Archive for the ‘wartime zoos’ Category

Remembering Percy Murray Adams Whipsnade ZSL keeper died WW2 POW 28 July 1943

July 27, 2018

 

Percy Murray Adams ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

Percy Murray Adams (Gunner RA) ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

Died as a  Japanese  POW, Burma,  28 July 1943 aged 26.

Served as Gunner 922398, Royal Artillery, 148 (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regt, serving with 419 battery.

Buried at Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma. https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2007400/THANBYUZAYAT%20WAR%20CEMETERY

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Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma  (Copyright photograph by The War Graves Photographic Project TWGPP)  

According to his ZSL staff card, he was born on 15 July 1917 and joined ZSL Whipsnade as a youngster on 24 May 1932, shortly after it opened.

Like Henry Peris Davies at London Zoo, Adams was called up as a Territorial on September 3rd 1939.

I remember seeing  his ZSL  staff record card whilst researching in the ZSL library. It  reports him in March 1942 as “Reported as Missing at Singapore.” In 1945 it reported “died of dysentery in Japanese POW camp somewhere in 1943.”

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Adams’ headstone at Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma (Copyright photograph by The War Graves Photographic Project TWGPP)

Adams is buried in Thanbyuzayat CWGC Cemetery in Burma, only a few rows away from Kew Gardens’ trained gardener  J. C. Nauen  who died as POW in September 1943 https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-world-war-two/

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Adams is named amongst the five fallen ZSL staff from the Second World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010. This well polished plaque has since been replaced in 2014. 

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Autumn colours behind the ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, November 2010 (Photo: Kate Oliver, ZSL)

Happy times at Pre-war Whipsnade

I have a special interest in Percy Murray Adams as he was one of the first ZSL WW2 keepers where I fitted a face to a name on the ZSL Memorial, thanks to an appearance in the January 1939 edition of Zoo and Animal Magazine with his huskies. Within that year, Adams would be serving in the Army.

Keeper Adams and the Huskies on their sledge must have been a strange sight at pre-war Whipsnade!

“My favourite is Angussuak, and he is the king of them all. The other dogs give way to him and he always leads the sledge when I take them out for a run.”

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Keeper P.M. Adams featured in Zoo and Animal Magazine, January 1939 

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Close up of the Keeper Adams’ and Husky article January 1939, Zoo and Animal Magazine 

Zoo and Animal magazine from 1936 to 1941 featured several Whipsnade articles. An interesting picture of life in Whipsnade in wartime can be found in Whipsnade My Africa by Lucy Pendar and also Beasts in My Belfry by Gerald Durrell (student keeper at Whipsnade c. 1945)

Reading this article and then researching what happened to young Adams, shown  in the Zoo and Animal Magazine as a smart 21 to 22 year old in his ZSL Keeper uniform, it seems such a very long journey in a very short time from working with the Huskies from a Greenland expedition housed at Whipsnade in the English countryside of pre-war Bedfordshire  to the sweltering forests and POW labour camps of Singapore and Burma.

Adams was not the only zoological gardens  or botanic gardens staff member to be interned or die as a Japanese POW. Read more here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/remembering-zookeeper-and-gardener-far-east-pows-70-years-on-2015/

Keeper Adams’ Life as  a Japanese POW

ZSL Whipsnade Keeper Adams in September 1939 became 922398 Gunner Adams. His 148th Regiment Royal Artillery  (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) was transferred to Singapore, arriving just before the Fall of Singapore in February 1942.  The regiment  was captured around 15 February 1942.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_Infantry_Division_(United_Kingdom)

Over time more documents have become available through family history sites that flesh out a little the bare statistics of Adams’ life and death as a Japanese POW on labour camps such as served the notoriously brutal Burma Siam Railway project.

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I read or write no Japanese so cannot confirm what they have written for his occupation and place of capture. This document suggests that he is married. 

