On the 70th anniversary of 1941, the “grimmest year of the war” according to some, I posted the following blogpost about our World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo:
2011 / 2016: We are still hard at work on the wartime diaries project as new diaries come into our collection.
2011 also sadly saw during the 70th anniversary of the dark days of 1941 the death of ‘Betty Turpin’, much loved British soap actress who in the 1940s was better known as wartime singing star Betty Driver:
Rereading these 5 year old blogposts from 2011 is sad in some ways, as David Lowe’s wonderful BBC music nostalgia programmes finished in 2012, still much missed.
1941 was also the year of the Plymouth Blitz where a Newquay AFS fire crew was lost, something to remember in April 2016 on the 75th anniversary. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/the-plymouth-blitz-70-years-on-and-newquays-lost-wartime-afs-firecrew-remembered/
Our Graphics sign for the project produced by Stewart Muir, graphic designer Michelle Turton and myself arraived in 2011. Still looking good five years later and would have been read by hundreds of thousands of people.
2011 was the year of our BIAZA Zoo Gardening award in November: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/world-war-zoo-gardens-at-newquay-zoo-wins-a-zoo-oscar-national-biaza-2011-gardening-award/
2011 also saw me talk about wartime zoos at the Chester Zoo / WAZA / SHNH / Bartlett Society zoo history conference in May 2011, the talk now published as a journal article in the proceedings.
2011 was also the year our wartime garden gnome or ‘Gnome Guard’ disappeared, popped up at Paignton Zoo and did a European zoo tour with postcards home before reappearing one day. Still haven’t found how or who aided and abetted this … https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/one-of-our-gnome-guards-is-missing-from-newquay-zoo/
December 2016 will also see the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the USA into the war on the Allied side. This was marked in 2011 by a topical blogpost on Giant Pandas of all things:
The First World War Centenary was still in the planning in 2011. This year 2016 sees the anniversary of conscription in the UK and the battles of Verdun and the Somme in July 1916.
The Somme and 1916 saw the deaths of several more British zoo keepers and botanic garden staff and no doubt many of their French and German colleagues.
We will post 1916/2016 centenary blogs closer to the time on the effect these battles had on these men and their families and colleagues, not least George Mottershead. George survived a serious disabling injury at the Somme to found Chester Zoo in the 1930s, something celebrated since 2011 in the BBC series “Our Zoo”.
2011 was a busy year of anniversaries and gardening.
Happy New Year for 2016 and thanks for reading.
I wonder what we’ll be looking back on in another 5 years?
Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo