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Gramophone records at London Zoo, 1930s

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by Max Long, 18 Nov 2020.

  1. Max Long

    Max Long New Member

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    Hello! I'm a historian doing work on David Seth-Smith, who presented the 'Zoo Man' on BBC Children's Hour. In the BBC's archive I came across a letter from Seth-Smith asking for permission to use the 'Zoo Man' name on a gramophone record to be sold at the London Zoo in 1936. The principle was that one one side Seth-Smith would record 'an account' of the Zoo, and on the other side visitors could record their own message, before sending the complete record as a souvenir to friends and family. Recording booths which produced these sorts of 'instant' records were popular in the early and mid-twentieth century, but I haven't found any firm evidence of their use in the London Zoo. I know that Julian Huxley produced his 'Zoo Voices' record and 'Animal Language' soundbook around this time, but I haven't come across anything more on the DIY gramophone record with David Seth-Smith on the other side. I wonder if anyone on this forum has any more information about this?
     
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  2. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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  3. Newzooboy

    Newzooboy Well-Known Member

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    Have you asked the Bartlett Society. Someone there may have some info...

    The Bartlett Society
     
  4. zooboy

    zooboy Well-Known Member

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    Interesting; I have not heard of a public recording booth at London Zoo and it is not mentioned in the guidebooks around that period of 1936. That year was when Huxley's "Zoo Voices" set of 6 zoo records was produced, along with "Zoo" magazine, so perhaps it was considered it was not the ideal time to also launch the Seth-Smith proposal? If there had been a recording booth, it would have probably been mention in the guidebook. There is an advertisement in the 1939 guide for Huxley's "Animal Language" (book with 2 records" alongside one for Seth-Smith's latest book, "Adventures with the Zoo Man".

    There was a recording booth at Manchester's Belle Vue Zoo; I don't know for what period or what was recorded, on the records.

    As Newzooboy suggests, it is worth contacting the Bartlett Society (www.zohistory.co.uk) to see if they can source any more information.
     
  5. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    The only public recording booth I remember was at Waterloo Station in the 1970s.