Newquay Zoo pawprints Newsletter No. 10a 1999


PP 10a P1 May 1999
Front page news May 1999

Lemur Island 1999 MT book source

PP 10a P2 May 1999
April Fools 1999
April Fools day 1999 2000

Bill Eade and me Mark Norris testing out the Zoo April 1st Toilet Ferry 1999

PP 10a P4 May 1999
The Beak Issue May 1999

sensory sculpture jenny agutter

PP 10a P6 May 1999
Events and news of Spring Summer 1999
PP 10a P5 May 1999
Mention of our 30th Birthday Party May 1999 20 years ago.

PP 10a P7 May 1999

The sensory sculpture plans 1999 sketch by Reece Ingram
PP 10a P8 May 1999
Final pages with a mention of that coming summer’s big event The 1999 Eclipse

Reprinted 20 years on / blog posted by Mark Norris At Newquay Zoo from our Archive collection in February 2019 as part of our countdown towards our 50th Anniversary on 26 May 1969/ 2019.


February 1968 Plans for the Newquay Zoo are Progressing

February 1968 and plans for the new Newquay Zoo are slowly progressing through various  Newquay Urban District Council and County Council meetings.

Peter Lowe has been employed until 1968 by Ken Smith, manager of the Children’s Zoo in Trenance Gardens amongst other zoo enterprises, to run this seasonal zoo started by Charles Trevisick in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Peter Lowe has left the Children’s Zoo to work for the County Council on the zoo project, hoping eventually to become manager or curator of the new zoo after several years experience at Chester Zoo.

He writes to his old boss and  mentor George Mottershead, founder of Chester Zoo,  to keep him updated on the plans.

Peter Lowe assisting on site with Barry Hyde (gardener) building the zoo 1968/69 (Barry Hyde collection)


Newquay, 8th February 1968
Dear Mr. Mottershead,
I would like to keep you up to date with developments on the new Zoological Park which we are hoping to go ahead with.
From the preliminary plan which I showed you last November which you considered possible a nucleus of a Zoo, we drew up a fully detailed plan measuring 10ft x 4ft with a scaled model of the type of cage which we suggest is used for this covered walk which the Urban District Surveyor is keen to have.

There is a range of 16 of these cages which measure 17’ x 8’ x 9’ including an indoor quarter measuring 4ft x 8ft x 6ft heated if necessary.

The public walk under an awning, there is a safety rail and 2ft between each cage.

We have suggested that various monkeys, coatimundis, martens possibly, caracal lynxes, hornbills, toucans and parrots could be accommodated in these 16 cages which terminate in a house which could contain the reptile section, nocturnal house and three large cages measuring 10ft x 6ft x 6ft for something very colourful in the bird world.
Basically what we have tried to bear in mind is variation, colour and activity. Do you think these ideas are possible?

What finally emerged – the early Tropical House and white covered walkway along the Monkey Walk / first row of enclosures, May 1969. Image: Ernie Littlefield / Newquay Zoo Archive

On the 8th January {1968] I was interviewed by the Committee and had to give a detailed address on the plan and models and answer numerous questions concerning my previous experience, why I came down here, what ties I had  here etc…

I also gave an account of the season at the Children’s Zoo in respect of the potential of the big Zoo. I explained that I had seen you [Mr. Mottershead] and repeated your comments as to the running of the new Zoo. I suggested that members of the Committee should visit Chester Zoo – with your permission – and consult you as to the practicability of the plans.
The result of this meeting was basically most satisfactory as they decided, in principal, to run the Zoo themselves and put in a manager as you suggested, but would defer any real decision until they had seen Mr. Smith again, which they did the following Friday [January 1968].

[This is a  little bit of a one-sided and negative picture of Ken Smith. It is clear that Ken Smith and Peter Lowe had fallen out by now or parted company, possibly over the building and running of the new Zoo. A more detailed account of Ken Smith, (“Gerald Durrell’s right hand man” for a time) can be found in Animals in The Blood by Russell Tofts]

I understand that the [Friday] meeting was no less than riotous and Mr. Smith lost the sympathy of the Committee.