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This CWGC document gives us an idea which cemetery Percy Murray Adams was buried in; what remains could be found were later recovered to Thanbuyzayat Militray Cemetery

This document gives us Adams’ dates of capture 15 February 1942 and death on 28th July 1943.

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Faded wartime typescript monthly roll showing Adams was (on the move?)  with Overland Party B from 27 April 1943.

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British Army Records Form (RH 66?) with similar details to Adams’ ZSL London Zoo staff card.

The difficulty after the war of collecting the POW grave remains from cemeteries such as Sonkrai to concentration cemeteries in Thanbuzayat is clearl;y set out here on this interesting document:

https://www.cofepow.org.uk/armed-forces-stories-list/war-graves-burma-siam-railway-2

This whole CoFEPOW website (Children of Far East Prisoners of War) is well worth a look.

I know from (now deceased) members of my extended family that it was very difficult for the wives  and children of  men who had been FEPOWS as the men adjusted to the stresses and strains of normal working  life  once the surviving POWs had returned home. Maybe today we would have a little more understanding of the PTSD that such men suffered.

Remembering Percy Murray Adams died 27 August 1943 and the many far East Prisoners of War and their Families. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo 27 August 1943.

Zoo Visitor, 38: Mass Observation London Zoo Visitor Research 1938

July 25, 2018

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The Questions! Animal and Zoo Magazine  October 1938. Does “The Zoo” refer just to London Zoo?

Why do people visit zoos? What do people do when they visit zoos?

Zoo Visitor Research is not such a young science or marketing method, judging by this Questionnaire in Zoo and Animal Magazine,  October 1938.

The Zoo and You 1938 questionnaire was created by Tom Harrisson and team at Mass Observation, which became well known for its civilian diaries (including Housewife, 49) and surveys of Home Front opinion in Britain in World War 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass-Observation

Mass Observation was headed by anthropologist and ornithologist Tom Harrisson, who had previously written for Zoo and Animal Magazine  about animals and people in exotic countries (see postscript at end of blog).  http://www.massobs.org.uk/about/history-of-mo

The Mass Observation 1938 questions asked were:

  1. How often do you go to  the Zoo and what is your favourite time of year?
  2. What animals do you like best?
  3. Do you have a pre-arranged plan?
  4. Do you use the Guide or the maps provided in each House?
  5. Describe what you think you get out of a visit.
  6. Who do you go with?

Sadly only the answers of the winner with “the most interesting set of facts” appears to have been published.

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The Half a Guinea’s worth of  Winning Answer!  Zoo and Animal Magazine, January 1939

I found most surprising the section where Miss Joseph, obviously a keen photographer, said that you  can make an “appointment  with a keeper to call back and  have an animal out.”

“The animals I like best are the ones the keepers allow me to have out of their cages.”

Somewhere in the ZSL Library Archive at London Zoo or at the Mass Observation archive at the University of Sussex, maybe a horde or box file of slowly browning paper question slips might still rest, full of everyday information about everyday zoo visits c. late 1938, eighty years ago.

I wonder if the information was ever used for planning or whether the outbreak of war eight months later in September 1939 got in the way.  War certainly changed the life of Tom Harrisson and the Mass Observation team and their many diarists.

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1940s Guide Map of London Zoo (note Camel House “damaged by enemy action”). You can follow Miss Joseph’s favourite route from the South Gate / Entrance c. 1938.

I wonder how a modern zoo visitor to London Zoo or my home zoo of Newquay Zoo might answer these questions today?

These days, such visitor behaviour research might still involve questionnaires, familiar from many market research projects. However it may also involve discreetly watching zoo visitor behaviour and dwell time in a certain area such as a new animal enclosure (to answer for example the thorny question “Does anyone actually read zoo animal information signs?”)

Mass Observation’s 1938 Question 3 “Do you have a pre-arranged plan?” or route of visit was an interesting question in modern terms.

