Matthew Scott

From the list of elephant persons Family: Scott

Matthew Scott
Matthew  Scott

Personal details
Country United Kingdom

Title elephant keeper 1882
Location at Barnum & Bailey Circus in United States

Title elephant head-keeper 1865-1882
Location at London Zoo in United Kingdom

Relevant literature
Biography details

Matthew Scott , zoo elephant head-keeper in United Kingdom


By the initiative of superintendent of the London Zoo, Abraham Bartlett, Jumbo and Alice was transfered to London Zoo as exchange for an indian rhino.

"Bartlett sent Matthew Scott, a self-made expert in animal husbandry who had been with the London Zoo for more than a decade, to accompany the elephant to his new home. Upon arrival in Paris, the keeper was appalled: "A more deplorable, diseased and rotten creature never walked God's earth," he would recall. Scott never took a wife and essentially lived with Jumbo for the duration of the elephant's life, nursing the animal to robust health and sharing bottles of whiskey with him. He clearly emerges as one of several eccentrics brought to life here."
Paul Chambers, Jumbo: The Greatest Elephant in the World

Matthew  ScottThe Greatest Show on Earth was almost ready playing, twenty-nine elephants had already finished their routines and had been led down the railroad tracks to their waiting cars, but the smallest, named after Tom Thumb, and the largest, Jumbo, remained to close the show. As Matthew Scott was bringing the two elephants to the wagon, he suddenly heard a wistle...

Edgar H. Flach (a well-known jeweler from St. Thomas, Ontario) wrote a first-person account:The flagman was frantically waving his lantern, trying to stop the oncoming train… Scotty realized the danger. "Run, Jumbo, Run," he cried, half sobbing . . . I could see Jumbo running down the tracks. His Trunk was held high in the air and his trumpeting sent paralyzing shivers down either side of my spine. At that moment the locomotive struck the small elephant, hurtling him down the embankment and against a telephone pole. Jumbo in the meantime had kept on at a break-neck speed. He remembered the opening in the line of cars, but… ran two car lengths past the opening before he realized his mistake. He stopped and turned. Then it was that the pilot of the engine struck him.
His head was bleeding, and hide was ripped open the entire length of his back. Jumbo lay there, barely breathing, for three hours before he finally died.

The animal… reached out his long Trunk, wrapped it around the trainer and then drew him down to where that majestic head lay blood stained in the cinders. Scotty cried like a baby. Five minutes later, they lifted him from the lifeless body... That night Scotty laid down beside the body of his friend. At last exhausted from the strain, he fell asleep.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). elephant head-keeper Matthew Scott in United Kingdom. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 21 May 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories elephant head-keeper | zoo | London Zoo | Scott family | People from United Kingdom

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