The Hall was built in 1736 by Joshua Smith Esquire. It is probable that Thomas Ivory, who designed the Norwich Assembly Rooms, was the architect of the Hall and the Summer House.
The grounds were laid out in the style of William III. In 1876 the Hall was remodelled by the then owner, Squire Daniels.
After returning from Malaya where he had been a rubber planter, poisonous snake farmer and a crocodile keeper, Ken Sims opened Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in 1979.
Inspired by the first David Attenborough TV programme and the early writings of Gerald Durrell, Ken had chosen to work in Asia as a way of learning more about the wonderful wildlife of that region. Supplying zoos in Europe and America with rare species, and helping with the National Zoo of Malaysia, he gained valuable experience which he put to good use in the design of the Gardens.
Plantation work and travels in South East Asia gave a first hand insight into the dramatic loss of habitats, particularly of the rain forests: that loss highlighted the realisation that progressive zoos had a positive role to play helping save at least some species from extinction by the hand of man. Peter Scott showed the way by starting the captive breeding work at Slimbridge as well as founding the World Wildlife Fund.
The need for help from zoos and their visitors is now greater than ever before and the help given by Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens to conservation work around the world has been a source of great satisfaction to Ken and his strong team.