing in, as she was the one who organised the Blue Cross Fund during World War I. Alder died in 1921. His memorial trough is currently close to the Tepid Baths in Downtown Auckland.

These images, according the the Ellises, come from Mt Eden, in and around the intersection of Mt Eden and Stokes Road.

I got a shot of this box myself in January 2010, but Bill was able to get in without most of the clutter around it. Good to see the tagging's more under control now.


  1. John (Blue Mountains)May 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Thanks Lisa for the information on the Alder memorial horse trough. Horse troughs and the stories behind them are a particular interest of mine. Quite a few survive in Sydney and suburbs and in the area where I live, including many funded by George and Annis Bills. The Bills family came from England and George's father had been a bird dealer in the 19th century and spent some time in NZ importing birds for the Otago and Canterbury Acclimatisation Societies. Surprisingly, I don't think any Bills troughs were funded in NZ. They were mainly in Victoria and NSW, though there are some in other states and even a couple in the UK. Anyway, any other horse troughs you come across please post about. I'd be most interested.

  2. Cheers, John. I'll keep a look out for them.

  3. Just wanted to say this is a really readable article/ blog, presented in a very attractive way about a very interesting topic. I wish everything I saw online was as organised! You are to be congratulated on a quality product.