That Royal purveyor of asses’ milk

“Who was the purveyor of asses’ milk referred to in that sign?” inquires investigator Ernie Leighton, referring to a recent post about old London signs. The answer, as describe in Littell’s Living Age, volume 100:

Mrs. Dawkins, Purveyor of Asses’ milk to the Royal Family : 66, Bolsover Street, New Road. Mrs. Dawkins enjoyed a monopoly in her profession, being the one only person in all London who dealt in asses’ milk. The donkeys were brought from the Regent’s Park to underground stables, where they were milked. The milk was sent in all directions in bottles, many bottles having to travel by rail. I took a bottle, and arranged for a donkey and its foal to be sent to me by train the next day. The price of the donkey was five guineas, “the price being lower than usual in consequence of the death of the Duchess of Kent.” I failed to see the extraordinary connection implied in this remark; but it was satisfactorily explained, that, in consequence of that royal personage’s decease, many of Mrs. Dawkins’ aristocratic patrons were not in town. Her claim to be purveyor of asses’ milk to the Royal Family was perfectly well-founded; and so also was that old lady’s at Malvern who announced herself to be sausage-maker to her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent Once a Week.