ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, 1840
February 1998 by
Zoological Society of Glasgow and West of Scotland
Zoo, Calderpark, Uddingston, Glasgow G71 7RZ
copies of this report can be ordered from Glasgow ZooPark. Please
send remittance of £10 + £2 p&p = £12 sterling, payable to "Glasgow
would like to place on record my thanks to all who have assisted
me in this research, particularly Dr Stephen Bostock, David Hughes,
Paola Lavorino, Richard O'Grady, Dr Paula Sells, Rosalind Woods,
and the helpful staff of the Mitchell Library Glasgow Room and the
PUZZLING TELEPHONE CALL
dull lunchtime in November 1997 my perusal of the newspaper was
interrupted by the telephone. A woman's voice said she was contacting
Glasgow Zoo to check our animal records.
What species? ' I said, nibbling at a sandwich.
Alpacas ,' she said. I suppose there was a slightly patronising
edge to my voice when I said we have had no alpacas, to my certain
knowledge, in the last twenty years. What period was she interested
1840 ,' she said.
There's a funny thing ,' I said. ' Glasgow Zoo opened
in 1947, so we couldn't have had alpacas a century before, could
we? The earliest zoo in Glasgow was E. H. Bostock's Scottish Zoo,
open for a few years at the turn of the century at Cowcaddens. Wilson's
Zoo in Oswald Street opened in December 1936, one week after our
own Zoological Society was founded .'
Ah ,' she murmured, with just a glimmer of triumph in her
voice. She went on to say she was ' phoning from Liverpool University,
where there is a painting of the alpacas at Glasgow dated 1840.
How strange, ' I replied, ' Could they have got the
label wrong? '
Probably not, ' she said. I was unsettled by the confident
tone. ' The alpacas at Glasgow Zoological Gardens were also
the subject of a paper given at the tenth meeting of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science held in Glasgow in 1840
was now completely out of my depth. I act as archivist for Glasgow
Zoo and the Zoological Society and I'm pretty sure I have more information
on the subject than anyone. But there is not a peep about a mid-nineteenth
century zoo. Certainly, by no stretch of the imagination did it
have any direct connection or linear descent with our establishment
caller explained her interest was in instances of early breeding
of alpacas. She knew alpacas had been imported into Liverpool in
1835 and she was trying to trace their subsequent movements. I promised
to get back to her.
follow are the fruits of a couple of months of research sparked
off by this baffling telephone call. The research has probably generated
more questions than it has answered. For the sake of simplicity
I propose to outline my sources and the information they contain,
then follow this with a discussion.
BRITISH ASSOCIATION MEETING
investigation of the Glasgow Zoological Gardens begins with the
picture of alpacas in Liverpool University. 
The work is by Jacques-Laurent Agasse (1767-1849), a Swiss painter
long resident in England who specialised in animal paintings. 
. His masterpiece is probably the Nubian Giraffe (c.1827)
commissioned by George IV. 
must be said that the painting of alpacas is not in the same league.
It shows four grubby alpacas in the foreground of a mountainous
landscape with others in the distance. The large, painted label
at the top of the gilt frame proclaims, 'as first Exhibited at the
Tenth Meeting of the BRITISH ASSOCIATION Held at GLASGOW, 1840'.
I would hazard a guess that the label was almost as old as the painting.
caller supplied me with a reference from the transactions of the
1840 British Association meeting. It is the summary of a paper On
the Alpaca given by a Mr W. Danson and begins:
Since the meeting at Birmingham, about thirty of these interesting
animals had at different times been imported into Liverpool, and
upon the present occasion four of the animals were exhibited in
the courtyard of the college at Glasgow, and others at the neighbouring
Zoological Gardens.  .
of the standard reference works on Glasgow mention zoological gardens
in the city at this period, nor, indeed, do books on the history
of zoos. And yet here, in a publication which is both contemporary
and authoritative, we have an unambiguous reference to zoological
gardens in Glasgow in 1840. Other records from 1840 may provide
us with further information.