Later I read in the minutes of the monthly public meeting that the Committee had told the full Council that they had decided not to proceed further with any of Mr. Smith’s proposals or lack of them after 18 months, but would take our plans to Mr. Greed [Director at Bristol Zoo] to ascertain his views mainly on the economic aspect of the venture.

This suggests that plans for a permanent zoo in Newquay were being discussed sometime in late 1966.

The plans were sent off to Mr. Greed, who, as I understand it, liked the layout and phoned up to say so. Members of the Committee go to Bristol Zoo tomorrow 9th February [1968].
I am told that if a satisfactory report is forthcoming in every aspect, the Council will go ahead with this project.
As to my position; I have known of the delays the Council have been subjected to since last September [1967] when I was first asked to submit plans.

Some of these difficulties I outlined to you last November and, during the past couple of months, it has come painfully obvious that, in my view, Mr. Smith is not going to get this Zoo.

To cut a long story short and I’ll make no pretence about it, I got myself the sack rather than throw away the opportunity of being involved in this new Zoo.

I had to show the Council that I meant business since they were rather embarrassed at asking for my proposals while I was in Smith’s employ. I couldn’t resign in the normal way because I couldn’t rely on the Council taking me on and I needed dole to support my family. So I took a gamble.
I am now employed by the Council in the offices at present, the idea being that if and when construction does get underway, they want me down on the site assisting. The Chairman said: “What we want is someone to grow up with the project”! which seems reasonable.
I shall still try and push for the Members to visit Chester Zoo, if I may, but I think they consider it too far at this time of year – after all, some of them are 65 at least!
Would you be good enough to let me know the cost and send me a varied selection of your colour picture postcards of the [Chester Zoo] gardens and enclosures and some of the Tropical House if possible? I would be most grateful.
I apologise for the length of this letter. My best regards to your wife, Fred and June {George Mottershead’s son in law and daughter], Miss Howard [his secretary] and Mr. Gallop.
I do hope you have an excellent season and that you keep fit and active as ever.
Yours Sincerely, Peter Lowe.


At the same time this was happening the inaugural meeting of the Zoo Federation (which became BIAZA c. 2005) was happening at London Zoo in June 1967.

George Mottershead at Chester Zoo  (centre, white hair and moustache) was heavily involved and can be seen in the centre of the picture next to  Reginald Greed,  Director at Bristol Zoo.  More on this in a future blogpost.

Zoo Fed photo 1967
George Mottershead (centre second row ), Miss Howard (third from front left) 

Blogposted as part of our Newquay Zoo Archive countdown to our 5oth Anniversary 26 May 1969




Penguins and 70s hair – Newquay Zoo History blog hits 50 posts towards our 50th Anniversary in 2019

50 blogposts

We’ve hit 50 newquayzoohistory blogposts towards our 50th Anniversary and dozens more posts are scheduled over the next few weeks and months as we scan our photo and archive collection.

We look forward to sharing ‘Photo Gems’ like this early 1970s picture of our Penguins swimming (where the Meerkats now dig), used in our mid 1970s guidebook.

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011
Six slightly moulting Humboldt penguins – a sign of summer – and a clue to date  summer of 1974 / 75.

An archive record card can be found for this group. Six slightly moulting Humboldt penguins are shown – feather moulting is a sign of summer – and a clue to date summer of 1974 / 75 when we had 5 to 6 penguins.

1969 Penguin Record card
Humboldt Penguin Record Card 1969-75 Newquay Zoo Archive

2 penguins arrived in May 1969 from Councillor Jimmy Rogers, owner of the Bay Hotel and supporter of the early Zoo. I’m told some of these came from the Penguin group at Tower Road Mini Golf (shown below).

