I had never heard of the Vivarium Society until I recently read this account by ‘Aquarius’ (clearly Eric Hardy) in Water Life (December 1955).
This small group appears to have been based around Robert Jackson who, as described in an earlier post, was a leading dealer in all animals at the time.
There were a few amateur aquarium clubs that included the keeping of reptiles and amphibians in their titles and activities in the 1950s but this mixed interest, seen also in the pages of Water Life and The Aquarist, seems to have died off rapidly as the fish fancy mentality and the competitive showing of artifically selected fish breeds came to the fore amongst the fish keepers.
This photograph from the August 1954 issue Water Life magazine is from a time when the British Herpetological Society put on displays of reptiles and amphibians at shows organised by the fish fancy. In those days celebrities, like Frankie Howerd, came much cheaper than they do now to put in an appearance!
Monica Green (1925-2014) who is holding on to the python was Secretary of the BHS for 54 years.
A reminder that when I find more information I update existing posts rather than create a new one.
Yesterday for example I added photographs found in Water Life magazine. Today, to the post of 7 October 2015 (Early 1950s Dealers in Reptiles in U.K.) I have added advertisements from the Alan Robertson Organisation from 1956 which show that Alfred Leutscher wrote leaflets for this company and that it published a magazine. Have any copies survived?
Another recently acquired batch of Water Life magazines has yielded more articles on herpetology from that period; the can be found on the Download page.
Again, they are mainly by Alfred Leutscher but Professor Clifford Emmens (much better known as a fishkeeper) has an article on keeping Australian frogs. There is another article by Audrey Noël-Hume, this time on Carolina Box Tortoises.
I have recently acquired another batch of Water Life magazines from the early 1950s; the articles on herpetology have been extracted and are available in an updated files on the Downloads page.
The articles are mainly by Alfred Leutscher but there is one by Audrey Noël Hume on care of the Leopard Tortoise, another by an anonymous author ‘Natrix’ on breeding axolotls together with Mary White on iguanas.