University library possesses a battered volume in which a unique
collection of several dozen miscellaneous, contemporary documents
relating to the 1840 Glasgow British Association meeting have been
bound together.  One of these documents is
the Journal of Sectional Proceedings in which, under the
heading List of papers to be read on Monday , we find:
' Mr Danson on the Alpaca. Living specimens will be exhibited.
Glasgow University volume also includes the Catalogue of the
Exhibition of Models and Manufactures , which lists the specimens
brought together for a large exhibition organised for the British
Association meeting. The alpaca exhibit is listed as the only item
displayed on the first floor landing of the exhibition rooms. The
plan attached indicates that space here was quite restricted. Most
irritatingly, the catalogue does not specify what alpacas we are
talking about; my guess would be that it refers to the Agasse painting.
The catalogue entry ends with the comment that:
Proprietors of Sheep in Scotland can inspect the live Alpacas now
in Glasgow, by applying to Mr Thomas Atkins, of the Zoological Gardens,
Cranstonhill, who will supply the Alpaca on the lowest terms possible.
in the exhibition there are specimens of alpaca wool and cloth provided
by William Danson, Esq., of Liverpool, along with the information
This Alpaca wool can at present be sold at 20d. per lb. During the
panic of 1837, when Highland Wool sold at 31/2d. per lb., upwards
of 1,000,000 lbs. of Alpaca realized 2s. and 2s. 6d. per lb. ...
The Alpaca is especially adapted for Scotland, as recommended at
the Ninth Meeting of the British Association.
is a third significant document in the Glasgow University volume.
Bound into the models exhibition catalogue at the entry on the alpaca
exhibit is what appears to be a separate hand-bill, headed Alpaca
. In this ' Mr Atkins, Zoological Gardens, L'pool ' addresses
captains and others engaged in the trade to the West Coast of South
America. To encourage the importation of alpacas Mr Atkins promises
to pay a premium of two pounds each for the first fifty alpacas brought
into Liverpool. The hand-bill goes on to say that alpaca wool '
is suited to the finest manufacture, and especially to the fine Shawl
Trade of Paisley, Glasgow, &c. '. A capitalised ' & GLASGOW
' has been added to the engraved plate at a later stage after 'Zoological
Glasgow Herald newspaper of 1840 is a four-page broadsheet published
twice weekly, densely packed with news and advertisement notices
including nearly half a page of advertisements for shipping. The
Glasgow Herald reports in detail both the British Association meeting
and its preparations.
newspaper dated Friday Morning, September 18, 1840, has a long description
of the exhibition of models, reproducing word for word most of the
alpaca entry in the catalogue, although it omits the sentence about
Mr Atkins and the zoological gardens. The issue a week later describes
the British Association business on Monday September 21, including
the Zoology and Botany Section (held in the Divinity Class Room
of Glasgow College  with Dr Fleming in the
Chair) at which:
Mr Danson read a paper on the alpaca, living specimens of which
were exhibited in the courtyard of the College. 
zoological gardens themselves, the information I have uncovered comes
in two forms - advertisements and articles. This is probably the most
frustrating chapter of this research because surprisingly little relevant
information (by which I mean information about the animal collection)
is actually present. The earliest advertisement I can find is dated
Friday, April 17, 1840.  I reproduce it in
full because it illustrates the problem quite well.
Nobility, Gentry and Inhabitants of this city are most respectfully
informed that Mr ATKINS of the Liverpool Zoological Gardens, having
arranged with the proprietors of the above delightful site, is now
in active preparation in bringing forward amusements for the forthcoming
Summer, on the same splendid scale as exhibited in the Zoological
Gardens of London and Liverpool. The celebrated artist, Mr Danson,
and assistants, are now engaged in erecting the splendid model of
Mount Vesuvius, on the same gigantic scale as that originally designed
and erected by him in the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens of London,
acknowledged to be the most astonishing and attractive exhibition
ever produced in the Metropolis. To give the utmost possible effect,
Mr ATKINS has secured the services of the celebrated artist, Mr
D'Ernst, Pyrotechnist to her Majesty, to display the Grand Eruption
of the Mountain.
