Monday, 20 October 2014

Happy Birthday Lenny … Where is Lenny? At home with his critters …



… or would he rather be here … this all started with a birthday present … the Natural History Museum at Tring?
 
Lionel Rothschild

Lenny – sorreeee …. I don’t think we can manage a few million …. but we can send amplitudes of thoughts … on this your special day …


Have a very happy 15th birthday day
lots of excuses to wear those expando pants?!
Lionel Walter Rothschild was the man behind the museum … he started collecting insects and birds aged 7.  By the time he was 10 he’d set up his first museum in the garden shed.  By the time he was 20 … his collections were bursting out of stores all over the family estate …


Galleries of  long, large, weird and wonderful -
and yes fur and claw, hand and paw
He kept an astonishing variety of animals in the grounds around the Museum and in Tring Park, his family’s home, including zebras, a tame wolf, rheas, kangaroos, kiwis, cassowaries and giant tortoises.  He even drove a team of zebras in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace – wonder what they’d say today?


A Tibetan Lynx
So what to do for his 21st?  His parents gave him some cash and some land on the estate at Tring to build a bigger museum.  This is still the museum – now owned by the Natural History Museum.


His family were an immensely wealthy banking family … for a while Walter tried his hand at banking – but his passion was with his collections.  He spent the rest of his life and most of his personal fortune building the largest zoological collection ever made by one person.

 
Curls and curves, prongs and points:
antelope shown here
Thousands of stuffed mammals, birds, and other creatures are on show in the galleries … the tip of the iceberg!  At its peak, his collection also contained more than two million butterflies, moths and other insects, bird skins and bird eggs …


Mantis Shrimps, Box Jelly Fish ...
and oh yes Hilary taking that photo
This eccentric man in 1937 left his collection to the Natural History section of the British Museum (now separate institutions).


Have a wonderful 15th Birthday Lenny … with lots of fun at home and with friends around the blogosphere …

Now we’ve found you – we’ll hang on to you once again … now I know you’re in with the critters I’ll be looking out for you … which gallery though?  Fur and fangs, barks and bites, or Fancy birds but no flight, or Hop, hang, slither and swim, or Hall of horns, or Stripes stacked and packed, or one of the others ... flying with the beautiful birds dreaming, dre-e-a-a-m-i-n-g wonderful stories and poems .... 

... with a critterly hug or two … from GrandBlogMom ... to a very special lad - Lenny Lee.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

66 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

Lionel Rothschild had quite an eclectic array of animals and insects! It's amazing how he kept them on the family property, and even had a zebra and buggy! You always find the best photos, Hilary!

Happy 15th Birthday To Lenny! It's so nice that you and Lenny have such a special friendship!

Julie

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Happy birthday to Lenny!! I shall have cake in his honor :)

Murees Dupé said...

Happy Birthday Lenny!

Wow, Mr. Rothschild surely had an impressive collection.

rosieamber said...

Not heard of this place, must check it out.

Jo said...

Happy Birthday Lenny. Fascinating post Hilary. Didn't know zebra could be domesticated. Never heard of this museum.

Betsy Brock said...

Wow, oh Wow! What an amazing man and his collection is wonderful! My great great grand dad was like this but on a much smaller scale. He had a wonderful cabinet that I used to love looking into that was then in my grandparents home. It had an ostrich egg, a stuffed ducking, seaweed, arrow heads and all kinds of interesting things in it. I'd have my uncles lift me up to see the top shelf, where his picture was in a frame...right along side the sword fish snout with teeth.

Maybe they were related. Palestine and Lionel. What do you think? ha.
I know I have a bit of that blood in me, too, with all the critters I have!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - it's just the story and how a 7 year old can be quite so passionate and determined ... thankfully for us he created the most amazing museum of natural history - from which we've learnt loads.

Thanks re Lenny - he's a special lad - should I say young adult now?! He's just great ...

@ Keith - cake sounds good ... but a cup of tea too ..

@ Murees - thanks re Lenny and didn't Mr Rothschild have an amazing collection ..

@ Rosie - I must put the Natural History Tring link in ..

@ Jo - I think it's the kind of Museum Lenny would love to know about .. lots of critters!!!!

@ Betsy - gosh this captured your imagination! I'm so pleased you remembered your great great grand father .. and remember being lifted up by your uncles to see inside his cabinet of curiosities ...

I hope you have some of his pieces .. but it explains your love of displaying 'treasure troves' in your home - the glass cases almost match!

Yes there is something re Palestine and Lionel .. I'll have to find it out and comment/post back ...

You and Lenny with your critters and birds - a perfectly matched blogging pair ...

Thanks - I keep thinking of Lenny and his special day ... cheers Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Happy Birthday, Lenny!

Hilary, you always have such fun and interesting information...a pleasure to drop by your site. :) Hope you have a happy week.

Clarissa Draper said...

The age fifteen can be so exciting, Lenny. I hope you enjoy your year and accomplish all you want to accomplish.

Awesome information, Hilary! Love to learn about animals and museums and such.

Bish Denham said...

Oh my, what a sweet birthday present for a really neat kid! I'd love to visit that museum, too.

Paula Kaye said...

Egads, all those stuffed animals!

cleemckenzie said...

Lenny's getting a lot of birthday attention today. How wonderful that is! And how great to have a GrandBlogMom.

Mr. Rothschild was quite dapper in his trap with a zebra! What a collection he accumulated during his life.

loverofwords said...

Pass on Birthday wishes from me too, Hilary. What kind of 'critters' does Lenny have? Boys love to collect, I think, more than girls/women?

Michael Di Gesu said...

Happy Birthday, Lenny!!!!!

KEEP up the good work kid. YOU are doing great! You're very special and we all know it!

These pics are great Hilary... What a COLLECTION! AMAZING!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy birthday, Lenny. And I've been to that museum.

Patsy said...

I collected a few unusual animals in my youth. Mostly my family were tolerant about it as long as I looked after them and helped on the farm to help earn their keep. A llama was an exception, Dad drew the line at that.

Patsy said...

Oh and happy birthday, Lenny. I don't know you, but naturally I'd like Hilary's GrandBlogSon to be happy.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Happy Birthday, Lenny. Hope it's the best birthday ever!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Can you imagine a herd of zebras running around Buckingham Palace?

Happy birthday to Lenny.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Happy Birthday, Lenny.

Even though I have been around slaughtered animals, of all kinds, all my life, in my rural neck of the woods, it bothers me to see them stuffed. :)

I want a Zebra in my backyard. Preferably, a live one please.

Robyn Campbell said...

YaY Lenny! Whoop whoop! Mr. Rothschild was a cool dude, Hil.

TexWisGirl said...

an extensive collection, indeed!

Lisa said...

Oh wow! I had no idea about him or how the collection started! What a great life he must have had!

Crystal Collier said...

Yay for Lenny!

I can't decide if I'm fascinated or disgusted by this collection. Maybe a little of both?

Janie Junebug said...

Happy Birthday, Lenny! What a collection! Something else to add to my list for a visit to England.

Love,
Janie

Susanne Drazic said...

What an awesome museum that has got to be. Great pictures, Hilary. Thanks for taking the time to share such interesting information.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lenny! I hope he is having an awesome day!

J E Oneil said...

Sounds like Rothschild was born to make a museum. :)

Chatty Crone said...

Happy birthday to you Lenny - I think I was here to celebrate your last birthday too!

Denise Covey said...

Isn't it lovely seeing Lenny growing up! Happy birthday Lenny!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi my grandblogmom!! wow! what a cool post. you know i love animals so this is a really neat post for my birthday. yikes! he sure spent a lot of money on stuffed stuff. i prefer live animals but it could be a pretty cool museum to go and see. probably critter i never saw before. thanks for this neat post. for sure you made my birthday special.

...loads of love and big hugs from lenny

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth – thanks so much .. glad you enjoyed reading about the ‘zoo and museum’ …

@ Clarissa – I do hope 15 will be a brilliant age for Lenny; while checking out the museum was fascinating.

