Carlton Place "Zoo"

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Carlton Place "Zoo"

Postby Cyclo2000 » Wed Jun 23, 2004 3:57 pm

When I was young my dad used to tell me that one of the houses on Carlton Place (and he was able to point to which) had once held a privately owned menagerie.

Anyone know anything 'bout this? Or was the old man just haverin'?
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Postby Ronnie » Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:33 pm

The webpages of the Glasgow zoo (google it) tell the story of pretty much every animal exhibition in Glasgow. Not sure of any sources for private menageries which, as a phrase, could mean pretty much anything.
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Postby cumbo » Wed Jun 23, 2004 11:07 pm

I remember going there as a child. It was, I suppose as a child a fantastic place.But on reflection Just a smelly old pet shop.The location was about midway down the right terrace over the suspension bridge.I have a distant memory that it was dark in there, There was a lot of reptiles and snakes.Not sure if it was a true Zoo.I cant remember paying an entry fee.but I'm sure it sold puppies and such like. My older brother will have more memory's of it I will ask him
THe underlying feeling that I have is that the people who worked there were strange! for some reason.
Thanks Cyclo for reminding me of that one. :D
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carlton place zoo

Postby stunev » Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:08 am

I have a memory of visiting this one evening in the early '70s, it was in a dimly lit room and full of cages and tanks and was quite creepy.

Can't really recall any detail, just impressions, it was rather unsettling and we didn't stay long.
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Postby Cyclo2000 » Fri Jun 25, 2004 9:15 am

Carlton Place has always struck me as eery. Maybe it's the cobbled, lamp-lit Victorianess of the block, kinda Spring-heeled Jack-ish. Maybe it's cos there never seems to be anyone about.
I used to call on a firm who operated out of a basement there. Never saw a living soul, in the middle of the day yet!
It's so quiet for the town centre, too quiet...half the doors have no nameplates...makes me wonder what's going on...Wooo!

So the place has always spooked me. But in my case there is something else...maybe, just maybe, it's this...

There used to be a restaurant there called the Trading Post (I think).
The gimmick was you grilled your own steak at a bar-B-Q specially provided. Never liked that idea myself, why can't they cook the effin' steak? It's not as tho you got money off for cooking yer own tea.
We went with a party from work, including the cleaner, a wee wumin who hadn't been with us all that long. After we'd eaten we decided we'd all "go on". As Bill Knox used to say on the Police Reports, drink had been taken. The night was foggy...we all went over the suspension bridge...the cleaner was there when we started...she wasn't there at the end. We never saw her again.
Now it's possible that she'd had her tea and we had just given her a wee Xmas bonus so she's thought fuck 'em I'm off homeo. It's possible that she didn't come back to work after Xmas cos she found a better job.
You would think that if something had happened to her someone would of got in touch to ask where we'd left her.

All these years later, I've never known. Just last month I met the guy that used to be my business partner in these days, I hadn't seen him in 8 years. We were in the Chip drinking when he said, appro pos of nothing, "do you ever think about the cleaner?"
"Now and again," I said, "now and again..."
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Postby dougie moyes » Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:57 pm

On the subject of the zoo in Calton Place I don't know about this one but I do know there was one at the far end of Wilson St but cannot remember which end, I was only about 12yrs old at the time so it would have been very early sixties and I visited it often. I remember the suffocating stench of the place and at the far end of this dimly lit room was a poor old mangy lion probably a circus cast off and there was a huge water rat type thing with huge yellow teeth, this was before I discovered alcohol so I know it was there but have scrolled through many books on Glasgow to find a refence to this with no luck.
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Postby duncan » Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:11 am

alligators:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3875637.stm

there was someone stayed briefly down the road from me (not in Glasgow), who had a bunch of small monkeys in cages in his garage. the garden also had an aviary
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Postby cumbo » Tue Jul 13, 2004 10:59 pm

Got a bit more info on this one .The Zoo was in Oswald St at Argyle St first,It was distroyed by fire and then moved to Calton Place,The name was Wilsons Zoo......More to follow.
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Postby Timchilli » Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:19 am

cumbo wrote:Got a bit more info on this one .The Zoo was in Oswald St at Argyle St first,It was distroyed by fire and then moved to Calton Place,The name was Wilsons Zoo......More to follow.


(from The History of Glasgow Zoo, Calderpark; cached only; page no longer exists)

6. WILSON'S ZOO, 68-76 OSWALD STREET

The Wilson family operated a commercial zoo in Glasgow for many years. On Wednesday 23rd December, 1936, a 'miniature zoo' opened inside a disused church near Glasgow's Central Station, renovated and modernised for its new purpose. This replaced an earlier zoo under the railway arches in Argyle Street.

The Oswald Street establishment, owned by William Wilson and his son, housed a varied collection, including lions, a black panther, monkeys, a badger, parrots, macaws and a delightful mynah bird remembered for saying, "Where's the sawdust man?" in a broad Glaswegian accent. It was very popular and crowded, with two levels of cages and a pet shop in the basement. This zoo continued to operate until the 1950s. When it closed, the pet shop business moved just across the River Clyde to Carlton Place.

Wilson's Oswald Street Zoo opened only one week after the founding of the Zoological Society of Glasgow. It is possible these two events are linked in some way, although no documentary evidence has been found connecting them.


Can anyone pinpoint the location of the original zoo inside the disused church near Central Station?

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Postby neilmc » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:36 pm

The Oswald Street Wilson's Zoo was on the site now occupied by that hideous '60s office block with the RAC/BSM shop at its ground floor level. If I remember correctly the entrance was above ground floor level and was accessed via a staircase on either side. My father once told me it was popular with guys who used to stagger in after the pubs shut at 2.30pm. They would then proceed to take the piss out of the unfortunate exhibits until the pubs re-opened at five.
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Postby Vinny the Mackem » Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:58 pm

I thought there was still a zoo in Carlton Place ... still keep the animals behind bars etc etc! ::):
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Postby glasgowken » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:19 pm

The zoo in Oswald Street, 1956.

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Postby neilmc » Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:44 am

Great photo, glasgowken; those entrance steps are just how I remembered them.
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Postby Cyclo2000 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:03 am

Goodness gracious, talk about a slow burner!
I started this Topic in (gulp!) 2004 and that's us just got to two pages now!
Great pic BTW. What a mess has been made of Oswald Street!
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Postby Timchilli » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:40 am

glasgowken wrote:The zoo in Oswald Street, 1956.

Image

Great photo, GK!

Can anyone provide a present photo of the area, as I'm having difficulty placing the zoo on Oswald Street?

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