Further notice will be given of the various Animals, Birds, &c.,
intended to be located in the Gardens.
don't think the list of animals promised here was ever published;
I have searched quite thoroughly for it but found nothing. We do,
however, meet our friends Mr Atkins and Mr Danson once again and
learn that the zoological gardens were at Cranstonhill, a small
hill just north of the Clyde in the area of Glasgow known as Anderston,
a separate burgh until 1846.
the Glasgow Herald of July 10 an eye-witness describes the representation
of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius at the zoological gardens. 
This entry is quite puzzling because in the next published paper
there is a long advertisement saying that the first grand eruption
will take place on ' Monday, (this day) July 13 '.
advertisement also tells us that:
the different Stages of this eventful occurrence are ingeniously
displayed, finishing with a terrific rush of molten lava down the
mountain, burying the ill-fated city in one common ruin; the whole
of the dreadful conflagration is beautifully reflected on the lake
and distant mountains.
reporter witnessed a dress rehearsal, we ask ourselves, and what did
the poor animals make of it? We are further informed that the zoological
gardens open at 7 o'clock and the eruption takes place at dusk, accompanied
by a military band. Admittance costs one shilling.
Danson is given the Christian name, George. Whoever George Danson
may be, he is not the man who gives the paper on alpacas at the
British Association meeting. His name, you will remember, was William
the foot of the advertisement in what looks like a P.S. we read:
In calling the attention of the Public to these delightful Gardens,
encomium is useless, it being so generally understood that Cranston
Hill, the property of Henry Houldsworth, Esq., for natural beauties,
far surpasses any spot within many miles of this city.
meet Mr Houldsworth again later.
the end of the week the newspaper reports that the:
Vesuvius has become quite a lion, and at the opening of the Gardens
on Monday evening, there were more than four thousand persons present.
paper carries an advertisement, largely about the fourth grand eruption
but with the very first mention of animals, in the form of an acknowledgement
for donations of a golden eagle, pig-tailed ape and Indian goat.
the end of July, 1840, there is another article on Vesuvius:
Perhaps there is no "lion" in the West which has of late excited
so much interest as the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the Zoological
Gardens at Cranstonhill. ... The crash of the eruption strikes every
one with awe and dread at the moment, and the brilliancy of the
fire-works throws a flood of light over the western part of the
city, and is witnessed by delighted eyes at the distance of several
as the thousands who have paid their shilling, an estimated 40,000
onlookers crowd the approach roads to watch the spectacle for nothing.
Even by daylight the perspective of Vesuvius and the adjacent mountains
affords a good treat, and we are glad to observe that the grounds
are being peopled with rare birds and beasts, which must gratify
not only the curious, but be the source of interest and instruction
to the lovers of natural history.
from the repeated play on words in these reports that there were,
in fact, no lions in the Cranstonhill zoological gardens.
notices advertising the grand eruption appear throughout the summer,
but only one suggests the zoological gardens are also open simply
to view the animals. This advertisement appeared towards the end
of September and informs us that the gardens are ' open every
lawful day from 12 till 3 o'clock '. Promenades are advertised
and, with the evenings drawing in, the firework displays start earlier.
