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Compiled by Roger Edwards, Special Projects Officer, Glasgow Zoopark, December 2000

2. Preparing the new zoo

The 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 note ).

The 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 show Calderpark.

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, in
Maidstone, Kent.


The Earl of Dumfries with his brother, Lord Rhidian Crichton-Stuart



The Earl of Dumfries with Sydney Benson (secretary) and Dr James Johnstone (vice-president).

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The 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, Kent.


The 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
Initial 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.

The 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. Road blocks , no longer required by the Army authorities for their original purpose, will be used in the construction of the roadway in the estate' pictured below.


This picture shows the first construction work by S.T.C. (Glasgow University Senior Training Corps of the Territorial Army).
We can recognise Dr Johnstone, Mr Benson and Mr Chassels in this photograph, so presumably the fourth man is Mr Gilkinson? 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.


Mr Gilkinson


Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake

NOTES : These notes come primarily from a taped interview with W.R.S. MacKenzie (Society President) and others in July 1987.

1 . 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 V.I.P.s.

The 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".

3.
Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake , 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.