The wonderful story of a village that adopted a Gorilla which then went to school to learn and drank cider with locals has been told.
The story was published on Sun UK:
The incredible story of a cider-swilling gorilla adopted by a sleepy English village has been brought to light for the first time.
John Daniel played with local children, went to school and even enjoyed cups of tea while living in Uley, Gloucestershire.
The ape was carted around by kids in a wheelbarrow, ate roses from gardens and hung out with the local cobbler as he repaired shoes.
John Daniel was adopted by the village after he was captured as a baby in Gabon when his parents were shot by French officers.
The lowland gorilla was on sale at London department store Derry & Toms when he was bought by Major Rupert Penny for £300 – now around £25,000.
John Daniel was nicknamed ‘Sultan’ when he lived with the Major’s sister Alyce Cunningham.
She raised him as a normal boy in the village and he regularly used to go for walks with children of the Uley Junior School.
Sadly, his adoptive owners were later tricked into selling him to a circus and he moved to America where he died pining for Alyce.
Incredible photos showing the gorilla during his time in the village have now been brought to light for the first time by Uley Society archivist Margaret Groom.
Margaret a grandmother-of-three, said: “He grew up in the village with the school children. They were exceptionally fond of John Daniel.
“We have a file in the archives with all these photos in. I think they were collected by people in the village at that time.
“Until recently we had people that remembered him walking around the village with the children. He used to go into gardens and eat the roses.
“The children used to push him around in a wheelbarrow. He knew which house was good for cider, and would often go to that house to draw a mug of cider.
“He was also fascinated by the village cobbler, and would watch him repairing shoes.
“He had his own bedroom, he could use the light switch and toilet, he made his own bed and helped with the washing up.”
Local resident Kathryn Talboy lives in Uley and remembers her family talking about John.
She said: “Our family lived in Uley until the 1950s.
”I remember my great aunty, Dolly Cornford telling me the sad story of John Daniel and her memories of him in the village.”
Alyce would take John to her London home in Sloane Street, where he would attend glitzy VIP dinner parties.
But after three years, the gorilla grew from a manageable 32lb infant to a colossal 210lb gorilla and Alyce couldn’t look after him anymore.
She sold him to an American in 1921 for a thousand guineas believing that he would be sent to a home in Florida.
But she was deceived and instead he fell into the hands of Barnum and Baileys circus.
The gorilla’s health deteriorated while he was being displayed at Madison Square Garden zoo because he was pining for his adoptive mum.
An urgent message was sent to her from the zoo which read: “John Daniel pinning and grieving for you.
“Can you not come at once? Needless to say we will deem it a privilege to pay all your expense, Answer at once.”
Alyce set sail immediately, but John Daniel died of pneumonia before she arrived aged four and a half years old. His body was stuffed and given to the American Museum of Natural History for preservation. He went on display in the New York museum in 1922, where he remains today.
John Daniel is to be the subject of art exhibitions to be held later this year at Prema Arts Centre in Uley.