A goldmine of data has been unearthed at DZG via the creation of archives which will safeguard the site’s unique history for future generations.
The project, which complements the move to new administration offices on the zoo site, has seen design historian and researcher, Catherine Gregg, sifting through documents, drawings, photographs and plans spanning nearly eight decades.
Catherine, who has spent eight months cataloguing the wealth of documentation, has also discovered more of the original blueprints drawn up by the distinguished Tecton group of architects, led by Berthold Lubetkin, who designed the zoo which opened in May 1937.
Catherine explained: “A huge collection of amazing items has been stored in the basement of the current zoo offices for decades. For the past few months I’ve been cataloguing everything and storing it in a safe and secure fashion ready for next week’s move into a renovated extension of what has been the zoo shop, one of the original Tecton structures.”
The new layout will include a library and archives suite where the information will be held.
Catherine added: “There have been some brilliant finds. From an architectural perspective, it has been interesting to discover an amazing plan for the Queen Mary Ballroom painted in watercolours; I haven’t seen anything like this before, which shows an artist’s impression of the interior of the room.
“There are also some wonderful old photographs which have been donated over the years. These are really special, and part of the history of the local community in and around Dudley, and we also have many of the old guidebooks, too, dating back to the 1930s.”
The library and archives have been funded through DZG’s bid for £1.2million of Heritage Lottery funding.
CAPTION: Researcher Catherine Gregg with material she has unearthed from DZG’s archives.