13th Earl of Derby
Liverpool’s museum is the oldest of the museums and galleries operated by National Museums Liverpool, and is one of the great museums of the British regions. Its story reflects Liverpool’s rise to become one of the world’s great trading cities and an awesome dip in its fortunes during the twentieth century. The museum was born in halcyon days of confidence when the British Empire straddled the globe and Liverpool was a centre of worldwide trade. It suffered massive destruction in the Second World War. After the war, years of increasing desperation were followed by uncertain and painful recovery and nationalisation.
Thomas John Moore was born in London in 1824 and inherited his father’s interest in natural history. His father introduced him to the Zoological Society of London and the teenage Thomas Moore was employed in their zoo on his father’s recommendation. Opening in 1828, it was the first public zoo in the world, and it carries on today as London Zoo in Regent’s Park. There Moore came to the attention of the 13th Earl of Derby. The Earl of Derby was an enthusiastic natural historian, and was president of the Zoological Society. When he inherited his title on his father’s death in October 1834, he set out on grand plans to create a menagerie and zoological collection at Knowsley Hall, the family seat some eight miles to the east of Liverpool. In 1843, when Moore was still a teenager, Lord Derby invited him to work in the menagerie on his estate at Knowsley. Liverpool Zoological Gardens was open to the public for profit. A guidebook of the time listed some of its attractions:- two beautiful macaws ... a Peruvian Llama ... a playful West Indian goat ... three fine pelicans ... two American black bears ... two beautiful zebras ...an American tapir ... the gnu, a lively but vicious animal ... two bears ... four
fine eagles ... a large condor ... a couple of porcupines ... a choice collection of the feathered tribe … and three elephants.