Awesome Mural Celebrates Original Aquarium Pioneer

A three-storey aquarium-themed mural has brightened up a street in the seaside town of Poole no end. The artwork celebrates Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888). Dorset native Gosse grew up in Poole, where he regularly explored the town’s rock pools and other sea life. Creating detailed drawings of the creatures he found, Gosse grew up to become an early innovator of marine biology.

Moreover, he’s credited with cementing the word “aquarium” in widespread use, having created the first-ever purpose-designed glass fish tank at Regent’s Park Zoo in London (now London Zoo) almost 170 years ago. He also published the first documented aquarium and fishkeeping manual – The Aquarium: An Unveiling of the Wonders of the Deep Sea, in 1854. Later, he further authored A Handbook to the Marine Aquarium.

Gosse’s work was the catalyst for the early Victorian-era aquarium craze. The massive fishy mural celebrating Poole-born Henry, as he was known to his friends, took local artist Ricky Also four days to complete. It features various saltwater creatures, including a crab, a jellyfish, and what Philip Henry Gosse termed an ancient wrasse.

Artist Ricky created the mural in the style of Philip Henry Gosse’s own artworks. Replicated on a never-before-seen scale, it’s hoped that the piece will introduce newcomers to both artists’ work and the aquarium hobby itself. Last year, a blue plaque was also unveiled at Poole’s Skinner Street Church, close to Gosse’s former home, to commemorate the early marine biologist and original aquarium pioneer.

Historic England and Poole Business Improvement District funded the project, which forms part of the Poole High Street Heritage Action Zone programme. Poole High Street Heritage Action Zone is run in partnership with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

Over 250 miles away from our base in Rossendale, it’s a little far for us to head down to the south coast for a peep at the fantastic artwork ourselves. However, should you find yourself in Dorset, be sure to check out Ricky Also’s awesome mural celebrating original aquarium pioneer Philip Henry Gosse for yourself. You can find it at 58 High Street, Poole, on the side of the clothing store Rock It Poole (click here for a Google Maps pin to the exact location of the mural itself).

(Images courtesy of Paintshop Studio & Gallery/Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council/Devon and Exeter Institution/BBC Dorset.)