Edward Gerrard was a naturalist and taxidermist, born in Oxford in 1811. He began working as the resident taxidermist at the British Museum in 1841. In 1853, whilst still working for the British Museum, he founded an independant taxidermy company with his sons. This enabled Gerrard to produce taxidermy for other museums and naturalists. Initially Gerrard & Sons were primarily associated with big game taxidermy, but by the late 19th century, were also producing smaller, although still exotic, mounts. Edward Gerrard knew Charles Darwin and mounted many of his specimens. Gerrard retired from the British Museum (Natural History) in 1890, but his company continued, being run at this point by his eldest son, also called Edward Gerrard. Edward Gerrard (the Second) was born in 1849 and ran the company until his death in 1929. His eldest son, who according to what had become a family tradition, was also named Edward Gerrard (the Third), had unfortunately died in 1906 at the age of 37, so the company was inherrited by his son, Edward Gerrard (the Fourth). His son, Edward Gerrard (the Fifth) also worked for the company, but he had no sons to continue the business, so during the 1930s, ownership was passed to his cousin Harry.
By this time, Gerrards was considered to be amongst the finest taxidermy companies in the country. When the world famous greyhound, Mick the Miller died in 1939, Gerrards were chosen to preserve the dog, which is still on display at the Natural History Museum in Tring. When Harry died, at the end of the Second World War, the company was purchased by Edward Gerrard the Fifth's brother, Charles and his son Edward Gerrard (the Sixth). They managed the company throughout the 1950s but, as taxidermy had become less fashionable and affordable for local authority museums, they decided to split the business into several parts. One part would continue producing taxidermy, albeit on a smaller scale, while another would hire out their stock to film companies. On one occasion, they even hired out their own premises for the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1955. Sadly, the various parts of the company began to struggle, and each folded one by one throughout the 1960s. The taxidermy arm finally closed its doors in 1965.