Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Pavilion Pussies

Copyright Gareth Cameron

We Brits love our animals and celebrate their uniqueness, especially when they are Royal Cats. Except, of course, for Tatters. (Boo hoo!)
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton was built, in stages, for the Prince Regent, between 1787 and 1823.  Exotic and of Oriental appearance, this fine edifice is Brighton & Hove's most famous landmark and was revered by Regency Society in the time of the Prince, who later became King George IV.
Some people claim that plump and ungainly King George IV was reincarnated - as a cat!
The Funeral of George (the cat, not the human)
According to the Brighton & Hove Gazette, dated 26 July, 1980, George the Pavilion Cat had met his end tragically suffering from rheumatism, just like his Royal predecessor. There was also the matter of another unnamed ailment that caused the expensive Pavilion carpets to become spoiled, although people don't actually talk about that.
George the Pavilion Pussy had been named after George IV because he had white fur down his front legs that looked exactly like garters, and that's why staff thought he might be a reincarnation of the King. He was laid to rest in a basket marked "George, his Basket" and a proper funeral was held with members of staff present.
George had been on the payroll, earning 25p a week, later increasing to £1 due to inflation, and this payment was redeemed in cat food. His duties were mousing, amusing the visitors and publicity. In view of his dedication and expertise, it would seem George was severely underpaid.
Sulky Peter and Poor Little Tatters
Close to George's grave are two more little graves and these are their epitaphs:
"Here lies dear Peter who was cross and sulky but loved us, December 1880."
"Here lies Tatters. Not that it much matters."
No date is recorded for Tatters, but maybe he wasn't important enough, not being a reincarnation of anybody of particular note. Now he is more or less forgotten. However, George of the white garters will live on in Brighton folklore just like his illustrious former self.

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