The death of the Prince Consort on December 14, 1861, deprived the Society of an able and sympathetic President, whose powerful influence had been continuously exercised in furthering the objects it was established to promote. As a token of respect the monthly meeting that, under ordinary circumstances, would have been held on December 19, did not take place. A committee, consisting of Admiral Bowles, Sir J. E. Tennent, and the Secretary, was appointed to prepare an address of condolence, which was presented to Her late (sic) Majesty by the Home Secretary.
At the Anniversary Meeting in April, 1862, the Council reminded the Fellows of "the great and undeviating interest ever exhibited by their late President in the objects which this Society have most at heart, and of the many valuable donations which His Royal Highness's patronage was the means of conferring upon them."
It is worth noting that one of the last acts of the Prince in connection with the Society was the appointment of Huxley, "the great and beloved chief," and Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, Vice-President of the Society.
In 1861 the antelope house was completed at a cost of over £4,000, and the animals were transferred thither. It was fitted up with heating apparatus, which was also adapted to supply the hot-water pipes in the Terrace dens. The new part, facing the porpoise pond (afterwards used for sea-lions), contains fifteen stalls, each communicating by sliding doors with those adjoining, and opening on to a small yard. One defect, however, is that the animals cannot be turned into the grazing paddock; but it is intended to obviate this by increasing the area of the yards, and laying them down in grass. The structure, including the part previously stocked with zebras, was described in the Press as "the most commodious and suitable building for animals yet erected in the Gardens, and by no means deficient in architectural merits."
This year it was decided to lay out about £1,500 in providing better accommodation in the refreshment-rooms, at that time occupying part of the present site. The Council believed that the result of this expenditure "would greatly increase the attractions of the Gardens as a place of public resort."
Sheep sheds were put up in 1862 on the small lawn opposite the cattle sheds; the small pheasantry for the Himalayan chicks was made on the ground afterwards turned into paddocks when the ostrich house was built; and another gate and money- taker's lodge was constructed at the south entrance.
New lodges replaced the old wooden boxes for money-takers at the main entrance in 1863. They were said to be "ornamental adjuncts to the Society's premises," with "the further advantage of giving shelter from the weather to persons entering the Gardens whilst they paid the entrance fees or wrote their names in the visitors' books."
The New or Eastern Aviary was rebuilt, of larger dimensions and on different principles. The Council described it as "in several respects superior to any other building for the care and exhibition of birds yet erected in this country. The elevation of the floor was better for display, in addition to improving the drainage and affording more air and light."
The monkey house replaced, on another site, a building long recognised as defective, and on this it was a vast improvement. But the old house possessed one advantage not to be found in the new one — open-air cages to which ready access might be allowed to the animals at the will of the keeper. Many of the baboons and hardier monkeys are now kept in the open but in the matter of an outdoor annexe the monkey house in Regent's Park is, for the time being, behind Manchester and Clifton. The erection of a row of cattle sheds enabled the authorities to exhibit the collection of bovine animals in a connected series.
The whale pond or porpoise basin, afterwards used for sea-lions, was built this year. A beluga, or white whale, had lived for two years in a tank in the Aquarial Garden, Boston, U.S.A., and this seems to have inspired the idea of providing accommodation for cetaceans in Regent's Park.
The old eagle aviary in the centre of the Garden was pulled down and the site added to the lawn in 1866. With the material and some from the outside cages of the old monkey house the existing eagle aviary was constructed on the site of the last-named building. The rest of the wire work was utilised for the vultures' cages in the walk leading to the right from the south entrance. Wolf's famous water-colour drawings were exhibited in the upper part of the old Museum building, which had been fitted up for that purpose.
In 1867 sheds for rodents were added to the north end of those used for the swine; and in the North Garden the walk leading from the kangaroo sheds over the tunnel to the parrot house was made, as were the wombats' pens, since cleared away to aiford space for the kangaroo paddock.
New dining-rooms, kitchens, and cellars were provided at the refreshment-rooms in the South Garden, for which the lessee agreed to pay an increased rent; and in the North Garden the gazelle sheds were put up.
Jumbo was the most important arrival, from the Menagerie point of view, and was said to be the first African elephant brought alive to this country. Bell, however, wrote from The Wakes, Selborne, to the Field of July 8, 1865, stating that he remembered to have seen some years before, two living African elephants at the Surrey Zoological Gardens; and he was of opinion that they were not the only ones that had been imported though he could not recollect particulars.
Jumbo was received on June 26, and at the scientific meeting on the following evening Dr. Sclater announced its safe arrival in the Gardens, where at first it was quartered the eland house. About three months later Alice was purchased of Rice for £500. With another elephant she had been sent to London from Vienna, to which city Casanova had brought them and other animals collected in the Soudan. In November she was 3 ft. 6 in. high and 6 ft. 3 in. in girth; the corresponding measurements for Jumbo were 5 ft. 6 in. and 9 ft. 6 in.
Wolf's sketches were exhibited in the upper part of the Museum, and attracted a good many visitors to the Gardens. Some of these unrivalled drawings now adorn the walls of the meeting-room; the rest are bound in large folios in the Library.
A walrus was purchased for the collection at a cost of £205.
A young male African rhinoceros, believed to be the first received alive in Europe since the days of the Romans, was purchased from Hagenbeck, who received it from Casanova. It was in excellent health and quite tame. Till the elephant house was finished, the animal was kept in the giraffe house. Its dimensions on arrival are given as about 6 ft. in length, and 3 ft. 6 in, high at the shoulder.
Exhibition year; the visitors exceeded those in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, by 14,962; and the income was larger by £946.
(Partial text:) The Zoological Society of London. This Edition is limited to 1,000 copies, of which this is No.377. 1905. Henry Scherren, F.Z.S., Member of the British Ornithologists; Union.