Scottish Flashback: Edinburgh Zoo, 1964

Zoo keeper Grace Forrest takes Tot the zebra for a walk on the streets of Corstorphine in November 1964. Picture: TSPL

Zoo keeper Grace Forrest takes Tot the zebra for a walk on the streets of Corstorphine in November 1964. Picture: TSPL

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OPENED in 1913, Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1000 animals, including giant pandas, penguins, koala bears and chimpanzees.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland was founded in 1909 by Thomas Hailing Gillespie, an Edinburgh lawyer.

A site on Corstorphine Hill was purchased with help from Edinburgh Town Council in 1913, and Gillespie had a vision to build a zoo modelled on the ‘open design’ of the Tierpark Hagenbeck in Hamburg.

The Tierpark Hagenbeck promoted a more spacious and natural environment for the animals - light years away from the steel cages of the Victorian era.

Edinburgh Zoo opened in the same year the Corstorphine Hill site was acquired and was incorporated by Royal Charter the same year.

After a visit by King George VI in 1948, the Society was granted the privilege of adding the prefix ‘Royal’ to its name and remains the only zoo in the UK with a Royal Charter.

In this unusual image from November 1964, zoo keeper Grace Forrest takes Tot the zebra for a walk on Corstorphine’s streets.

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