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Monday, 22 June 2009

George Lockhart's First Elephants

These contemporary Victorian illustrations were used to promote George William Lockhart's first elephant act, Boney, Molly and Waddy. Boney's "coat" is clearly labelled. Boney was remarkable for a variety of reasons. She was the first elephant that George bought and according to George Lockhart Jnr she originally stayed with the elephant trainer and his wife like a household pet! Boney was also much smaller than her two companion elephants, Waddy and Molly. Some writers, such as the Lockhart relation, James Pinder, have suggested that she was under nourished due to George Lockhart's limited knowledge at the time, but later research in my book "The Legend of Salt and Sauce" suggests another possible theory. Boney might have been a pygmy elephant. Her name is actually taken from her country of origin, Borneo, where the pygmy elephant originates. James Pinder says that she was known as Boney because of this supposed under nourishment. Actually Boney was pronounced "Bonny" according to contemporary newspaper reports.

Boney was the most skilled the three elephants and there are records of her performing alone as well as with the rest of the group. In fact, there is so much written information on this group of ele[hants during their time with George William Lockhart that I felt the story warranted two chapters, as it helped explain a few things regarding George's tragic career with his next group of elephants, The Cruet, especially their most famous members, Salt and Sauce.

Despite the large amount of written material on Boney, Molly and Waddy, there were no reproducible illustrations or photographs at the time "The Legend of Salt and Sauce" went to print. Therefore, I am very grateful to John Morris for sending these in today, so I can reproduce them here.

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