WITH the news that Marwell Zoo are working towards a reopening date of early July, the Daily Echo takes a look at pictures of the public enjoying the park over the years.

Each year more than one million animal lovers pass through the gates, each of them eager to catch a glimpse of the animals but few of them unaware of the vital role the land has played through history.

Marwell Hall was originally built in 1320 and is the building in which Henry VIII is rumoured to have married Jane Seymour.

During the Second World War Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft used the area as an airfield to support the manufacture of military aircraft at its factory in Eastleigh. The location was ideal as there were less restrictions for test flying, and the natural woodland provided excellent camouflage.

Daily Echo:

After the conflict, the land was used for agricultural purposes until 1972 when Marwell Zoo first opened their gates to the public.

The zoo was one of the earliest in Europe to largely dedicate themselves to animal conservation, becoming a crucial breeding centre for many species.

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Before the lockdown, thousands of children and adults visited the zoo each day to see both the endangered animals, and the more common ones - as can be witnessed in these pictures.