Archive for the ‘Newquay Zoo’ Category

A question about wartime big cat keeping

January 31, 2017

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London Life, 28 March 1942

28 March 1942. National magazine London Life reader’s questions page –

 Amateur Zooman writes: “I have got a wartime job as attendant to animals in a small zoo, being unfitted for military service through old war wounds and have been told by my employers that there is only one thing to learn, and that is how to lure the animals safely in and out of their cages, as I have been warned against pushing them with a brush as it makes the big cats angry.

Up until now I haven’t had much success and am wondering if the ‘Brains Trust’ can find out for me some easy ways of luring the big cats back again after their cages have been cleaned?

Unfortunately the man who did the job before me has been called up and not been able to train me. I am absolutely single handed so please help! “

This is an intriguing reader’s letter in wartime 1942  from one of the many older men called in to keep zoos going when younger staff joined up or were conscripted. It could equally have been written by one of the many women who stepped temporarily in to fill keeper posts in wartime.

This untrained keeper or ‘Amateur Zooman’ is interestingly an injured veteran from the First World War “being unfitted for military service through old war wounds”.

 

The advice or reply given is from an animal trainer attached to a wartime circus.

“An animal trainer attached to one of the big circuses tealls us that big cats are playful and if you are not careful they will lean on the gate and shut you in, but that any animal will return quickly to a cleaned cage if a titbit of food is placed in the furthest corner. He will associate this titbit with getting back into his den.

Also all big felines like to be talked to! They will do more for an attendant who talks to them  as though they were intelligent than for one who treats them as savage, dumb beasts. Big cats are very curious, and if they see you doing anything unusual, are quite likely to try and get into the cage with you to investigate, so be sure that any intervening door is well closed.

When a big cat is angry, leave him alone. Don’t force any action on him, or he will bear a grudge against you for days. Leave him to himself and he will soon get over his moods.”

I wondered how this 1942 advice would stand up today in the world of modern zoos and big cat conservation, 75 years later.

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I asked my zoo colleagues who are  modern big cat keepers on carnivore section at Newquay Zoo what they thought of this interesting wartime article  and its advice.

Owen, one of our senior keepers responded thus on behalf of the others:

Interesting little read.

The response given isn’t actually a bad one! What the new keeper may not have realised is he is being asked is to positively reinforce the cat to move where he wants by using a small piece of food as a reward, as we currently do with the lionesses here.

The other option that could have been looked into then (albeit not overly common back in the day in zoos) would’ve been to train the animal/animals to go to station or target train them to touch the target to receive a reward (a small piece of meat) which again is a form of positive reinforcement. The target training would have also easily led the cats into moving for him.

The building a relationship by talking and training with the cat is always a good idea. It’s always better to be seen as the ‘good guy’ on a regular basis than the ‘bad guy’.

Some species are more likely to approach you than others and tigers seem to be more pro-keeper than some of the other big cat species, even chuffing at keepers to say hello. Not that they can comprehend our language but it is a way of getting to know you and we, as keepers, talk to the animals on a daily basis.

Although it is dated, the reply to him actually makes a lot of sense. We didn’t necessarily have the knowledge then as we do now but the talk of positive reinforcement and the keeper not wanting to negatively reinforce the animal movement (the brush mentioned) sounds like he wanted to do a good job!

Another thing I would’ve mentioned is not to underestimate them! They’re smarter than what people give them credit for and not to mention very dangerous.

Cheers,

Owen, Senior Keeper, Carnivore section,  Newquay Zoo

This answer from Owen is a longer and more detailed  answer than mine, which  would be write to the Ministry of Labour and ” get another job, any job, especially one  that isn’t going to eat you …”

Owen’s answer  is a brilliant modern keeper interpretation of the original advice using our modern zoo speak, which communicates our modern zoo mission –  enrichment, positive training – and animal  welfare etc.

An interesting article which  works really well as a ‘Then and Now’ piece, what has changed and what has not changed!

