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John Victor Aspinall (1926–2000) by Snowdon, 1973 Snowdon / Vogue / Camera Press, London

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Aspinall, John Victor (1926–2000), gambler and zoo owner, was born on 11 June 1926 at Delhi, India, the second son of Mary Grace (1904–1987), daughter of Clement Samuel Horn, engineer, and wife of Colonel Robert Stivala Aspinall (1895–1954), of the Indian Medical Service (IMS), serving in ...

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Atkins, Thomas (1763/4–1848), menagerie keeper and zoo proprietor, is of unknown parentage. According to an anonymous source Atkins and his business partner, Timothy Gillman, were originally showmen with the travelling menagerist Thomas Miles. However, they had separated from him by September 1810, when ...

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Badham, Molly Winifred (1914–2007), zoo proprietor and conservationist, was born on 12 May 1914 at 3 Waterside, Evesham, Worcestershire, the daughter of Arthur James Badham (1889–1965), then a boot shop assistant and later a homeopath, and his wife, Edith Annie, née Sharp (1889–1980)...

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Ballard, George (fl. 1807–1830), menagerie keeper and showman, is of unknown parentage and upbringing. He is almost certainly the 'Mr Baller' who exhibited 'wild beasts' at St James's fair, Bristol, in September 1807, paying £5 5s. for his standing (...

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Bartlett, Abraham Dee (1812–1897), taxidermist and zoo superintendent, was born in London on 27 October 1812, second son of John Bartlett, hairdresser and brush maker, and Jane Dunster. As a boy he was allowed to play in the beast room of the Royal Menagerie, Exeter 'Change, London...

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James Seaton Methuen Chipperfield (1912–1990) by Peter Dunne, 1971 © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Chipperfield, James Seaton Methuen (1912–1990), circus proprietor and inventor of the safari park, was born on 17 July 1912 in a mahogany wagon on land belonging to Paul, third Baron Methuen, near Corsham, Wiltshire, the second son in the family of three sons and two daughters of ...

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Cooper, Thomas Thornville (1839–1878), traveller and promoter of trade, the eighth son of John Ibbetson Cooper, coal fitter and shipowner, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Douglas, was born on 13 September 1839, at Bishopwearmouth, co. Durham. He was educated at the Grange School, Bishopwearmouth...

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Cross, Edward (bap. 1774, d. 1854), zoo proprietor, was born in London and baptized on 3 February 1774 at St Andrew's, Holborn, the son of Walter Cross and Jane (née Callow). Nothing is known of his life until he became proprietor of the ...

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Edward Cross (bap. 1774, d. 1854) by Jacques-Laurent Agasse, 1838 Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)

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Pidcock, Gilbert (d. 1810), menagerist and showman, may have been born at Buxton, Derbyshire, though no more is known of his early life. By 1779 he was travelling between towns in the English midlands, where he exhibited an exotic bird, 'the grand cassowar'. His next venture, several years later, was a travelling menagerie. In 1786 he was at ...

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Polito, Stephen [formerly Stephano] (1763/4–1814), menagerie keeper and showman, was born Stephano Polito at Moltrasio on Lake Como in Italy, the son of Francesca Polito; details of his father are unknown. He changed his forename to Stephen on becoming a naturalized Englishman. In his early career ...

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George Wombwell (1777–1850) by unknown engraver, pubd 1850 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wombwell, George (1777–1850), founder of a menagerie, was born on 24 December 1777 at Dudnor End, Essex, and from an early age took a keen interest in animals. His life was changed when he saw a pair of boa constrictors that had just been landed on the ...