@ Bish – looks like he loved the post, though live critters are his thing ..

@ Paula – lots to learn from here: and they still are..

@ Lee – certainly Lenny has hit the birthday spot today: we have a good rapport .. GrandBlogMom and GBSon!!

Rosthchild must have been amazing … wealthy, but so dedicated to his love in life – natural history.

@ Nat – good to see you .. I know Lenny is working his way through all the posts .. and I’m sure he’ll be back to read the comments too ..

Lenny doesn’t have pets per se … but he loves his woods behind the house with raccoons, squirrels and birds that frequent his feeding table; he’s always interested in watching live-cams … so as he says later on .. real life!! Not stuffed critters …

@ Michael – it’s great having this get together for Lenny .. and he does love his animals … it is an amazing collection.

@ Alex – isn’t that fun to know you’ve been somewhere somewhat out of the way here in the UK … good to know!

@ Patsy – on your farm .. I can imagine you had other animals than your family’s herds … and yes it’s a good way to learn to look after things isn’t it. Llama – I can imagine that might be a challenge – but look how many places have them now. You write about your early life too … in your stories.

@ Joylene – I certainly hope so … I can’t imagine the family not throwing a special party for the 15 year old ..

@ Diane – that would be amazing to see a herd of zebra at Buckingham Palace, or even next door in St James’s Park.

@ Teresa – Lenny confirms your view on life …. Real to stuffed – but I’ve been interested to read how much we can learn from these ‘preserved’ creatures …

Zebra in your back yard would keep the pesky grass down!

Thanks to you all .. replies part 2 next - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Robyn – I expect Lenny had lots of whoop, whoops … and kept everyone amused as he read all the posts … I’m sure Lionel Rothschild would be delighted to be called ‘a dude’!

@ TWG – it is extensive isn’t it …

@ Lisa – it looks like following your passion with some helpful cash was the way forward for him. But he did things properly …

@ Crystal – exactly ‘Yay for Lenny’ … I concur – but I’m glad it’s here .. as they are learning so much from those very old stuffed animals – more so now with DNA …

@ Janie – that’s great that you’d like to visit Tring – the town is pretty too … while the museum is incredible.

@ Susanne – one turn round the museum wasn’t enough .. I’ll get back one day, as it’s near some friends.

And Happy Birthday to Lenny – I expect he’ll be exhausted today after all the reading of blog posts he did yesterday!

@ Jeanne – somewhere the genes took hold for the museum didn’t they – and he was able to create this incredible resource for scientific research today ...

@ Sandie - I think you were here last year too ... the years go past don't they ..

@ Denise - couldn't agree more - it's lovely interacting with Lenny .. we have a great rapport ..

@ Lenny - Halloooo GrandBlogSon .. hope you have had a happy day ...

I know you love real critters - but as you so rightly say there are plenty of animals we have never seen because they're now extinct.

Mr Rothschild obviously loved real animals too - as he kept them around his park ..

Big hugs back GrandBlogSon and much love too ...


Thanks everyone - so lovely we could all share Lenny's birthday with him .. great posts around that I need to catch up on ... cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

I hope Lenny had a happy birthday - he surely had a nice shout out to his birthday from you, Hilary!

And Mr. Rothschild was a special young man, too, to spend his birthday money that way. Would love to see that museum.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Hilary. Cool post! What a childhood and having the financial ability to do all that. Many trust kids today whiz their money away and do not contribute anything to western civilization.

And Happy Birthday Lenny!

Gattina said...

That's a huge collection, although I am not a fan of stuffed animals ! But that was the fashion at the beginning of last century !

Deborah Barker said...

Wow! That is certainly an impressive collection Hilary. I confess, I am not sure whether to applaud or shudder at all those stuffed exhibits. Oh and Happy Birthday to your young friend Lenny - :-)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Lenny!! May your day have been fantabulous!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Very enterprising to have a museum by 10. Very cool.

TALON said...