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A few more interesting pages and always an excuse for a flash of ankle or pretty face …

 

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More Camouflage ideas for ladies … hide in a bush.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, January 2017

The Somme, the Ennor family, Living Memory and our local CWGC headstones in Newquay

October 19, 2016

imageLiving Memory is a project with CWGC to mark the 141 days of the Somme campaign and encourage people across communities and schools to connect with local CWGC burials and cemeteries in their areas.

http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx

In 2016 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in partnership with Big Ideas Company are asking the public in the British Isles to re-connect with the war dead buried in their own communities. CWGC has 200 large sites in the UK, almost all in big city cemeteries and linked to the hospitals: the majority of these men either died of their wounds in hospital or (in 1918-19) died in the influenza epidemic. In total CWGC graves in the UK are located in over 12,000 locations. They must not be forgotten.

As part of the WW1 Centenary partnership, the World War Zoo Gardens project (Newquay Zoo) has been looking at how the First World War impacted on zoos and botanic gardens, following on from looking at the impact of the Second World War on the food problems, staffing and other challenges of surviving wartime.

In my local work town of Newquay where our wartime garden project is based as part of Newquay Zoo, there are several cemeteries with a scatter of distinctive CWGC headstones. Many of them are WW2 air crew from local airfields.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2102977/NEWQUAY%20(FAIRPARK)%20CEMETERY      Newquay Fairpark Cemetery WW2 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/36994/NEWQUAY%20NEW%20CEMETERY Newquay Crantock Street or New Cemetery WW1 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/4003934/NEWQUAY,%20URBAN%20DISTRICT Newquay registered / related WW2 civilian deaths

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/37026/NEWQUAY%20(ST.%20COLUMB%20MINOR)%20CEMETERY  Newquay St. Columb Minor Cemetery – mostly WW2 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/37025/ST.%20COLUMB%20MAJOR%20CEMETERY  Newquay St Columb Major Cemetery – WW1 and WW2 casulaties containing the (Somme related?) casualty James Mangan.

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Amongst these cemeteries are   several interesting clusters of WW1 graves which tell an interesting story about how the soldiers and civilians of Britain were fed and supplied  in the First World War.

At Newquay New Cemetery the WW1 graves cover several local servicemen who died of wounds at home during or after the war, as well as some of the crew of SS War Grange, a Merchant Navy ship torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Newquay coast in May 1918.

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SS War Grange torpedoed off Newquay 1918

 

I was surprised to learn that Rationing began in WW1 as did an early form of “Dig for Victory.” Both had been introduced to deal with the U Boat sinking of merchant shipping and the effects on the British food and war materials supply. A similar Royal Navy blockade was beginning to cripple the food supply and raw materials for war production of Germany and her Allies.

I will cover more about the mixed range of ages, nationalities and backgrounds of the SS War Grange (1918) and SS Falaba (1915) casualties including a stewardess  Louisa Tearle SS Falaba 1915 http://www.tearle.org.uk/tag/louisa/ and a donkeyman Abdul Mahjid from the SS War Grange, in a separate blogpost.

The Tearle website (above) shows the Newquay New Cemetery and her distinctive slate grey headstone, different from the white portalnd stone used by CWGC elsewhere.

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Living Memory and the 141 days of the Somme

Buried in the Newquay (Crantock Street) New Cemetery alongside these sailors  is a local Somme casualty, one of two Ennor  brothers from Newquay who died in the First World War.

Private Reginald Charles Ennor, DCLI / 7th London Regiment

Reginald Charles Ennor of Newquay, who died in hospital on 10 October 1916, was buried at home, unlike many of the Somme casualties.

Reginald served with the 7th City of London Battalion Regiment as Service No:6468. but was formerly enlisted as 24601, 9 th D.C.L.I. Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry  (the  local regiment).

Reginald’s regiment the 7th Battalion The London Regiment (nicknamed the ‘Shiny Seventh’ ) landed in France in March 1915 as part of the 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division. They first saw action at Festubert in May 1915, and took part in major battles at Loos in September 1915, Vimy in May 1916 and High Wood in September 1916.

By the time of this Somme attack on the Butte de Warlencourt in October 1916, Reginald Ennor would be dying of wounds at home in Britain.

The 47th Division’s attack at High Wood, 15 September 1916
In late July 1916 the 1/7th London Battalion marched south to begin training to enter the ongoing Somme offensive. The battalion practised on positions marked out by flags, and adopted identification stripes on their arms: A Company blue, B Co green, C Co red and D Co yellow. On 15 September, 47th Division attacked High Wood to cover the left flank of the tank-led attack of the adjacent divisions on Flers.