Recently  an unusual research project by Michelle Gurney for Paignton Zoo / Newquay Zoo / Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust  (WWCT) Research involved satellite tagging a range of willing visitors (free cup of tea as a reward!) Afterwards it was possible to look at the GIS map plotting of how the visitors used the Paignton or Newquay Zoo area and which bits or animals were most visited, which least visited.

Amazing stuff, all very useful for looking afresh at your zoo site and visitors.

Zoo Visitor Research, at least 80 years young!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 25 July 2018.

Postscript:  Tom Harrison, “Birds, Cannibals and I

Here is an example of one of Tom Harrisson’s early articles for Zoo and Animal Magazine, Volume 1 No, 3, August 1936:

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Remembering Joseph Fuller of Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 14 April 1918

April 14, 2018

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Belle Vue zoo’s sadly vandalised war memorial, Gorton Cemetery. Manchester lists their First World War dead – a tiny glimpse of the losses of men from zoos on active service in both world wars. Image: manchesterhistory.net

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Belle Vue Zoo’s now vandalised war memorial – luckily the names, although hard to read, are inscribed in stone as the brass statue.

Sergeant J Fuller of Manchester died serving with the Devonshire Regiment / Pioneer Corps on 14 April 1918. Buried Amiens, France. He may well be the J Fuller mentioned here on the staff War Memorial, although the Jennison Family directors mentioned “Fuller of the Guards” at the 1926 Dedication of the Staff War Memorial.

On March 1918 The Germans launched the first of their offensives in a final bid to win the war. The British bore the brunt of these offensives in March and April and, although the British were forced to concede considerable ground, the line never broke.

Sergeant Fuller was married and lived at 9 Millen Street, West Gorton.

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On the 1911 Census this Joseph Fuller was a Journeyman Baker. Hi He was serving with the Labour Corps, having transferred from The Devonshire Regiment.

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He died on 14 April 1918 and is buried in St Pierre Cemetery, Amien. This town and railhead was a key objective of the German offensive but never fell.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/remembering-the-lost-ww1-staff-of-belle-vue-zoo-manchester/

http://gortonphilipsparkcemetrywargrave.weebly.com/belle-vue-war-memorial.html

Remembered.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 14 April 2018.

Part of the worldwide Ribbon of Poppies planted at Newquay Zoo for the WW1 Centenary

April 11, 2018

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Part of the 2016 crop of Poppies at the World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo

We have planted more poppy seeds at Newquay Zoo as part of the Ribbon of Poppies Remembrance event to mark 100 years since the end of WW1.

 

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Some ever so useful fake or silk poppies (from 2015)

 

I have  registered our  little poppy patch with Ribbon of Poppies at Eventbrite.

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Inspired by The Memorial Mob, this event which is free to join wherever you are. Twitter #RibbonofPoppies    http://thememorialmob.webs.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

I was tipped off about this Ribbon of Poppies event or initiative by Rosie and the Gardens staff at Wild Place, part of Bristol Zoo http://www.wildplace.org.uk/

They are thinking of planting not just red Flanders Poppies but working out if they can find 100 varieties of Poppies to grow for 2018.

Wild Place’s walled gardens and its Sanctuary gardens are  an interesting ‘wartime garden’ in itself, as I posted  in 2014:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/digging-into-bristol-zoos-wartime-garden-past-mystery-photograph-solved/

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100 types of poppy? Having bought poppy seeds in different garden centres, I was surprised to find that there probably are that many ornamental varieties of poppy.

I have mostly bought Papaver rhoeas, the Flanders or Field Poppy but also an ornamental poppy Papaver somniferum, a variety named a suitably brave ‘Victoria Cross’. 

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Some of the poppy seeds are saved from previous years, some have been bought from various suppliers including a special packet from  Heligan Gardens as part of the Heligan 1914 – 1918 centenary celebrations.

