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Coventry Zoo?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Brum, 13 Mar 2015.

  1. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Hey folks,
    This is my first thread in a while and I just wanted to know if anyone had any information about the old Coventry Zoo? All I know is that it closed in the early 1970's and had an imposing African tribal figure at the entrance, other than that I'm stumped.
    My interest is basically to help a friend who has vague memories of the place as a child and he wants to remember more! Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    The only animals I'm aware they kept are bottle-nosed dolphins (ZTL) and hippo's (Google), according to Wikipedia the zoo closed in 1980 but we all know how (un)reliable that can be!
     
    Last edited: 13 Mar 2015
  2. crested seriema

    crested seriema Active Member

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    coventry zoo

    It was at Whitley Common near Baginton, it had a mixed collection in about eight acres,Big Cats and Hoofed Animals except the Eland had houses,quite a good Monkey Rock for Rhesus Monkeys,at the top three pit like enclosures two for Bears and the other house Harry a Hippo who eventually ended up at Dudley Zoo, smallish enclosures for small mammals such as Binturong and Water Birds, remember seeing my first Stanley Cranes there.
     
  3. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realise that Dudley's hippo came from Coventry, I assume he was the same animal I saw all those years ago at Dudley?

    Thanks for the information! :)
     
  4. TriUK

    TriUK Well-Known Member

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    Like many zoos of that era it was a pretty sad place! It always seemed temporary?
     
  5. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    "Wildlife '74-6" says that the "Sugar Puff" bears lived there as did "Chad", one of the Brooke Bond Chimpanzees. The Dolphins performed in a "Space-Age Dome" that had 500 seats. I think the zoo featured in one of Clinton Keeling's books too - I have a feeling it may have been there that he said he had seen an ill-looking Asiatic Elephant eating straw.
     
  6. crested seriema

    crested seriema Active Member

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    The Hippo probably was the one that you saw at Dudley, before coming to Coventry he was at Chipperfields Circus,I think they owned theZoo.While it wasn't of a very high standard, it was better than some other wildlife collections in that area such as Southam Zoo,Charlecote Bird Garden and Guilsborough Wildlife Park.Maybe if Coventry had specialised it could have been better and if the enclosures were designed to cater for the animals, the samecould have been said for Guilsborough.
     
  7. Pacu

    Pacu Well-Known Member

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    According to Schromberg (1970);
    The zoo was opened in 1966 by Mr and Mrs Banks, the accent being on large mammals, lions, tigers, bears, camels and other hoofed mammals. In February 1969 the zoo was sold and the present owners are restocking it, starting with some young elephants and a pets' corner. The original owners erected some substantial animal buildings and enclosures, and doubtless they will make use of these, but at present the collection remains something of an unknown quantity.
     
  8. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the replies, I shall pass on the information and hopefully make an old friend very happy! :)
     
  9. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I am intrigued by your comments about Coventry Zoo’s hippopotamus “Harry” going to Dudley Zoo; do you have any more information about this particular animal?

    Both the European Hippopotamus Studbook and “A Survey of the Hippopotamus in Captivity in the British Isles”(John Frost;1996) record a hippo “Harry” in Coventry but neither state it went to Dudley.

    Both sources list two hippos at Dudley Zoo. One had previously been at Cleethorpes Zoo and Belle Vue Zoo; the other was born at Chester. No mention is made of either of these hippos having formerly been at Coventry Zoo.

    I would be very interested, please, if you have any further details about this hippo.
     
  10. robmv

    robmv Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Here's a plan of the zoo from a guidebook, which seems to date from around 1972. The dolphins are not mentioned on the plan but they do appear in the text: "We are now the proud owner of dolphins".
     

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  11. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one to be fascinated by the inclusion on the map of "Loose Animal Boxes"? It brings to mind an eager scrum of zoo nerds, all agog to discover what treasure might be waiting for them to uncrate. Sumatran Rhino? Mountain Nyala? Small-eared Dog?
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I wonder if it means a shelter for free-range animals (such as peafowl)? The structure appears to be sort of just sitting in the middle of the pathway.
     
  13. chizlit

    chizlit Well-Known Member

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    My memory is that the Dudley hippo may have been called Hugo, and he didn't come from Coventry, I'm thinking he was more likely from Belle Vue, as there was a campaign to save him from a zoo that was closing down, the date that Coventry closed in 1970 makes me think it could not have been Harry.

     
  14. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Many thanks for your input.

    One of the Dudley hippos definitely came from Belle Vue via Cleethorpes Zoo; this was "Hercules".

    Dudley also had another hippo "Sam" that was born at Chester Zoo.

    Of course these hippos may have been renamed at Dudley.

    Dudley may have had a third hippo from Coventry Zoo too but I cannot find any record of it.
     
  15. chizlit

    chizlit Well-Known Member

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    Yes I think you are right, Hercules rather than Hugo, I knew it began with a H !
     
  16. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    After Hercules died he was the subject of a song performed on BBC "Look North" (the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire version, as a result of his time at Cleethorpes) by the Hull singer/songwriter Chris Rowe.
     
  17. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    A great plan Rob, very interesting.
     
  18. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    The "loose boxes" could have been used to temporarily house hoofstock, as it is located opposite the paddocks, for cleaning out purposes ?
     
  19. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    Coventry Zoo kept a trio of Polar Bears. The enclosures were bare concrete, with the odd log of tree, dens at the back, all walls were of a block-type composition.
     
  20. SHAVINGTONZOO

    SHAVINGTONZOO Well-Known Member

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    I have a feeling that there was a further article on Coventry in one of the later Clin Keeling books - because I think I wrote it! (Based, not on personal experience, but on press articles I traced.)