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Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Bubbles, 20 Feb 2012.

  1. TARZAN

    TARZAN Well-Known Member

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    Andrew, as much as I would like to furnish you with exact dates and information regarding Stanley Zoo, unfortunately, I cannot, my memory of it is limited as I only went once on an infants school trip in 1970, I do remember a baby elephant being there at the time. I would say that your theory of it opening due to the financial success of the Newcastle Winter Zoo fits like a kid glove, I would think what caused its premature closure was the opening of the new Lambton Lion Park in 1972 less than ten miles away from Stanley,as a child I can recall other kids recalling their visits to Lambton Lion Park and also to Flamingo Park, apart from the school trip nobody seamed to mention visiting Stanley, in fact I cannot recall myself ever pestering to make a return visit. It would be interesting to find out how long this winter zoo ran for at Newcastle, the old cine film proves that they had a baby elephant but there was definitely not one being displayed the one and only time I visited as I would have definitely remembered it.As I previously mentioned a winter circus was staged at the old town hall at Newcastle in the early seventies, I would think this would have replaced the winter zoo at this time, however, just like Stanley Zoo, my memory of this is also sketchy, and something I have wanted to find out more of, I would speculate that Flamingo Park were also responsible for this,as Gordon Cook the clown and Martin Lacey were at associated with Flamingo Park in its early days, Martin Lacey appeared in this show with young chimps, the only official training he ever had regarding wild animal training was with chimps, from a lady who at the time supplied her chimps for T.V. commercials for a well known tea company:), I would like to pursue a bit more research into the above attractions, also the winter zoo at Leeds, where was this at?, could it have been at the former tram depot, the Queens Hall, which also staged winter circuses after a career in housing the city's tram cars?.
     
  2. mukisi

    mukisi Well-Known Member

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    stanley zoo

    I managed Stanley zoo in the late 60's. The last Newcastle winter zoo had finished and all the caging came to Stanley for the summer; it was then decided by Flamingo park [Pentland Hick] to open year round. When Scotia bought the Flamingo park empire. I moved to Flamingo as Curator and Peter Dickison went to Stanley. Lambton lion park opened and there were agreements made to close Stanley.
    While I was there it was the closest thing to running your own zoo.It was of course one of many small zoos at that time, which were acceptable in those days. I certainly am not ashamed of working there.
    The 2 elephants that came to Flamingo from Tyseleys in the mid sixties were in fact a lot bigger than expected, and Flaming took them as a favour, the old coach house was converted in record time. Many of the little Thai elephants were imported by Ravensden and lodged at Flamingo,I especially remember Fred and tiny Emily.
     
  3. TARZAN

    TARZAN Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information regarding Stanley Zoo, much appreciated. Could I please ask if it is no trouble what animals were kept at Stanley?, also what was business like there before the advent of Lambton Lion Park, as Lambton itself closed in 1980 do you think Stanley could have grown and prospered if the lion park had not opened or would it have closed eventually anyway without the lion park opening. It could be unfortunate that Stanley closed when it did as the safari park only lasted eight years, perhaps if it had never opened Stanley Zoo could have still been open today.
     
  4. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks both Tarzan and mukisi for your memories. I had forgotten Flamingo Park had such a close association with Ravensden (especially in the person of Ian Gibb). I'm delirious with joy that you have named the tiny Elephant mukisi (presuming she was the one that stayed a while), as I did not know her name yet my first viewing of her is one of my happiest memories. There she was under a heat lamp in a little wooden pen in the public area of the small Elephant House. I was overjoyed around three years ago when a friend gave me a postcard of her and Freddie for Christmas as I had no photos of her.

    Going back to Stanley Zoo. I have a copy of volume 9 of the International Zoo Yearbook which includes an article "A Note on Breeding the Nilgai 'Boselaphus tragocamelus' at Stanley Zoo", by Martin W Lacey. (I can't resist saying I prefer to spell it "Nilghai"!!)
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2012
  5. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    I've just dug out an article from "The Times" of 16th November 1967 about an Emu that swallowed a hearing aid at Leeds winter zoo. It says the zoo was in the Queen's Hall - well done Tarzan. It mentions a "baby Elephant" too. A visitor had been admiring the Emu and it had pecked his ear. No health and safety then!!

    Just remembered, Sean Drayton once told me he was in charge of Hastings summer zoo for a season (around 1971 I think). Does anyone have any information about this place? 1971 would be in Scotia days of course.
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2012
  6. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Er, mukisi, I've just switched back on specially as I'm just wondering if you are....ahem? No need to let on if you don't wish to (I've just done a bit of research in my old IZYBs, Flamingo Park material etc).
     
  7. mukisi

    mukisi Well-Known Member

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    Yes Parrotsandrew, you are right. Ido have one paper cutting for Emily, running on the lawn in front of the old chimp house.
    Martin Lacey ,who I worked with at Chester in 1960 in the zebra house, was one of the first managers at Stanley and did a great job with the local media; this meant that Stanley got great TV coverage, when it was a poor newsday.
    I think 1970 was the best year,with the zoo being full on many sundays.
    Animal wise it was a small mixed collection which changed with the needs of the group.
    As I remember paddocks held nilghai, llamas, crowned & demoiselle cranes; there were cages for young lions, young brown bears [bred at Flamingo],leopard & puma [breeding pairs], Gibbons, Capuchin monkeys, Spider monkeys, a wolf wood [breeding pack]. There was a SMALL aquarium & reptile house which connected to a tropical house [converted from a double garage] housing small birds.For 2 months we also had 2 baby African elephants from the group at Flamingo. This was run by 4 keepers,2 maintenance men and a married couple who ran the catering and bar
    It brings back happy memories
     
  8. TARZAN

    TARZAN Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information, very interesting.
     
  9. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Thank-you mukisi, it is a privilege to be conversing with you. Very interesting information on Stanley, especially your mention of the two African Elephants. Flamingo Park seemed to have a different number of Elephants in the new house on every one of our regular family visits from its opening till our final visit before moving to Shrewsbury in April 1971 (when we came back it had settled down to Susie, Jangoli and Gomba) which isn't surprising with so many animals being move around. On that final visit in April 1971 I remember there being 9 Elephants, both African and Asiatic, including what appeared to be a quite large Asiatic bull. Maybe I just thought it was a bull and it was not (I was only nine at the time), but it has intrigued me since then. I was one of the visitors taking hay from the bales in the public area and feeding it. Unless my memory is deceiving me I am sure this was the only time I saw this animal (it had small tusks as far as I remember) which should rule out it being Hannibal, but I did not know any of the Elephants' names at the time. I wonder how big was Hannibal at that time as Bubbles recently sent me an article dated 14th May 1970 which calls him "the zoo's prize Indian Elephant", which suggests an impressive specimen, yet per Clinton Keeling's account of Llanerch/St Asaph that place's guidebook said he was a "baby", and that was not many years earlier - that is presuming it is the same Hannibal? Any information would be very gratefully received. My information from robmv mentions 8 Elephants at Flamingo Park in the summer of 1973, including a five year old bull (I have several press cuttings about major importations of Asiatic Elephants in 1972 and 1973), and adds that an older bull had been destroyed earlier in the year as he was becoming dangerous.

    Going back a few years earlier I remember being part of the crowds around the lawn when Emily was brought out. Happy memories even if I didn't know her name then. Of course the postcard featuring her and Freddie was taken on the lawn. Hopefully I shall be posting a photo of the lawn in a couple of weeks time as, having discovered a certain high street chain still offers prints from slides, yesterday I took in a slide taken by my father in 1966 featuring a Chimpanzees' Tea Party.