In 1828, the Regent’s Park Zoo was opened as a scientific research facility to fellows of the Zoological Society of London. After the Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1829 by King George IV, it was opened to the public in 1847 in order to raise funds for scientific study. It is thus the world’s oldest scientific zoo, and has made history on many occasions.
An example of this is that it was where the only living quagga was housed before it became extinct due to overhunting in southern Africa towards the end of the 1800s. It is also were we got the only photographs of this passive creature.
In 1849 the first Reptile House was opened and the big attraction became feeding time for the boa constrictor. He was fed a live rabbit, which as you can imagine caused uproar.
William Thackeray, the 19th century novelist, lived in Palace Green, not too far from the Zoo. He moved in elite circles of London society, and was highly regarded in the Victorian era. His work was only second in popularity to Charles Dickens, so when he spoke, many listened. He was outspoken about the horrors of this attraction, thus causing a ripple of discontent about the goings-ons at the zoo, across the city.