DZG’s Archive Department offers a fascinating snapshot spanning more than seven decades of photographs, files, plans, drawings and press cuttings.
Here’s a few from those early years following the grand launch in May 1937 when Dudley Zoo proudly opened its doors to the public . . .
SECRET VISIT FROM DUKE
In October 1937, Dudley Zoo received a secret visit from the Duke of Kent.
During his two hour visit, the Duke was serenaded by Maharanee the Indian elephant, who entertained the VIPs by playing Good King Wenceslas’ on the mouth organ.
DOT THE CART HORSE
In 1937, Dudley Zoo was home to the smallest cart horse in the world, Dot, who measured just 28 inches high.
JESSIE JOINS ZOO CREW
Following the outbreak of war in 1939 five of the zoo’s keepers, as well as the head gardener were called to service, paving the way for women to take their places and work with animals on the site for the very first time.
The first female keeper to join Dudley Zoo was 17-year-old Jessie Cartwright, who became the site’s sea lion keeper.
Prior to Jessie’s appointment the only other female keeping staff had been aviary staff and pony girls.
She was quickly followed by other women taking on the traditionally-male keeper roles, with numbers of female keepers almost equalling those on site today.