People From ZSL’s History

ZSL Archives contains a great wealth of information on key figures in the history of ZSL, including Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Peter Chalmers Mitchell, Abraham Dee Bartlett and Joan Beauchamp Procter.

Sir Stamford Raffles

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781–1826) was a British statesman, Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies and Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen. He founded modern Singapore and the Straits Settlement. Raffles was heavily involved in the capture of the Indonesian island of Java from the Dutch during the Napoleonic Wars. He wrote 'The History of Java'.

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Nicholas Aylward Vigors

Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1785–1840) was a co-founder of the Zoological Society of London in 1826, and its first Secretary until 1833. In 1833 he founded what became the Royal Entomological Society of London. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Society. He was the author of 40 papers, mostly on ornithology. He described 110 species of birds, and provided the text for John Gould’s "A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains".

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Peter Chalmers Mitchell

Philip Chalmers Mitchell (1864–1945) was the Secretary of the Zoological Society of London from 1903–1935, second in length of office to his predecessor Philip Lutley Sclater. He was the first Secretary nominated by and voted into his position by the Fellows. Mitchell’s brainchild, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, was opened in 1931 on Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire, and he also arranged extensive rebuilding at ZSL London Zoo.

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Abraham Dee Bartlett

Abraham Dee Bartlett (1812–1897) was offered the position of Superintendent of ZSL London Zoo in 1859. He became an authority on the care of wild animals and published papers in the ‘Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London’ and other journals. In 1872 he received the Silver Medal from the Zoological Society of London. Bartlett died in the zoo premises in 1897 after suffering from an illness. His son, Clarence, who had been Assistant Superintendent at the Zoo, took his position as Superintendent.

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Joan Beauchamp Procter

Joan Beauchamp Procter (1897–1931) was a British zoologist and herpetologist. She worked initially at the British Museum (Natural History) and later at the Zoological Society of London, as the first female Curator of Reptiles at ZSL London Zoo. She undertook substantial taxonomic work and made innovative contributions to veterinary practices and zoo displays. She wrote scientific and popular zoological articles, including early accounts of the behaviour of captive Komodo Dragons. She designed the Reptile House at ZSL London Zoo.

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