Wombwell, George

BORN 24 Dec 1788, Dudnorend, Essex - DIED 16 Nov 1850, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
GRAVE LOCATION London: Highgate Cemetery West, Swain's Lane, Highgate

George Wombwell moved to London around 1800. In 1804 he worked as a shoemaker in Soho. After a ship from South America had two boas on board he bought them and started exhibiting them in public houses. He bought more animals from abroad and collected an entire menagerie that he exhibited in Soho.

In 1810 he started Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie and toured the fairs in the country. His menagerie grew rapidly and by 1840 he had elephants, giraffes, leopards, loons, monkeys, tigers annd many other animals. If they died because of the colder British climate he sold the remains or exhibited the dead animals.

In 1850 he died and he was buried under a statue of his lion Nero at Highgate Cemetery West in London.


The grave of George Wombwell at Highgate Cemetery West, London.
Picture by Androom (28 Mar 2016)


• Culbertson, Judi & Tom Randall, Permanent Londoners, Robson Books, London, 1991
George Wombwell - Wikipedia

Wood, Ellen

Published: 06 May 2017
Last update: 20 May 2023