Variegated lamps and antique statues placed in the evergreen shrubs
make their appearance along with unspecified additional animals
the season comes to an end the advertisements describe more and
more complicated shows. As well as old Vesuvius we now have a Montgolfier
balloon and the representation of a steam boat crossing the lake
with guns blazing. On September 21, the day of Mr Danson's British
Association paper, we learn that:
Four Beautiful Alpacas have just arrived from the Liverpool Zoological
Gardens, for the express purpose of the British Association to lecture
on the naturalization of this Animal in Scotland, and for the manufacture
of their valuable wool. They will be exhibited in the Gardens, together
with other Specimens of Natural History.
a strange use of words, but we get the point.
advertisement the following week again mentions the ' Alpacas,
which attracted so much notice at the recent meeting of the British
Association '. The pyrotechnics listed this time include the
deeply disturbing ' fiery pigeon crossing the grounds '.
The advertisement also says that information ' will be found
in the hand-bills of the day '. This is the only mention of
hand-bills, which probably contained much useful information. I
wonder if any of them have survived?
alpacas disappear from the advertisements by the end of September.
The ' Last Night of the Sublime Eruption of the Great Burning
Mountain ' is advertised for Saturday, October 10. I have been
unable to find anything else about the Cranstonhill zoological gardens
after that. I do not know whether the ' Last Night ' refers
to the end of the Vesuvius display, the end of the season or the
end of the zoo. It is probably all three.
have been able to track down only one reference to the Cranstonhill
zoological gardens in a twentieth-century publication. The work
is The Maps of Glasgow by John N. Moore. 
Referring to a map of Glasgow in Black's Economical Guide Through
Glasgow , 1839, Moore mentions ' the marking of the Zoological
Gardens on the former Cranstonhill Water Works ground '.
Mitchell Library holds a copy of the third edition (1843) of this
early guidebook to Glasgow.  The map, although
small, is very detailed. Sure enough, at Cranstonhill on the western
boundary of the then built-up area of Glasgow, a zoological garden
is clearly marked. Its exact boundaries are less clear, but three
rectangular structures, which probably relate to the water works,
are marked. The gardens lie at the junction of the road to Partick
and Dumbarton (labelled Main Street) and a street which is not named,
but which is Finnieston Street.
tells us that by the eleventh edition of the map in 1854 the zoological
gardens have been removed. This certainly does not mean that the
zoological gardens were in operation for more than a decade nor,
indeed, that they continued for as much as three years. It is more
a question of when surveys were carried out and the length of time
printing plates were used. The absence of the zoological gardens
from other maps of the period strongly suggests that the zoological
gardens were not open for long.
have been extremely fortunate to discover a second map, not listed
in Moore but also showing the zoological gardens. This is a large-scale
plan of the Burgh of Barony of Anderston dated 1839 and 1840 and
lodged in the city archive.  The lands
of Cranstonhill are labelled as 'the property of Henry Houldsworth
and sons, Esquires'. Basically, we have a mansion house with its
gardens, hot houses, orchard, offices, lodge and drives. It looks
as though these have been fitted round the remains of the water
works; one reservoir is labelled, another two appear to have been
triangular area at the north of the estate is labelled zoological
gardens. It covers about four and a half acres, perhaps one fifth
of the entire estate. In it are two ponds, one large and oval, the
other smaller and serpentine. Some of the area is wooded. There
are three circular structures in a row linked by paths; they could
be cages, flower beds or statuary. Near the large pond is a squashed
hexagon shape. The entrance is at the bottom of a long, straight
drive marked ' Private Road ' which pretty well separates
the zoological gardens from the rest of the estate.
fascinating plan shows that the top north-west corner of the zoological
gardens is at junction of Finnieston Street and the turnpike to
Dumbarton. The zoological gardens were, therefore, diagonally opposite
the old Royal Botanic Gardens.  The new
botanic gardens site in Great Western Road had been purchased in
1839 and the move there was to take three years.
plan gives no indication of the location of the Vesuvius construction.
This presumably means either that it was not particularly big, or
that construction had yet to commence. Beside the oval lake seems
the most likely place.
feuing plan of 1854 shows that the Cranstonhill estate did not remain
intact for long.  Two churches and lots
of small properties have been constructed or portioned off. Roads
have been cut through. This part of Anderston changed again fundamentally
in the 1960s and it is now very difficult to visualise the old zoological
gardens. However, if you walk to the top of Houldsworth Street you
will be close to the oval pond.
