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Animal Stories - discover an untold tale of London Borough of Hounslow

The project is called 'Animal Stories' - an interactive exhibition that tells a secret history of the animals in Hounslow, from the Chiswick House Menagerie to the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. The stories are accompanied by illustrations that are activated by augmented reality. Due to be launched online and at Feltham Library on 26 October 2020.

This new project from Creative People and Places Hounslow’s Visual Arts Programme offers an exciting way to delve into Hounslow’s rich and colourful history. From the rare species of snails found in Isleworth Ait, to the thousands of animals entering the UK through Heathrow Airport’s Animal Reception Centre from across the world, this intriguing story is told through the recollections of local people and research of historical records and archives. Travel through time from the Chiswick House Menagerie of the 18th century to the present day to see how our relationship to animals has shaped Hounslow and the communities that live and work here.

The project features a series of new stories extensively researched and written by Alistair Cartwright, and colourful images and stop motion animations by illustrator Amber Cooper-Davies, both of whom were selected by the Hounslow Exhibitions Group, made up of community members and library staff. Alistair Cartwright is a writer and historian. His research focuses on the experience, representation, and regulation of postwar London’s ‘rented rooms’. Amber Cooper-Davies is an illustrator and animator based in London. Her work is characterised by her love of materials, mixing colour and texture with intricate cutting and composition. Amber works in traditional print media, digital as well as live performance and augmented reality.

The project includes an online presentation of the stories and illustrations, an innovative, interactive exhibition that will tour London Borough of Hounslow Libraries, and a printed publication, launching from October 2020. The project will be enhanced with events for members of the Hounslow community to explore ways to creatively engage with local history and discover their own animal stories.

This unique, interactive project has been devised and curated by members of the local community in collaboration with CPP Hounslow’s Visual Arts Programme, which presents new and original exhibitions in libraries and cafes across the borough. CPP Hounslow is a community engagement project led by Watermans.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Daisy McMullan
Contact Position
Visual Arts Producer Creative People and Places Hounslow, Watermans

Please contact Daisy McMullan, Visual Arts Producer, for more information and high resolution images at


Animal Stories will be available online at

from 26 October 2020. It will also tour London Borough of Hounslow Libraries from October 2020 until 2022. The publication will be available for sale from 26 October 2020 via


Creative People & Places Hounslow is part of the Arts Council England’s major investment in increasing arts capacity in underserved areas, working in Feltham, Heston and Cranford, Brentford and central Hounslow. CPP Hounslow is a consortium led by Watermans.


Watermans is West London’s leading arts centre. It attracts over 250,000 visits a year to its thriving and inclusive programme of independent cinema, theatre, exhibitions and courses.  Watermans runs a year-round programme of cutting-edge digital arts for which it receives National Portfolio Organisation funding from Arts Council England.


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