Thursday, 4 September 2014

My father, the zoo builder

Chester Zoo was the brainchild of a shopkeeper who started it in his back garden. It meant a remarkable childhood for his daughter, writes Ellen Tsang.

June Williams was just four in 1930 when seven acres of land in Cheshire were bought by her father. His name was George Mottershead and he had a dream - to build a "zoo without bars".

Born in 1894, as a boy Mottershead had felt sorry for the caged animals at Bellevue amusement park in Manchester. He returned from fighting in World War One to set up a market garden and florist's shop. The business flourished, especially when he started selling pet birds. He decided to put his private menagerie of animals on display.

The family moved into Oakfield House with a pair of goats and a gibbon, and were soon joined by two bears bought from a wildlife park in Matlock, Derbyshire. But Mottershead's mission was fraught with difficulty from the beginning.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails