THE history of Colchester Zoo goes back more than five decades to when it was a very different attraction.

And even in the past 30 years it has changed beyond recognition.

These vintage images taken during the 80s and 90s show the Maldon Road attraction, which draws in thousands of visitors each year, show the zoo before it was expanded and gradually updated.

Following a number of private previews Frank and Helena Farrar officially opened Colchester Zoo, which was called Stanway Hall Zoo Park at the time, on June 2 1963.

The initial response to the zoo was positive and the Farrars became celebrated figures in the town of Colchester throughout the 1960s.  The animal collection expanded rapidly throughout the decade and by 1970 included, among many other species, giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions and orangutans.

Having gone into decline in the 1970s it looked like it may close until it was bought by the Farrars' niece Angelan Tropeano and her husband Dominique.

Their efforts to re-build during the 1980s kept the zoo open and it has since gone from strength to strength, expanding thanks to the purchase of a 20 acre plot of land next to it in the early 1990s, and refurbishing and adding new attractions along the way.

Angela and Dominique's son Anthony is now zoological director.