Dublin Zoo to name new balcony after pioneer of hanging

An Irish scientist who developed a 19th Century system of hanging criminals will lend his name to a new viewing balcony at Dublin Zoo.

An Irish scientist who developed a 19th Century system of hanging criminals will lend his name to a new viewing balcony at Dublin Zoo.

The 100-year-old Haughton House, named after Samuel Haughton, is being completely revamped and is due to re-open later this year.

It will feature an interactive learning centre, a state-of-the-art lecture room and a first floor balcony overlooking the elephants in their Asian rainforest enclosure.

Haughton was secretary of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland for 20 years from 1877 until his death in 1897.

He was also professor of Geology at Trinity College an a prolific science writer.

In 1866, Haughton developed a system of hanging as a "humane" method of execution so that the neck was broken at the time of the drop and the condemned person did not strangle to death.

He calculated an equation based on the criminal's weight and the length of slack in the rope.

His research paper 'On Hanging Considered From a Mechanical and Physiological Point of View' was published in trade journals in Ireland and Britain.

The original Haughton House was opened at the Zoo in May 1898 and featured a spacious viewing balcony as well as a refreshments room.

The first floor featured enclosures containing Zoo animals which could be viewed from a central corridor.

Haughton House was used as a visitor restaurant in recent years until the Meerkat Restaurant was opened on the grounds.

The refurbished building will house a Learning and Discovery Centre on the ground floor and a state-of-the-art lecture room on the first floor.

The original veranda, which used to wrap around three sides of the building, will be fully restored.

A Zoo spokesperson added: "From the upstairs balcony visitors will be able to catch glimpses of our Asian elephant family in the Kaziranga Forest Trail."

"Downstairs, Zoo staff will offer public lectures and discussions on their areas of expertise."

Officially opened by the Taoiseach last year, the Kaziranga Forest Trail features dense vegetation and water pools and is home to nine-month-old baby elephant, Asha.

The restoration of Haughton House is part of the Zoo's A Vision for Dublin Zoo blueprint which aims to complete the transformation of the facility into a world-class learning centre for wildlife and conservation.

The red-brick Roberts House on the grounds will also be revamped to accommodate African crocodiles, South American piranhas and European pike.

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