YESTERDAY-OLDFAV1An early object of the charity was to provide a home for “Old Favourites,” giving them in return for a remunerative charge a pleasant home and every comfort and attention during their declining years.”

In 1916 the charity temporarily stopped admitting Old Favourites due to the continued increase in price of forage during WWI. The cost of oats increased from 23s to 39s, and hay increased from £3 19s to £5 15s. Admissions were resumed in 1919 only to be suspended  once more in 1943. The effects of rationing were so severe that Old Favourites could not be admitted again until 1951, 6 years after the end of WWII.


YESTERDAY-OLDFAV-2RESIDENTS.jpgThese Old Favourites included War Horses whose Officers paid for them to enjoy a peaceful retirement when they returned from the battlefield. One such Old Favourite was Holly, a grey German charger captured in Italy at the end of the war. She was admitted after several years useful riding school work in this country. “The owner having stated that Holly was extremely nervous of explosions caused the Secretary and his wife to take turns at visiting the mare’s box on the fifth of November.”

Many horses like Holly were ‘sold down the chain’ being passed from owner to owner as they became older or were injured and their value declined. Sadly, some of these horses ended up being neglected or overworked as a result. A story that is still all too common today. For the lucky few a kind owner paid for them to enjoy a gentle retirement at The Home of Rest for Horses.



The plight of these horses reminds us of Captain in Black Beauty - A former army horse who loses his beloved master in the Charge of the Light Brigade. He becomes a cab horse, where he works with Black Beauty. After he is injured due to a collision with a drunk driver his owner Jerry has him put to sleep as it is kinder than sending him to work as a cart horse.

Two Examples of Old Favourites 

“Old Favourite, “Beauty,” was discovered in May, 1925, by her present owner pulling a furniture van in the Marylebone Road. As he appeared very much overworked and there was a suspicion that he was lame from ringbone, the owner was approached, and Mr.H.H. Sparks succeeded in buying him and getting him transported to the Home of Rest for Horses in December, 1929.”


“Barney” was purchased at the age of seven by the present owners, the Misses Thompson, from a lady riding teacher at Bexhill, who said she had bought him from an M.F.H. in the Midlands, where his early life was spent in the hunting field. “Barney” took very kindly to harness and gave his present owners several enjoyable driving tours besides carrying M.E.H. Thompson hundreds of miles. From 1916 – 1919 “Barney” did a great deal of work for the Bromley (Kent) War Hospital Supply Dept. doing most of their fetching and carrying, in recognition of which he was granted by the Ministry of Food, under the horses (Rationing) Order No. 439 a ration allowance of 4lbs. of corn per day. When the Misses Thompson came to reside in London and, as they had become greatly attached to him, a home for “Barney” was found at Westcroft Farm.”


All of today's residents are our favourites, the Police horses retired after years of public service, the Military horses who gave so much to the country and those rescued from appalling mistreatment. While you may not be able to provide them with the specialist care and attention they need at this time of their lives you can help us to provide that for them by sponsoring your very own Old Favourite.