The streets of 18th-century London mingled people and animals rather more closely than we are used to nowadays, with occasionally unfortunate results. Here are a couple of brief reports of the sorts of mayhem that could follow when livestock, soon to be deadstock, escaped.
On Thursday Evening some Butchers were driving a Bullock into a Slaughter-House in Clare-Market, which being brought to the Place, and as ’tis said, smelling the Blood, broke away from them very furiously, and went up Drury-Lane, where he turn’d into a Cheesemonger’s Shop at the Corner of Russel-Court; the Man in the Shop not liking such Company secured himself behind the Compter, then he passed into the Back Room, where three Gentlewomen were drinking Tea, who all got safe away; but in walking about overturn’d their Tea-Table with all the China and with his Horns broke a Pier-Glass that was in the Room all to Pieces, perhaps observing another Bullock in it that seem’d to confront him.
Beware a bull in a cheese shop.
It wasn’t just cheese that attracted stray bullocks.
Last Friday Morning about 9 o’Clock, a mad Bullock ran up one Pair of Stairs in an empty House that is repairing in King-Street, Covent-Garden, and broke thro’ the Sash-Window into the Balcony, and went upon a slated Penthouse belonging to the next Door, which fell into the Street, without doing any farther Damage; and then the Bullock got up and ran away.
Beware mad bullocks in London. Stay safe.