The London Zoo and the Victorians 1828–1859
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The Zoological Society of London was established in 1826, and its menagerie in Regents Park opened two years later. Even before the animals were available for public inspection it attracted anticipatory press attention, which only increased in subsequent years and decades. The reasons for this media focus are not hard to find. The zoo occupied a conspicuous location in the metropolis, and its collection appealingly combined the traditional and the novel. The display of exotic animals had a long history in Britain as elsewhere, and early visitors to Regent's Park could also have admired many similar creatures individually exhibited at fairs or in the yards of taverns or grouped in traveling or stationary menageries. London's oldest such collection, the royal menagerie at the Tower of London, dated from the thirteenth century. All these venues implicitly defined captive animals as spectacle or as entertainment. As the name...
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities. History Section
Journal of Victorian Culture
Taylor & Francis
Ritvo, Harriet. “The London Zoo and the Victorians 1828–1859.” Journal of Victorian Culture 20, 2 (January 2015): 255–257 © 2015 Harriet Ritvo
Author's final manuscript