Hello from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia!
Your account of the history of Belle Vue Zoo makes fascinating
Our old family photo album has a few zoo photos taken in 1932.
My father was H H Balon, optician of St Mary's St, Deansgate
- we lived in Fallowfield Manchester. I was take to Belle Vue
annually with my two brothers and sister until we migrated to
Australia in September 1940.
The photos include :
- brown bear on stand
- brown bears
- polar bears
- unidentified animal!
There's also a photo from 1931 of my brothers on a carousel
which may have been at Belle Vue.
If you are interested in seeing any of these, please let me
BTW, how far was Belle Vue from Fallowfield? I remember it
as requiring tram and bus rides -- it seemed a long way! ...I
was born in 1931.
Happy New Year!
It is Tony once again from Wilmslow, Cheshire. I have not
forgotten about trying to let you have a copy of 1969 Railway
Carnival poster at Belle Vue.
Just to wet your appetite here are a few of the attractions:
CHILDREN'S BALLET (which I used to play piano for); INTERNATIONAL
WRESTLING, 100 MACHINE SLOT PALACE, DISCO AND TALENT SHOW IN
THE LANCASTER SUITE, SANTA FE MINIATURE RAILWAY, TEN PIN BOWLING,
THE MODEL VILLAGE, ETC. ETC. all topped by THE CROWNING CEREMONY
ON THE STADIUM AT 4 P.M. thousands of free seats, reserved seats
1 shilling. The date Sat. Sept. 29, 1969. Talking of Belle Vue
I seem to remember that many birds etc. were killed in an act
of vandalism. A friend of my parents (long dead) - a Jim Thomas
of YORK ST. had just done a cine film of these birds etc. before
the incident. I wonder what happened to this film? Thank you
also David for the great Railway pics. on your site. I am guessing
now that you live in Canada (is this correct), in which case
I would have to post you a photo of the poster as am finding
it hard to match a scanner to my computer. I do not have a site
as yet for my business although do own a domain name, but you
possibly may be able to click onto our AOL pages at members.aol.com/aceparties
All the best for the new year.
Tony Gayle (and family).
Must tell my cousin in Oliver B.C. about your site - he is from
just came across your site,,brilliant!!im from manchester
and well remember belle vue as a kid (im now 36),,ive not viewed
all the site yet as its a bit
slow to load due to it being peak time!!,ill give it a good looking
Dave, my dad who unfortunate recently passed away, used to
tell me that he pushed the bikes out onto Belle Vue. I remember
being 6 maybe 7 (I am 37 now) and looking at the waxworks at
Belle Vue, it still frightens me today.
I just wanted to share a memory.
From Tony Gayle of Wilmslow,
Nice to see photo of Belle Vue. From 1964 (when I was 14) to
1973 I played the piano at the Childrens Ballets in the Kings
Hall as part of
the Railway Carnival plus Christmas shows. Children were pupils
of Joan Bates of Heaton Moor. I have posters etc. from that era
(a long time ago!). Used to go to the zoo a lot as a child also,
- deserved better than to become a car auction site!
Best Wishes . . .
Hi David, I was born in 1938 just a few Blocks from Belle
Vue, and close to Belle Vue Railway Station. I wanted to let
you know that I had two uncles that worked at B.V. about 1920s
to 30s My Fathers brother, Joseph Barker was one and my Mothers
brother Albert Conroy was the other.
They both worked in the Lions and Tigers section. I did hear
from a cousin of mine just recently that Albert apparently died
of a disease that he contracted from the animals but not sure
what!!! One thing I do remember about B.V. was the night my brother
woke me up ,in the middle of the night to show me the orange
glow over the rooftops!!! It was the Coronation Ballroom burning
to the ground.
Hope this may be of some use to you.
Love your web site.
Dennis Barker, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
as a matter of interest did you know that Darren Mayne's Waltzer
which you have a photo of on the Waltzer page of your Belle Vue
Site is in fact the same Waltzer that was owned by Wadbrooks
and was at Belle Vue from 1963 when new from Jacksons of Congleton
until it was sold to Harry Parrish in the seventies.