Part of the profits from some of these seeds appropriately  goes to service charities Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

Thousands of poppy seeds have now been scattered on the front section of our allotment garden, backed up by some Ladybird Poppies (Papaver commutatum), a hardy annual poppy which will also self sow.

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http://www.centenarynews.com/article/call-to-sow-ribbon-of-poppies-for-2018

Poppies are bee-friendly and wildlife friendly plants, great for our native species focus this year.

 

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Our  suitably rusty memorial to wartime zoo keepers and gardeners  past, based at Newquay Zoo for the last ten years  (2018)  

 

Why mark this in the modern zoo? Many zoo staff joined up or were conscripted from such zoos as were open in 1914 (and 1939) including  Bristol, London, Belle Vue and Edinburgh Zoos. Not all of them came back, complete in mind and body. Sadly their stories and sacrifice have sometimes been forgotten over the years. No doubt the same story can be told for each of the towns or village communities surrounding our zoos and gardens today, and to the families of many  of our visitors today from all nationalities.

The same happened to staff in botanic gardens like Edinburgh or Kew. Over the last (almost) ten years we have posted on the blog on the anniversary of each WW1 zoo or botanic gardens related casualty. A few of these stories are collected here: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/ww1-related-posts/

This was another of our poppy posts on the 100th anniversary of the 1915 ‘poppy’ poem In Flanders Fields – some very useful fake silk poppies on show! https://wordpress.com/post/worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/979

Inspired to get involved?

I hope that you and your family, your workplace, your zoo or botanic garden, your garden, your street or your park are inspired to take part in the nationwide or even international Ribbon Of Poppies, even with just a small pot of ornamental or Flanders Poppies. Sign up and find out more: Get involved!

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 11 April 2018

NB. Unlike some of the Ribbon of Poppies venues, please note that Newquay Zoo is not a ‘free to enter’ venue – more about our ticket prices and annual passes: https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices

To finish: a couple of shots of recent and surviving planting in the World War Zoo Gardens, such colourful veg just to the right of where our poppies are sown.

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6 February 2018 Centenary of British women gaining the vote

February 6, 2018

 

 

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An irreverent comic postcard view of women’s contribution in WW1 to the war effort (Author’s collection) https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/the-military-miss-ww1/

 

The focus of the First World War centenary partnership for 1918 / 2018 is the contribution that women played in the First World War.

 

http://www.1914.org/news/womenswork100-at-the-first-world-war-centenary-partnership/

Their work in wartime was partly what finally made Parliament agree to give some British women (over 30) and men over 21 the vote.

Tuesday 6 February 2018 is the centenary of women being granted the vote for the first time in Britain.
The Representation of People Act 1918 was an important law because it allowed women to vote for the very first time. It also allowed all men over the age of 21 to vote too.
This act was the first to include practically all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women.
The contribution made during World War One by men and women who didn’t have the right to even vote was an important reason for the law changing.
In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed on 6 February 1918 and women voted in the general election for the very first time on 14th December 1918 that year.
“Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918

Researching this in a local Cornish village a few miles away from Newquay Zoo, I noticed that the outbreak of war in 1914 saw the suspension of what was becoming a violent political nationwide campaign of ‘domestic terrorism’ (sabotage, arson, breaking windows), arrest, force-feeding and release under the Cat and Mouse Act. Kew Gardens suffered its tea room being burnt down by militant Suffragettes.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/devoran-suffragettes-wspu-1914/

The headline grabbing WSPU publicity campaign of window breaking was dropped so that women could contribute to the war effort, filling many men’s jobs to free them up for the forces.

Women found themselves working as keepers in zoos like Miss Saunders or Evelyn Cheeseman, gardeners in botanic gardens such as Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, clerks like Edith Spencer (in our previous WW1 air raid posts) and a whole host of new jobs.

