Our Zoo: The relationship between Bristol Zoo Gardens and its neighbours

How does a zoo's location affect its development as a place to be known and experienced? UWE alumna Sarah-Joy Maddeaux looks at some of the ways in which Bristol Zoo has been adopted or rejected as the 'Clifton Zoo' or the 'Bristol Zoo' and the implications these associations have had on its function as a leisure space.

When the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society purchased a site on which to open a zoological garden in 1835, the surrounding area largely consisted of fields. The Zoo has since both affected and been affected by the locality's transformation into the site of a public school and an affluent residential neighbourhood. This talk will look at some of the ways in which the Zoo has been adopted or rejected as the 'Clifton Zoo' or the 'Bristol Zoo', and the implications these associations have had on its function as a leisure space. It will also examine the permeability of the different barriers separating the Zoo from what is outside and the impact this has had on the Zoo’s relationship with its neighbours.

Sarah-Joy Maddeaux is an alumni of the History programme at UWE, now entering her second year of a Collaborative Doctoral Award with Bristol Zoo Gardens and the University of Bristol to research the social history of Bristol's Zoo. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is running concurrently with a second doctoral award looking at the animal history of the Zoo.

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