In 1961 James Chipperfield of the famous circus and safari park family established a zoo on Southampton Common on a site near the present-day Hawthorns Centre. It was not a scientifically planned zoological garden, but a popular site for showing circus and other animals in transit or in retirement. By the 1980s conditions at the zoo had deteriorated and it became a target for animal rights protesters, who included the actresses Virginia McKenna – of Born Free fame - and Joanna Lumley. The zoo closed down in 1985.


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