Miss Saunders working at London Zoo is pictured at http://blog.maryevans.com/2013/04/london-zoo-at-war.html

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A whole host of jobs opened up from dangerous munitions work to nursing and ambulance driving. A surprisingly large number of women were killed working on the Home Front, serving overseas and by the Flu epidemic of 1918 / 1919.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/tending-war-graves-in-foreign-fields/

Fittingly there will be a year long focus on the role women played in World War 1, culminating in some women being able to vote in the December 1918 for the first time and also be elected as MPS.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-women-in-the-first-world-war

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project (Newquay Zoo) on Tuesday 6 February 2018, the centenary of women being granted the vote for the first time in Britain.

Material also crossposted from the Devoran War Memorial Project Cornwall.

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Weekend 2017

November 11, 2017

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World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 2016 poppy. 

Remembering the many zoo and botanic Gardens staff and their families affected by the two world wars and conflicts silence.

Remembered at Newquay Zoo and in many zoos and botanic gardens by the two minutes silence at 11 am  Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November 2017.

We will remember them.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, 11 November 2017

Remembering William Perkins ZSL London Zoo keeper died WW1 3rd October 1917

October 3, 2017

 

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03.10.1917 William Perkins Royal Garrison Artillery ZSL Keeper is his inscription on the WW1 bronze plaque on London Zoo’s staff War Memorial.

William Perkins served as 115806, Bombardier, 233rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery from 28 August 1916 until his death on 3rd October 1917. He arrived in France and Flanders along with the rest of his 233rd Siege Battery,  Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF / British Army on 22 December 1916.

William Perkins was born in 1878 in Lifton in Devon on the Cornwall / Devon border  to a gardener and labourer father Thomas and Cornish mother Emma Jane.

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Listed as a keeper on his wedding certificate, he married Lucy Elizabeth MacGregor in London in 23 August 1914 after the war broke out and they lived in Eton Street, NW London (near other London Zoo keepers).

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William Perkins is buried here in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium (Image: CWGC)

Perkins is buried in an individual plot in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium.

His headstone inscription (chosen by his wife or family)  reads “Lord teach me from my heart to say thy will be done”.

His CWGC cemetery record mentions that he was killed aged 39 in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917.

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Part of William Perkins’ WW1 Service records recording his attesting (enlistment) on 11 December 1915, call up in August 1916 and death on 3 October 1917.

William  Perkins was promoted from Gunner (artillery equivalent of a private) to Bombardier, the equivalent of an army corporal, on 16 September 1917 shortly before his death.

What was a Siege Battery?

William Perkins served with the 233rd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.

Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers.

As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines (source: Long Long Trail)

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-siege-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Several zoo staff served with artillery units, possibly because of their familiarity with large animals like the many heavy horses required to move and supply the guns, as shown here:

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/definitions-of-units/what-was-a-siege-battery-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery where William Perkins is buried is an appropriately named cemetery for an artillery soldier. It  occupies a site at a road junction where three batteries of Belgian artillery were positioned in 1915.

The cemetery was begun by the 8th Division in June 1917 after the Battle of Messines and it was used until October 1918, largely for burials from a dressing station in a cottage near by. Almost half of the graves are of casualties who like William Perkins belonged, or were attached, to artillery units. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

William’s Army Service Records WW1

We are lucky that William’s service papers have survived to give us some details of his Army Service. Many such records were destroyed during the Blitz in WW2.

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Amongst the more touching records in his service records is a list of his possessions after he was killed in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917. These would usually be returned to his wife Lucy or his family.

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This letter from his wife Lucy requests the return of his possessions, a further army form in his papers directs that this is done.

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His wife Lucy is eventually granted an army pension of 15 shillings a week. The couple had no children.

I have seen in the ZSL Library and Archive many of the ZSL staff record index cards for many of the staff listed in the war memorial listing when they joined, rates of pay and which animal section they worked on. I will add any details for William Perkins when I next find these notes!

