Thomas Haining Gillespie

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Thomas Haining Gillespie
Born (1876-10-03)3 October 1876
Dumfries, Scotland
Died 3 August 1967(1967-08-03) (aged 90)
Edinburgh
Pen name T. H. Gillespie
Occupation Solicitor, writer, zoologist, broadcaster
Nationality Scottish
Genre Non-fiction, zoology, guide books
Spouse Mary Elizabeth Gamble

Thomas Haining Gillespie[1] (3 October 1876 – 3 August 1967) was a Scottish solicitor, zoological administrator, and broadcaster. He was the founder of Edinburgh Zoo and of its parent organisation the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.[2] As a broadcaster on the children's radio programme Children's Hour he was known as "the zoo man", giving talks and answering questions on zoological matters.

Life[edit]

Tom Gillespie was born in Dumfries on 3 October 1876. His father was Thomas Haining Gillespie and his mother Julia Ann Satchell. He was educated in private schools and at Edinburgh University. He married Mary Elizabeth Gamble in 1920. They had no children and he died on 3 August 1967.[3] At his own request, his body was bequeathed to medical research.[4] His recreations were listed as 'reading, writing, music and photography'.[3]

Career[edit]

Zoologist[edit]

Gillespie qualified as a solicitor in 1899,[3] but he had a strong interest in zoology and devoted his spare time to his dream of establishing a zoological park in Scotland. The cold climate presented an obstacle, but Gillespie was encouraged by the work of pioneering zoologists like Carl Hagenbeck and in 1909 he founded what was to become the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. He carefully selected a site in central Edinburgh which would provide both favourable conditions for the animals and easy access for visitors, and with the help of Edinburgh City Council the site was purchased in 1913.[5] Gillespie's efforts came to fruition with the opening on 22 July 1913 of the Scottish National Zoological Park—now known simply as Edinburgh Zoo.[6] He served as director of the zoo from 1913 to 1950 and as secretary to the zoological society.[3]

Broadcaster[edit]

Gillespie was well known on the Scottish Children's Hour radio programme as 'the Zoo Man' who gave talks about the animals in Edinburgh Zoo and who answered nature questions in a panel programme produced by Kathleen Garscadden. His contributions to these Children's Hour programmes began in 1926 when they were broadcast by the Edinburgh and Glasgow stations of the BBC.[7] By 1930, the programmes were also broadcast by the London station. The programmes lasted till the late 1950s.[8] His radio talks were published in a series of 'Zoo Tales' books which are listed below. He appears in a group photograph with Garscadden, the 'Bird Man' (James Douglas-Home), and the 'Hut Man' (Gilbert D. Fisher).[9]

Professional Appointments[edit]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Zoo Ways and Whys. With a foreword by Professor Sir J. Arthur Thomson. Illustrated with photographs by M.E. Gillespie. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1930.[10]
  • More Zoo Ways. With photographs by M.E. Gillespie. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1931.
  • A Book of King Penguins. With 60 illustrations from photographs by M. E. Gillespie. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1932.
  • Is It Cruel? A Study of the Condition of Captive and Performing Animals. With illustrations. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1934.
  • Popular Official Guide to the Scottish Zoological Park. With plan of the Park and illustrations, etc. Edinburgh: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 1934.
  • Zoo Tales. Illustrated by William Walls. Edinburgh & London: Oliver & Boyd, 1936
  • The Way of a Serpent. A popular account of the habits of snakes. With illustrations. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1937.
  • Animal Stories. Illustrated by Joan Sharp. Glasgow: Collins, 1938.
  • The Scottish National Zoological Park. Cheltenham: J. Burrow & Co. [1938].
  • Zoo-Man Tales. Illustrated by Len Fullerton. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co., 1960.
  • Zoo-Man Again. Illustrated by Len Fullerton. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co., 1961.
  • More Zoo Tales. Illustrated by Ralph Thompson. Edinburgh & London: Oliver & Boyd, 1962
  • The Story of the Edinburgh Zoo. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Scottish National Zoological Park. An account of their origin and progress. [With plates.] Slains, Aberdeenshire: Michael Slains Publishers, 1964.
  • Our Friends the Spiders. Illustrated by David Pratt. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd: Edinburgh, 1965.

Scots Magazine Articles[edit]

  • "A Wolf Colony in Edinburgh", Vol. XIX, no. 3, June 1933, pp. 212–215.
  • "Springtime at the Zoo", Vol. XXIII, no. 3, June 1935, pp. 176–180.
  • "The Zoo in War-Time", Vol. XXXIV, no. 3, Dec. 1940, pp. 197–202.
  • "Do You Know? A Nature Quiz", Vol. LVII, No. 1, April 1952, p. 1, (Answers on p. 71).

References[edit]

  1. ^ His name has been previously misspelled as 'Thomas Hailing Gillespie'. The correct spelling is confirmed in both his birth and death certificates. Cf. Births, marriages and deaths information available at the General Register Office for Scotland, Scotland's People Centre in Edinburgh, and also at http://scotlandspeople.gov.uk.
  2. ^ "Obituary – Mr. Thomas Gillespie". The Scotsman. 5 August 1967. p. 5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Who Was Who, 1961–1970 VI (2 ed.). London: A & C Black. 1972. p. 428. ISBN 9780713620085. 
  4. ^ "Notice of death". The Scotsman. 5 August 1967. p. 16. 
  5. ^ McGowan, Peter (September 2007). "Corstorphinehill House, Scottish National Zoological Park or Edinburgh Zoo" (PDF). Survey of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. City of Edinburgh Council. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Edinburgh Zoo". The Good Zoo Guide Online. goodzoos.com. December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Gillespie, Thomas (1930). Zoo Ways and Whys. H. Jenkins. p. 5. "The contents of this volume were, in their origin, among the 'Zoo Talks' which I have broadcast, in the last four years, during the Children's Hour of the Edinburgh and Glasgow stations of the BBC." 
  8. ^ As is evidenced by the issues of the Radio Times for the period.
  9. ^ Edwards, Roger (December 2000). "Constructing the new zoo". Glasgow Zoo. Retrieved 30 January 2012.  He is referred to as 'Tom H. Gillespie' in reference to this group photograph.
  10. ^ Books as listed in the British Library at http://www.bl.uk, and in the World Catalogue at http://www.worldcat.org.

External links[edit]