How the phrase was unfold by a medical man to Cheshire within the forerunner to Chester Zoo


My story, Monkeys and Vitamin D. Pioneering science efficiently utilized to wild animal husbandry within the Nineteen Twenties and 30s by Miss Hume, Miss Smith and Dr Lucas, from December 2021 was learn by Gwyn Griffiths who then obtained in contact. He has been researching the historical past of the zoo at Shavington in Cheshire. The Zoo, lengthy closed, is nowadays solely remembered because the forerunner of Chester Zoo and its founder George Mottershead. Confusingly, the zoo at Shavington was referred to as Oakfield Zoological Gardens, the identical title as the home and land that Motterhead purchased close to Chester, twenty-odd miles away. 

One man who was in partnership with Mottershead at Shavington appears to have been written out of the histories. He was Dr William (‘Willie) Larmour English, a basic practitioner from Haslington, a few miles away.

Gwyn Griffiths has a ledger wherein English recorded occasions at Shavington and at his personal home in Haslington. That report was saved by the physician’s housekeeper whose relation’s daughter used some empty pages for college homework. Gwyn seen that there are references to Miss Hume (spelt Hulme) and Dr Lucas in addition to therapies for sick animals with preparations containing Vitamin D, which had come on to the market within the late Nineteen Twenties, and using ultraviolet lamps. I’ve learn the related extracts and it’s clear that the great physician was in contact with and following intently the work of Miss Hume and Miss Smith on the Lister Institute and by extension that at London Zoo by Lucas. In brief, he was making use of up-to-the-minute analysis on the consequences of Vitamin D and ultraviolet radiation aimed toward stopping rickets within the human inhabitants to his different nice curiosity in life.

English famous the restoration of some animals given nutritional vitamins D and A. For instance, ‘Antoinette’ a Frequent Marmoset: ’18 months rickety, almost died. Saved by huge doses of radistol + radiostolium. Could thirty first 1931’.

I discovered this {photograph} on a household tree web site
Willie (left) and Howard English

Mottershead and English parted firm, it’s rumoured on unhealthy phrases. It might actually appear from English’s ledger that he was extremely essential of Mottershead’s care of the animals at Shavington notably of these transferred in a wholesome situation from English’s home at Haslington to the zoo at Shavington.

The proof of the pudding, or on this case of the worth of vitamin dietary supplements and/or ultraviolet lamps, is obvious from Dr English’s breeding success: Golden Lion Tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) 4 instances in 1931-32 and Douroucoulis (Aotus trivirgatus) in 1933. In a paper to the Zoological Society of London he famous that the animals had been given Vitamin D.

In a earlier be aware right here, I identified the extra necessities for Vitamin D of New World Monkeys over and above these of different primates. I’d guess that Dr English, together with his success of breeding these species and in bringing rachitic marmosets again from the brink (his personal in addition to a pet of a lady in Chesjhire), was utilizing fairly hefty doses of the Vitamin D preparations. Douroucoulis are fascinating in that they’re nocturnal. It appears probably due to this fact that even within the wild these creatures of the night time should depend on dietary sources of Vitamin D.

Dr Willie English was William Larmour English. He was born on 16 February 1887 in Lurgan, County Armagh, in what’s now Northern Eire, and educated at Campbell School, Belfast. He graduated from Trinity School, Dublin, with the standard medical levels of that establishment, MB, BCh, BAO, in 1911. He was in apply in Lurgan in 1915 however in 1917 joined the Royal Military Medical Corps; he was a commissioned on 19 July 1917, a number of days earlier than one other medical man with zoological pursuits, Burgess Barnett. By the center of August he was serving in East Africa. The 1921 Census exhibits he was a Resident Medical Officer on the Metropolis Hospital in West Derby, Liverpool. In 1923, judging from the reported size of service of his housekeeper, he was in medical apply in Haslington the place one in all his companions was his youthful brother, Howard.

The 1939 Register (an emergency census in preparation for battle) exhibits simply two residents at his home in Excessive Road, Haslington, English himself, a single man, and his housekeeper, Ida Ellen Louise Pye, born 11 November 1886. She the housekeeper who saved the ledger of happenings at Shavington and in his personal assortment.

Willie English died in 1945 aged 58. The Nantwich Chronicle and the Crewe Chronicle of Saturday 22 December gave the story. He was discovered useless in mattress on Tuesday 18 December. Louise Pye who had been his housekeeper for 22 years reported to the inquest held on twentieth that he had not appeared effectively and returned from visiting sufferers complaining of a ache between his shoulders. On taking him a cup of tea the subsequent morning she discovered him useless. Examination put up mortem confirmed he had died of pure causes. At his funeral on Friday 21, his providers within the village have been remembered, with apparent nice appreciation and affection, in a packed parish church.

However Willie English had not fairly completed. In 1947, the William Larmour English Charity was established. Nonetheless extant in 2023 its objective is: Monetary help in direction of the price of holidays or quick breaks, for these deemed to be in want or to be worthy causes by the docs within the Haslington Surgical procedure or by the Trustees.

Nowhere within the memorials to Willie English have been his zoological pursuits and successes talked about. He was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and was I believe a component the explanation for the little bit of zoo folklore from the center a long time of the twentieth century that may be summed up as, ‘Vets have been alright for animals with hooves, not unhealthy for these with paws, however for monkeys you want a medical physician’. The scary factor was that my outdated veterinary colleagues who skilled within the first half of the twentieth century agreed.

…and I hope Gwyn Griffiths will publish extra on his researches into the zoo at Shavington and on the contents of Dr English’s ledger.

English WL. 1934. Notes on the breeding of a Douroucouli (Aotus trivirgatus) in captivity. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1934 (new quantity numbering 104), 143-144.

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