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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Entertainment _ Wilson's Zoo On Oswald Street

Posted by: Agnes & Robert 19th Feb 2009, 03:14am

Can anybody remember the Amusements at the corner of Argyle St. and Oswald St.also Wilson's Zoo just along on Oswald St.

Posted by: George Muir 19th Feb 2009, 04:57am

Agnes and Robert, here's an old picture of that intersection



Posted by: tombro 19th Feb 2009, 11:05am

I've answered this on other forums.

One day in the late 1950's my Granny, who lived in Crimea Street (off Carrick Street about a mile along Argyle Street towards Anderston Cross) itook my brother and me to the zoo in Oswald Street.

I remember it being dark and gloomy and I remember the lion in its cage.

Lately I've seen (on this and other sites) various pics of that corner of Argyle Street and Oswald Street but don't remember any amusements.

Tombro huh.gif

Posted by: Agnes & Robert 19th Feb 2009, 04:59pm

QUOTE (tombro @ 19th Feb 2009, 10:52am) *
I've answered this on other forums.

One day in the late 1950's my Granny, who lived in Crimea Street (off Carrick Street about a mile along Argyle Street towards Anderston Cross) itook my brother and me to the zoo in Oswald Street.

I remember it being dark and gloomy and I remember the lion in its cage.

Lately I've seen (on this and other sites) various pics of that corner of Argyle Street and Oswald Street but don't remember any amusements.

Tombro huh.gif

Hi Tombro, fantastic photo, I'm sure it was in the 40s when the door was open you were able to see the dodgems, I remember the lion in the cage also the Mynah bird, the story was that Mr.Wilson was a big-game hunter,I'm not quite sure but I think Clydsdales might have been there either before or after the amusements I can still see that cage a way too small for the lion. It's strange that you mention Carrick St. when my Wife and I were home on holiday we stayed at the Carrick Hotel, which is now called the Corus, they served you a fantastic breakfast, black pudding sliced sausages the lot my teeth are watering.

Posted by: Agnes & Robert 19th Mar 2009, 03:20am

QUOTE (tombro @ 19th Feb 2009, 10:52am) *
I've answered this on other forums.

One day in the late 1950's my Granny, who lived in Crimea Street (off Carrick Street about a mile along Argyle Street towards Anderston Cross) itook my brother and me to the zoo in Oswald Street.

I remember it being dark and gloomy and I remember the lion in its cage.

Lately I've seen (on this and other sites) various pics of that corner of Argyle Street and Oswald Street but don't remember any amusements.

Tombro huh.gif

Hi Tombro on that corner of Argyle & Oswald Sts. Clydesdales was there as well but Ican't remember who was there first, that would be about the same time when there was a N.A.A.F.I. on Argyle St. and Ithink Stockwell St', now we are talking during the War Ican remember if the door was opened you could see the Dodgems

Posted by: angela cunningham 25th Jul 2009, 06:50pm

QUOTE (Agnes & Robert @ 19th Feb 2009, 03:31am) *
Can anybody remember the Amusements at the corner of Argyle St. and Oswald St.also Wilson's Zoo just along on Oswald St.


Posted by: angela cunningham 25th Jul 2009, 06:56pm

Hi
My mum and dad remember it well,my dad more so as he used to work there when he was 14yrs old.
The owners where Joe Leonard and Martha Taylor both gypsies. They wanted to take my dad with them but my gran said no as he was her only child.

Posted by: Evelyn Farquharson 29th Oct 2009, 09:15am

Hello there - I lived in Argyle Street round the corner from the zoo - next door to the NAAFI which closed around the early 1950's. Anyway, at night when we were in bed, we could hear the lion roaring. During the day I did on a few occasions creep inside under the turnstile to get into the zoo to watch the lion perform. Its 'party trick' was to walk to the front of the cage, lift its leg and wee over the spectators.

Posted by: *mairi* 29th Dec 2009, 12:23am

My dad has told me the story of the lion since I was a little kid but we havent been able to find any photos except the one on here, if anyone has anymore can they please post them. did they take the lion with them when they left?

