Wellingborough Zoo

Wellingborough Zoo was opened to the public on the 13th June 1943 in the gardens of Croyland Abbey. Established by Mr.Stevens who owned a pet shop in Midland Road, the zoo was one of the largest private zoos in Great Britain. It boasted a large variety of exotic animals including lions and polar bears. It was also the home of Charlie the TV chimp who made a spectacular appearance on the Wilfred Pickles show! and in 1966 Judy the puma was whisked to London to appear on BBC's "24 Hours" programme after previously appearing in Blue Peter. The zoo expanded in the 1950's but all was not well, firstly, there was fears of its closure due to a cash crisis but was saved at the last minute by Welsh pop singer, Abe Franklin who settled the debts in full at the High Court. In its final years the RSPCA criticised conditions alleging it had dirty cages which they described as "a breeding ground for flies". In January 1969, the zoo hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, an intruder was mauled by a leopard when he got too close and had to have part of his arm amputated. Sadly by 1970, attendances had dipped and the lease from the urban council was not renewed. Its now hard to believe after all these years there was a zoo there on the grounds at all. Im hoping this website will create enough interest, if its out there I'll carry on this page in better detail, its purely designed to be here to see if the interest really is out there. If so I'll carry it on with bigger pictures and expand the site, I have many pictures of the zoo as was from reference books but due to copyright issues they won't appear here. Any help, memories, stories and especially pictures will be much appreciated if its to continue so please drop me an email: marmaladeskies67@yahoo.co.uk