Dog Tread Wheel at No.1 Royal Crescent

Contributed by Bath Preservation Trust

Dog Tread Wheel at No.1 Royal Crescent

The Dog Wheel at No.1 shows how these animals were used in the kitchen.

Country Life, August 1952: DOGS AT THE TREAD WHEEL,BY J.D.U. WARD
On at least one Carnarvonshire farm a dog was employed to churn butter as recently as 1941. It would be interesting to know whether this use of dogs has survived the war, butter rationing and other various hostile regulations. The employment of churn dogs has, of course, been long illegal and there are thus difficulties about getting precise information. But within the present century considerable numbers of Welsh farmers have turned a blind eye to the law.

It is not easy to decide how far the use of dogs to tread wheels is inhumane - and dog lovers will doubtless recall that farmers in general have no very good reputation where the feeding and tending of their dogs is concerned. Dogs seem to have reacted in different ways to the drudgery of the wheel. Of some I have heard that unless they were locked up on the day before churning they would hide or make off, sometimes to a distance of 10 miles. Others seem to have been fond or proud of their work: doubtless the prospect of a dish of buttermilk at the end of the stint was held in mind.

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