John Aspinall

Politician + Owner + Zoo Keeper
Born Jun 11, 1926

John Victor Aspinall was a British zoo owner and gambling club host. From middle class beginnings he used gambling to move to the centre of British high society in the 1960s. He was born in Delhi during the British Raj, and was a citizen of the United Kingdom.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about John Aspinall.

  • Rain Halts Trophy Final
    Bakewell Today - Sep 01, 2012
  • Matlock Ready For A Promotion Push
    Bakewell Today - Apr 20, 2012
  • Aussie Dairy Farmers Refuse To Meet Community Otago Daily Times
    Google News - Aug 27, 2011
  • Guthrie Puts Matlock To The Sword Derbyshire Times
    Google News - Aug 26, 2011


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of John Aspinall.


1926 Birth John Victor Aspinall, known to all his friends as 'Aspers', was born in Delhi, India, on 11 June 1926, the son of Dr Robert Stavali Aspinall, a British Army surgeon, and wife, whom he married before 1926, Mary Grace Horn (died 1987), daughter of Clement Samuel Horn, of Goring-by-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex, Sussex. … Read More


1939 13 Years Old He attended Felsted School in 1939, but after his parents divorced, his stepfather Sir George Osborne sent him to Rugby School. … Read More


1956 30 Years Old In 1956 he married Jane Gordon Hastings, a Scottish model, and the couple had one son, Damian Aspinall.
1958 32 Years Old In 1958, he lived at Howletts Zoo, Kent; at this point his mother had forgotten to pay off corrupt police officers, so they raided his game that night. … Read More
1960 34 Years Old In response to Aspinall's legal win, the UK Government passed the Betting and Gaming Act 1960, which allowed commercial bingo halls to be set up, provided they were established as members-only clubs and had to get their take from membership fees and charges rather than as a percentage of the gaming fees. … Read More
1962 36 Years Old In 1962, Aspinall founded the Clermont Club in London's Mayfair. … Read More


1966 40 Years Old Aspinall divorced her in 1966 and on 13 December of that year he married secondly Belinda Mary Musker (b. 27 November 1942), daughter of Major Anthony Dermot Melloney Musker (killed in a motor racing accident on 8 August 1959) and wife (m. 2 November 1940) The Hon. … Read More
1972 46 Years Old In 1972 he divorced his second wife and married thirdly Lady Sarah-Marguerite "Sally" Curzon (b. 25 January 1945, living in 2003 at 64 Sloane Street, London), daughter of Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe, and Sybil Boyter Johnson. She was a widow who had previously married 29 March 1966 the racing driver Piers Raymond Courage.
1973 47 Years Old …  In 1973, because of need for further space for his animal collection, Aspinall bought Port Lympne near Hythe, Kent.
1974 48 Years Old Aspinall claimed that Lord Lucan, whose 1974 disappearance remains a mystery, had committed suicide by scuttling his motorboat and jumping into the English Channel with a stone tied around his body.
1975 49 Years Old He opened Howletts to the public in 1975, and Port Lympne Zoo in 1976. … Read More


1990 64 Years Old According to the journalist Lynn Barber, in an interview in 1990 Aspinall made a slip of the tongue indicating Lucan had remained Aspinall's friend beyond the date of the alleged suicide. … Read More
1998 72 Years Old John and Sally had a son Bassa Wulfhere Aspinall (b 1972), who married in 1998 Donne Ranger. … Read More
2000 74 Years Old Aspinall died of cancer, in Westminster, London, on 29 June 2000, aged 74.
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