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Memories of winged World,Heysham Head,Morecambe

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by john thorpe, 20 Oct 2019.

  1. john thorpe

    john thorpe Member

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    Location:
    Bury,lancashire
    Hello everyone,
    I have just found this site,quite by chance,and would like to introduce myself before posting anything,as a matter of courtesy.I worked at Winged World and the Childrens Zoo at Heysham Head,near Morecambe,Lancashire for several years before it's untimely closure,and have,from being a very small child,had a consuming passion for animals and wildlife conservation,something I no doubt share with the majority of the members.Now retired,I am involved with the British Chelonia Group,the tortoise,terrapin and turtle charity and conservation group,as the Northern region chairman,and organise a one day Symposium annually in October at Chester Zoo.Apart from my tortoises,I keep two rescued rabbitss,and have spent a great deal of time realising how little i really lnew about their personalities and intelligence,in spite of thinking that I knew quite a lot about their care! We should nevber be afraid to admit our ignorance,it's the only way to learn I find!
    I started work as a keeper at Winged World in 1971,and am in touch with several of the other staff now.I would love to know if anyone out there has any memories of the place and any memorabilia,photos or interesting artefacts associated with the place.Largely forgotten now,it was,in its day,the best collection of exotic softbills in the country,with many first breedings under its belt.Of course,like many ex-keepers,I have some bittersweet memories too,and don't by any means think that everything was perfect,but they were fascinating days,never to be repeated.Any comments and recollections would be welcomed,and i thank you very much for reading this.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to zoochat. I don't think I've ever heard of Winged World, did it close down a great many years ago?
     
  3. john thorpe

    john thorpe Member

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    Hi there,
    thanks for the reply.Winged World,if my memory serves correctly,opened in 1966 and closed around 1979.I could go into huge detail ,and may well do so in future,about the decline of the place and way in which it was betrayed and neglected by the local Council who administered it,but basically it was in the wrong place and was hugely underappreciated and misunderstood by those who should have promoted and developed it.It's very hard to find any information about the place now if you type it into a search engine,due to the time elapsed,which is why my,and others memories are so precious,and if others who may have visited or know people who visited,read my posts,we may yet uncover some more infor or photos.I'm happy to share what I have and what I can remember,and of course have contact with some of my former colleagues to back this up.Thanks for the interest,and let's hope that we can acquaint people with this little gem in future-it deserves to be remembered and appreciated,even if a little late in the day.
     
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  4. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I - and I am sure many others - would be fascinated to see a full species list of what was maintained at Winged World. The few remaining documents - guidebooks and postcards - offer a fascinating glimpse.
     
  5. john thorpe

    john thorpe Member

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    Location:
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    I can remember quite a lot but obviously not all.I can certainly have a word with a friend,who has quite a good record of the species kept.something for the future andd of course may not be exhaustive.I'll put my thinking cap on in the meantime.Nice to know that the old place still interests people.Clive Roots,the first Curator,is still with us by the way,Brian Ward,the second Curator is not I'm afraid,as is Bill Ranson,the Head Keeper,who was such a mine of informtion as well as being a character of the old school.I once cleaned his tea mug out during a kitche n 'blitz' and removed the rich crust accumulated from several months of tea drinking.He hit the roof and claimed it would never taste the same again1 Neddless to say I just swilled it out under the tap in future!
     
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  6. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Somehow I missed this thread last year.

    I made three visits to Winged World, August 1975, August 1976 and September 1976. I was very impressed.

    ZTL lists the following holdings

    I have a few photos from August/September 1976 featuring

    llama
    Meyer's parrot
    black-headed lapwing
    spur-winged lapwing
    chiulean flamingo
    African jacana
    Demoiselle crane
    talapoin monkey
    Rothschild's mynah
    blue-crowned motmot
    Siamese black squirrel
    Alexandrine parakeet
    Malabar parakeet
    plum-headed parakeet
    Indian ring-necked parakeet
    red-rumped parakeet
    red-billed hornbill
    Palawan peacock pheasant

    I also have a list of Winged World breedings. I will post it when I find it.

    One thing which still puzzles me is that I have a memory of seeing greater bird of paradise there. I cannot find any record of this species ever having been kept. They did keep red bird of paradise, maybe that is what I saw.
     
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  7. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I missed this thread too. Funnily enough, I replied to a Facebook post yesterday on exactly the same topic, so I won't repeat myself in detail. I only visited once, in August 1973 and I took a few photos. I have scanned and posted 3 in our 'United Kingdom - Other' gallery (and also on Facebook). I may have one or two others in my files - I vaguely remember one of a lesser spot-nosed monkey (but I may be confused as I visited many zoos for the first time between 1972 and 1974). I definitely remember seeing a Brazilian porcupine, without getting a decent photo, so although the list above is long, I don't think it's complete.
     
  8. john thorpe

    john thorpe Member

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    Location:
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  9. john thorpe

    john thorpe Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bury,lancashire
    Thanks for posting this,and as i said in my response to the other correspondent,it's great that people are sharing their memories of a place which I worked at and am proud of.With regards to the porcupines,which were down at the Childrens Zoo,where I spent a lot of time,we had Canadian Porcupines and a pair of rare Indonesian Porcupines(the short tailed rather than the long tailed sp.)We bred the Canadian or Hairy Porcupines,and the babies were wonderful little creatures.We had several species of monkeys,including the Lesser Spot Nosed and Sykes Guenons.If you have any pictures or other recollections we could use in the project on Winged World I would appreciate it if you could share them,and you would of course be fully acknowledged for it.My email is [email protected] and my tel.number is 0161 764 7078.Many thanks for sharing your recollections and for keeping the memory of Winged World alive. If we can stimulate others to take an interest and learn about the work we did,we will have fulfilled our aims.
     
  10. Bagger Jan

    Bagger Jan Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Germany
    Hi, for over 60 years I have been writing a chronicle of zoological institutions worldwide. In this context I am always looking for interesting data, which I can add to my work.

    Maybe I can contribute some information about Winged World here.
    As far as I know the facility was opened as part of an amusement park on May 27, 1966. ("... is the largest and most modern Tropical Bird House in the British Isles. All birds are housed in simulated Tropical conditions in indoor planted enclosures and our aim is to exhibit the finest collection of Soft-billed birds in the country")
    "The bird population is maintained in a large building divided into three areas: two sections contain the normal glass aviaries, while the third section contains the system of aviaries open to visitors, which was first tested in Antwerp."

    " The animal population currently includes, among others, yellow-breasted fruit pigeons, Tariktic hornbills and Scaled Ground Cuckoo. In the free flight hall live over 30 hornbills, toucans and turacos in 12 species."

    In 1974 the Zoo received amongst others: 1,2 Coatis and 2 Raccoon Dogs.
    1975 the Zoo anounced the first birth of 2 Whitefronted-Bee-eater.
    1977 the zoo was closed.

    I hope very much that these few infos are of interest - since I have been collecting the information for over 60 years, I can't give any more source information.