The first objective for 140 Bde was a line clear of High Wood (the Switch Line), the second was the Starfish Line on the forward slope, and then the strong Flers Line. The 1/7th and 1/15th were to open the attack, after which the 1/8th would pass through to capture the Starfish Line and finally the 1/6th would pass through and continue to the Flers Line.

The 1/7th advanced rapidly behind a creeping barrage and took over 100 prisoners, but suffered severe casualties in taking the Switch Line and consolidating just in front of it. The battalion was relieved on the evening of 17 September and moved forward to relieve the 1/8th in the Starfish Line, where they were counter-attacked and bombarded for two days. (Wikipedia entry)

By the time the 7th Londons left the line on 20 September, the ‘Shiny Seventh’ were caked in mud and had suffered over 300 casualties including Reginald Ennor on or around the 18th September. The regiment was awarded the battle honour Flers-Courcelette.

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High Wood Battle map (Wikipedia source)

Reginald Ennor was 27, an apprentice to a builder in 1911 and the son of architect John Ennor Jnr and Maria Ennor of 61 Lower Rd., Newquay. He died of wounds in the Military Hospital, Leeds on 10 October 2016.

His medal record roll suggests his service in France was from 16 June to 18 September 1916 including the High Wood attack as part of the Somme battles.  He died of wounds in a Leeds hospital back in Britain on 10 October 2016, hence his burial in the Uk, in  his home town amongst friends and family.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War SDGW, 1914-1919 lists Reginald as:

Reginald Charles Ennor
Birth Place: Newquay
Residence: Newquay
Death Date: 10 Oct 1916
Enlistment Place: Newquay
Rank: Private
Regiment: London Regiment
Battalion: 7th (City of London) Battalion
Regimental Number: 6468
Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
Comments: Formerly 24601, 9th D.C.L.I.

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Sapper Joseph Hooper Ennor of the Royal Engineers

His brother, Sapper Joseph Hooper Ennor of the Royal Engineers also died on 12 Febraury 1920, having received a silver wound badge (Silver Badge Number: B 146218) from 1917 to 1919 and is buried nearby. His Discharge Unit is listed as the  Royal Engineers I.W & D and Regimental Number as  WR347183, Rank: Sapper, the equivalent to an Army Private.

In 1911 Joseph was listed as  “Clerk To surveyor Urban Council.” This same Newquay Urban District Council helped survey and build Newquay Zoo almost 60 years later.

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Joseph Hooper Ennor on findagrave.com

The Ennor Family and Newquay’s History

The Ennor family helped to build Newquay as we  see it today.

The Ennor Family http://www.newquayvoice.co.uk/news/6/article/2322/ Roger Jenkin Newquay’s Founding Families article in Newquay Voice online 3 March 2004.

‘Mr J. Ennor Junior ‘. On the appropriate page his address is ‘Quay Road’. Architect and surveyor. He was John Ennor the Third, for the First – his grandfather – had been drowned when supervising the foundations of the South Quay for Squire Richard Lomax in 1831. His son – the next but one entry – ‘Mr J. Ennor Senior’, being John Ennor the second 1828 – 1912 – was the most prominent and prolific of his family being largely responsible for the building of old Newquay.

So many were his interests that one cannot do them full justice here. He was responsible for renewing the leases of two of the old fish cellars; he was the owner of no less than 18 local vessels; between 1877 and December 1890 he built 90 houses in the town; he had the first steam yacht in the bay; he was an original member of the Local Board and he erected the railway station buildings which were finished in 1877 and demolished circa 1990. A grandson, Hubert, built Ennors Road in the 1920s.

In a separate Roger Jenkin article it mentioned “On February 10, 1888, John Ennor completed the row of terraced houses, which stand to this day namely Trevose Place. The Rose fish cellars themselves were sited where the back gardens of those houses are.”

Both Ennor brothers are listed on Newquay’s large memorial overlooking the sea.

