The Story of Colchester Zoo
S C Kershaw
Fifty years ago on the 2nd June 1963 Colchester’s roads were packed all day long and scores of families were marching down Maldon Road. It was the day that Stanway Hall Zoo Park opened its gates for the first time.
The Zoo was an ambitious project set up by Frank and Helena Farrar and intended to rival Whipsnade. With prices set at just three shillings for a day ticket (equivalent to under £2.00 today) Colchester Zoo, as people soon began to call it, was an immediate success. In those days there were the famous talking macaws that would trade disgusting insults with visitors and a constant stream of new and exciting arrivals from monkeys and sea lions to giraffes and African elephants. In 1970 Colchester Zoo welcomed it’s most famous resident, Simba, still in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest lion in captivity.