The Times We Lived In: Here’s looking at you, kid

Published: July 21st, 1955

Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 01:00

Pets’ Corner, you say? Shouldn’t that be Kids’ Corner?

The young goat in our photograph, taken at Dublin Zoo in the summer of 1955, has obviously decided that instead of looking cute for the visitors and their cameras, it’s going to take a hand-on approach to the curious creature in the perambulator.

How does this thing work, then, you can almost hear it thinking. Or maybe it reckons that the conveyance would be more suitable for a kid than a child, the padding and creature comforts of today’s luxury pushchairs being conspicuously absent.

It’s one of those photos which make you long to know what happened next. It’s also one of those photos which tell a double tale, presenting not just the amiable encounter between human and animal, but a variety of reactions among the onlookers – a picture in themselves.

At the left of the image is a smiling man. The boy in shorts, possibly the toddler’s brother, and the woman with glasses standing way at the back and fourth from the right (fifth if you count the jaunty leg and foot whose owner, sadly, can’t be seen in the shot) are also amused.

The child in the pushchair appears to be totally uninterested in what’s going on, his back turned resolutely to – well, to everything.

Meanwhile, from the consternation writ large on the faces of the two jodphur-wearing women in the right foreground, presumably zoo employees, you might imagine that a ferocious predator is on the loose in pets’ corner, rather than a sweet-looking little kid.

Health and safety issues; they never change.

Pets’ Corner, by contrast, has morphed into Family Farm, a space at Dublin Zoo where, in this International Year of Family Farming, children can learn that milk comes from cows, not cartons. And act the goat a bit too, if they want to.

– Arminta Wallace This and other photographs from The Irish Times can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales

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