Before The Adventure

Welcome to the Before The Adventure History section of Chessington Buzz. We will delve into the captivating era that predates the transformation of Chessington Zoo. In the decades before the 1980s metamorphosis, Chessington was home to a charming zoo. One that later laid the foundation for the adventure that was yet to come.

The Chessington Zoo era, which began in the early 20th century, showcased a diverse array of wildlife. Initially established as a private estate. The Burnt Stub Manor evolved into a popular destination for animal enthusiasts and families. Those seeking a glimpse into the wonders of the natural world. Thanks to the dream of one animal enthusiast, Reginald Goddard.

One of the highlights of this bygone era was the Chessington Circus. One which would in time shape other circuses the world over. The Circus not only featured spectacular animal performances but also served as a platform for promoting conservation awareness. A theme that would echo through the later years of Chessington’s history.

Behind the scenes, visionary individuals played pivotal roles in shaping Chessington’s identity. We explore the stories of the passionate zookeepers. Those of the dedicated staff, and visionaries who envisioned Chessington as more than just a collection of enclosures. But as a space for learning, fun, and adventure.

The impact of the Second World War on Chessington Zoo is a chapter steeped in history. Discover how the conflict affected the zoo, its inhabitants, and the resilient spirit that saw it through challenging times.

This guide is a work in progress, a living document that will evolve over time. Join us as we continue to uncover the layers of Chessington’s history. Those which shed light on the remarkable journey of a quaint zoo to the thrilling World of Adventures. Check back regularly for updates and expanded content.

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The Burnt Stub

  • History » Before The Adventure
  • The Burnt Stub Mansion, located within the grounds of Chessington World of Adventures, has a long history that spans several centuries.
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Reginald Stuart Goddard

  • History » Before The Adventure
  • Reginald Stuart Goddard 's journey from a boy in rural England to the founder of Chessington Zoo is a tale of passion, resilience, and spirit
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Hans Brick

  • History » Before The Adventure
  • Hans Brick had a passion for animals that led him to become one of the best animal trainers. Starting work at Chessington Zoo in 1932.
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Chessington In Wartime

  • History » Before The Adventure
  • Chessington in Wartime. The outbreak of WWII in 1939 brought about a series of challenges. A period of both disruption and resilience.
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Devon's Zoo & Circus

  • History » Before The Adventure
  • Devon's Zoo & Circus. Reginald Goddard made a pivotal decision to temporarily relocate them away from the wartime perils of the capital...