I grew up in Levenshulme and spent many days in Belle Vue
in the sixties and seventies. Somewhere I have got some photos
of Teddy Morleys Galloping Horse's taken during the early 1960's
when they were being rebuilt at Belle Vue after Teddy had acquired
them from Rudyard Lake.When I left school I worked for Teddy
on his travelling fair and when Belle Vue finally closed we went
to clear some old lorries which Teddy had at Belle Vue that he
had used to store equipment in we moved them to his yard in New
Mills. I will dig out the photos and send them to you when I
get a chance I don't know who took the photos they were given
to me a number of years ago.
Just a short note to tell you how much I have enjoyed your
two web sites. I was born at the beginning of the second world
war on Hyde Rd West Gorton,my mother owned a tripe shop not far
from Kirkmanshule Lane. We use to visit and have a cuppa with
Phil.Fenandez(the elephant man for Belle Vue) and his wife who
lived in a cottage on Kirkmanshulme Lane, Longsight entrance
My early childhood memories were in West Gorton,St Marks school
on Clouse St being my first school. Later my mother sold the
Tripe Shop(UCP) and we moved further up Hyde Rd near Cross St
(later Gorton Cross St}Had many experiances growing up. Old Hall
Drive School ;Was on TV this week in NZ(Myre Hindley's old school)
after 11+ went to Ardwick Tech High, Devonshire St.I worked all
my school holidays, selling ice cream in Belle Vue for many years(speedway
sat nights, Sat/Sun in the zoo grounds, my site near the Hippos.
Later in life I worked in greyhound racing management at Belle
Vue dogs then was promoted to the White City Stadium, Old Trafford.
Ilived in a flat above my office at the stadium with my wife
Anita and we had our first child there. I met Anita dancing at
Belle Vue. Your web sites seem to be tracing my history , I look
forward to your White City new web site. We emigrated to New
Zealand 1973 .
Kind regards, Bob Rogers.
P.S. Please excuse my typing we have just bought our computor
and in the early stages.
found your web site by accident. found it very interesting.i
was born 153 north rd,longsight and lived till i got married
at 84 kirkmanshulme lane. i spent many hours at or outside belle
vue selling crisps to the tired tourist. we have lived in the
states for 35 years and go back quite often. we still have the
cuttings out of the newspaper of the animals being moved. will
be enjoying many more hours on your site. would like to learn
how to do it. have lots of photo`s of the whit walks. good bye
and thank you for a very interesting hour. i finally got my wife
to look at the computer. she was born and raised in ardwick .
chris and kathleen nicholls.
Just a short note to show some appreciation of your effort with
the above site.
I used to go to Bellevue (from Ashton-U-Lyne) every second
Saturday (to watch the Aces) between 1961 - 65. When the match
was over - we got free entry into the amusements where we then
spent most of the time riding/watching the BOBS. At 10:20pm (exactly)
we used to walk back to Manchester Rd to catch the last bus back
to Ashton. Along the way (16 mins walk) there was a chip shop
where we used to get our dose of; (Holland's) Pudding - chips
& peas - to eat as we walked to the bus stop on Manchester
Rd. What memories your site has brought back....Many THANKS..!
I left the area in 1973 - to live in Australia (Brisbane)
- but such fond memories will always remain.
Larry Entwistle - LCGI
I would like to thank you for providing an excellent personal
insight into a subject which I have been greatly interested in
for some time.
Having grown up in the Longsight/Gorton area it was good to
read about the rich history of Belle Vue and it's many incarnations.
The info you have
posted on your site certainly made me smile. I only have fleeting
memories of Belle Vue, as I was still a toddler when they demolished
what was left -
but I did live on Hoskins Close for a short time (on the site
of the old zoo I was led to believe) and it was local "Folk
Lore" that on certain evenings
you could still hear the elephant's trumpeting.
I no longer live in Manchester but the images you portray
take me right back home.
Please keep up the excellent work!
Just a quick note to thank you for your excellent Belle Vue
web site. I stumbled across it earlier today and it brought the
childhood memories flooding back.
I'll certainly be recommending it to my fellow Manchester
All the best,
Keith, ex of Middleton, M/CR.
