A calm before the storm

Ihave a pretty good idea what my father and grandfather were doing almost exactly 83 years ago.


On Thursday 2nd June 1938, the children’s zoo at London Zoo was opened by Robert and Ted Kennedy, two sons of United States ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.

Six-year-old Teddy (Edward) Kennedy (later Senator Edward Kennedy), was given the task of cutting a ribbon to open a new children’s playground and pets corner. Twelve-year-old Bobby (Robert) Kennedy (later Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy) stood beside his brother while younger sister Kathleen, as a girl, clearly couldn’t be trusted with a pair of scissors as she stands in the background with her father.

The future 45th President of the United States didn’t accompany his siblings, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), who had celebrated his 21st birthday that Monday and was in all probability still nursing a hangover.

A Pathé Pictorial film shows penguins, ponies, a baby goat and a baby wallaby being petted by the children.

In all probability, my 28-year-old father and his father who were both zookeepers were there in attendance.

This happy scene precluded events that were to take place in Europe. Just a year later my father married, my parents spent their honeymoon in Germany and within the decade my father had been called up.

Featured image: Honeymoon picture

2 thoughts on “A calm before the storm”

  1. I had many happy hours at London Zoo as a child. When I moved to Cumberland Market in 2000, I bought an anuual pass for the zoo, and went three times the following year.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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