Drusillas Park to celebrate 90th birthday

One of the early vehicles used by Drusillas Park
One of the early vehicles used by Drusillas Park

It started as a cottage selling tea to passing motorists.

But 90 years later Drusillas Park, Alfriston, has developed into a successful zoo and to celebrate is asking visitors to send in archive footage taken throughout its history to use in a short celebratory video at its birthday festivities.

The park was founded in 1925 when Captain Ann bought a derelict farm and 20 acres of land. He opened the cottage to sell tea to motorists and named it after his first wife, Drusilla. He added attractions and animals.

Drusillas remained in the Ann family until 1997 when it was acquired by Laurence and Christine Smith.

Director Laurence Smith said: “We have a very small amount of footage but we would love to see more, particularly if somebody has access to any old cine films. Ninety years ago Drusillas Park was established with the underlying principle of providing a fun day out for all the family. Times have changed but with our heritage very much in mind, we continue to move forwards to provide each new generation with the best day out, constantly evolving and improving.”

Joined by daughters Cassandra and Caroline, the Smith’s invested heavily, securing a deal with HIT Entertainment to bring Thomas the Tank Engine and Sanrio to launch the first Hello Kitty attraction in Europe in 2014.

Director Christine Smith added: “In 2014 we experienced our best year ever. We have a lot to celebrate and would like to share it with all the generations who have grown up with us.”