On this day in 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:
“[A]fter dinner, with my wife and Mercer to the Beare-garden [in Southwark], where I have not been, I think, of many years, and saw some good sport of the bull’s tossing of the dogs: one into the very boxes. But it is a very rude and nasty pleasure”.
The old animal-baiting arenas on Bankside in Southwark eventually closed down in the later seventeeth century, although at the same time new ones opened up Hockley-in-the-Hole in Clerkenwell, “the home of low-caste sport”. Animal-baiting was only finally outlawed, under the “Cruelty to Animals Act”, in the early nineteenth century, in 1835.