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The Full Story

The Crocodile at D'Oyly Carte Island 

D’Oyly Carte Island was the weekend retreat for many of D’Oyly’s famous hotel guests and clients, among them, JM Barrie who is best remembered as the creator of Peter Pan. The island had its own pet crocodile (a possible inspiration for JM Barrie) and when it escaped, Richard D'Oyly Carte offered a £250 reward (in todays money) for the return of his “harmless pet”. The house remembers the pet crocodile with a wooden replica housed in one of the window alcoves at the front of the house. 

1Crocodile St James Gazette 10071897.png
1Crocodile St James Gazette 10071897.png


In the Victorian era, the rich and the famous where known to have exotic pets, Richard D'Oyly Carte owned a 2 foot long crocodile on D'Oyly carte island.

In mid June 1897 the crocodile escaped from the island and was reported to been seen disporting itself. D'Oyly Carte offered a reward for capturing and returning the crocodile, just £250 (in todays money).

After an estimated 20-30 days later, the crocodile was captured in a net and it was returned to Richard D'Oyly Carte on D'Oyly Carte Island.

This was covered on the evening newspaper St James Gazette as seen on the left.

1Crocodile St James Gazette 10071897.png

How it Links to JM Barrie and Peter Pan

Richard D'Oyly Carte's House on the D'Oyly Carte island was used to house hotel guests and clients. Among them, JM Barrie a Scottish Novelist and Playwright was a common guest at the D'Oyly Carte Residency. Richard D'Oyly Carte owned a pet crocodile that lived on the island, when it escaped, D'Oyly Carte got a wooden sculpture of the crocodile made and it was housed in one of the window alcoves at the front of the house. Having been around Crocodiles for a while, it can be fairly assumed that the crocodiles may have inspired Barrie and it was incorporated into Peter Pan.


The Crocodile Enclosure

The enclosure that housed the crocodile is located at the rear of the island, behind the back garden, the step (seen on the picture to the left) is what the crocodile would have used to enter and exit the enclosure.

The pond (enclosure) is not in good condition as seen in the picture, like the house, the pond is going to be refurbished and restored to accommodate crocodiles in the future although plans to have crocodiles here have not been decided.

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