The creation of London Zoo is a jaw-dropping tale. It is the story of scientists, rival keepers and naturalists collecting amazing animals from all around the world – and sending them to what was dubbed “the ark” by the mocking press.
Through the eyes of incredible characters both famous and unfamiliar, Isobel Charman depicts a highly colourful but often forgotten moment in cultural history.
The story plays around from Stamford Raffles, Lord Stanley and a young Charles Darwin, to the chief competitor, the medical attendant and the head keeper.
And then there are the animals! Charman after a meticulous research describes Tommy the Chimpanzee who lived, homesick, in his keeper’s house; the giraffes that walked through the city and scared the cows; and Obaysch the celebrity hippo.
This is the thoroughly refreshing story of the weird and wonderful oasis at the heart of an global empire.