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The brothers Ennor on the WW1 list amongst many familiar Newquay names above Newquay’s lost WW2 fire crew from the 1941 Plymouth Blitz (Old, Vineer, Whiting) Source: http://www.89ww1heroes.blogspot.com

The 1911 England Census gives clues to the whole Ennor  family and the two brothers, just before the First World War:

Reginald Ennor

Address: 2 Harbour Terrace, Newquay
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Apprentice To Builder
Registration district: St Columb

Household Members:
John Ennor Junr 56
Maria Ennor 55
George Hubert Ennor 27
Joseph Hooper Ennor  22
Reginald Charles Ennor 20
Florie Caroline Ennor 16
Elsie Ennor 14
Mabel Louise Ennor 12
Jane Hugo 39 (servant?)

Beyond Living Memory

Even once the Living Memory project is over, we should remember these people.

So if you are in Newquay on holiday or living locally, strolling around, why not pop into one of these local cemeteries especially around Remembrance time and pay your respects to these men and women? You could also do so closer to home, if you check out the CWGC website for your nearest site.

I know when I get a spare moment I will pop up and visit Newquay New Cemetery or Crantock Street Cemetery  in remembrance.

Remembering Reginald Ennor and the other casualties of the 141 days of the Somme buried with their CWGC headstones in cemeteries across the UK.

#LivingMemory   http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx

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

 

 

 

Elsie Widdowson and WW2 rationing

August 18, 2016

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

It’s August. The schools are on 2016 holiday break and Newquay Zoo is lovely and busy with families. http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/

I am also lovely and busy, preparing, repairing and refreshing schools and college workshop materials for September.

For the new City and Guilds 2016 syllabus  on animal managment delivered at  Newquay Zoo and Cornwall College Newquay,  I have been preparing new sessions for my new 16-19 year old students on animal feeding and nutrition.

https://www.cornwall.ac.uk/campus/cornwall-college-newquay

http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/cornwall-college

One of the challenging new elements is a bit of biochemistry (and it’s a long time since I did my O levels!)

In the course of finding simple enough ways for me to understand and explain the new nutrition bits such as the  chemical structure of amino acids, protein bonds and suchlike,  I came across this great BBC clip on Elsie Widdowson from CBBC’s Absolute Genius team Dick and Dom:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zf9rkqt

Dr. Elsie  Who?

I feel I should know the name, as I have been looking at wartime gardening and rationing since 2009 as part of the World War Zoo gardens project workshops for schools.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

 

Elsie_Widdowson

Reading the story brought back very vague memories of this story being noted in passing in histories of food in wartime, rationing and gardening.

So who was Elsie Widdowson?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsie_Widdowson

A trip to the kitchens at King’s College Hospital, London, brought her into contact with Professor Robert McCance, who was carrying out research into the best diets for people with diabetes. The two bonded and started on a research partnership that was to span 60 years.

They studied the effect poor nutrition has in adulthood and their book The Chemical Composition of Foods, published in 1940, became the “bible” on which modern nutritional thinking is founded.

Soon after the war started, she and Prof McCance lived for weeks in the Lake District eating the diet which they thought the British should consume during World War II to maintain basic health.They also cycled round Cambridge to study the importance of energy expenditure on diet. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6228307.stm)

There’s a new volume for the World War Zoo gardening bookshelf – The Chemical Composition of Foods, published in 1940 – and the 7th edition (2014 version) is still in print on Amazon from the Food Standards agency today.

World War Zoo Children evacuation suitcase & garden items Oct 09 018

Delabole Co-op and Camelford stores in Cornwall for meat, registered with Haddy’s for other rationed items, (is Haddy’s still going?) this well used (light brown adult RB1) Ration Book from Cornwall is part of our wartime life collection (copyright: World war Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo).

Widdowson and McCance headed the first mandated addition of vitamins and mineral to food. Their work began in the early 1940s, when calcium was added to bread.  They were also responsible for formulating the wartime rationing of Britain during World War II. (Elsie Widdowson’s Wikipedia entry)

Elsie Widdowson, wartime rationing star and Mother of the modern loaf as this BBC report named her – that’s one to chew on when you’re eating your lunchtime sarnies!

Elsie Widdowson and her scientific partner, Robert McCance, oversaw the first compulsory addition of a substance to food in the early 1940s, when calcium was introduced to bread. They were also responsible for formulating war-time rationing – some experts say that under their diet of mainly bread, vegetables and potatoes, that was when Britain was at its healthiest.(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6228307.stm)

A biography  of sorts exists – McCance and Widdowson: A Scientific Partnership of 60 Years, 1933-93  A Commemorative Volume about Robert McCance CBE, FRS and Elsie May Widdowson CBE, FRS   published / edited by  Margaret Ashwell in 1993.

