Artefact of the month - February 2010
'The New Reptile House, in the Gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent's Park' from the London Illustrated News, 1849.
This month's artefact is a clipping from the London Illustrated News, showing the Reptile House in 1849. This was one of the earliest buildings constructed at London Zoo, shortly after it opened in 1828. Originally built as a Repository to accommodate newly arrived animals, it then had many subsequent uses as the lion house, the reptile house, a small cats’ house, and the squirrels’ house. From the outside it looked a little like a wooden Swiss chalet.
A new Reptile House was built in 1883. Henry Scherren describes moving the reptiles in 1883 in his book The Zoological Society of London (1905, p178) "As may be imagined, the operation of shifting the reptiles was not easy, but it was fortunately effected without any mishap to man or beast."
The present Reptile House dates from 1927.
ZSL Library has many newspaper cuttings about London Zoo and Whipsnade, starting from the 1840s. You are welcome to come to the Library and look at these.
Visting the Library
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