Restoration of a Victorian birdhouse
Ian Fitzgerald, ZSL Project Manager takes us through the restoration of the Blackburn Pavilion at ZSL London Zoo.
Originally built as a reptile house in the 1880’s this building was the world’s first purpose-built shelter for reptiles. In 1927 architects inserted aviaries and caging, converting it to a bird house with funds from the sale of Jumbo, ZSL’s celebrity elephant.
Play this video Now this historic building has been fully restored keeping many of the original Victorian features, such as the wooden handrail, some of the 20th century aviaries and even the entrance porch.
Looking back to the engineering marvels of the Victorian age, a giant mechanical bird and cuckoo clock will sit ahead of the entrance to captivate visitors before they even get inside.
Upon entering, visitors will behold the formal area housing the non mixing birds, such as toucans and hornbills.
The Victorian Promenade gives home to gregarious free flying species, including hooded pitas, African Jacana and Trumpeters. Following the board walk visitors are led to the Avian Jewels which houses the nectar feeding birds - sunbirds and the hummingbirds.
Ian says “The best part of any project at the zoo is to see the animal introduced to their new space and enjoying their new home”. Now the public will also be able to enjoy the birds’ new home when the Blackburn Pavilion opens to visitors after many years of not being used.