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Dick Whittington

A medieval Lord Mayor of London and his famous cat are remembered in rural Gloucestershire.

News 1959 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


The story of povery stricken Dick Whittington travelling to London with a cat and finding fame and fortune has, like so many myths, some basis in truth. Richard Whittington was born at Pauntley in Gloucestershire in the 1350s and became Lord Mayor of London four times. His importance to the city was marked in 1959, approximately 600 years after his birth, when Harold Gillett, the Lord Mayor of London at the time, unveiled a plaque at Pauntley .

The editor of ATV's magazine programme Midland Montage must have thought that the plaque unveiling was not visually exciting enough, so played up the pantomime tradition by incorporating a member of the production team in a cat costume. The cat had been part of the legend of Dick Whittington since the early 1600s, as had his more humble origin (Richard was from a well-to-do Gloucestershire family). Both embellishments were added to the Dick W. story nearly two hundred years after his actual death.