THE BURGH OF ANDERSTON
was sure that the minute books of the Anderston Burgh would be invaluable
in my quest. My regret was, therefore, inexpressible when I discovered
that one minute book was missing from the city archive. This was
the minute book running from March, 1838, to May, 1841.
HENRY HOULDSWORTH AND SON
first glance the information I have gathered about the Glasgow Zoological
Gardens at Cranstonhill suggests a fairly basic, commercial operation.
An entrepreneur from Liverpool decides to cash in on the brief popularity
of Glasgow as the venue for the British Association meeting and
comes north to open a tourist attraction in which animals have a
subsidiary, almost incidental role.
don't think it is as simple as this. Glasgow at this time was at
a crossroads. Henry Houldsworth (1774-1853) ran mills in Anderston,
but, by the late 1830s, the textile industry was in serious decline.
There was industrial unrest. In 1837 one of Houldsworth's cotton-spinners
was shot and fatally wounded. At the same time, the Houldsworth
family was diversifying out of textiles and out of Anderston, and
into iron works in Lanarkshire.  Perhaps,
by 1840 the mansion house at Cranstonhill had been vacated. Perhaps,
by 1840 the Houldsworths wanted to make a dramatic statement as
benefactors or for some other purpose.
John Houldsworth (1807-59) comes into the frame. John Houldsworth
has a specific responsibility in the preparations for the British
Association meeting. In December 1839 John, a popular and genial
man,  is appointed convener of the models
and manufactures sub-committee.  This committee
established a network of corresponding members in forty-one towns
 across the United Kingdom. The aim was:
to present to the Association incontestable evidence of Glasgow's
manufacturing power and to epitomise Britain's union of science
with progress to a wider audience. 
committee arranges for free transit of models for the British Association
meeting from a number of ports - including Liverpool through the Liverpool
Steam Packet Company.  The close connection
between Liverpool and Glasgow is now lost on us, but, before trains
conquered Shap, the best way to get to Glasgow from the south was
via Liverpool. Delegates to the British Association meeting were advised
to take the train to Liverpool (ten hours) and then the steamer up
to Glasgow (twenty hours).
John Houldsworth, with the family's textile empire in decline, is
forging links with Liverpool. Alpacas had featured in the 1839 British
Association meeting. Perhaps acclimatisation of alpacas into Scotland
would revive the textile industry here. Was there someone in Liverpool
with an interest in alpacas?
earliest story about Thomas Atkins I have found is in the book by
Dr J. L. Middlemiss, A Zoo on Wheels: Bostock and Wombwell's
Menagerie .  Here we learn of George
Hearing that Atkins, a rival, was advertising the only elephant
in captivity, he was incensed, and not to be outdone, he set off
with his big show from Newcastle for Smithfield - with his elephant.
... On arrival in London, the elephant was found to have died. Atkins
counteracted this, by advertising "The only living elephant at the
fair". Wombwell went further and advertising "the only dead elephant
at the fair" did much better out of it.
Wombwell and Atkins were at each other's throats professionally, so
it is no great surprise that Atkins should follow the example of the
newly-opened and very popular zoological gardens in Regent's Park
and settle his animal collection down. Why Liverpool? I would reckon
that easy access to international trading ports was a great benefit
to the early zoos; most of the early zoos were near one.
H. Keeling in Where the Lion Trod 
has researched the early zoological gardens: Surrey (opened 1831),
Liverpool (1832), Knowsley Park (1834), Manchester (1836 and 1838),
Rosherville, Kent (1837), Cheltenham (1838), Edinburgh (1839) and
Hull (1840). None of these has survived to the present day, although
three early ones have: Dublin (1830), Bristol (1834), and the progenitor,
Regent's Park (1828). Keeling confirms that the Liverpool Zoological
Gardens were founded by Thomas Atkins and shows, by reference to
guidebooks from 1838 and 1841, that the animal collection was extensive.