1962 NZ Penguins Tower Road Golf
1962 Blue Book Guide to Cornwall – Tower Road Mini Golf – home to our original penguins?

A better quality colour print exists in our Archive but it is  ‘crop topped’, missing the interesting background.

Penguins 1970s NZ010.jpg

In the cropped off top section, you can see our camel(s) where the 1998 Puma / 2018 Lynx Enclosure is now sited.  A full car park beyond the fence!

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop top
A great 1970s hair day! Obviously a hot day – too hot for T shirts? The chap on the extreme right has his top off!

In what is now the play area, a couple of flightless Rhea can be seen and a simple amenity horticulture rockery with Cornish palm?

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop on visitors 2

The biggest joy of the picture are the 70s hair, sideburns  and clothes, pure Bay City Rollers and Osmonds hair that I remember as a 70s child! Big lapels, all wearing the same two tone T-shirts …

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop on visitors
Bit of chat going on, boys! Anyone recognise these 1970s likely lads? Locals or tourists? Summer of 1974 / 1975. Summers were long, hot and sunny  then … in my memory.  

Anyone recognise these 1970s likely lads? Locals or tourists?

Another little gem of Newquay Zoo History bought to you from our Archives as we countdown towards our 50th Anniversary on 26 May 1969




Newquay Zoo Paw Prints Newsletter No. 5 for Summer 1997

Editorial by Mike Thomas – a lot of work to write about. 

PP5 P2 SUM 1997

PP5 P3 SUM 1997

PP5 P4 SUM 1997
Rachel Hoyle’s  article about her Duke of Edinburgh service volunteering – this behind the scenes work experience  for students would blossom in a few years into Cornwall College Newquay. 
PP5 P5 SUM 1997
Rebecca Allen’s designs for Penguin Club Passports and the front covers of our Teacher’s Packs – these packs were vital information in the days before websites. 
PP5 P6 SUM 1997
Stop Press – last minute handwritten update on Births, Deaths, Matches …
PP5 P7 SUM 1997
303 animals – Jon Blount’s useful Curator summary of the Newquay Zoo year 1996. 
PP5 P8 SUM 1997
Young writer and artist Gary Standinger on news of our first group of rare Lemurs – our wonderful Black Lemurs. 

You can see where Gary Standinger drew his inspiration form for his picture, the colourful front cover of our new 1996 Guidebook.

1996 guidebook cover

So that’s Issue 5, a strange concoction of handwritten, drawn or typed on whatever computers at home or work we could lay our hands on.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, 16 October 2016

Cornish Animal Name Trail 2003 and Cornish National Piskey Reserve at Newquay Zoo


Repost of our 5 March (St Piran’s Day) blog post from 2017 about our 2003 Cornish Animal Names Trail and Piskey Reserve.

Happy St. Pirans Day or Gool Peran Lowen!



dragon maze 1991 year of the maze
A Cornish dragon – 1991 map of our 1983 hedge maze – still standing but time has changed the route through slowly!  Blogpost on our maze due shortly…

Blog posted by Mark Norris, (proudly quarter Cornish on my Granny’s side!) Newquay Zoo Archive, St. Piran’s Day, 5th March 2018.


Lions on leaflets at Newquay Zoo


The roar of publicity in 1969 (above) and  1996 …

animal world

How I remember delivering lots of this busy Newquay Animal World morning and afternoon feeding talk timetable c. 1996 …


The lion painted on the Animal World leaflets is probably based on our lion Ross (of 1970s Poldark TV era heritage) who arrived with a female Demelza in the late 1970s from a local St. Columb Major farm as a young lion, donated when the 1977 Dangerous Wild Animals Act came in. Here he is pictured on the back of the 1996 guidebook.

get closer

c. 2012/13 “Get Closer” strapline or slogan, photo stock lion photo …


2015 ”Something to Roar About” (or eat your family at Newquay Zoo)  further developed the “Get Closer” slogan.

What next for our current trio of lions?