by Roger Edwards, Special Projects Officer, Glasgow Zoopark, December
2. Preparing the new zoo
second president of the Society was the noted naturalist the Earl
of Dumfries (see note ). The picture shows the
Earl with his brother, Lord Rhidian Crichton-Stuart (see
earliest dated photograph we have of the Earl of Dumfries was taken
on 25th May 1945. It shows the Earl with Sydney Benson (secretary)
and Dr James Johnstone (vice-president). The photograph could well
In January 1946 the Earl of Dumfries and A. McNab Chassels (president
and vice-president) and Professor Hindle (ex-president) paid a visit
to Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake's animal collection,
Earl of Dumfries with
his brother, Lord Rhidian Crichton-Stuart
Earl of Dumfries with
Sydney Benson (secretary) and Dr James Johnstone (vice-president).
Earl of Dumfries and A. McNab Chassels (president and vice-president)
and Professor Hindle (ex-president) visit Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake's
animal collection, in Maidstone,
following month, on 22nd February 1946, Sir Garrard was in the Central
Hotel in Glasgow with A. McNab Chassels and Sydney Benson when they
posed together for a photograph examining a plan of Glasgow Zoo
work developing the Zoo started sixteen months before the cutting
of the first turf ceremony, and is first recorded in a photograph
dated 14th January 1945.
next day the Glasgow Herald newspaper reported that 'the students,
in addition to excavating a lions' den and a bear pit, intend to construct
a 15 ft road running through the 93-acre estate. Mr A. McNab Chassels
and Dr James Johnstone, vice-presidents of the Zoological Society
of Glasgow, along with Mr S.H. Benson, hon. Secretary and Mr J. Gilkinson,
hon. Treasurer, yesterday saw the students, under their Army instructors,
begin excavation work with the aid of explosives on the lions' den
on the site of the old mansion house.
blocks , no longer required by the Army authorities for their original
purpose, will be used in the construction of the roadway in the estate'
picture shows the first construction work by S.T.C. (Glasgow University
Senior Training Corps of the Territorial Army).
can recognise Dr Johnstone, Mr Benson and Mr Chassels in this photograph,
so presumably the fourth man is Mr
The photograph was labelled by Sydney Benson: Members of the
Glasgow University S.T.C. prepare a fuse for the blasting of road
blocks which will be used for road construction.
NOTES : These notes come primarily from a
taped interview with W.R.S. MacKenzie (Society President) and others
in July 1987.
. The Earl of Dumfries . The original typed caption on the photograph, probably by
Sydney Benson, reads: On the lonely island of Inchmarnock, Bute,
the Earl of Dumfries is looking for a bird of prey's nest. Some
day the chicks will be exhibited in the section devoted to Scottish
fauna. (This is the only picture which has been used before. It
appeared in the "Bulletin"). The Earl of Dumfries
became the 5th Marquis of Bute in 1947.
2. Lord Rhidian Crichton-Stuart , younger brother of the Earl of Dumfries,
was on the Zoo Council for a spell. I think he had something to
do with negotiating the Barbary apes that came to the Zoo, possibly
from the Rock of Gibraltar. At that time the Barbary apes, if they
did come over here, were quite an honour to get, and cables used
to be sent from the Admiralty, and they were treated as special
original typed caption on the photograph, probably by Sydney Benson,
reads : The Earl of Dumfries (left) with his brother,Lord Rhidian Crichton-Stuart, keep a look out on the cliff face
at Inchmarnock for anything which may "do for the zoo".
, Mayor of Maidstone, was head of a brewery firm, and at that time
had the distinction of being the owner of the largest private zoo
in Britain. For its type in its day it had a very comprehensive
selection of animals. He even used to run a small circus at one
point. His autobiography "My Life with Animals" is well
worth reading. When Edinburgh Zoo opened in 1913 they didn't own
very many animals and they hired some from Sir Garrard. So he and
Tom Gillespie, the Director of Edinburgh Zoo, were very friendly
and, during the development in the early days of Glasgow Zoo, acted
as people Sydney Benson could chat to as a form of consultant, and
every year they used to meet at (probably) the old St Enoch's Hotel
in Glasgow, and the three of them just had a 'right good blether'
about zoo matters.