I am very impressed with your site on Belle Vue. I am looking
to find out information on the dark rides which operated at Belle
Vue. On my visits I remember seeing a ghost train and another
indoor ride close to the Water Chute which may have had space
theming in it's latter years. I wonder if you know anything about
these rides, or know where I could find information.
Thank you-keep up the good work keeping those memories alive.
Neil A Saunderson
I don't know if you've seen this before. From obits column of
newspaper. Gives you an idea of the character of Lorenzo.
Saturday May 24th 1913.
Elephant Trainers Death.
Belle Vue has sustained a severe loss by the death of its elephant
trainer, Mr. Lorenzo Lawrence, who came to the gardens forty
one years ago. Born seventy years ago, and a member of a family
in the show business, Mr. Lawrence at one time travelled with
Wombwell's menagerie as a lion and elephant trainer. He had the
honour whilst with this famous show to appear before Queen Victoria
at Balmoral, to signalise which event his employer presented
him with a handsome belt. Mr. George Jennison describes Mr. Lawrence
as "a brave man" - the first in at any danger and the
last out. He was one of the most conscientious men I have known,
and was exceedingly popular with all who visited the gardens.
His good temper was one of his best points. He was a man of many
parts. He used to have a bar fastened to the tusks of his elephant,
and on this he performed all manner of acrobatics. Middle aged
Manchester people will well remember how he used to lead the
May Day procession with his elephants, and it used to be one
of the sights to see him on that day drawing the yearly store
of hams to Belle Vue. He had extraordinary power over the elephants.
Woodcarving was his favourite hobby, and he was fond of cycling.
The funeral took place yesterday at the Manchester Southern Cemetery.
My name is Jenny McKay and I live in Brisbane Australia. I have
recently visited your page Belle Vue re-visited as I have a keen
interest in tracing my ancestors. One of them was Lorenzo Lawrence
who was the elephant keeper there for many years. I was really
pleased to see him featured, with a picture on one of the pages.
I have some interesting stories about him and wondered if you
can give me any more details about his life there in Manchester?
Hoping to hear from you
Ive just stumbled across your site. It's superb...
The memories came flooding back, I've many Rose Tinted memories
of visits to Belle Vue in my younger years and am surprised at
how litle documentary evidence survives. The few photos I've
seen show it to to have been quite a small and untidy place -
but for me it will always be filled with magic.
One ride I was looking for information on was called something
like "Ride the Rapids" - my brother and I took a wrong
turn trying to find the way onto the Scenic Railway and ended
up in here. We were sat in small booth, puzzled as to what was
going to happen
next when suddenly we were propelled forwards and down a sofly
inclining bumpy converyor belt meant o resemble a flowing river
rapids - a complete suprise.
I also remember the Waxworks - what happened to them? were
they connected to Tussauds in Blackpool perhaps?
I was surfing the net looking for a car rental company in
Manchester when I came across this website. What a lot of memories
back. I now live in London and haven't been to Manchester for
a very long time. However, the mere mention of Belle Vue Zoo
brought back some very happy childhood memories, the best of
which was as a very small child in the 50s, I had a ride on an
elephant. We did have a photo to commemorate the occasion but
sadly I don't have it now. We often had family trips to the amusement
park during the school holidays.
Anyway, thanks for the memory.
Gordeen Toby (ex of Cheetham)
Found your site on Belle Vue, and have looked at that and
your Longsight memories with interest.
I was brought up in Newton Heath, in the 50's, and can vividly
remember the water Chute and Caterpillar in particular as well
as the zoo and the Elephant ride.
My Aunt and Uncle used to live a couple of streets from Belle
Vue <can't recall the name>
Thanks for some pleasant memories
I am new at this e-mail stuff, so I hope this gets to you. I
stumbled upon your site, and was totally taken back in time,
and absolutely loved
it. I grew up in Reddish, born in 1942, and as a kid, my dad
would take me to the speedway, Stock car racing, and the greyhounds,
all of which I loved. I could even smell the oil when I was reading
about them.. I loved to go on Bob's, and even loved the zoo.
