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General Information

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Organisation Reference The North of England Zoological Gardens 
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This information has been taken directly from the The North of England Zoological Gardens Website:

The North of England Zoological Society


The role of the Zoo is to support and promote conservation by breeding threatened animals, by excellent animal welfare, high quality public service, recreation, education and science.


The Zoo was founded by George Mottershead. As a child, he visited a zoo in Manchester (now closed), and is reported to have been so upset seeing large animals in small cages, that he said to his father 'when I have a zoo, it won't have any bars'. 

His dream was eventually realised in 1930 , when he brought his family to live in the Oakfield house and formed the original collection of animals from an earlier zoo at Shavington near Crewe.

His venture became the North of England Zoological Society in 1934, and with considerable skill and enthusiasm, he kept the zoo going through the Second World War. Rapid expansion followed after the war. 'Always Building' was a slogan of the time and the Zoo grew to its present size, and became a charitable trust. 

His proudest achievement was probably the successful rearing of Jubilee, the first elephant to be born and raised in the country (1977). He received the OBE, an honorary degree of M.Sc., and served a term as President of the International Union of Zoo Directors. He died in 1978 at the ripe age of 84 having realised his dream of a 'zoo without bars'. 

He was succeeded by Dr Michael Brambell , who came from London Zoo. Under his directorship, major improvements included the new Penguin pool, the new Chimpanzee islands complex, the Zoofari Monorail, the huge 'Europe on the Edge' aviary and the impressive zoo entrance development. 

In 1994, the Zoo celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, awarding its first gold medal to Dr. Jane Goodall for her work with Chimpanzees.

How the Zoo Works

It takes a lot of people to run the Zoo – it can be over 500 at the height of the summer, with seasonal staff, and work placement students in addition to the full timers.

The North of England Zoological Society

Is the formal name for the charitable trust that operates the Zoo as a Company Limited By Guarantee. There are no shareholders or distribution of profits. The Members elect the Council who are the Trustees of the Society. Council select the Chairman, and committee members, and meet regularly as Council and Sub Committees of Council to determine policy and approve plans. They may co-opt additional members to Council. Maximum consecutive term for Council is six years. The President of the Society is The Duke of Westminster – an honorary post of great distinction. Vice Presidents, Fellows, and Honorary Fellows may be appointed. Council appoint the Zoo Director, who is the Chief Executive responsible for running the Zoo to whom the Heads of Division report.

There are seven Divisions reporting to the Zoo Director, Professor Gordon McGregor Reid which include:

Animal and Plant Conservation Division

Education Division

Finance and Administration Division

Marketing and Development Division

Visitor Services Division

Estates Division

Personnel Division

Throughout the Zoo’s Divisions, many members of staff serve on appropriate external committees.
Staff Association, Safety Committee and Environmental Protection Group provide inter-divisional representation and liaison with management. The Zoo Director and senior staff sit on Council sub committees. 

Dates Referenced March 2002
Contact Details

Chester Zoological Gardens
Caughall Road,

Tel: 01244 380280
Fax: 01244 371273

Website Address



Marketing Department marketing@chesterzoo.co.uk

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