Should you think, That’s odd, I thought Queen Victoria had been dead some 107 years, you wouldn’t be wrong. But a new tropical bird exhibit housed in a renovated Victorian pavilion deserves a proper launch, and who better to do the deed than the Queen herself?
Specially resurrected for the day in the form of aptly named impersonator Sylvia Strange (the most famous of the Queen’s impersonators, mind you), Queen Victoria was on hand yesterday to unveil the revamped Blackburn Pavilion, a “jungle paradise in the centre of London”. The 1883 structure, following a £2.5 million renovation that restores many of its original Victorian features, will now be home to more than fifty different species of birds, among them the hummingbird, the toucan, the scarlet ibis, the bleeding heart dove (we sympathize), and the Victoria crowned pigeon, a relative of the dodo and named for the monarch.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained over at the ZSL website if you want to learn more about the exhibit: preview the stunning species on display, add a few tropical bird facts to your repertoire of eclectic trivia, take a virtual tour, learn about the pavilion’s restoration, and read the results of the Get London Humming survey (and pity the partner of the respondent who likes to hum in flagrante). Before you know it, you’ll have whiled away the last moments of the day and the bank holiday will be upon you.
The Blackburn Pavilion officially opens to the public tomorrow, 21 March. Whilst it offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to commune with exotic bird life, it might also give them the chance to commune with exotic bird shit. Mind your head.
Image of the colourful toucan, just one of the many lovely birds on display at the Blackburn Pavilion, courtesy of Chris_J’s flickrstream