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Zoological Society of London

1 June 2006

We have a large number of historic staff cards in the archives, and they are a very useful source for people tracing ancestors that worked at ZSL.

The cards cover all sorts of jobs at London Zoo, Whipsnade and the ZSL Main Offices, including zoo keepers, accountants, carpenters and librarians.

john tyrrell ZSL employment card

A rise through the ranks 

John Tyrrell’s staff card charts his rise from the humble and messy job of dungman at London Zoo to being Head Keeper of reptiles. The card also shows how much Tyrrell was paid: his salary rose to £90 a year when he became Head Keeper in 1909. He was pensioned at £52 a year and died in 1920. Tyrrell’s various home addresses are written on the back of the card.

Occasionally the cards can show less happy career moves, for example, one employee’s card states that he was dismissed for drunkenness and another that a gatekeeper was fired for letting ordinary people into the Zoo on a Sunday - at a time when it was reserved only for Fellows.

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