For a brief period during the 1930s, Kidlington was home to Oxford Zoo, a local attraction drawing crowds from around the county and beyond. The zoo was home to many animals including local celebrities Rosie the Elephant and Hanno the Lion. Sadly Rosie died whilst in Kidlington and is widely rumoured to be buried somewhere in the near vicinity.
Kidlington Parish Council and Cherwell District Council, using funds specified for local art and provided as a result of local development, are honouring the memory of this important local attraction.
Artist Tony Davies was commissioned to create a sculpture of Rosie using mild steel and galvanised wire. Tony explained “Over five miles of wire have been carefully woven and twisted to create the sculptures”. Rosie, who stands over 3 metres high and weighs nearly a tonne, will be joined by a stork and a monkey.
Pupils from Gosford Hill School took part in a workshop with the artist to help imagine and design a fourth sculpture, that of a zookeeper.
Chairman of Kidlington Parish Council, Nigel Simpson commented ‘Children in Kidlington are still taught today about our history as home to the Oxford Zoo and the council felt this would be a tangible and fun way to remember Rosie and Kidlington’s history.’