ZSL London Zoo granted National Lottery funds to restore iconic Aviary

ZSL London Zoo has received a second-stage grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore its renowned Snowdon Aviary in a remarkable new renovation. 

Snowdon Aviary plans © F+P /ZSL

HLF’s Board of Trustees approved a second grant of £4,593,700 to transform the grade II* listed Snowdon Aviary on Wednesday 27 September. The funding represents a major boost to the £7.8M project, which now has £2.3M left to raise. 

The ambitious Snowdon Aviary plans will enable ZSL London Zoo, run by international wildlife conservation charity ZSL, to transform the historic exhibit into a state-of-the-art walk-through primate enclosure, allowing visitors and schoolchildren to get closer than ever before to its troop of amazing colobus monkeys. 

ZSL Fundraising Director James Wren said: “Nearing our 200th anniversary, ZSL London Zoo is an iconic location in our capital city, steeped in cultural history and brimming with wonderful architecture. 

“The Snowdon Aviary was Britain’s first-ever walk-though aviary, and has stood proudly along the bank of the Regents Canal for more than 50 years, allowing our visitors to explore the habitat of the birds and admire them in a free-flying space. 

“We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has granted us these funds to restore this iconic enclosure, and we’re also launching our own campaign to raise the remaining £2.3million needed to complete this exciting renovation.”

Zoological Director, David Field added: “We’re planning on transforming the Snowdon Aviary into a walk-through enclosure for a troop of colobus monkeys – stunning primates with long, black and white fur, which are famed for their ability to leap from treetop to treetop.

“Visitors to the Zoo will be walking among the colobus monkeys, enabling a uniquely ‘up-close and personal’ experience of the spectacular primates.

“Our plans include creating an important habitat for our animals, as well as providing an educational hub for the millions of people who visit the Zoo to be inspired by wildlife.”

Head of HLF London, Stuart Hobley said: “You always expect to see something extraordinary on a trip to ZSL London Zoo and some of the most remarkable features are the historic buildings. And now, thanks to Lottery players, the Snowdon Aviary will be renovated. The iconic Snowdon Aviary will be refurbished into a unique walk-through enclosure of incredible colobus monkeys and in addition, it will be the centrepiece of an engaging new public programme that celebrates the history of the world’s oldest scientific Zoo.”

In early 2016 ZSL secured the first stage of a HLF grant for the initial research and planning phase of modernising the Snowdon Aviary. 

ZSL has partnered with renowned architects Foster + Partners to rejuvenate the pioneering model of British architecture. One of the Zoo’s most famous structures, the Snowdon Aviary, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 as an iconic part of the London skyline from nearby Primrose Hill. 

Inspired by the graceful movements of flying birds, the Snowdon Aviary was truly unique for its time; conceived by Lord Snowdon and realised by architect Cedric Price and structural engineer Frank Newby, the exhibit opened in 1965 and it was Britain’s first walk-through aviary. 

With £2.3 million left to raise for the project, ZSL is currently offering a range of sponsorship opportunities for those who would like to support the build and running costs of all associated activities for five years.

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