I was immediately drawn to the zebra pulling the pony trap! And then you drew me in with Lionel's story. Wow - his passion evolved from such a young age. Very cool.

And Happy Birthday to Lenny!

Always enjoy your posts, Hilary. Insightful and delight-filled.

Val Poore said...

Better late than never! Happy birthday to Lenny! It sounds as if you've had a wonderful time with all the animals. It's so good to see a burning interest in one so young !

Trisha F said...

I don't know how much the animals would love him if he stuffed them all :P But I hope he let them live out their lives before doing so. ;)

Brian Miller said...

happy birthday lenny...how cool to have all that right there on the property...if i was independently weathy...it would be cool to be around animals like that...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn – he seems to have had a wonderful shout out for his birthday from around the world … Wasn’t Mr Rothschild another special young man … the museum will be around for a while.

@ Stephen – unfortunately many do ‘lose’ their inheritances don’t they .. but a few others make their mark on society. I think Lenny had a fun day with lots of reading to do …

@ Gattina – we have a lovely resource here, which is once again coming into its own. Thankfully they were recorded, even if stuffed.

@ Debbie – I think we all ‘wonder’ at taxidermy .. but it is providing us with research ..

@ Roland – I’m sure he was bolstered with lots of blogger contact …

@ Holly – Lionel must have been pretty determined as a youngster and stuck with it ..

@ Talon – I know that photo is amazing isn’t it, especially with frisky zebra … but that young man knew what he wanted … already collecting properly at 7. Thanks for being here to wish Lenny Happy Birthday ..

@ Val – oh yes birthday thoughts of happy days always welcome. I enjoyed going round the museum .. and would like to go back to have another look sometime.

@ Trisha – yes .. but at least we have records and at least we know about them, and now with DNA we can research some of them more specifically … those research doors keep opening.

@ Brian – he did have just the right family … and certainly put his wealth to good use, and left us this incredibly legacy …

Thanks so much … I’m sure Lenny will have a very happy week re-reading all the posts and happy thoughts you’ve all given him – cheers Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

What a fascinating collection. I was given a Victorian bell jar of stuffed songbirds from a friend of my Grandma when I was a child. Not sure what ever happened to it though.

Rosalind Adam said...

What a fascinating collection. I was given a Victorian bell jar of stuffed songbirds from a friend of my Grandma when I was a child. Not sure what ever happened to it though.

Jemi Fraser said...

Hope you had the best day, Lenny!

mail4rosey said...

I love his gift at 21. Whoa but to be able to give that to my boy (who is right now 21). LOL!! We're just worrying about making college ends meet right now, but that's okay too. :)

Fun post!

David P. King said...

Reminds me of a museum close to my place. :)

Karen Lange said...

Happy Birthday week Lenny! (I am all for extending a birthday celebration for a week or two or three. It's more fun that way. :)

Thanks Hilary, for sharing these wonderful nuggets of truth and fun with us. Love your title of GrandBlogMom!

Friko said...

What a nice blog mum you are to Lenny. He is a lucky boy to have you to chat with.

This is a fascinating collection. Tring is a well known estate but I never knew about the museum.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Well, I learned a lot from reading this, Hilary. I never heard of this museum before, although I've certainly heard of the Rothschilds. What a great birthday gift for Lenny!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I know would love the Natural History Museum.... He loves his animals. Thanks for joining in to wish Lenny a Happy Birthday.

Christine Rains said...

What an impressive young man! Happy birthday to Lenny. :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm with Crystal. I don't know whether to be fascinated or disgusted at the thought of all those stuffed creatures. But live zebras running around Buckingham Palace? That's a cool thought.

Talking about cool, here's wishing a very cool young man a very happy fifteenth birthday. (If he's your grandblogson, he's gotta be cool!)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros – the museum is incredible … while your Victorian bell jar sounds just the thing for a little girl. I lost a few things over the years that I had as a child … one hopes someone else loved them.

@ Jemi – Lenny seemed to have a great day …

@ Rosey – the Rothschild idea seems to have hit the sweet spot as far as Lionel Rothschild was concerned.