(Too young to realize how sad the animals were, they were the
only wild animals I had ever seen). Later as a teen, I remember
having some great times dancing there, and also lots of years
earlier, my parents would take me to see the fireworks. I left
home in 1969, and now live in Florida. I have not been home in
more than thirty years, though I plan on in this year. I was
sad to hear that Belle Vue had gone, I certainly have enjoyed
the fine memories your site has brought back to me. Incidentally,
I have lost track of all my relatives since my parents died.
I had an Aunt Josephine Boardman, her husband was Jim. They had
an Off license near Manchester, but I have forgotten where. They
had sons, one was Paul, and I think the others were Brian &
Eddie (the others were a lot older than me), but It,s hard to
believe I can't remember. I had to ask if you might be a part
of the family Josie's maiden name was Quick, as was mine. Please
keep up the great work with your site, It is a breath of fresh
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Hello again David.
Well, the flood gates of memory have been well and truly breached
and I have just remembered another incident that happened to
us at the Zoo many, many years ago.
My Father, whom I referred to in my other msg to you, had a small
shop in Hurst Cross, Ashton, that was a confectionary shop, making
and selling the most marvellous fresh bread and cream cakes and
the like. Unsold stock was often brought home and, if enough,
distributed to the other relatives up at Dane Bank. Occasionally,
he also used the bread as groundbait and would go fishing up
at the reservoirs behind Debdale Park with me. Anyway, I digress.
One day, we all, including the relatives, went to Belle Vue Zoo
and took a picnic to enjoy their too. Dad had obviously had the
great idea of taking some food for the animals (I don't know
if they took such a dim view of it in those days), which included
a large holdall of old buns, bread and even meat and potatoe
pies that weren't sold the previous day. Eventually, we made
our way to the elephant house and we were so excited to be able
to feed the elephants with the odd bun or two. My brother and
I must have been fascinated with their long trunks reaching out
and 'holding' the buns before curling their trunks up and depositing
them into their yawning mouths. Well, as you might imagine, it
didn't take too long for the bag to be emptied and for us to
begin leaving the elephant house. My Dad however had a 'good
idea'. He thought it a pity for the elephants not to have the
crumbs and held the bag out for them to 'hoover' up the crumbs
with their long trunks. What he hadn't counted on though was
one of the elephants actually snatching the bag from his grip
and, in one foul and swift movement, promptly ate it! Dad, by
all accounts was horrified, had a quick look around about him
and was out of the elepjhnat house like a shot, just in case
that a keeper had seen the whole amazing and damning episode.
Casually, yet hurriedly walking away, we were all sworn to secrecy
and told never to mention it. I guess it just became one of those
things that were only discussed in the privacy of our respective
homes, but in time became more known about and became a funny
story to tell our friends.
Now we have to take a quantum leap forward to around the time
when the zoo was closing. I am sure, perhaps it could be found
in the Manchester Evening News archives, that one of the elephants
either died, possibly of old age, whilst being transported or
even, sadly destroyed, can't remember which. In any case, as
aluded to in my 1st msg to you, that elephant is now in the Manchester
Museum as a stuffed animal, I suppoose in a glass case. What
I do recall though was the alarming news that whilst the elephant
was undegoing a type of post mortem at the university, found
in one of the several stomachs was, yep, you've guessed it, a
large holdall. I don't know how long it was in their, but at
least a decade, and seemingly none the worse for it. Isn't that
Take Care David and at this rate, will send you another one soon.
Thanks for your reply. I get the impression you are now living
in Canada. Is that correct? That information may have been on
the web site but I try to limit my surfing time as it is expensive
with the phone bills. I also assume that you used to live in
Longsight. Is that correct too?
By the way, I think that I've remembered the name of the headbutting
wrestler. Something like 'Masam Boola'. I have written it completely
phonetically as I can't recall how it was spelt. However, I can
tell you another little anecdotal story about Masam Boola that
may be interesting for you.
Only about two years ago, I was visiting Lowestoft, on the S
E Coast, on business. There I met a chap called Arthur Ambler,
whom used to ride speedway bikes, perhaps even at Belle Vue but
that is a guess. Anyway, we were reminiscing about the old Belle
Vue and eventually got onto the Saturday night wrestling bouts.