Posted by: Stillroom 27th Feb 2010, 10:27pm

I remember when it was closing, my mum and I were walking past when one of the men came out carrying a red a'''d baboon over his shoulder, he recognised my mum, (old neighbour) and stopped to talk I was mortified and folk were laughing, the animals were so old I don't think they had seen daylight in years

Posted by: AGNES & ROBERT 28th Feb 2010, 02:45am

Yes I remember the Oswald Street Zoo very well, been there a few times with my Sons, also I used to buy Tropical Fish downstairs, the Lion was in a cage far too small for it, also the Myna bird that could talk, I knew Mrs. Wilson, she was a member of the Scottish Aquarium Society (we used to hold our meetings in the McClennan Galleries), I'm glad to see somebody else remembers the Amusements, also the NAAFI further along Argyle Street, I think that it might have been at the corner of Argyle and Glassford Streets, fantastic memories.

Posted by: glezgaman 10th Oct 2010, 02:05am

i remember the amusements arcade well,one of my cousins worked there. it was on the corner of argyle st and jamaica st. that was the east side of jamaica st just before you went under the bridge.

Posted by: benny 10th Oct 2010, 10:16am

I remember the zoo only too well. My Ma took me in wan day and ah wis terrified o the lion. The poor beast wis - as someboy already mentioned - in a cage that wis far too wee. It wis like puttin a budgie in a shoe box, only budgies cannae bite yer heid aff or rip yer innards oot wi wan blow if they jump oot. There wis a big mastiff dug as well that patrolled the area. Ah started greetin - ah wis only aboot 5 - an ma Ma took me oot. Ah wis never as glad tae get away frae anythin. Ah didnae realise it at the time, but it wis sheer exploitation - the poor animals must've led a helluva life.

Posted by: Tommy Kennedy 10th Oct 2010, 12:06pm

I remember it well, my older Brother,Willie - 6 years older than me took me there, I was 10- naw not out of kindness of heart but as a 'Lookout'.
He wanted one of the ferrets they had for bunny wabbit hunting.
Got to the cage.....I looked around, nobody near, nobody watching -
'Go Willie', I whispered - in went his hand, out came the ferret - he stuck it up his 'Duke'(Jumper and off we went) tongue.gif

I was always brother Willie's lookout when he went poaching/fishing.
Years later I asked Willie why he always used me as 'Look out' and not brother John, who was 3 years older than me.

'You were my 'Oiver Twist' ,he told me, you were so weedy and small and if we got caught -which we sometimes did, the game keeper would feel sorry for you and let us off' rolleyes.gif

Posted by: auchenshuggle 10th Oct 2010, 09:46pm

ooohh, ya cheeky wee monkey. rolleyes.gif

Posted by: wellfield 11th Oct 2010, 02:14am

I remember bringing wee chicks and goldfish back fae' there.....Christ..ye' were lucky if they lasted the ride on the bus till ye got hame!!!!

Posted by: Jimmuck 11th Oct 2010, 02:49am

A pal o' mine, Jimmy Ferguson, fae Balornock, used tae work in the "Oswald St Zoo" an' we'd go doon oan a Seterday, wee brothers in tow an' watch the 'gumsie Lion' pee oan folk an' roar like "The King of The Jungle" bit it wiss mair like an' auld 'wino' fau'in ootta "The Jungle" pub, LMFAO!
Poor auld beastie, it wissin it's ain' Bar-L cell. The place used tae stink an' yet, when ye wurr young? ye imagined aw kinds`a "Nyoka The Juhngle Girl" stunts wae that Lion, as if it wissin darkest Africa.
Many a wain hudd that auld lion tae thank furr scaring the beejabbers out o' thaim when it let oot that 'RUFF! RUFF! ROOOOOO'AAAAAR! Mammy! Daddy! let me oot! runnin`up Hope St. like the `clappers`ha! ha! we wiss lucky eh?

Sumday said their 'cuzzin' used tae work therr, wizzit "Wee Jimmy" pal??