Interesting medical history blog entry by Laura Dawes about early  wartime food security concerns in Britain with a brilliant wartime photograph of McCance and Widdowson:

Poppies at the Zoo Wartime Garden

July 14, 2016

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Field poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo July 2016 (Image: Mark Norris)

A busy schools week of education workshops, looking at animal enrichment and nutrition,  so I have been raiding our World War Zoo Wartime Garden for scented herbs or  enrichment scatter feed for monkeys such as edible Nasturtium flowers and leaves, globe artichokes  or colourful Ruby and Yellow Chard.

Mixed in amongst these flowers and leaves were some beautiful Field Poppies.

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

 

Download my IZEA Journal article on World War Zoo Gardens Project (2014) as a pdf.

June 28, 2016

Check out my recent article on our  World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.in the International Zoo Educators Association  IZEA  journal, this past copy is now available in pdf download form:

http://izea.net//wp-content/uploads/2015/03/World-War-Zoo-Gardens-wartime-zoos-the-challenging-future-and-the-use-of-zoo-history-in-visitor-engagement.pdf

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

Remembering D-Day 6th June 1944

June 6, 2016

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29th Lets Go! Over Here, then off to D-Day beaches 1944: wreath at Trebah Gardens war memorial, Cornwall

6th June 1944 was an important date in World War Two, the Normandy Landings and especially poignant in our three zoos’ local areas of Cornwall, Devon and the South West Coast.

Thousands of American, British and Allied Servicemen left our local basecamps, airfields and coastal areas where they had trained for the shores of Normandy, many of them never to return.

Since 2009 we have posted several blogposts on D-Day and our sister zoo,  Paignton Zoo . Thousands of young Americans were camped over the Clennon Gorge part of Paignton Zoo ready for embarkation onto landing craft  next to our other sister zoo, Living Coasts.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/d-day-1944-and-the-disappearing-peacocks-and-ducks-of-wartime-paignton-zoo

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/please-do-not-eat-the-peacocks-when-visiting-the-zoo/

 

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D Day Embarkation Hard next to our sister zoo Living Coasts, Torquay.  

Hundreds of American servicemen perished off the coast of Slapton Sands, a battle training area, where our founder Herbert Whitley had purchased the now peaceful Slapton Ley as a field reserve.

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/d-day-and-a-curious-1944-matchbox-diary/

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Operation Tiger dated entries , 1944 diary WWZG collection Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Recently I spotted several other local D-Day links in Weymouth on my zoo travels:

DDay weymouth photo

 

Weymouth DDay statuethhhDDay weymouth insriptionweymouth DDay wreathsth weymouth DDay inscription

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Weymouth D-Day plaque of thanks from US troops.

As well as the Weymouth memorial, I noticed a new D-Day plaque in 2014 at Lyme Regis whilst fossil hunting there. We use the ammonites and other Jurassic Coast  fossils in dinosaur and extinction workshops at Newquay Zoo.

Falmouth about 25 miles from Newquay Zoo also has a D-Day memorial shelter as  thanks from US troops stationed across Cornwall

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Falmouth D-Day memorial shelter, near Gyllyngvase Beach / Pendennis Castle. 2016.

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Compass plaque, Falmouth D-day memorial shelter.

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D-Day remembered 6th June 1944 / 2016 across our three zoo sites and  the Southwest.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 6th June 2016.

A riot of vegetable colour in Newquay Zoo’s wartime garden

May 17, 2016

chard 2016

Just a few photographs to celebrate our World War Zoo wartime garden project here at Newquay Zoo, May 2016, entering its eighth summer.

A 1940s stirrup pump lies hidden amongst the colourful  Chard and Garlic, rusty but  still in fine working order.

The gardener’s  wartime steel helmet hangs on the garden gate, ready to grab in case the air raid siren sounds …

chard stirrup pump 2016

Bright Lights, a collection of colourful Chard overwintered and ready to cut as colourful edible bouquets for enriching our monkey diets. Delicious.

