The Street Where Londoners Ditched Their Dogs

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 78 months ago

Last Updated 14 December 2017

The Street Where Londoners Ditched Their Dogs
Wikimedia commons

The A1211. Not the most exciting name for the road that runs between Aldgate station and Bishopsgate. However, it has another name. A real meaty one; Houndsditch.

As you might suspect with such a name, there's a gruesome story behind it.

The name dates back to 1275, when it was known as Houndsditche. On one side of the street lay the walls of the old City of London. As a defensive measure, Londoners dug a ditch around the walls. Then when a local's dog bit the dust, they'd chuck it over the wall and into the ditch. Back then people weren't quite so attached to their pets.

In 1989, an archaeological dig found canine remains here, possibly dating back to Roman times. It's comforting to know that Londoners remained true to the same dog ditching spot for hundreds of years. Loyal bunch we are.

Obviously this practice is long a thing of the past — the ditch was filled in during the 16th century — but we've provided an ace artistic recreation of what might happen if someone were to fling their dog onto the modern Houndsditch.

Artistic recreation. Original photo: Eric Huybrechts