Oh yes – I’m sorry I can’t help for your 21 year old son .. and making college ends meet – quite difficult in this day and age.

@ David – I love museums … all sorts, as there’s so much to them – I hope you get to visit yours …

@ Karen – I couldn’t agree more ... extending birthdays is a good idea. GrandBlogMom .. isn’t bad is it!!! Fun too …

@ Friko – we have a wonderful rapport and chat back and forth as and when. I’d like to spend more time in Tring and see the estate if it’s open .. and actually spend more time in the Museum itself … it’s full of children!!!

@ Joanne – that’s great you enjoyed the post … and found out about the Museum: the Rothschilds various are well known aren’t they …

@ Sharon – yes Lenny would enjoy the museum .. because as he said he’d learn something, as well as see ‘critters’ long extinct … but the post will amuse him and that’s the main thing .. and my visit came into its own.

@ Christine – young Lionel impressed and continued to do so … as Lenny does …

@ Susan – it’s the sign of the times and was the ‘done thing’ back then before sense and realisation crept in .. that they would become extinct. The thought of live zebras in Buckingham Palace would be fun though … or Windsor Great Park below Windsor Castle … herds of zebra.

But the most important boy at the moment … is Lenny – and yes he is cool .. and wonderfully vibrant and caring … a real treat of a GrandBlogMom …

Cheers to you all … I had an email from Lenny last night saying he was overwhelmed with everyone’s thoughts, cards and presents … so he’s having a busy week replying to one and all!!!! He’s happy and that’s the main thing … and thank you so much to all who commented and who participated in the ‘fest’ - Hilary

M Pax said...

Cool dude. I love museums. Would love to visit this one some day.

JJ said...

Happy Birthday wishes! I also love museums - and live critters, of course.

Inger said...

Happy belated birthday, Lenny! I hope you had a splendid day! And I found this post very interesting. Zebras. hmm!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Happy belated birthday, Lenny. :)

It's amazing the gifts the rich and famous give to their kids. And, Hilary, I love your title: GrandBlogMom.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mary - Lenny is cool, and obviously Mr Walter was cool too: the museum is not going anywhere!

@ JJ - I think Lenny had a very happy day. I enjoy seeing specimens that have been lost ... and the range of evolution that's occurred. But we really do need to protect live critters and their habitats.

@ Inger - good to see you .. he had a delicious Mexican meal in the evening so he was happy! Zebras in the park - make an interesting vision, don't they ...

@ Susan - thank you, Lenny will be happy with the extra wishes ... GrandBlogMom is a good name isn't it .. I was honoured to be 'knighted' with it!!

It looks like Rothschild parents knew their son well .. he never left his passionate course - and thank goodness for that - as we have these specimens for the record and for research purposes ..

Cheers and thanks so much to you all for coming by for Lenny's special day .. Hilary

Amanda Trought said...

Send my best wishes for a grand birthday with all the trimmings. Lionel certainly did keep an amazing collection, some of the animals I have never heard of such as the rheas, and cassowaries but will have to look them up, thanks for another informative post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amanda .. thanks so much - I hope he'll have a great weekend and I know Lenny is going to enjoy re-reading all the birthday posts for him ...

Perhaps you can get out to the Museum someday - Tring isn't so far?!

Cheers and take care - have a happy weekend - Hilary

Julia Hones said...

Happy birthday to Lenny!
I would love to check that amazing collection of butterflies!
What a great selection of pictures, by the way. Thank you for sharing it, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julia ... I expect he'll have a fun weekend - though no doubt his fingers will be typing away at thank you notes!

Your daughter would love to visit too ... and the butterfly collection is extraordinary ... delighted the pictures gave some idea.

Cheers Hilary

Cathrina Constantine said...

Happy Birthday to Lenny! And Happy Halloween, Hilary!! Great Post!!!! I'd like to live in the gatehouse!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Cathrina ... good to hear from you .. and I'm glad you enjoyed the Gate House in my Cluedo answer post ..

Cheers Hilary