Surrey Zoological Gardens

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Venue Type & Location

Pleasure Gardens

Site Name: Surrey Zoological Gardens
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: Between Kennington Park & Walworth Roads, Southwark. For a current map, Click Here . For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here and Here.

  • Performance Space Description: Information about this venue has not yet been compiled; however, some sense of the performance space may be gleaned by following the links at right. In particular:

  • See the 'Bibliographic Sources' link for a provisional list of venue-relevant resources (both primary and secondary). Wherever possible (i.e. when the pertinent text is relatively short and/or easily condensed) this material has been transcribed, and appears beneath the appropriate bibliographic citation.

  • See the 'Events at venue' link for a listing of blackface/minstrelsy-related events that took place in this performance space (with attached bibliographic references).

    Beth Marquis

  • Troupes at Surrey Zoological Gardens

    Troupe Troupe Type # of events
    Two Natives of Kordofar Exhibition 3

    Events at Surrey Zoological Gardens

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Exhibition 1 May 1843 - 6 May 1843 London, London (city-county) Two Natives of Kordofar
    Variety 26 June 1843 - 1 July 1843 London, London (city-county) Two Natives of Kordofar
    Variety 31 July 1843 - 5 August 1843 London, London (city-county) Two Natives of Kordofar

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Black’s New Guide to London and its Environs. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1863.

      “SURREY GARDENS, Kensington Road, are a large piece of ground, ornamentally laid out with a sheet of water, etc. Here is a music hall, where concerts are given. Rope-walking, fireworks, etc. take place here. The wild animals, for which the gardens were once renowned, have been disposed of” (217).
    • Clarke, Henry Green. London in All Its Glory. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      “SURREY ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, Manor-place, Walworth. These delightful gardens were originally formed by Mr. Cross who removed hither the whole of his splendid collection of animals on the demolition of Exeter Change, formerly known as the itinerant menagerie of Mr. Polito. The grounds having been tastefully laid out under the superintending care of Mr. Phillips, and the avenues to the several buildings planted with upwards of two hundred varieties of the most choice and hardy forest trees, of this and other countries, forming a complete arboretum, all of which are clearly labeled: in the centre is a large circular lake, in which are numerous aquatic birds. The collections of animals, birds, and reptiles, are large, and continually receiving new accessions; and altogether form a most interesting and instructive resort. The panoramic views introduced on the borders of the lake have been much admired, and form great objects of attraction during the season. Open daily. Admission one shilling; descriptive guide, sixpence” (66-7).
    • Cunningham, P. Modern London; or, London as it is. London: John Murray, 1851.

      ”The SURREY ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, two miles from Waterloo Bridge, contain the menagerie of Mr. Cross, by whom the grounds were laid out (1831-2), after the demolition of Exeter Change and the Mews at Charing Cross. The collection in some respects is superior to the Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park. The fetes and exhibitions in the summer mouths in these gardens are among the attractions of the Surrey side of London. The grounds are about 15 acres in extent, with a sheet of water of nearly 3 acres” (181).
    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      The information provided within this source is similar to that given within London in all its Glory, also published by H.G. Clarke, & Co.

      In addition, this source also contains the following:

      “…the fireworks, the production of that unrivalled London artist, Southby, form great objects of attraction during the summer season. The South London Horticultural Society hold here several excellent exhibitions of flowers and fruit during the season, on which occasions the gardens are additionally attractive. Through the liberality of Mr. Tyler, the proprietor, the boys of the Royal Naval School at Greenwich, upwards of six hundred in number, accompanied by their band, pay an annual visit to this establishment. The season commences about Whitsuntide, and ends in September. Open daily. Fireworks on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Admission, one shilling; descriptive guide, sixpence” (255).
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.

      “ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, SURREY, WERE established in 1831, by Mr. Edward Cross, upon the demesne which had been attached to the manor house at Walworth. Thither Cross removed his menagerie from the King's Mews, where it had been transferred from Exeter Change. The Gardens were laid out by Henry Phillips, author of Sylva Florifera; when a glazed circular building, 100 feet in diameter, was built for the cages of the carnivorous animals (lions, tigers, leopards, &c.) and other houses for mammalia, birds, &c. Here, in 1834, was first exhibited a young Indian one-horned rhinoceros, for which Cross paid 800l. […] To the zoological attraction was added a large picture-model, upon the borders of the lake, three acres in extent: the first picture, Mount Vesuvius (with the natural lake for the Bay of Naples), was produced in 1837, when fireworks were also first introduced, for the volcanic eruption; in l839, Iceland and its volcanoes; 1841, the City of Rome; 1843, Temple of Ellora; 1844, London and the Great Fire of 1666; 1845, Edinburgh; 1846, Vesuvius, reproduced; 1848, Rome, reproduced; 1849, Storming of Badajoz. […] Balloon-ascents, flower-shows, and other sights, with out-door concerts, were added to the attractions of these Gardens. In 1856, the property was sold, the Menagerie removed, and there was built upon the site the Surrey Music Hall, described at p. 609” (840).