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Our history

Wood Green, The Animals Charity has seen some exciting changes over the years. Wood Green Traditional Sepia Image 2Here are some key events that have shaped our history.

Our beginnings, London Centre

In 1924, Miss Louisa Snow opened the first centre in a small house in Lordship Lane, North London. She was concerned at the large number of abandoned and injured animals on the streets of London following the First World War.

Dr. Margaret Young became involved with the Charity in 1933 and changed its aims to rescuing and re-homing these unwanted animals and giving them a rightfully deserved second chance in life.

The Charity grows: Heydon Centre

Heydon Charity ShopAs the years passed, the London Centre could no longer cope with the increasing number of animals being brought through its doors so a small pig farm in Heydon, Hertfordshire was purchased in 1954, allowing the Charity to accommodate the increasing numbers of dogs and cats being brought in.

A third Centre is bought: Godmanchester

site photoThe demands on the Charity continued to grow and 52 acres of Cambridgeshire farmland was purchased in order to further expand our work. The Godmanchester Centre was officially opened in 1987 and is the Charity's headquarters. The site has become one of the largest animal rehoming centres in Europe and boasts modern facilities for the care of dogs, cats, small and field animals.

A decade with Wood Green

The Charity continues to care for and rehome over 5,000 animals, and since 2008 this has also included ex-caged hens. 2008 also saw the introduction of the Charity's 'Hands On' project, which aims to teach responsible pet ownership and to support pet owners in the community.

Heydon CentreThe London and Heydon Centres have both been refurbished and improved to help promote the health and wellbeing of the animals in our care which also aids their chance of finding a new home.

To help support the needs of the field animals that come into our care, September 2009 saw the opening of a new purpose built goat barn to temporarily house ponies, goats, sheep and ex-caged hens allowing us to help more animals and use the old stable yard as an intake isolation area.

In June 2011, the Charity changed its name from Wood Green Animals Shelters to Wood Green, The Animals Charity to reflect its progressive, modern nature. A new logo, brand identity and website were launched to reflect this change.

2012 saw the completion of major building works at our Godmanchester Centre to provide a new veterinary surgery and kennels blocks. The old surgery unit, intake and isolation kennels were built over 25 years ago and were no longer fit for purpose. The new ones, along with a new puppy block are state-of-the-art in design and provide a clean, bright and spacious environment, enabling the charity to meet the highest standards of care for the hundreds of sick and injured animals that come through our doors each year.Huntingdonshire 20130201 00250

The Charity continued improving its ‘green’ credentials through the construction of a new, more efficient wind turbine at its Headquarters in Godmanchester.

The new turbine is 102 metres high (to the tip of the blade) with an output of 500kwph. The electricity generated will directly power the Godmanchester Centre, and the savings made will allow us to spend more on looking after the animals in our care. With a new turbine, supported by other forms of renewable energy such as solar and photovoltaic panels, Wood Green aims to be self-sufficient in energy by 2015.

In early 2013 we won the accolade of Best Business Environmental Project in the Green Heart Community Awards. Organised by Huntingdonshire District Council in partnership with the News and Crier, the awards recognise the businesses, groups and individuals who are making a real change to their environment by reducing their environmental footprint. You can read all about the environmental projects we have undertaken here.

Wood Green  in Northampton

Bee Hive 1In early 2014 we officially started rehoming small animals from a new centre at The Bee Hive in Northamptonshire. This exciting new project brought a 'responsible pet ownership' course to the students of The Bee Hive, a new enlightened vocational centre for severe learning disabled students. 

A recent review reflecting on our two years’ work at the Bee Hive has concluded that going forward Wood Green is not in a position to support the Bee Hive students to the level needed and, at the same time, deliver its own charitable objectives to level it wanted.  Consequently, it is with immense disappointment that we announced the decision to close the Northampton Centre at the Bee Hive as of 14th February 2016.

We are proud to have developed many positive relationships within the Northampton community and the difference we have made in the region. Consequently, working in the Northampton area will continue to be a point of consideration in our future plans.

Looking to the future...

Wood Green continues to work with other organisations with similar aims. In partnership with Cats Protection a joint neutering scheme in London and Cambridgeshire called 'Snip and Chip' continues. It also continues its vital work supporting Assissi Animals Sanctuary in Bangor, Northern Ireland and the Dog Action Welfare Group in Cork in the Republic of Ireland by offering training and expert guidance from experienced staff.