Laddie: Collected Money to Help Orphans

Laddie became famous in history for collecting money at the Wimbledon Station to help railway orphans.

A young passenger putting money in Laddie's collection tin

From the late 1800s until the mid 1900s, collection dogs were a popular sight in British railway stations, pubs and other public places. They collected money for charities in tins attached to their backs or around their necks. To encourage more giving, the dogs would sometimes bark, shake hands and perform tricks. Some of the dogs were stuffed and placed in glass cases after their deaths to continue collecting money.

One notable dog was Laddie, an Airedale terrier born in September 1948. In 1949, he started to collect money at the Wimbledon Station on behalf of the Woking Railway Orphanage. In 1956, Laddie retired after seven years of service. During that time, he raised over £5,000 - that is more than £100,000 in today's money. He spent the rest of his days at the orphanage until he passed away in 1960. Laddie was one of the dogs who was stuffed and placed in a glass showcase with a collecting box after his death. He continued to collect donations until 1990 when he retired once more and was sent to the National Railway Museum at York.