A forensic scientist is aiming to crack the mystery disappearance of Huddersfield Ben.
Huddersfield Ben is said to be the father of the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
Ben died in 1871 and his taxidermied remains were reputedly on display in Tolson Museum at Moldgreen until the 1990s when he disappeared. However, the museum says there is “no evidence” of that.
Ben hasn’t been located since and, such is his historical significance in the world of dog breeding, many museums would love to have him as part of their exhibitions.
Now Katie Addinall, a lecturer in forensics at the University of Huddersfield, will explore how today’s cutting edge forensic science could have been used to investigate Ben’s disappearance.
Katie (below) is to give a talk at the Tolson Museum where she will also offer a glimpse into the future of forensic science.
Ben was born in 1865 and belonged to a Mr and Mrs Foster, of Bradford. Ben was a successful show dog and won no fewer than 74 prizes at dog shows and ratting competitions.
Sadly, Ben died when he was struck by a carriage at the age of six. His body was then preserved, placed in a glass case and put on public display. It’s thought there are as many as two million Yorkshire Terriers worldwide and they are all descended from this one dog.
Between the wars Ben was believed to have been on display in a pub somewhere in the North of England.
Tolson Museum houses a weird and wonderful mix of Huddersfield artefacts including the Tolson Half Pig. However, the museum says it has “no evidence” that Huddersfield Ben was ever part of its collection or was even on display there.
An appeal for information on the current whereabouts of Ben was launched last September by Pets4Homes but to no avail.
At the time Bryan Cummins PhD, author of The Terriers of England and Wales, said: “In the history of purebred dogs, few have had such a profound impact on their breed as Huddersfield Ben, the ‘founding father of the Yorkshire Terrier.’
“He is important for several reasons, perhaps the most significant of which is that he established what breeders call the ‘type’ for the modern Yorkie.
“Ben is important not only in Yorkshire Terrier history and purebred dog history but in British and human history.”
Can Katie help crack the case or shed new light on a Huddersfield mystery?
‘Glimpsing the Future: the Case of Huddersfield Ben’ is on Tuesday June 20 at 6pm at Tolson Museum.
Tickets are free but advance booking is essential as places are limited. Bookings can be made HERE.