To find out more about how zoo and botanic gardens staff fared in The Battle of Passchendaele 1917:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/lost-gardeners-and-zoo-staff-during-passchendaele-1917-ww1/

To find out more about ZSL London Zoo staff in WW1:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

London Zoo keeper William Perkins, died 3rd October 1917, remembered 100 years on.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 3 October 2017.

Journal articles about World War Zoo Gardens

October 2, 2017

 

Some lovely online journal links to the World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo 

 

BGEN web article https://bgen.org.uk/resources/free/using-the-garden-ghosts-of-your-wartime-or-historic-past/

 

BGCI Roots journal https://www.bgci.org/files/Worldwide/Education/Roots_PDFs/Roots%207.1.pdf  

 

ABWAK Keepers journal March 2014 https://abwak.org/uploads/PDF%20documents/RATEL%20PDFs/RATEL_March_2014.pdf 

 

IZE journal no. 50 2014 http://izea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1.-FULL-IZE-Journal-2014-FINAL-.pdf 

 

World War Zoo Gardens Blog https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/   

 

You’re already here! Published since 2009, including centenary posts on the centenary anniversary of each zoo staff or zoo gardener, botanic gardener, gardener, naturalist and associated trades that we are aware of as having been killed in WW1 or WW2.

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/worldwarzoo1939

 

 

The original Dig For Victory Teachers Pack from the Royal Parks / Imperial War Musuem 2008 allotment project

 

http://www.carrickfergusinbloom.org/DFVTeachersPack.pdf

 

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Monday 2nd October 2017

 

 

 

World War Zoo Gardens hits its 8th Blogaversary 2017

August 14, 2017

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WordPress my trusty blog host have left me a happy blogaversary message that this weekend was the 8th anniversary of signing up to WordPress.com and starting our World War Zoo  Gardens blog at Newquay Zoo in August 2009.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/

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My garden’s eighth blogaversary surprise present, a yellow poppy poking out amongst sneaky ferns (I love ferns!) that thrive in the shade below  beautiful Globe Artichokes – great enrichment for our macaque monkeys. August 2017 

 

Our wartime zoo garden left me a surprise this weekend, a bright yellow poppy! Nothing traditional like a red one …

Over 270 posts later, near 100,000 views and around 40,000 visitors so far, this is not a bad little blog footprint for a very tiny patch of dug up lawn in eight years.

Looking back at the first entries in August 2009 is really interesting as we hurriedly prepared for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend in August 2009.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-%e2%80%93-newquay-zoo%e2%80%99s-wartime-garden-2009/

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The reproduction wartime garden signs are little rusty now and difficult to replace but the wartime zoo garden is still going strong August 2017

 

This launch weekend in 2009 was well timed to link with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in late August / early September 1939, remembered here  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/70-years-today-on-from-the-outbreak-of-war/

Some early thoughts on how European zoos survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/long-ago-and-far-away-%e2%80%a6/

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The blitzed remains of Berlin Zoo’s elephant house and its surviving elephant during the bombing raids of 1943/44 (Original photo in our archive collection).

 

 

Familar pest control problems August 2009 that have not changed

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/disaster-strikes/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/slaughter-by-torchlight-but-not-in-the-blackout/

Personal memories and family stories August 2009

A family story in August 2009 from my late mother about scrumping for apples in Vera Lynn’s Garden. Vera Lynn is still with us, her centenary this year, my wartime evacuee mother sadly not.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/scrumping-apples-in-vera-lynns-garden/

Some early research on how London Zoo survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/zoology-gave-way-to-first-aid-and-fire-fighting-courses-%e2%80%a6/

“But with the beginning of 1939 reality was brought home at last. Beneath its canopy of blimps [anti-aircraft or barrage balloons] London set about evacuation, the building of underground retreats, the distribution of gas masks.

