Lord Byron had a pet bear, three pet monkeys and a pet crocodile in his house
Who was Lord Byron?
Described as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know,’ Byron was born in London in 1788, son of Captain John (“Mad Jack”) Byron. Lord Byron was a scoundrel, revolutionary and groundbreaking poet, considered one of the leaders of the romantic movement. He is also known for his many love affairs with both men and women.
Byron’s Pet Bear
When studying at Cambridge they said no dogs were allowed, Byron was gutted that he couldn’t bring his favourite dog so, in protest, he decided to get a bear instead. He would walk the bear around the grounds of the university scaring the professors. He even tried to enrol the bear as a student.
Byron’s daughter was the founder of modern programming
Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage on the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine, enormous clockwork computers as big as a room. You can see the Difference Engine on display at the British Science Museum.
Ada Lovelace was responsible for writing the algorithms and is considered as the world’s first computer programmer. Unlike the the stereotypical perception of computer programmers, Lovelace was a party animal, was addicted to alcohol and opium and had numerous sexual partners, she also got into a lot trouble with her gambling debts. She died aged 36.
Inspiration for Count Dracula
One stormy night Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and some other friends got together and started telling improvised ghost stories. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein and Byron’s doctor William Poldori wrote ‘The Vampyre’ whose character was based on Lord Byron, which explains why vampires are always pale and good looking with gothic tendencies.
Lord Byron’s Menagerie
‘Lord B’s establishment consists…of ten horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon…just met on the grand staircase five peacocks, two guinea hens and an Egyptian Crane.’Percy Shelley
As well as numerous cats and dogs, Byron had many other animals ranging from monkeys to crocodiles, geese, a heron, goats, foxes and badgers.
He allowed the animals to roam his houses in a chaotic maelstrom of noise and faeces.