Wartime Make Do and Mend meets modern Zero Waste living

January 21, 2021

Make Do and Mend – Zero Waste Living | Canadian War Museum

An interesting zoom talk coming up in the next week, linking wartime salvage with modren zero waste living

Wartime Zoo WW2 Wild at Home activities for Lockdown 3

January 7, 2021

Wild at home education activities (newquayzoo.org.uk)

Like many of you now during Lockdown 3, I am working from home whilst Newquay Zoo is closed to visitors – check our website for news on reopening. So sadly I am not yet digging the garden over yet to clear it from last year and getting it ready for sowing for the spring growing season. Fresh veg, flowers and herbs for the animals – and the local pollinators and other bug life!

Meanwhile enjoy the three WW2 activity pages on Wild at Home – cookery recipes and curious WW2 history facts and links – alongside lots of other fun craft at home / home schooling ideas.

Lots of interesting history and gardening images on the blog stretching back 10 years and covering WW1, WW2 and zoos now and in the future.

We are also working on an online / digital outreach schools talk for spring 2021 on what we can learn for the future on how Zoos survived WW2. Watch this space!

Blog post by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Education, 7 January 2021.

Paris Zoo 1870 – Eating the Elephants during the Franco Prussian War

December 1, 2020

Passed on to me by a friend an image of the destructiveness of war on the civilian and zoo population of Paris – from Warfare in the Age of Steam: On this day 150 years ago (1815-1918.blogspot.com)

Castor and Pollux (elephants) – Wikipedia

On this day 150 years ago Siege of Paris 1870

From our Wikipedia source: “So, by the end of 1870, the butchers turned their attention to the animals of the zoos. The medium and large sized herbivores, such as the antelopecamelsdeerkangarooyaks and zebra were first to be killed. Some animals survived: the monkeys were thought to be too akin to humans to be killed, the lions and tigers were too dangerous, and the hippopotamus of the Jardin des Plantes also escaped because the price of 80,000 francs demanded for it was beyond the reach of any of the butchers” …

Posted by Mark Norris World War Zoo Gardens Project 30 Novembre 2020

Remembrance and Poppy Day in the wartime zoo garden 2020

November 7, 2020

Remembrance 2020

I have recently returned to work at Newquay Zoo after months of furlough and pandemic lockdown. Sadly I have not had the time to tend our World War Zoo Garden project until now. It has had its own Lost Gardens of Heligan and The Secret Garden moment this year.

What surprised was this timely poppy remembering all the zoo staff and botanic gardens staff who did not return to tend their gardens.

Remember …

Want to know more? Please look through over ten years of blog posts for how zoos and botanic gardens were affected by wartime.

Blog post by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo, World War Zoo Gardens research project, 7th November 2020 – for Remembrance Sunday 8th and Armistice Day 11th November

Please note that Newquay Zoo is closed to visitors during the November Lockdown 2020


Remembering Chessington Zoo bombed 2 October 1940 London Blitz WW2

October 2, 2020


Blog posted by Mark Norris, October 2nd 2020 World War Zoo Gardens project (Newquay Zoo)

Remembering London Zoo in the Blitz 26-27 September 1940

September 26, 2020

Remembering London Zoo in the Blitz 26-27 September 1940

Remembering the London Blitz 80 years on from September and October 1940

September 8, 2020

Remembering London in The Blitz 80 Years on …

Remembering London Zoo in the Blitz 26-27 September 1940

Remembering Chessington Zoo bombed 2 October 1940

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project (Newquay Zoo)

VJ Day 75 on 15th August 1945 2020

August 15, 2020

VE day badge

VJ Day – A day to be thankful and thoughtful 

This is what I wrote on VJ Day 70 in 2015



Remembering the zoo and botanic garden staff who were FE POWs (Far East Prisoners of War) https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/remembering-zookeeper-and-gardener-far-east-pows-70-years-on-2015/

More about VJ Day 1945:



Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, VJ Day 75, 15th August 2020.

The Battle of Britain and the Blitz Summer 1940 seen through a schoolgirl’s diary

August 14, 2020

Battle of Britain and the Blitz Summer 1940

Crossposted from our sister blog WW2 Home Front Diaries https://ww2homefrontdiaries.wordpress.com


Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.


Photo: believed to be the diarist Peggy Jane Skinner c. 1943 and her 1943 Diary.

Peggy Jane Skinner’s wartime schoolgirl June 1940 Diary

June 21, 2020

Dunkirk evacuation, the Fall of France and school exams, dances and sports day in the heat – Peggy Skinner’s wartime diary for  June 1940.

Peggy Skinner (1924-2011) is a 14-15 year old London schoolgirl at school in Scotland.

Read more at:



Believed to be Peggy Jane Skinner’s photograph in her 1943 diary. complete.


Background events of June 1940 and Peggy’s diary entries
10 June 1940 – Italy declares war on the Allies. German occupation of Norway complete.

Peggy’s dairy Tuesday 11th June 1940 – Nice early on today but very cloudy and dull later on. The news is very black now with I [Italy] against us, but we’ll win.

14 June 1940 – German troops enter Paris.

16 June 1940 – French leader Marshal Petain proposes Armistice with Germany.

17 June 1940 – Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech.

18 June 1940 – De Gaulle broadcasts his ‘Free French’ speech from exile in Britain, urging French forces and civilians to resist and fight on.

22 June 1940 – French Armistice with Germany, France split into German occupied North and ‘free’ South and colonies under the Vichy French puppet government.

Peggy’s Diary – Sunday 23rd June 1940 – Went to church and Bible Class, for walk with Isabel in the evening. Things that have [been] brightening up are now getting worse again after awful Fr[ench] Armistice with Ger[many].
Peggy’s Diary – Monday 24th June 1940 – I think Dad is going to have Mick and I evacuated overseas and I do not want to go. I do not think any of my friends are going.

Several Commonwealth and Allied countries such as Canada, Australia and America took overseas child evacuees under a Government scheme (CORB). This was shut down when a children’s evacuee scheme ship, SS City of Benares, was torpedoed by a German submarine with much loss of life amongst children and adults.

30 June 1940 Channel Islands invaded by Germany.

Heavy Allied shipping losses to U boat submarine warfare throughout June, 350,000 tonnes Allied shipping sunk.

Previous month May 1940 – Norway, Churchill, Dunkirk  etc  https://ww2homefrontdiaries.wordpress.com/peggy-jane-skinners-may-1940-diary/

Next month July 1940 – the first bombs dropped in her area of Clydeside / Glasgow and many air raid warnings.


Blog posted 80 Years on by Mark Norris, ww2homefrontdiaries collection 19 June 1940.



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