Dansons continue to be a bit of a mystery. George Danson builds
a model of Mount Vesuvius in Glasgow, having built a similar one
at the Surrey Zoological Gardens. He sounds like a showman. William
Danson, Esq., of Liverpool speaks to the British Association meeting
and sounds more like a gentleman scientist cum entrepreneur. Presumably,
they are related.
Glasgow University volume  provides us
with a little information. Included in it are three separate, dated
lists of delegate registration. By comparing these lists we can
ascertain that William Danson and an Edward Danson registered for
the British Association meeting at some time between 16th and 18th
September. On 18th they are both listed as staying at Mrs Bell's
in George Square.
volume also has a list of British Association members, albeit dated
1838, which includes one Joseph Isaacson, described as ' Curator,
Liverpool Zoological Gardens '. As far as I can make out, neither
Isaacson nor Atkins nor George Danson were registered as British
Association delegates for the Glasgow meeting.
may be possible to forge a connection between George Danson and
Jacques-Laurent Agasse, the painter of the picture of alpacas now
in the University of Liverpool. Danson had worked at the Surrey
Zoological Gardens, which were owned by Edward Cross. Agasse knew
Cross and, indeed, had included a portrait of Cross in the Nubian
Giraffe painting. I think it is not unreasonable to suggest
that George Danson might have met Agasse through Cross at the Surrey
suspect that Agasse actually painted the alpacas at the Surrey Zoological
Gardens, but it is conceivable that he painted them in Liverpool
to a commission from Atkins. I think it is extremely unlikely that
Agasse painted the picture in Glasgow.
Egerton  tells us that Agasse recorded
his works in a manuscript now in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in
Geneva. Colleagues have visited the museum on my behalf but have
been unable to gain access to the manuscript. The Geneva manuscript
may provide information such as when and where the picture was painted
and who commissioned it.
GLASGOW ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, CRANSTONHILL
has amply demonstrated how difficult it can be to find exact dates
for the starts and finishes of even quite recent zoological gardens.
It is possible that the zoological gardens at Cranstonhill are a
little earlier than 1840. The maps indicate this, although when
do you date a zoo? Is it from the concept date, the construction
date or the opening to the public? I like the idea of Glasgow's
botanic gardens being located adjacent to the zoological gardens.
However, I confess that there is not the smallest scrap of evidence
to indicate that the two gardens were, at the time, considered to
seems to me more likely that the idea for the zoological gardens
came from the discussions which went on in Glasgow in the late 1830s
about what facilities were fitting for the city hosting a British
Association meeting. The Professor of Botany was deeply involved
in the preparations for the meeting. Sooner or later the contribution
that animals might make would be raised.
is, of course, possible that the Houldsworths maintained a small,
private menagerie which became the basis for the zoological gardens.
However, it must surely be the case that when the Houldsworths met
Thomas Atkins there was a great meeting of minds. Atkins had his
own, established zoological gardens with an extensive collection
of animals. He was well experienced in importing animals and transporting
them. Atkins had probably already imported alpacas and was keen
to have more. The Houldsworths owned an iron foundry, which would
come in handy for cages and fences.
Glasgow want the great crowd-puller that had so impressed at the
Surrey Zoological Gardens? If the answer was yes, Mr Atkins could
certainly arrange this as well. It appears that just at this period
there was a craze for firework displays in zoological gardens. The
Hull Zoological Gardens, which also opened in 1840, had a fireworks
lake marked in front of the elephant house. 
is difficult for us to put ourselves in this pre-railways, pre-electricity
environment. I think we must censure with care. The grand eruption
of Mount Vesuvius, tacky though it now sounds, contains within it
an attempt at educating people about far-distant events. In Glasgow
that same summer you could visit Mr Marshall's Panorama of Rome
, a similar enterprise.  Nowadays,
we use computer simulations. In the final analysis, however, it
is probably better that such spectacles take place in botanic gardens
rather than in zoological gardens.