Posted by: klingon 3rd Jun 2011, 11:38pm

The lion was called "Rajah" and he was so old he had no teeth!-Andy Wilson used to feed him with buckets of mince!-the zoo moved to Carlton Place in the 60@s and shut down after a few years due to the DWA acts-(Dangerous wild animals) coming in and finally Wilsons ended up with a wee pet shop in the Trongate which has just closed in the last year or two

Posted by: Dunvegan 4th Jun 2011, 07:03am

QUOTE (Jimmuck @ 11th Oct 2010, 12:57pm) *
A pal o' mine, Jimmy Ferguson, fae Balornock, used tae work in the "Oswald St Zoo" an' we'd go doon oan a Seterday, wee brothers in tow an' watch the 'gumsie Lion' pee oan folk an' roar like "The King of The Jungle" bit it wiss mair like an' auld 'wino' fau'in ootta "The Jungle" pub, LMFAO!
Poor auld beastie, it wissin it's ain' Bar-L cell. The place used tae stink an' yet, when ye wurr young? ye imagined aw kinds`a "Nyoka The Juhngle Girl" stunts wae that Lion, as if it wissin darkest Africa.
Many a wain hudd that auld lion tae thank furr scaring the beejabbers out o' thaim when it let oot that 'RUFF! RUFF! ROOOOOO'AAAAAR! Mammy! Daddy! let me oot! runnin`up Hope St. like the `clappers`ha! ha! we wiss lucky eh?

Sumday said their 'cuzzin' used tae work therr, wizzit "Wee Jimmy" pal??

A' fur wan loved yon lion and think of him as bein' the wan thing that gave me a love of all wild animals. Never scared o' him and loved tae hear him roar.

Posted by: Dunvegan 4th Jun 2011, 07:07am

QUOTE (klingon @ 4th Jun 2011, 09:46am) *
The lion was called "Rajah" and he was so old he had no teeth!-Andy Wilson used to feed him with buckets of mince!-the zoo moved to Carlton Place in the 60@s and shut down after a few years due to the DWA acts-(Dangerous wild animals) coming in and finally Wilsons ended up with a wee pet shop in the Trongate which has just closed in the last year or two

How old would Mr Wilson have been? I remember him as being old back in the 50s.
Whaur is Paisley wee???. I used tae drink in Harveys bar in the late 60s. Is it still there????

Posted by: ionnsaigh 4th Jun 2011, 01:50pm

I remember they had monkeys, and they would snatch at visitors hats.

Posted by: Dunvegan 5th Jun 2011, 03:29am

QUOTE (ionnsaigh @ 4th Jun 2011, 11:58pm) *
I remember they had monkeys, and they would snatch at visitors hats.

Took ma sailors hat an' when my ma' bent doon tae retrieve it they grabbed her scarf but as her hair wis still in it we had tae get the keeper tae belt the monkey back tae his perch. laugh.gif

Posted by: Jan (N.Z) 21st Mar 2012, 11:02pm

My daddy used to breed dogs and he used to send me to the zoo to pick up horse flesh, that was the treat for the dogs otherwise they had sheep's head (heed).

Posted by: Aimee24 6th Jun 2012, 02:12pm

QUOTE (George Muir @ 19th Feb 2009, 06:12am) *
Agnes and Robert, here's an old picture of that intersection



It would be great to speak with someone about where this image is from archive wise?
I'm currently working on a series for Sky Atlantic called 'City Secrets' and we are due to be filming out Glasgow episode very soon - I would love to try and source this image to use to support our feature?