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Another year of Globe Artichokes awaits, another monkey favourite, complete with earwigs.

The strange bird table affair is not mounting for an air raid siren but where we place our portable speakers for the 2.30 Lion  talk a few yards away.

Sparrows dustbathe between the Broad bean rows. The Meerkat section Robin follows the hoe or watering can. Pesky Peacocks nibble emerging shoots.

Rosemary, Curry Plant, Thyme, Mint, Lemon Balm, Nasturtiums,  Leeks and Broad Beans  are all waiting their turn, their moment and their edible or sensory enrichment use.

Dig for Victory, Dig For Plenty and  ‘Hasten slowly’ as Mr Middleton would say. Happy Gardening!

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 17 May 2016.

 

Blitz and pieces at our Wartime zoo workshops

March 10, 2016

Another successful wartime zoo workshop at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.

Before busily  packing away our interesting archive of wartime items until their  next outing for a schools workshop, so I thought I’d photograph a few more items in our collection to share with you.

wartime toys

Previously we showed a little of our  wartime workshop for schools about how  wartime changed life for zoo staff, animals, visitors and more generally for people on the Home Front in Britain in World War 2.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/ww2-at-newquay-zoo-and-other-primary-workshops-inspired-by-the-new-curriculum/

It’s always interesting to see what items attract children’s attention each time. The handmade toys proved popular and the school may well have a go at making some of their own. (I have a few plans and books of these).

 

A wartime toy ark made from whatever wood was available by Mr Ernest Lukey, teacher from Poole, Dorset for his daughter Wendy (kindly loaned to Newquay Zoo).

wartime toy ark

Mr Lukey’s  hand carved wooden toy animals are the only time you’ll see elephants, rhinos, camels and giraffes at Newquay Zoo. The real ones are usually seen at our sister zoo at Paignton, operational throughout World War 2.

wartime wooden animals

Trying on helmets and heavy woollen wartime uniforms and clothing was also popular:

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land army greatcoat label

Inside the Women’s Land Army greatcoat was this 1943 label and inside the pocket this curious cardboard roll of labels – maybe to do with size?

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In our next Blitz and Pieces we’ll feature another popular item on display – the insides of the family ARP (Air Raid Precautions) First Aid Box, still intact 70 years on.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo (March 2015).

 

Happy Wartime Christmas?

December 22, 2015

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A rare survival of a cardboard Christmas stocking toy in our World War Zoo gardens collection alongside the excellent Christmas on the Home Front book by Mike Brown

Happy Christmas to all our World War Zoo Garden blog readers, another very busy year at our project base at Newquay Zoo.

Past Christmas blogposts

2015

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/peggy-skinners-wartime-christmas-1940/

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/happy-90th-birthday-peggy-jane-skinner/

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Our trial War and Peace Christmas Pudding – before pretasting by keepers – at Newquay Zoo.

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/war-and-peace-christmas-pudding-rationing-recipe-ww1-ww2/

oxfam unwrapped ecard

We have continued our tradition of buying an Oxfam Allotment gift again this year 2015 on behalf of the project:

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/a-corner-of-a-foreign-field-football-gardening-and-oxfam-allotments-for-christmas/

2013

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/not-just-zoo-animals-get-adopted-even-wartime-allotments-get-christmas-presents-2/

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Noah’s Ark handmade by Ernest Lukey for his daughter (in our wartime collection) alongside a cocoa tin and wood pull along train. Wartime Christmas presents.

 

There’s always the tradition of handmade or recycled presents as well. One of my favourites remains this simple puzzle, handmade for a little girl.

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Handmade sliding puzzle made by a man for his daughter in wartime, from Australian Butter box wood and cut out calender dates, 1940s, Newquay Zoo wartime life collection

This featured in our  2010 Christmas blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/wartime-christmas-past-and-presents-from-the-world-war-zoo-gardens-newquay-zoo/

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Back view of the wartime handmade sliding puzzle showing the Australia butter box markings

Paisley War Weapons Week December 1940

December 9, 2015

Close up of a portrait possibly of Peggy Jane Skinner, enclosed in her 1940s diaries. Source: Mark Norris, WWZG collection.

Close up of a portrait possibly of Peggy Jane Skinner, enclosed in her 1940s diaries. Source: Mark Norris, WWZG collection.