am tempted to assert that promoting a British alpaca industry was
the main aim of the Glasgow Zoological Gardens. This is not too
far-fetched when you consider that the scientific role of the then
newish Zoological Society of London included:
The introduction of new varieties, breeds, and races of animals
for the purpose of domestication or for stocking our farm-yards,
woods, pleasure-grounds and wastes. 
did not become swamped with alpacas, so, if the scientific purpose
of the zoological gardens, attached - as a perfectly legitimate commercial
agency - to the Glasgow meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science, was to promote alpacas, we can reasonably
conclude that the gardens were not a great success.
the event I think the alpacas spent no more than a fortnight in
Glasgow. I assume they travelled up by steamer from Atkins' zoological
gardens in Liverpool under the supervision of William and Edward
Danson, and arrived on about September 17. I wonder whether the
influence of John Houldsworth ensured the four beasts were transported
free of charge, labelled as models for the British Association meeting.
I hope so. I am pretty sure that the Agasse painting came up at
the same time and returned to Liverpool soon afterwards.
off the steamer, the Dansons deposited the painting at the models
exhibition in Buchanan Street and headed for the delights of Mrs
Bell's in George Square, having, of course, first of all escorted
the alpacas to the ancient quadrangle of Glasgow University in the
High Street. I feel the hand of John Houldsworth at work once again;
it must have taken someone with considerable charm and influence
to persuade the university authorities to sanction such an unusual
William Danson had given his paper on September 21, the alpacas
were moved about two miles west to the zoological gardens in Anderston.
We can reasonably assume that, if they were not sold locally, the
alpacas were returned to Liverpool at the end of the month.
do not think the animal collection ever amounted to very much. During
July, 1840, George Wombwell's Menagerie arrived in Glasgow, and
Glasgow Green was awash with elephants, a rhino, tigers, hyenas,
lions, pelicans, ostrich and much more besides, all carefully reported
in the Glasgow Herald.  The Glasgow Herald
also reports the opening, on July 8, 1840, of the first Edinburgh
Zoological Gardens.  This strongly suggests
that the animal attractions at Cranstonhill did not warrant a mention
other than by gentle lampoon.
points to the Glasgow Zoological Gardens being open to the public
for perhaps as little as thirteen weeks, from July, 1840, to the
beginning of October. In some respects it seems like an early prototype
for a garden festival; a lot of effort and expense pumped into a
short-lived spectacle. One hundred and forty eight years later,
the short-lived Glasgow Garden Festival (with, ironically, its own,
notorious fireworks display), took place barely five minutes walk
can now say with certainty that Glasgow had, in 1840 at Cranstonhill,
its own zoological gardens. Regrettably, however, apart from the
four alpacas, the golden eagle, the pig-tailed ape and the Indian
goat, we cannot say what animals were displayed, the ' rare
birds and beasts, which must gratify not only the curious, but be
the source of interest and instruction to the lovers of natural
history '. As the excitement of the British Association meeting
abated, the purpose for the gardens evaporated. The Glasgow Zoological
Gardens closed and, to an extent which would probably have surprised
its sponsors, the gardens disappeared completely from the city's
there any possible connection between the zoological gardens of
1840 at Cranstonhill and those opened in 1947 at Calderpark? With
your permission and a little stretching of the imagination I will
try to forge a link.
Bostock (1814-78) joined Wombwell's Menagerie as a waggoner in 1838.
