Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Southsea and Ryde Collecting Dog “Brake” – March 2008

“The Unpaid Collector”
“The Unpaid Collector”

The Following article was extracted from the PENNY ILLUSTRATED PAPER dated 20 December 1884

“Brake” has for some years been a famous public character on the steam-boat pier at Southsea, whence passengers for the Isle of Wight cross over to Ryde. “Brake” belongs to Mr. Curtiss, a furniture-remover doing business at Portsmouth and Ryde. This dog was reared by a lady residing at Southsea, but some time ago was falsely accused, as all the neighbours think, of having attempted to bite a boy. The lady was persuaded to give up her dog to be killed, when Mr. Curtiss heard of it and, and disbelieving the dog’s guilt, saved Brake’s life. He took the dog away to the Isle of Wight, where, on account of its remarkable intelligence, docility, and aptitude to learn almost any kind of trick, it became a great favourite. Subsequently Mr. Curtiss decided to provide for it a brass collar and box, and set it to work on the boats and pier to collect small amounts to relieve cases of sickness or misfortune that arose through accident, in connection with the joint railway service at Ryde or Portsmouth. Mrs. Curtiss kindly took charge of the dog, and it has accompanied her when she has gone on the pier or steam-boats. We learn that in thirty-one weeks ending July 7, 1883, the time the dog had worn the collar and box, it collected £31.7s.6d., an account of which has been published. The money has been given to the fund for widows and children bereaved, and for railway servants disabled by accidents in working the railway, to the widows and children of seamen, and to seamen disabled or sick, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, the Isle of Wight Infirmary, and Portsea Hospital.

Our Illustration of “the Unpaid Collector” is from a photograph by Mr F N Broderick, jun., of Ryde.