And coming right up to contemporary times, it was announced in July 2016 that a new mouser had been appointed for the Treasury.

Eighteen-month-old Gladstone (left), an all-black former stray from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was kept inside for his first few weeks and quickly made himself at home.

He made great friends with the staff, who keep him supplied with his needs; and he can be tracked with an app which means that people can check on their phone at any time to see where he is!

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Our photo outside 10 Downing Street, taken from undated newsreel footage but probably around the time of the outbreak of war, may show the Mouser, but we're unable to confirm that; another possibility is that it's Nelson, one of Churchill's own cats, who was black and did spend some time at No. At some point there was also Emily of the Home Office, apparently picked up in the street by a charwoman, but who became so wise and engaging that she always sat in at conferences with the Home Secretary.

Later there were several Home Office cats called Peter, or Peta (see separate page).

-click thumbnails for enlargements (Java Script should be enabled), but please allow all images to load before doing so, or some may not display (if this happens, use Refresh from your toolbar to reload the page) There is a history of resident cats in the British 'corridors of power', including the prime minister's residence, the War Office, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury, dating as far back as the time of Henry VIII, when Cardinal Wolsey was his Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The National Archives apparently has files dating from the 1920s from the Cabinet Office, the Cabinet War Rooms (where one mouser was called Jumbo), the Treasury and the Home Office with details about the appointment and subsistence allowances for various 'Chief Mousers'.

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Bill himself is said to have taken matters into his own paws, and finding the door to the Chancellor's office ajar one day he walked in and exercised some of those blandishments that cats know so well how to use to get their way.

Chancellor Philip Snowden — a man noted for his tight-fisted guardianship of public funds — looked at Rufus, and softened.

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One former Treasury cat was called Smokey, while a fine 'marmalade' tom rejoicing in the name of Rufus of England, later became better known as Treasury Bill; he served under Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald from about 1924 and was a formidable mouser and ratter.