BRITAIN loves to think of itself as a nation of animal lovers – and, as I discovered this week this compassion goes back a long way.
A short walk from Daily Express HQ, in the claret and cream surroundings of Leadenhall Market, is a plaque that shows that Brits have long had a soft spot for our feathered friends.
It tells the tale of Old Tom, who arrived from Ostend in Belgium, to be embraced by Londoners as one of their own.
Yet Tom chose the wrong place to come to live.
He was a goose and Leadenhall Market, once owned by Dick Whittington, was a poultry market.
By going there in the 1820s Tom put his neck on the line. But he lived to be 38 and became such a celebrity that when he died in 1835 he got his own front page obituary.