Previous Return to Timeline Next


Tanny the Teenage Trainee Bird Keeper

By Tanny (Edwin) Robinson

I was born at home at Oldfield Cottages, Heswall, on the 5th of August 1939. And went to Greenbank Drive Primary School.

I’m the one with the blonde hair, about 11 years old. Not long later I was in charge of the penguins. Note in these pictures the great use of the picket fence. I think it was about 1950 when my parents first took us to Chester Zoo, then again in 1951 and probably again in 1952.

In those days there was no restrictions regarding feeding the animals and the public took delight at being so close to them, just a picket or wire fence between visitors and animals.

August 1953 was the time for me to leave school and look for employment. All I wanted to do was to work with birds, and applied to Peter Scott’s Slimbridge but they didn't employ people, as the place was run by volunteers. Eventually my old art teacher got me an interview with Mr. Mottershead at Chester Zoo.

My mother came with me for the interview. We went up some stairs and entered a room where Mr. Mottershead sat at a desk facing us and we sat on a couple of seats that I think was put there for us. I don't remember saying anything during the interview; my mother did all the talking. At the end he stood up and with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, shook my hand and said "Welcome to Chester Zoo".

Read more from Tanny here.

See more: Mottershead Family, Special Zoo Moments, Staff