We can, therefore, reasonably expect him to have accompanied the
Menagerie when it came to Glasgow in July, 1840. It seems inconceivable
that representatives of Wombwell's Menagerie while in Glasgow did
not pay a visit to the new zoological gardens run by Wombwell's
subsequently married George Wombwell's niece, and their son, Edward
H. Bostock (1858-1940), opened the Scottish Zoo in 1897. For the
next forty years E. H. Bostock promoted the idea of a Glasgow city
zoo. He nearly succeeded just before the Great War. In old age,
still passionate about the need for a zoo for Glasgow, he became
a founder member of the Zoological Society of Glasgow and West of
Scotland, the charity which bought Calderpark in 1939.
1 University of Liverpool Fine Art Catalogue, No. 464.
2 Turner, J. (Ed.) The Dictionary of Art, (1966)
3 Nubian Giraffe by J.-L. Agasse, Royal Collection,
4 The Report of the Tenth Meeting of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science: 'Transactions of the
Zoology and Botany Section'.
5 British Association Papers - Glasgow 1840
(in Glasgow University Library).
6 Glasgow Herald, August 17,1840.
7 Alpacas are mentioned in the Glasgow Herald
on September 18 and 25, 1840.
8 I have identified 24 notices in the Glasgow
Herald of 1840 advertising the zoological gardens. After two in
April (17, 24), there are four in July (13, 17, 24, 31), eight in
August (3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 27, 31), seven in September (4, 7,
11, 14, 18, 21, 28) and a final three at the beginning of October
(2, 5, 9).
9 I have found only four articles in the Glasgow
Herald which refer to the zoological gardens, three in July (10,
17, 27) and one on August 10, 1840.
10 Moore, J. N. (1996) The Maps of Glasgow,
Glasgow: Glasgow University Library.
11 Black's Economical Guide Through Glasgow
(1843) Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black.
12 Plan of the Burgh of Barony of Anderston,
including the Lands annexed by the Police Act, all laid down from
an Actual Survey executed in the years 1839 & 1840, under the order
of the Honorable the Provost, Magistrates and Council of Anderston,
with whose permission this Plan is now Published and to whom it
is respectfully dedicated by their most obedient servant, Andrew
Macfarlane. (in Strathclyde Archive)
13 According to Henry C. Cornish in his paper,
'Glasgow's Western Extensions - Anderston to Scotstoun' (1922) Old
Glasgow Club, Vol. 4(5), pp. 23-34, the botanic gardens 'stood on
the site of Fitzroy Place, and extended from Claremont Street to
Kelvingrove Street, and Sauchiehall Street to Dumbarton Road' (p.
14 Feuing plan of the Lands of Cranstonhill,
the property of John Houldsworth, Esq., Glasgow (1854). (in Strathclyde
15 Dow, D. & Moss, M. (1986) Glasgow's Gain,
the Anderston Story, Carnforth: Parthenon for Britoil.
16 Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow
Men, Vol. 1 (1886), Glasgow: Maclehose.
17 Glasgow Herald, December 9, 1839.
18 Glasgow Herald, March 16, 1840.
19 Morrell, J. & Thackray, A. (1981) Gentlemen
of Science: Early years of the British Association for the Advancement
of Science, Oxford: Clarendon.
20 Glasgow Herald, March 16, 1840.
21 Middlemiss, Dr J. L. (1987) A Zoo on Wheels:
Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie, Burton-on-Trent: Dalebrook.
22 Keeling, C. H. (1984) Where the Lion Trod,
23 British Association Papers - Glasgow 1840
(in Glasgow University Library).
24 Egerton, J. (1978) British Sporting and
Animal Paintings 1655-1867, London: Tate Gallery for the Yale Center
for British Art (The Paul Mellon Collection).
25 Keeling, C. H. (1984) Where the Lion Trod,
26 Glasgow Herald, July 17, 1840.
27 Matthews, L. H. (1976) 'The Zoo: 150 years
of research', Nature 261, 5558: 281-4 as quoted in Bostock, S. StC.
(1993) Zoos and animal rights, London: Routledge.
28 Glasgow Herald, July 17, 1840.
29 Glasgow Herald, March 30 and July 10, 1840.
ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, 1840
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