Paisley War Weapons Week, 9th to 14th December 1940.

15 year old Peggy Jane Skinner’s 1940 diary records how this national fundraising event happened 75 years ago in Paisley in Scotland,  where she and her SW London born family were based during the war.

Today we are used to charity appeals at Christmas but this was one appeal with a difference in 1940.

Saturday 7th                 Went to Paisley with Bunty to see [the film] My Two Husbands, it was very amusing.   Altogether, it was quite a good show. Paisley was crowded, it was War Weapons Week …

Thursday 12th              It is Paisley War Weapons Week this week, our savings collection last week towards it was £175, this week it is £333, making a total of over £500 which is five times as much as we aimed at.

‘Our savings collection’ probably refers  to a local area or school collection.

I found an interesting reference to this 1940 War Weapons Week in Glasgow and Paisley in a poem by Lance Corporal Alexander Barr,  193 Field. Ambulance, R.A.S.C.  on the BBC People at War website,  www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/33/a5748933 contributed by elsabeattie on 14 September 2005 as Article ID: A5748933

WAR WEAPONS WEEK

Well done Glasgow, and all the rest

For Savings Week you’ve done your best

Now it’s Paisley’s turn to show

How keen we are to crush the foe.

 

We need more tanks, more ‘planes, more guns

We need them all to beat the Huns

The road to victory we can pave

If all will do their best to save.

 

We’ve got the men, they’ve proved their worth

In every corner of the earth

Our need today is £.S.D.

Each shilling helps to keep us free.

 

Great Britain always has been free

The ruler of the mighty sea

If everyone will do his bit

Britain can still be greater yet.

 

Our Provost asks a million pounds

Paisley with patriots abounds

If each will save that little more

Above that figure we can soar.

 

Go to it, Paisley, show your mettle

And Hitler’s heroes we’ll quickly settle

Soon then this dreadful war will cease

And we shall live once more in peace.

 

© L/Cpl. Alexander Barr. 193 Field. Amb. R.A.S.C.

Alexander Barr’s photo and poem can be found at Article ID: A5748933 BBC People at War website, www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/33/a5748933

Remarkably a short silent black and white 3 minute film exists of the Paisley War Weapons Week 1941 inaugural procession parades in the National Library of Scotland archive http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=3469 amongst several other Paisley clips.

The film shows according to their archivist a “pipe band leading a procession of navy, army, home guard(?), women’s army, police force and the fire brigade through the streets, past crowds and the Lord Provost of Glasgow and army officers standing on the rostrum taking the salute. Procession along the streets past the La Scala cinema and shops.”

Somewhere amongst the crowds on the film may have been a young Peggy Skinner! Amongst the parade may also have been her Home Guard father William Ernest Skinner, an engineer and draughtsman from London, working for the war effort in Paisley.

Part of the fundraising drive and parades through Paisley was a crashed German fighter plane, 4 (S) /LG 2 Bf109E White N flown by Ofw. Josef Harmeling which was shot down or force-landed at Langenhoe near Wick, Essex on 29th October 1940. According to Larry Hickey and Peter Cornwell, the plane was widely displayed   “across Northern England and Southern Scotland in support of several local War Weapons Weeks and visited many towns including Glasgow and Paisley during late November 1940…” Source: http://forum.12oclockhigh.net

Closer to our World War Zoo Gardens project base at Newquay Zoo, we have in our collection an interesting example of a competition to design a poster  for local and evacuee schoolchildren, in this case Benenden School. These girls were of similar age to Peggy Skinner.

 

Spitfires, Stukas, George and the Dragon: Newquay War Weapons Week poster design from Carmen Blacker and Joan D Pring at Benenden Girls School, evacuated to Newquay in the 1940s. Copyright: World War Zoo project, Newquay Zoo

Spitfires, Stukas, George and the Dragon on Newquay War Weapons Week poster design from Carmen Blacker and Joan D Pring at Benenden Girls School, evacuated to Newquay in the 1940s. Copyright: World War Zoo project, Newquay Zoo

We will post a little more of Peggy’s 1940 Christmas diary this week, so you can read it day by day 75 years on, a little of the everyday lives and anxieties of wartime folk.

Happy Christmas!

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


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