Institution’s early days marred by animal misery
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When Tommy the chimpanzee first came to London’s zoo in the fall of 1835, he was dressed in an old white shirt.
Keepers gave him a new frock and a sailor hat and set him up in a cozy spot in the kitchen to weather the winter. Visitors flocked to get a look at the little ape roaming around the keepers’ lodge, curled up in the cook’s lap or tugging on her skirt like a toddler. Tommy was a hit — the zoo’s latest star.
Six months later, he was dead.
Tommy’s sorrowful story comes near the middle of Isobel Charman’s latest book, The Zoo, a tale of the founding of the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London, known today as the