Leeds 160 Year Old Tiger and it’s 4000 Mile Journey

If you go down to the city today, you’re sure to catch a surprise!

Leeds City Museum has a number of fascinating objects to behold, from 3000 year old mummies, to the complete skeletons of now-extinct birds. However, one of their most intriguing displays is that of a Bengali tiger from the Deyrah Dhoon valley of Northern India. First hunted and killed in 1860 by British Colonel Sir Charles Reid of the Indian Army, the tiger’s skin was brought back to Britain and displayed at the Great London Exposition only two years later.

Following the Exposition, the skin was purchased by William Gott, an art collector local to Leeds who commissioned expert taxidermist Edwin Henry Ward to remount the skin onto an accurately scaled figure to then display at the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

Since first being displayed at the Great London Exposition, rumours about the Leeds Tiger and why it ended up being hunted and killed have been rife. One of the more popular yet unsubstantiated stories spread about the tiger is that it was responsible for the deaths of 40 bullocks in only 6 weeks.

Following the purchase of Philosophical Hall in 1966, the Leeds Tiger was moved into the Leeds City Museum where it has remained ever since, attracting many a visitor and educating all on life in Britain and it’s colonies at the height of the British Empire.