Zoology gave way to first-aid and fire-fighting courses…

When on September 3rd the long expected blow fell, an emergency committee was set up. With a big cash balance in hand the [Zoological Society of London] was confident that it could “see it through” …

In deference to public hysteria the poisonous snakes were decapitated … The panda, elephants and African Rhinoceros were evacuated to Whipsnade …

In company with all other places of entertainment etc. where crowds might gather to the risk of public safety, the zoo closed its gates …”

The Zoo Story,  L.R. Brightwell, 1950s, p. 225-6.

Breaking ground and digging  up the lion house lawn  August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/digging-up-the-lawns-at-newquay-zoo/

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Richard (our then zoo gardener) or his legs “Digging for Victory”,  removing the first turf for our wartime zoo garden August 2009.

Double Trench-digging for beginners August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/double-trench-digging-for-beginners-or-how-to-dig-a-trench-for-vegetables-the-1940s-way/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/sweat-toil-yes-but-thankfully-no-tears-or-blood-yet/

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Our World War Zoo Garden after eight years 2009-2017 (August 2017)

 

An early link to our sister Zoo at Paignton Zoo and their strange wartime experiences, stories that we have followed up over the years. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/please-do-not-eat-the-peacocks-when-visiting-the-zoo/

https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/more-strange-wartime-zoo-stories-sent-to-us/

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Fine Abbott Thayer disruptive colouration camouflage on a Newquay Zoo peacock, 2017 – this didn’t stop hungry American GIs eating their ancestors at Paignton Zoo just before D-Day 1944. http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/4/hiddentalents.php

 

 

The outline of plans for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend at the end of August 2009 remind me how busy we were preparing everything in time:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/wartime-zoo-garden-launch-next-weekend-bank-holiday-30th-and-31st-august-2009/

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Winter garden work – in the library or armchair, planning your coming year’s crop plans and trying new plants using handy wartime advice even in cartoon / strip form from the papers. Items from part of the Newquay Zoo wartime life collection, garden launch weekend, August 2009

The wartime garden launch weekend in August 2009 went well and also saw Vera Lynn back in the album charts!https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/first-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-gardens-display/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/successful-second-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-life-exhibition-and-vera-lynn-back-in-the-charts/

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Beautiful Rhubard Chard, great favourite of our monkeys, growing August 2017

 

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More edible leaves and colourful, tasty flowers of our Nasturtiums – a treat for some of our animals and visitors, August 2017

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/last-strawberries-of-a-slug-summer/

This 25th August 2009 blog entry had the hopeful postscript about a new US president:

“One day hopefully all zoos will have their own Victory Gardens. They have one I hear at The White House now to mark Barack Obama’s arrival. I think we have a long way to go in the zoo before we get to self sufficiency, but from small acorns …”

Then to finish our look back at August 2009 with one of the fantastic images we uncovered of life at London Zoo in September 1939

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/shelter-from-the-storm-ahead-wartime-zoos-3-september-1939/

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Taking shelter at London Zoo in September 1939, a sandbagged tunnel under the road (Zoo and Animal magazine, November 1939)

If you go to the Archive dropdown menu to the right, you can sample some of the last eight years of delights from our 1940s allotment gardening, wartime zoo and wartime gardening research from WW1 to WW2 and beyond.

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Not forgetting that this colurful and scented garden is a practical and peaceful memorial to the many zoo and botanic gardens staff affected by war since 1914, many of whose stories we have uncovered since 2009. (photo August 2017)  

 

What next for the World War Zoo Gardens and its blog?

Since 2009 many school garden and wartime garden projects, thrift and recession allotments and their blogs have come and gone, gardens and blogs both being  ephemeral things.

Education changes, which led to a new primary  National Curriculum in 2013/14 in England and Wales, have sadly seen, at one low point, no WW2 content in the primary history curriculum. This uncertainty  has greatly affected  uptake of wartime zoo workshops for schools. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

Thankfully primary schools can still, with a little creative curriculum imagination,  study WW2 as one of the “turning points in British History since 1066″ and we are rewriting our workshops to reflect this.