We talked about Les Kellet, Mick McManus and others that I couldn't
remember. He told me that most of them came from the Barnsley/Doncaster
area (where Arthur was from) and several of them had garages
or were involved in the motor trade. Then we got onto Masam Boola.
What he told me about Masam was both very interesting and saddening
really. He told me that Masam used to be a policeman in Ghana
and was also a very proficient boxer with several African titles
to his name there too. Somehow or other he was 'discovered' and
was persuaded to travel to the UK in order to make 'his fortune'
in the world of boxing. Unfortunately, what passed for being
a good boxer in Ghana patently didn't in the UK and he quickly
found himself in a fairly precarious position here in the UK
in terms of finance, basic survival and home etc.
Somehow or other he got involved with wrestling and quickly became
a regular fighter on many bills. He made a few quid and was a
frequent attendee at Belle Vue and also at other venues (Preston
was one I think) around the country.
Unfortunately, my father died in 1970 and therefore my Saturday
night sojourns to Belle Vue also stopped quite suddenly. You'll
understand therefore that my interest in what happened to the
fighters fizzled out in time. That was until my meeting with
Arthur in Lowestoft. He told me that in the years following 1970,
Masam Boola remained a frequent fighter and also kept his day-job
in Barnsley as mechanic. Then, in one bout, a terrible accident
occurred. Seemingly, when being thrown into a corner cushion,
a retaining bolt shot through the cushion and instantly severed
his spinal cord. Thereafter Masam was confined to a wheelchair
and may well still be if he is still alive. I just hope that
the wrestling fraternity were good to him and supported him in
any way they could. He must surely have wondered what he had
done, leaving his country and family in Ghana to come fighting
and living in the N of England, so far from home.
Ah well, I guess I should sign off again. I get the feeling that
I'll be dropping you another line as I dredge up other memories
about the famous Belle Vue.
All the best for now David.
Well, I thought I should congratulate you on a terrific site
on the web concerning Belle Vue.
Born in 1960, I was a frequent visitor to Belle Vue, which was
only a number 210 or 211 bus ride down Hyde Rd away from Kingsdale
Rd, Denton where we lived. This may just turn into a very long
message to you as I can remember so much about Belle Vue, perhaps
not accurately, as they are of course mostly a child's memories,
but here goes.
I definitely recall the grand and ornate entrance to Belle Vue
on Hyde Rd There were some lovely stone lions, either on top
of some building or gatehouse or, perhaps on the ground, can't
quite remember. Behind the entrance was of course the Water Chute.
I remember, as described on the site, ducking down behind the
glass as the car came into the water at the bottom - very exciting
for a 7 or 8 year old as you might imagine! I also clearly remember
the Scenic Railway and of course, the 'dreaded Bobs'. I can recall
sitting on the top deck of the bus, coming back from Ardwick
Green and seeing the great lumbering Bobs, towering up over the
high brick walls near the speedway track. If I remember correctly,
it had a grey/white sign, with red wiring on it, with the words
'The Bobs'. I can remember the great roar of the cars as they
raced down the track and everyone on the bus gazing out of the
windows to see if they could catch a glimpse of the cars at all.
I also remember some rides on the animals. I think you could
either go on the back of a elephant or a camel. The elephant
was always my favourite. It walked past the lake, a rowing boat
lake I think which also had a small railway adjacent to it.
One piece of Belle Vue 'magic' has been branded into my memory
for ever. It concerned a birthday treat visit to Belle Vue, which
among others, included my Mum, best friend Jeremy and my little
brother David. Jeremy and I were after going on as many rides
as we could and my Mum, feeling a bit sorry for my brother, decided
she should take him on a ride which would be suitable for him.
Deciding against a roundabout (he was always going on the ones
at Ashton market) she thought that a gentle boat ride, through
caves and lit with coloured lights would be OK for him. The name
of the ride was' Shoot the Rapids'. Mum went in with David, leaving
Jeremy and I outside to wait for her. Once inside, Jeremy and
I got out a tanner each (2 1/2p) and followed at a safe distance.
We could hear them in front of us somewhere but couldn't directly
see them as it was a dark and 'twisty' corridor we were following.
