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United Kingdom Nuneaton Zoological Gardens, 89 Plough Hill Road , Chapel End , Nuneaton , Warwickshire (1968-1973)

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by zoowhosewho, 20 Jan 2020.

  1. zoowhosewho

    zoowhosewho Well-Known Member

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    This Zoological Gardens obtained its License to open to the public in November 1967 ... I believe it actually opened in the Spring of 1968 .... Mr Anthony (Tony) Delves and his Wife (June) moved to the 4 bedroomed home in Plough Hill Road in 1960 ... Mr Delves was a local builder and had an Established building business in the area already ... As soon as they moved in the couple set about "developing " their own Private Zoo on the 3 1/2 acres of land .... Initially Mr Delves alongside his building business also became an Importer of Exotic Animals and Birds ... He specialised in Birds mainly but advertised that he could get whatever animals people wanted with a bit of notice ... He sold on animals to Zoos once the animals had been adequately Quarantined at his Private Zoo ...
    Unfortunately , there was local opposition to his improvement plans as local residents had a committee which had been formed (possibly not originally against the Private Zoo ) but certainly they did complain about the Zoo in General , About Animal Escapes , Animal Noises and about the high fences that had been erected around the land ...
    In October 1968 there were Woolly Monkeys at the Zoo ... Also in October 1968 Mr Delves appealed against the decision of the Council not to allow him to extend his Aviaries on his land due to Resident Complaints and he won the appeal ....
    In 1968 A Llama arrived from Glasgow Zoo a straight swap for Pelicans and Toucans he sent their way ... A Chimpanzee, who was later named Judy , also arrived in 1968 (more about her later) ....
    In April 1969 4 Californian Seals arrived ...
    In October 1969 3 Lion Cubs arrived to join a nine month old Cub that was already on Site ...By 1970 the Gardens were visited by Geoffrey Schomberg who commented that the collection consisted of Chimpanzees, Leopards , Sea Lions , deer , Llamas , A special collection of Birds .. He was quite impressed and said it was a well housed collection and something of a surprise for the area ...
    In May 1971 it cost only 15 pence to enter the Gardens ...
    In May 1972 a Malay Honey Bear arrived at the Zoo and also 3 twenty month old Pumas (Purchased from Chester Zoo) ...
    By October 1972 there was a major setback for the Zoological Gardens as Her Majesty's Customs and Excise sought to seize Judy the Chimpanzee as she had been imported without a Licence... what had happened was that Mr Delves had got in 4 Chimpanzees 2 were for Southam Zoo and 2 were for a Private Individual ....when they arrived they were so sick that 3 died quite quickly and Judy had been reared at Nuneaton and an Import license had never been sought ... Mr Delves lost the case but the report does not say what happened to Judy ....
    In May 1973 3 Puma Cubs were born at the Zoo but only 1 survived .... and also in May 1973 Mr Delves announced that he was thinking to sell the Zoo as a going concern and concentrate on Farming .. the same report states that at that time there were only 2 Pumas at the Zoo (and no other animals ?).....
    The Nuneaton Zoological Gardens were officially closed to the public in 1973 .... There were no further reports about the Zoological Gardens until in 1975 it was announced that it was up for sale at the asking price of £50,000 and the particulars read a 4 Bedroomed House on 3 1/2 acres of grounds with a Zoo set up for Monkeys, Big Cats , Seal Pool , Tropical Bird House and a Flamingo Pit and a Car Park for up to 60 Cars ...... A snip at prices of today
    So that was Nuneaton Zoological Gardens who obviously changed their collection due to demand of what they brought in for others to sell on ...

    Mr Delves was reported to have gone to live in the Philippines but it does not state whether it was just him or the whole family or indeed when he went

    1st image the Flamingo Pond , 2nd Image the 3 Lion cubs Mrs Delves and their daughter , 3rd Image Mr Delves alongside a Leopard
     
  2. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    What License would this be?
     
  3. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Did he carry on importing birds after the zoo closed? His face rings a bell, and I think I might have bought seedsnipe, sandgrouse and francolins from him in the early 80s....
     
  4. zoowhosewho

    zoowhosewho Well-Known Member

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    I guess it should read Permission from council to open to the public
     
  5. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean Planning Permission? That covers buildings and development, and not whether a site is open to the public. I was not aware of any 'opening to the public' legislation (local Council or otherwise) before the ZLA came into force - the lack of which, was of course part of the very reason for the latter's introduction.
     
  6. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member

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    I didnt ever go here... Nuneaton might has well have been on the far side of the moon for me at time it was open,but the late,and much missed,Pat Wisniewski of WWT knew it well and told me that the bird collection there was rather good...cock -of -the -rocks for instance.
     
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