Please get in touch - aimee.johnston@twofour.co.uk

Thanks,
aimee

Posted by: weelew 12th Jul 2012, 11:07pm

QUOTE (klingon @ 4th Jun 2011, 01:53am) *
The lion was called "Rajah" and he was so old he had no teeth!-Andy Wilson used to feed him with buckets of mince!-the zoo moved to Carlton Place in the 60@s and shut down after a few years due to the DWA acts-(Dangerous wild animals) coming in and finally Wilsons ended up with a wee pet shop in the Trongate which has just closed in the last year or two

I remember going to the zoo many times with my Dad when it was in Oswald street and Carlton place , the Wilsons did indeed end up in a pet shop ,but it was in the Saltmarket .It was called Bert Wilsons who i suppose was the son of the zoo owners .My father was very friendly with Bert as he bred cage birds and every Saturday we would go to the pet shop .My Father and Bert would stay in the shop talking about budgies,canaries and all sorts of birds while i was allowed to go down to the cellar below the shop where he had a big bath full of goldfish .There was hundreds in it and i would sit and watch their antics Bert also owned the other pet shop across the street just at the raiway bridge .His wife and son ran that one for years . Great days .

Posted by: Doug1 13th Jul 2012, 07:06am

the only thing ah remember aboot wilsons zoo was the smell. it was awful and the smell stuck on yur clothes all day. when i got back hame my mother would pull all my clothes aff and stick them in a big bucket of water then make me get washed ohmy.gif

Posted by: Dylan 13th Jul 2012, 07:42am

The smell is my main memory of Wilsons Zoo also.

I did not know about the one in Carlton Place. !


Posted by: benny 13th Jul 2012, 07:56pm

If aw the weans reacted tae the roarin lion the way ah did it's nae surprise that the zoo smelled. biggrin.gif

Posted by: *big les glasgow* 7th Sep 2012, 09:31pm

QUOTE (tombro @ 19th Feb 2009, 12:20pm) *
I've answered this on other forums.

One day in the late 1950's my Granny, who lived in Crimea Street (off Carrick Street about a mile along Argyle Street towards Anderston Cross) itook my brother and me to the zoo in Oswald Street.

I remember it being dark and gloomy and I remember the lion in its cage.

Lately I've seen (on this and other sites) various pics of that corner of Argyle Street and Oswald Street but don't remember any amusements.

Tombro huh.gif

Yes Tombro during the war there was between Wilsons Zoo and the Central Bridge where the AA used to have ther offices an amusment parlour and I remember me pleading with my mother to take me in to see "The Fat Lady" which she did and here was this "Big Wummin" as Josie called her complete with 2 cheeks like in the GLASGOW UNDERGROUND song in a kinda bathing costume she must have been 30 stone and my mother got on the chat with her and I remember her telling me afterwards she was a poor soul!!! Memories are coming flooding back!!! ... Funny iI can remember all those days like yesterday and cant remember the day of the week it is!!!!

Posted by: tam srevenson 13th Apr 2014, 09:38pm

Theres a story in my family about my mad uncle jimmy stealing the lion from that zoo. Anybody remember this to be true !?!

Posted by: Gladys W. Anderson 5th Apr 2016, 09:21am

QUOTE (Agnes & Robert @ 19th Feb 2009, 03:22am) *
Can anybody remember the Amusements at the corner of Argyle St. and Oswald St.also Wilson's Zoo just along on Oswald St.

I have just been talking to a cousin about Wilson's Zoo and can recollect visiting it as a small child.

Posted by: Billy Boil 13th Apr 2016, 09:47pm

QUOTE (Gladys W. Anderson @ 5th Apr 2016, 09:29am) *
I have just been talking to a cousin about Wilson's Zoo and can recollect visiting it as a small child.

I remember them for the fact that my mother forbade me ever to go into them. Something to do with "bad men" or women for that matter.

Posted by: George White 12th Nov 2016, 02:29pm

QUOTE (Stillroom @ 27th Feb 2010, 10:27pm) *
I remember when it was closing, my mum and I were walking past when one of the men came out carrying a red a'''d baboon over his shoulder, he recognised my mum, (old neighbour) and stopped to talk I was mortified and folk were laughing, the animals were so old I don't think they had seen daylight in years


Posted by: *Sadie* 23rd Mar 2017, 07:08pm

I had a photograph taken at Oswald street zoo around 1949/50 when I was 4 yrs old with another girl aged 6yrs we were sitting on a 100 yr old tortoise.