Wool - gatherer of a practical and businesslike type is PEGGY BUDD of Hainault , Essex , seen with a pile of fleeces from the newly -shorn sheep ( some are in the background ) in Hyde Park , London. 14 May 1949. TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

By Mark McConville

 

INCREDIBLE images have revealed the seemingly BAA-rmy time from the not-too-distant past when FLOCKS OF SHEEP roamed Hyde Park in Central London.

Not a merry Christmas for the Hyde Park sheep. Sheep which have been contentedly grazing in Hyde Park are leaving their urban pasture to provide Christmas fare for an Essex butcher. Photo shows , the sheep being loaded in Hyde Park . 29 November 1935.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

Stunning pictures, revealed by the website Retronaut, show wool gatherer Peggy Budd of Hainault, Essex with a pile of fleeces from the newly-shorn sheep in Hyde Park in 1949, a shepherd observing the two minutes silence for Armistice Day in 1933 and sheep being loaded into trucks to provide Christmas fare for an Essex butcher in 1935.

A flock of Highland sheep arrived in Hyde Park today to graze during the summer. United Kingdom 1929.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

Other striking shots show Hyde Park’s 500 sheep being shorn in full view of the public on Buck hill by four Welsh shearers in 1936, and a detachment of land-girls assisting in the annual shearing of the sheep for the first time in 1940.

Armistice Day. The Hyde Park shepherd observes the two minutes silence with his sheep dog and flock of sheep. 1933.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

The Hyde Park flock, which surprised strangers in London by introducing a rustic touch to the heart of the capital, fulfilled a double mission by assisting Britain’s production drive and keeping the grass clipped.

Armistice Day. The Hyde Park shepherd observes the two minutes silence with his sheep dog and flock of sheep. 1933.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

In the 1920s and 1930s, sheep were routinely introduced into London parks to keep the grass under control and reduce mowing costs.

A policeman looks on, 9 june 1962.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

Shepherds competed for the privilege of grazing their flocks on Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Clapham Common and other pastures around the city.

Wool – gatherer of a practical and businesslike type is PEGGY BUDD of Hainault , Essex , seen with a pile of fleeces from the newly -shorn sheep ( some are in the background ) in Hyde Park , London. 14 May 1949.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

George Donald once brought his flock all the way down from Aberdeen, Scotland. Considering the difficulty involved in transporting hundreds of sheep over 500 miles, this caused a bit of consternation in Parliament. Sir Harry Brittain asked, “Were not any English sheep available?”

Wool – gatherer of a practical and businesslike type is PEGGY BUDD of Hainault , Essex , seen with a pile of fleeces from the newly -shorn sheep ( some are in the background ) in Hyde Park , London. 14 May 1949.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

 

Though these woolly lawnmowers were eventually barred from grazing in the city in the late 1950s, they have recently experienced a resurgence. In 2010, sheep were introduced to Hampstead Heath as an eco-friendly alternative to machine mowing.

For the first time a detchment of land-girls assisted in the annual shearing of the sheep which use Hyde Park as a grazing ground. There are 525 sheep in the flock and mechanical clippers are used during the operation. Photo Shows: Land-girls with shorn and unshorn sheep at the clipping. United Kingdom 1940.
TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumimages.com

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