The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851

The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851

by Isobel Charman




Set in the heart of swirling, Dickensian London, the wondrous history of a unique institution and the incredible characters—human and animal—that populated it.

The founding of a zoo in Georgian London is a story of jaw-dropping audacity in the Age of Empire. It is the story of diplomats, traders, scientists, and aristocratic amateur naturalists charged by Sir Stamford Raffles with collecting amazing creatures from all four corners of the globe.

It is the story of the first zoo in history, a weird and wonderful oasis in the heart of the filthy, swirling city of Dickensian London, and of the incredible characters, both human and animal, that populated it—from Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria to Obaysch the celebrity hippo, the first that anyone in Britain had ever seen. This is a story of Victorian grandeur, of science and empire, and of adventurers and charlatans.

And it is the story of a dizzying age of Empire and industrialization, a time of change unmatched before or since.

This is the extraordinary story of London Zoo.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681773568
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Isobel Charman is an award-winning television producer. She has spent the last decade working in factual documentary production as a writer, researcher, producer, and director and has worked on award-winning films for U.K., European, and U.S. broadcasters. For The Zoo, she has made unprecedented use of the vast archives at the Zoological Society of London. She lives in London.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Author's Note xv

1 The Ark in London: Sir Stamford and Lady Raffles, 1824-6 1

2 The Gardens Grow: Mr Decimus Burton, Esq., Architect, 1826-30 45

3 The Solitary Surgeon: Mr Charles Spooner, Medical Attendant, 1829-33 88

4 The Business of Bird Skins: Mr John Gould, Animal Preserver, 1830-33 136

5 Gifts from Afar: Devereux Fuller, Head Keeper, 1833-6 173

6 From Mockingbirds to Man: Charles Darwin Esq., Corresponding Member, 1836-42 223

7 The Earl and the Hippopotamus: The 13th Earl of Derby, President, 1847-31 271

Epilogue 311

Select Bibliography 315

Notes on the Use of Sources 326

Index 339

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