Workshop talks in action

Mark Norris delivering one of our World War Zoo Gardens workshop days in ARP uniform, 2014. Volunteer Ken our ‘Home Guard’ is shyly sitting out of the photo!

It has been a great eight years so far since 2009, working with and meeting a wide range of people, amongst the highlights of  which I think of talking to pupils in our wartime zoo school workshops, attending re-enactors weekends, meeting former landgirls and evacuees,  linking with staff at Kew Gardens, Chester  and London Zoo and chats with thousands of zoo visitors over the allotment garden fence.

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Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives as enrichment for monkeys, 2012. She  returned in August 2017 from the Dutch zoo where she now works to see how Newquay Zoo and its gardens are doing  (Image: Mark Norris)

 

The wartime zoo garden has been a great practical resource for our Newquay Zoo keepers since 2009. It has provided scented herbs, edible flowers and leaves and many fine fresh vegetables to feed and enrich the lives and enclosures of many of our most endangered zoo animals. None of the animals were that fussed about our 1940s potato varieties though.

Eight years of blogposts, articles, talks and conference papers has led to lots of interesting links with other zoos, botanic gardens and historians. http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0729/

We have even won a national zoo award from BIAZA for “best use of planting in a zoo landscape feature / design” in November 2011.

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Newquay Zoo’s wartime gardener and blogger Mark Norris with wartime issue spade and  BIAZA award for best plants in a landscape feature and design, November 2011.

Hopefully our garden project will still be here in two year’s time for our World War Zoo Gardens Tenth Anniversary in 2019.

May 2019 is also Newquay Zoo’s own 50th Birthday, which will keep us busy  https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

2019 will also see the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2, many of its participants rapidly passing away and also the wrapping up of the WW1 centenary 1914-1919.

Plenty to blog about, plenty of new stories to uncover.

Thanks to all the Newquay Zoo staff and many many others who have been involved so far with our World War Zoo Gardens project since 2009.

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Hundreds of thousands of zoo visitors  have stopped to read this attractive World War Zoo Gardens sign at Newquay Zoo since we put it up in 2011.

 

This post (No. 275)  sums up perfectly what  World War Zoo Gardens is about, being  a little bit of looking back to the past, an update on the present and a glimpse towards the future.

Happy Blogaversary!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 8th Blogaversary weekend of the 12th / 13th August 2017.

ZSL Artefact of the Month April 1917

August 13, 2017

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ZSL London Zoo Annual Report 1917/8 (ZSL Library)

“His Invariable courtesy, promptness and efficiency …”

How fitting that the Artefact of the Month from the ZSL Library in April 2017 should be an entry about the former ZSL librarian, Henry Peavot, killed at the Battle of Arras in 1917, an article posted by his modern successors at ZSL London Zoo’s library.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/in-memory-of-henry-peavot-zsl-librarian-and-clerk-of-publications-who

It is hope

 

Remembered also on the day 21st April  on our World War Zoo Gardens blog

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Henry Peavot on the Librarians’ memorial WW1, British Library

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/remembering-zsl-london-zoo-librarian-henry-peavot-killed-ww1-21-april-1917/

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Autumn colours behind the ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, November 2010 (Photo: Kate Oliver)

 

You can read more about London Zoo in WW1 at: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

From Arras to Passchendaele 1917 …

This month August 2017  marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele which took place from July to November 1917.

Henry Peavot’s former ZSL Library colleague, Edwin Riseley,  was also killed on 1st August  1917, at this infamously muddy battle:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/remembering-edwin-ephraim-riseley-zsl-and-linnean-society/

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Edwin Riseley on the Librarians’ WW1 memorial, British Library, alongside librarian colleagues at the British Museum.

Two brave zoo librarians and former ZSL employees, remembered 100 years on.

Posted in August 2017 by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens blog.


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