War Utility Exhibition, 1940

We are featuring the booklet for the War Utility Exhibition as this seemed appropriate for Remembrance Day. It also ties in with our current sustainability aims as the Utility Exhibition encouraged people to grow their own food with two model war-time gardens. Bee-keeping, use of waste, keeping chickens were all encouraged.

As is noted in the Zoological Society report from 1940 “Its primary aim was to demonstrate in a practical way the war time policy of the Ministries of Agriculture and of Food, with regard to food-production by the ordinary householder, and the utilization of refuse and substitute foods”

                                                                                 Image of man standing by bee hive; bees spelling out 'bees'


The exhibition contained two model gardens, which showed how to set up a poultry house at various price points to suit everyone’s needs. They also showed people how to keep pigs, bees, goats and rabbits. There were experts on hand for people to consult with any questions, as well as a letter box where they could post any questions that they might have and get a response. There was also a discount on admission for poultry or pig clubs, and allotment associations!

The booklet notes that an allotment sized ten rod plot could provide sufficient vegetables for a small family for most of a year. The idea with the ten rod allotment model was that it was not expensive or elaborate, but something close to the size that could be found all over the country and would show that “…thousands of others could be brought into cultivation quite inexpensively and thus augment the nation’s food supply”

                                                                          Advert for Ryder's seeds


To find out more and read the complete booklet use this link

Previous blogs remembering the First and Second World Wars have been featured each November.

The Archives of ZSL are based in the Library of ZSL and date from the formation in 1826 to the present day. We hold photographs, objects, and papers relating to the history of ZSL and people connected with it. 

Find out more about ZSL Archives or explore our collections using our online catalogue.


If you are a ZSL Fellow or Member please do also visit the ZSL Library. Others are also very welcome but please do bring photographic ID and proof of address when you visit, see the ZSL Library Collection for details. ZSL Fellows may borrow post-1940 books from the ZSL Library.

ZSL Library is open weekdays 9.30am to 5.30pm but is closed on bank holidays and will be closed for Christmas Holidays. ZSL Library will close on Friday 23 December 2016 and re-open on Tuesday 3 January 2017.

Do try to come along to our Book sale in ZSL Library at 4pm Tuesday 13 December - give unwanted books a new home and pick up a bargain! A book sale of duplicate and out of scope books. Please be ‘green’ and help to rehome and reuse these books. Also please bring your own bags for your book purchases. We accept cash, cheque and VISA Debit cards, Visa Credit cards and Mastercard for purchases of £5 and above.

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

Nature at the heart of global decision making

At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions. 

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!


We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.


From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.


A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.