Nostalgia: Looking back at photos from a lost Norfolk zoo
- Credit: Archant Library
It was a brilliant spring day in 1962. The sun shone down as world-famous entertainer Coco the clown cut a blue ribbon and 3,000 people surged into Cromer Zoo at Howard's Hill.
Coco - real name Nicolai Poliakoff OBE - was lending a helping hand at the opening ceremony for his daughter Olga Kerr and her husband Alexander who were the proprietors of the new attraction.
The first visitors were greeted by exotic wildlife including South American tree bears, tropical birds, a leopard, a llama and a pipe-smoking chimpanzee named Billy who also smoked cigarettes donated by visitors.
For the next twenty-one years Olga ran Cromer Zoo - Alexander died in 1970 but her children Alexis, Francine and Roderick helped out over the years.
New attractions came and went but low visitation in the winters and the high costs of feeding and caring for the animals eventually took their toll.
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Cromer Zoo closed in 1983 - gradually all the animals were rehomed soon after but some had to be put down.
After giving up the zoo, Olga ran holiday properties and then filled her days with family time and voluntary work particularly for the Red Cross - she died in 2015.
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