Ramsgate Zoo / Merrie England Zoo / Monkey Jungle & Zoo (approx 1926- approx 1965) , Ramsgate, Kent


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This establishment was set up in approximately 1926 after Ramsgate Corporation bought a closed and disused railway station and sold it to Thanet Attractions … a Zoo and Funfair was created at the site called “Merrie England” ( a seasonal attraction only) …unfortunately not a lot is known about the Animal Collection at the time … There were Pheasant , Guinea Pigs and Squirrels mentioned but by 1935 Chimpanzee and Lions were at the Zoo .. The Attraction changed hands in 1933 and was now owned by Ramsgate Olympia but still called “Merrie England” … although the number of visitors was going up the owners wanted to increase the visitors and lobbied Southern Railway to reopen the closed station, which would in turn bring visitors straight to the door , although initially rejected the idea was put into practice that same year and business boomed even more.. 1936 also brought about a tragedy though as in August Edith West was mauled and killed by a Lioness …. Some good news though in 1936 the Lion Tamer Carl Mullings who worked at the Zoo jumped into the sea and rescued Clara Gillingham after she had fallen in and so a good and a bad news story for 1936 …. In 1939 with the start of World War 2 the Zoo was closed down possibly the dangerous animals were killed as per the government instruction … The Tunnel (s) that the train came through were adapted to become War Time Air Raid shelters…. After the War Merrie England resumed again by 1946 … It is unclear what animals were present or indeed who had the Zoo at the time but by 1950 the Zoo within Merrie England was known as “Monkey Jungle & Zoo” (so possibly scaled down considerably from before the war). run by Arthur Bean …. Mr Bean passed away in 1961 aged 66 and his Wife was unable to continue with the business … I believe the Zoo was taken on by Yolanda Keays …. In 1965 the Amusement Park was taken over by Pleasurama and I believe it was at this point the Zoo finally ended.. Pleasurama continued until 1997 but the old / original Railway building had a “mysterious fire” and the building had to be demolished … Today the Tunnels are a tourist attraction in themselves
1st image Lion Cubs 1936 Ramsgate Zoo, 2nd Image Ramsgate Olympia , 3rd Image Harbourside Station , 4th Image Railway Tunnel and 5th image Mr Arthur Bean and his Monkey Jungle and Zoo , 6th Image Merrie England
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