“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

London’s Elephant Execution

The below pictures show the Strand Palace Hotel, located on the Strand in London (a short walk from the Farting Lamp). The Strand Palace Hotel occupies the site where the Exeter Exchange once stood. The Exeter Exchange is most well-known for the half century between 1773 and 1829 when the upper floors of the building were used as a menagerie which housed many exotic species of animals.

It was during this period that the Strand bore witness to the execution of an elephant by firing squad! The elephant in question was an Indian elephant known as Chunee. It would seem that towards the end of his life, Chunee (who had previously performed minor tricks for visitors to the Exeter Exchange), became increasingly violent. This increase in violence culminated in him killing one of his keepers whilst being exercised along the Strand in February 1826.

Following the death of the keeper, the decision was made to put Chunee to death, however attempts to feed him poison failed, due to his refusal to eat the poison. As such, it was ultimately decided to execute Chunee via firing squad. Amazingly, 152 musket balls later Chunee still refused to die, so he was finally dispatched by the blade. Probably a sight that the Strand will never see again!

Pictures, London (May 2012).

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