The World War Zoo Gardens Project in graphic form

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

A few close ups of the lovely World War Zoo Garden sign / graphic (c. 2011) designed by Stewart Muir and myself (Mark Norris) at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall working with graphic designer Michelle Turton (Studio 71).

As I can’t spend all day chatting over the garden fence to visitors about this project, Stewart Muir  (Director of Living Collections – plants and animals at Living Coasts, Paignton & Newquay Zoos) thought that a simple sign should tell the recreated allotment garden’s story. We wanted a sign that would all year round, in all weathers,  tell the story behind the wartime garden project to our visitors. Its prime spot on a bashed old lawn corner next to our African Lion Enclosure means it gets lots of footfall and comment.

One design idea was to use scanned ‘evacuee tags’  (obtainable from any office supplier) for caption backgrounds.

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

All the images are from items in Newquay Zoo’s wartime life collection and a few from Mark’s family archive!

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

The allotment is a real talking point – and a smelly, tactile multi-sensory exhibit that grows valuable fresh enrichment veg, fruit, flowers and herbs for keepers to use with animals.

We wanted to pick out some of the contemporary parallels between the 1940s and the present and future – recycling, food imports  …

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Rationing and resource shortages was one major stimulus to developing the wartime garden project – how did the animals survive in wartime zoos without ration books?

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Fabulous pictures here (below bottom three) from a 1939 Zoo and Animal Magazine showing London Zoo and Whipsnade’s wartime preparations, (top right) my  junkshop photo / postcard find of a very well dressed and proud dig for victory garden effort ‘somewhere in Britain’ and (top left) one of my family photos with my child evacuee mum (left) haymaking in Sussex for the war effort.

Shortly after the picture was taken my mum  was strafed or machine-gunned  by a ‘tip and run’ German aircraft, surviving like the other children by diving into the haystack behind them!

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

The link between our wartime sister zoo at Paignton and Chessington Zoo is briefly mentioned on the Evacuation section.

An Old Maid / Happy Families Wartime card game image of a WLA Land Girl adds period detail.

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Critically Endangered Sulawesi Black crested macaque monkey photographed by zoo volunteer Jackie Noble, showing him ‘podding’ and eating broad beans fresh from our wartime garden produce

(below) two baby warty piglets and mum, the world’s rarest wild pigs, Visayan Warty Pigs from the Philippines (also Critically Endangered) tucking into fresh leeks from our wartime garden allotment.

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Summarising our whole project onto seven short ‘evacuee’ tag captions was difficult.

We also use other simpler temporary A4 signs to highlight different or topical aspects of the garden, such as its memorial function for zoo staff of all nations …

A small memorial at Newquay Zoo to the many zoo keepers, families and visitors worldwide who have been affected by wartime since 1914 (Image: World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

The centrepiece sign amongst the flowers – A small memorial at Newquay Zoo to the many zoo keepers, families and visitors worldwide who have been affected by wartime since 1914 (Image: World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

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Two simple A4 trail signs placed around the zoo and in the small wartime garden plot, part of a visitor and schools trail mounted for special occasions and ‘wartime zoo’ primary school history workshops.

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.A ‘barn find’ rusting but still serviceable wartime Stirrup or fire pump (based on prewar garden sprayer designs and snapped up as wartime surplus postwar by gardeners) amid this year’s centennial poppies.

More poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

More poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, U

World War Zoo Gardens  Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Getting ready for winter and 2016 planting in the World War Zoo Gardens plot, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Some of the images and scanned objects on our graphics sign are on temporary and changing display in our Tropical House display cabinet about the wartime garden project and wartime life in both WW1 and WW2.

Display case of wartime memorabilia, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo

A small selection of WW1 items on display alongside our usual WW2 material, display case, Tropical House, Newquay Zoo.

A small selection of WW1 items on display alongside our usual WW2 material, display case, Tropical House, Newquay Zoo.

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