Glasgow Zoopark
Wombwell's Menagerie, Glasgow Green
Glasgow Zoological Gardens, Cranstonhill
The Scottish Zoo And Variety Circus, New City Road, Cowcaddens
Pickard's Noah's Ark, Panopticon, 115 Trongate
The Glasgow Corporation Zoo, That Never Was
Wilson's Zoo, 68-76 Oswald Street
Craigend Castle Zoo
Botanic Gardens

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Glasgow Zoo Closes

It's been threatened for year, and has finally happened. The beleaguered Glasgow Zoo has finally closed its doors to the public. Dilapidated and under funded there was no way back for the zoo when this year it wasn't granted a new licence.

The animals are currently being re homed, or in the case of the elderly and ill, put down.

Particular attention will be given to Pickard's Noah's Ark at the Panopticon in the Trongate, and The Scottish Zoo And Variety Circus at New City Road. The following photographs are of Sir Roger an Indian elephant who was a resident at the Scottish Zoo. The accompanying text is taken from the grubby and much handled information plaque in front of the two elephants.

Sir Roger

This male elephant (Elephas maximus) is called 'Sir Roger'. From about 1885 until 1897 he toured the country with Bostock & Wombwell's Menagerie, often pulling a small wagon from town to town. In May 1897 he went to the Scottish Zoo, in New City Road, Glasgow (owned EH Bostock), where he lived quite happily until October 1900.

Then aged about 27 years old, Sir Roger, in common with all mature male elephants, developed 'musth', a condition of male elephants during the breeding cycle. This is caused by the flow of a secretion called temporin from the elephants temporal gland. This can often be painful and lead to unpredictable bad temper and aggression.

The musth made Sir Roger extremely dangerous to handle and he started to attack the zoo staff who looked after him - breaking an arm and several ribs of his keeper. Eventually Sir Roger would allow no one near him, so that his food had to be thrown to him and his drinking water put down when he wasn't looking. It was also impossible to get into his enclosure to clean it out and the smell from the musth and the accumulating dung became extremely offensive. Sir Rogers menacing attitude to visitors was also giving cause for concern, so the zoo reluctantly decided to humanely destroy him.

Photo: Sir Roger and Kelvin
Photo by: hiddenglasgow March 2002

Arrangements were made with a Glasgow gunsmith who had an elephant gun and some soldiers with ordinary rifles to come to the zoo. On 6th December 1900 their volley killed the elephant instantly.

After remaining at the zoo for a day, the dead animal was skinned and the hide and skeleton were presented to the museum (Kelvingrove). The elephant was mounted by the taxidermy firm of Charles Kirk & Co, then based in Sauchiehall Street, who had to remove their whole shop front in order to get him out when they were finished.


This young male Indian Elephant died of natural causes in the Scottish Zoo, Glasgow 1899 and was bought by the museum from EH Bostock for £7. Almost a century later, in August 1997, he was garlanded with ribbons and silks and took part in a procession through Glasgow to mark the 50th anniversary of India's independence.

It is not known what his original name was. Following a competition run by the Evening Times newspaper in 1997, he was named 'Kelvin'.

Photo: Sir Roger and Kelvin
Photo by: hiddenglasgow March 2002



Does anyone have any information, stories or photographs relating to any of the zoos and menageries in Glasgow? We would like to hear from you. Are our facts accurate, please let us know!



All images © 2002

updated: October 2003