Aquarium token

Aquarium admission token

A rare admission token to the London Aquarium, circa 1880. Today it is easy to take the aquarium for granted but one must wonder how awe inspiring it must have been 150 years ago to peer through a window into a truly alien world. P.H. Gosse, an English naturalist and innovator in marine biology, created and stocked the first public aquarium at the London Zoo in 1853 and coined the term ‘aquarium’. The ‘Fish House’, as it came to be known, was constructed much like a greenhouse. It was revolutionary for its time as the new method of making tanks from large sheets of plate glass enabled visitors to have an underwater view of the sea life in tanks. This bone token, stained red, is inscribed : Zoological Society of London, Aquarium, Admit two persons and on the reverse: Valid only after admission to Gardens. No. 50, Mr. F. C. S. Gardner 57, Aberdare Gardens, N. W. 6. It is pierced for suspension with a gold suspension loop and measures 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches.


The London Aquarium
The ancient wrasse, an illustration in The Aquarium : an unveiling of the wonders of the deep sea by Philip Henry Gosse, 1856.