At the turn of the twentieth century, a boy named George Mottershead was taken to a zoo in Manchester. What George saw that day inspired him to do something different.
Determinedly he told his father: ‘When I have a zoo, it won’t have any bars.’
George never forgot that day, or the vow he made. In 1930, now grown up and with a family, he bought Oakfield House and seven acres of land for £3,500. And with him, he brought a group of animals from a zoo at Shavington, near Crewe. The first animals of Chester Zoo.
The zoo opened in 1931, and in 1934, the North of England Zoological Society was born. Keeping the young zoo open through the Second World War was no mean feat. But George did it. (As you can tell, he wasn’t one to give up easily.)
With the war over, the zoo began to grow – fast. One of the zoo’s slogans back then was, ‘Always building.’ George’s amazing energy, enthusiasm and skill earned him an OBE, and honorary Master of Science degree, and a term as President of the International Union of Zoo Directors.