Monkey Band
'Monkey Band at large in Notting Hill 1927' The Serco Prize winner for Illustration 2014! A3 Epson Heavyweight Paper. Signed by the artist
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JUNGLE WEST 11/10 – MONKEYS LOOSE Wild Pranks in Notting Hill 5/1/1927

from Western Star and Roma Advertiser Toowoomba Queensland 1874-1945 Trove digitised newspapers

Thirteen monkeys have played high jinks in Notting Hill W, since they embarked on their hours of glorious liberty. Thieves who broke into the premises of Mr T Murphy, of Latimer Road, made for a large hut which looked like a hen roost. Stealthily they forced the door open, and out rushed—not chickens, but the 13 monkeys, all members of a monkey jazz band, to perform at the World's Christmas Fair at Islington (says the London Daily Chronicle of November 23).

Since then the band has been playing a little game of its own—without music, but led by their bandmaster, Franko. They established themselves beneath the platforms of Latimer Road Metropolitan station, and, using this as a base, various members stole a porter's food, raided a confectioner's and corn chandler's shop, pelted children from the station yard, entered a woman's bedroom, slid down the chimney of a house, raided a horse's nosebag and ate corn sitting on the horse's back, converted the entire staff of the station into an amateur hunt.

Seven of the musicians have since returned home voluntarily because of hunger, two were captured, and one more, Isaacs, said to be "a smart little trumpeter", was seized, but there still remain at large Franko, the bandmaster, Bimbo, a drummer, Snookums, a cymbalist. Bimbo, Snookums, and Isaacs may, perhaps, be dispensed with, but Franko must be found at all costs. Otherwise the band may be conductorless. A reward of £25 has been offered for his capture.

Jennie was seen on top of a wood pile in Mr Murphy’s yard. She rushed into a shed and was found and cornered there while sucking a tobacco pipe. According to the latest reports, Franko, who was undoubtedly the ringleader of most of the musicians' escapades, jumped on the top of a train at Latimer Road, and journeyed to Paddington, since when he has not been seen. He is a black monkey, about two feet in height, with a white neck and is valued by his owner at £100.

Some of the adventures of the jazz desperadoes are best told by interviews with their victims: Mr Clare, com chandler, Bramley Road: Five of them got into my store, and ate 28 lbs of biscuits. Eight of us, including two policemen, caught one, after three hours and after shifting two tons of oats. Then it escaped, arid we spent three and a half hours recapturing it. A Confectioner: One monkey tore down the curtains of my shop window, threw packets of chocolates at two customers, who fled, and broke a pane of glass. He was captured by an old army man, who had been in Singapore, and understood monkeys. A Woman in Mersey Street: I was nursing my baby when the door of the room suddenly opened, and in jumped a monkey. Another Woman was taking tea when she saw a monkey sitting on the dresser. She fainted.

Latimer Road indeed has an endless supply of jungle tales, and Mr Murphy has received evidence of some of them in the shape of claims for damages, including 8/ for damaged crockery and 4/6 for stolen sweets. Bimbo, the drummer of the escaped Monkeys’ Jazz Band, was captured at Rugby. He had obviously taken a train at Latimer Road Station (which the fugitives made their headquarters), changed at Paddington, and entrained for Rugby. Perhaps Bimbo proposed to go to Daventry and broadcast his experiences. First news was received in a telegram from a Rugby hotelkeeper, which read: ‘Monkey captured here this morning after doing considerable damage, for which I expect you to pay. Am sending him passenger to Euston.’

No one met Bimbo at Euston Station, so cold and crestfallen, but struggling vigorously, he was led on a chain to the Parcels Office ‘to be called for’. Later the wife of the owner of the animals, Mrs Murphy hurried to Euston and recognised Bimbo. The recognition was not mutual, however, for Bimbo did not seem to know his mistress and turned his back on her. "Hello, Bimbo, my poor boy, where have you been?" said Mrs Murphy, attempting to take him from the arms of the porter. "Crrrrrrr… –––– –––– er”, muttered Bimbo, fighting and screaming in a last desperate effort to regain his liberty. Finally he became friendly and went off in a taxi. Only two monkeys remain to be captured, Sandy, who is still in the Latimer Road neighbourhood, and Franko, the leader of the troop, who may be anywhere.