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Historic England Research Records

Mappin Terraces

Hob Uid: 619101
Location :
Greater London Authority
City of Westminster
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ2793683393
Summary : The Mappin Terraces in London Zoo are the largest and most prominent of the Zoo's animal enclosures and were designed to provide a naturalistic habitat for bears and other mountain wildlife. It has housed polar bears, Ibex and snow leopards. The terraces were designed by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell in 1913-14, who was the Secretary of the London Zoological Society from 1903-35 and funded by John Newton Mappin. The architect was John James Joass, engineer Alexander Drew and the contractors D G Somerville and Company. The enclosure comprises a three tiered quadrant with hills, built of reinforced concrete constructed on the Kahn system -a method of concrete reinforcement invented by Julius Kahn in 1903. The quadrant has a radius of 87 metres with concentric enclosures and terraces radiating and rising from the inner angle, forming three levels of animal enclosures divided by public paths. The lowest level originally had four deer paddocks but was later increased to six and a pond originally for fowl, later used for penguins. The middle level comprised six bear enclosures, fronted by a dry ditch with spikey slate parapets to prevent climbing. The upper level comprises four artificial mountains up to 21 metres in height. Water tanks serving the Aquarium (Monument HOB UID 619103) which is situated underneath the terraces, are located within the interior of the 'mountains'. In 1968-72 the terraces were renovated by the zoo's architect John Toovey. It was closed in 1985. In 2008 the terraces were opened as part of the Outback exhibit and houses wallabies and emus. It is known that James Pulham and Son, a well-reputed firm of landscape gardeners had worked at London Zoo. It is commonly thought they installed rockwork on the Mappin Terraces but Zoological Society account books do not document any payments to them. They were paid for work in the Polar Bears' Enclosure (Monument HOB UID 1508628) and for the Coypu Pond (Monument HOB UID 1507946).
More information : The Mappin Terraces in London Zoo are the largest and most prominent of the Zoo's animal enclosures and were designed to provide a naturalistic habitat for bears and other mountain wildlife. It has housed polar bears, Ibex and snow leopards. The terraces were designed by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell in 1913-14, who was the Secretary of the London Zoological Society from 1903-35 and funded by John Newton Mappin. The architect was John James Joass, engineer Alexander Drew and the contractors D G Somerville and Company.

The enclosure comprises a three tiered quadrant with hills, built of reinforced concrete constructed on the Kahn system -a method of concrete reinforcement invented by Julius Kahn in 1903. The quadrant has a radius of 87 metres with concentric enclosures and terraces radiating and rising from the inner angle, forming three levels of animal enclosures divided by public paths. The lowest level originally had four deer paddocks but was later increased to six and a pond originally for fowl, later used for penguins. The middle level comprised six bear enclosures, fronted by a dry ditch with spikey slate parapets to prevent climbing. Larger pools in the outside dens were glazed so polar bears could be viewed swimming. The upper level comprises four artificial mountains up to 21 metres in height. Water tanks serving the Aquarium (Monument HOB UID 619103) which is situated underneath the terraces, are located within the interior of the 'mountains'.

The terraces were renovated and resurfaced by the architect John Toovey in 1968-72 and closed in 1985. (1-2)

In 2008 the Mappin Terraces were opened as part of the Outback exhibit and houses wallabies and emus. (3-4)

It is known that James Pulham and Son, a well-reputed firm of landscape gardeners had worked for the London Zoological Society at London Zoo. There is, however, some confusion over which exhibits they worked on. It is commonly thought they were responsible for some of the rockwork on the Mappin Terraces but a Zoological Society account book which covers the period of construction of the Terraces does not document any payments to James Pulham and Son. However, they were paid for the installation of rockwork in other exhibits including the Polar Bears' Enclosure (Monument HOB UID 1508628) in 1910 and for the Coypu Pond - now known as the Prairie Marmot Enclosure (Monument HOB UID 1507946) in 1913. (5)

The national Pulham database for London Zoo (ID number 224) mentions the possiblity that James Robert Pulham (1873-1957) probably with James Pulham III (1845-1920) worked on the Mappin Terraces. The site has subsequently been published in the gazetteer. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The Buildings of London Zoo
Source details :
Page(s) : 57-63
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : City of Westminster (Amended 21st February 1989)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1990
Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 08-OCT-2009]
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Source Number : 4
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 08-OCT-2009]
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Source Number : 5
Source : Garden history : the journal of the Garden History Society
Source details : Sally Festing. 1988. Great Credit Upon the Ingenuity and Taste of Mr Pulham
Page(s) : 90-102
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16.1
Source Number : 6
Source : Durability Guaranteed: Pulhamite Rockwork - Its Conservation and Repair
Source details :
Page(s) : 26
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Built 1913-1914
Monument End Date : 1914
Monument Start Date : 1913
Monument Type : Bear Enclosure, Deer Pound, Animal House, Pool, Rockwork
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Renovations 1968-1972
Monument End Date : 1972
Monument Start Date : 1968
Monument Type : Animal House
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Closed 1985
Monument End Date : 1985
Monument Start Date : 1985
Monument Type : Animal House
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : 21st Century
Display Date : Reopened 2008
Monument End Date : 2008
Monument Start Date : 2008
Monument Type : Animal House
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 90528
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 428937
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Pulhamite Database
External Cross Reference Number : 224
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 28 SE 82
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BUILDINGS OF LONDON ZOO
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31