More on the demise of Micky, the world’s cleverest chimpanzee

  • Words: Andy Clarke
  • Tagged with: primates

More about Micky the world’s cleverest chimpanzee. I’ve <mark>ed several parts:

This is a story of a tragedy which unfolded on the Thursday morning of March 24, 1938, when Mickey the chimpanzee, loved by hundreds of children, broke an inch-thick bar in his cage at the Liverpool Zoological Park at Rosemont Road, Aigburth.

It was the chimpanzee’s fourth escape from the zoo, because Mickey was not at all happy being at the centre of crowds who would surround him in his chain-link enclosure to taunt and laugh at him as he hugged his old football.

The oversized runaway chimp went to the nearby house of the zoo proprietor Mr Rogers and smashed in the door with Herculean strength, then ran to the room of his closest friend, Mrs Wardle, in a highly agitated state.

Mrs Wardle was one of the few people who could tell Mickey what to do, but upon this occasion she could not calm him down at all, and when she tried to restrain the chimp he ran outside.

Mrs Wardle caught up with him but Mickey pushed her to the ground and clawed her neck. He then bolted off as Mrs Wardle’s husband fetched a service rifle and raised the alarm.

Before the chimp had left the park, an armed posse of zoo keepers were on his trail and one of them fired at Mickey, wounding him. The chimp screamed in agony and fled towards Sudley Road Council School — where pupils were doing their P. E. exercises under the supervision of Mr Gall.

There was a yelp in the playground. Mr Gall turned to see the bloodied chimp holding a boy up by his ankle. The teacher had encountered Mickey during a previous escape, and was well aware of his tremendous strength, yet Mr Gall bravely confronted the animal.

The chimp picked up Mr Gall and hurled him across the yard, knocking him unconscious. When the teacher came to on the asphalt, the chimp was still in the playground. Moments afterwards, Mickey headed towards a nearby street, where he climbed onto a roof with amazing dexterity.

He finally paused at the chimney-stack of 29 Lugard Road, and gazed down at his pursuers in terror. A bullet winged him and he yelled out in agony, then hid behind the chimney, nursing the wound.

Armed policemen scrambled into the alleyways, and after a brief discussion, agreed that the chimp had to be killed to protect the public. Two more shots were fired, and the chimp clutched at his throat and then fell into the backyard of No. 29. He crawled into a corner, whimpering, and was seen to reach out for an old scuffed football in the yard — just like the one he cherished at the zoo.

Major C. J. Bailey of the 38th Anti-Aircraft Battalion arrived in a neighbouring yard and with a service rifle he fired the two shots that ended Mickey’s life.

Even in death, they used the chimp to bring visitors to the zoo by having the creature stuffed and put on display. Liverpool Zoo just wasn’t the same without its simian star attraction, and closed later that year.


I want to know:

  • 1. Where is Micky’s stuffed body now?
  • 2. Is the boy who Micky help up by his ankle still alive?


Liverpool historian Ken Pye has answered my two questions (and has a photo of Micky.)

  • 1. Micky was stuffed and put on display, first at the zoo, then in the Lewis department store in Liverpool. In 1941, the store was firebombed in the blitz and Micky was no more.
  • 2. The part of the story above where Micky attacked a child is untrue. Micky attacked and badly injured the children's’ teacher who prevented Micky from harming them.

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