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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Legacy Endures...

It was always a delight when I discover an another angle on the history covered in my book, The Legend of Salt and Sauce. Of course, my story is not just the story of these two elephants. It is also the story of the people who worked with them and, in this instance, the other elephants connected to them. The first part of my book tells the life story of the elephant trainer, George William Lockhart. Lockhart would meet his untimely demise at Whalthamstow Goods Yard when Sauce accidentally crushed him to death. However, before he even owned Salt, Sauce, Mustard, Pepper, Vinegar and Mustard II, he had a trio of elephants that brought him fame and renown all over Europe, in Russia and in America. These were Boney, Molly and Waddy.

Of the three, Boney was the most famous and the first elephant George trained. She came from Borneo and George named her after this island, later altering it to "Boney" (pronounced Bonnie). Boney did all the main tricks in the act, including riding a giant velocipede, and also worked alone. She was far smaller than her two fellow elephants, Molly and Waddy, and it was later believed that the Lockhart's ignorance of diet stunted her growth. However, in truth the subspecies of elephant found in Borneo are pygmy elephants. 

Whilst researching the book I discovered the various elephants immortalized in many different forms. However, what I received from Mike Lane was something very different. It is fascinating and yet somehow appropriate that this particularly Victorian elephant style act be represented in such a particularly Victorian way.  Mike explained

"I am a collector of meerschaum pipes. These were very popular in the mid 1800s up to the early 1900s and are still manufactured. They were typically carved into models of ladies and animals.

This week, I bought a number at an auction at Christie’s and one featured an elephant riding a tricycle. On the front is a name Geo. Lockhart and on the elephant’s side is the name Boney. I wondered if there was a story behind this and turned to my friend Mr Google who quickly deposited me on your blog about the three elephants. Clearly, my pipe is depicting Boney and thought I that you would appreciate some photos which I have inserted below"


And so the legacy endures, as bits and pieces of interesting new information find their way to me and further show just how big an impact these amazing performing animals had on our culture.

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