We finally did see them, just as my Mum and David were getting
into a type of cupboard and the door closing behind them. Our
turn arrived. Jeremy and I got into the cupboard and sat on a
type of bench that was made up from lots of rollers. The door
closed and the seat just collapsed beneath us. The door at the
front of the seat opened and we careered down this type of 'flying
carpet' a type of endless roll cloth, running over padded rollers
which gave the rider the feeling of 'shooting the rapids! We
just caught a glimpse of my mum, desperately hanging onto my
brothers hand, whilst trying to retain her modesty as she was
on her back, dress around her waist and with handbag grimly being
gripped in the other. My mate Jeremy, whom still lives in Manchester
and I were practically wetting ourselves. My Mum wasn't. She
was berating the poor bemused bloke at the bottom for letting
her go on such a ride in the first place with such a small child.
I guess David was only three or four at the time. This is an
incident that we still laugh about when we all get together.
Saturday night were always associated with Belle Vue too. Dad
and I went every week to see the wrestling in the Kings Hall.
Names I can remember are Les Kellet & Mick McManus. Another
wrestler, a coloured bloke, used to stand on the top ropes and
shine his forehead with a towel before jumping off and 'headbutting'
the other fella.I can't remember his name though. Do you know
it? Then of course, also in the Kings Hall, was the circus each
Christmas. The only bit I remember clearly, apart from the excitement
of course, is the cage being built in the interval for the lions
to come out after our ice-cream.
I also remember going to see the speedway at the Belle Vue track.
Ivan Mauger was there of course and, in later years, Pete Collins
too. Actually, I went to school with Ivans son, Kim for a year
at West End junior school, Denton. The Maugers lived on Windsor
Road, where the Golden Bilke that Ivan won was proudly stored
in the garage, I've got a picture of me sitting on it somewhere.
If I remember correctly, it was week about between speedway and
stock car racing, or was it once a month? Just can't remember
spot on. I do remember that they had to put large wire ropes
over the fence on special brackets for the stock cars. Very exciting
it was though. One driver who I remember enjoyed considerable
success was a Willie Smith.
By the time Belle Vue closed, I had moved away from the area.
However, I remember reading in a paper that a hippo was being
moved out from the zoo in a skip and, perhaps died? The elephant(s)
were also removed, one now being in the Manchester Museum I think,
stuffed. It was tremendous shame to see the site close, but I
suppose that it was the nature of things that people had more
money in their pockets and were able to take foreign holidays
and travel further afield to amuse themselves. I understand that
nowadays, there is a cinema on the complex and car auctions etc.
Belle Vue was a godsend to the people of Manchester and it remains
a name that deservedly conjures up very happy memories for a
lot of people. My Aunt and Uncle whom are both long gone told
me that they used to watch the spectacular fireworks over the
lake, close to the old Lake Hotel buildings. I think that the
lake eventually became the car park that was in front of the
Granada Bowling building, between Hyde Rd and Kirkmanshulme Lane.
So David. There you have it. I suppose that I have a lot more
memories, all of them little anecdotes and fragments though,
which would appear too fragmented in their content for them to
be use or interest to you. I do hope though to continue visiting
your site and see if you have been able to up-date any other
areas. I guess you'll receive a lot of messages such as this
one, so I hope that I haven't bored you with mine.
PS. My Mum, who now lives near Brookfield Church on Hyde Rd was
telling, me that she had heard that there was a video out that
could be bought, which was devoted to Belle Vue. Have you been
involved with this or, perhaps, do you know where they can be
Anyway, take care and hope that I might hear from you one day.
Cheers and all the best. Keep up the good work. I congratulate
you on putting up this site and all the obvious hard work.
Love the web site! I was born and raised in Manchester and visited
the Belle Vue zoo several times when I lived in the U.K. I currently
live in Canada but happened to dig out these original tickets
from the zoo. I had a relative of mine scan the tickets and I
have attached them to this e-mail. I know they are a large size
but they might be of interest to you and your web page.
Hope you enjoy them
just thought I would drop you a line to let you know how much
I enjoyed your webpage. It certainly evoked a lot of memories,
especially Belle Vue Zoo which was a popular day out for my family
and I. At the time I lived in Levenshulme (I now live in Ardwick
Green) and the zoo was in walking distance. It was a long walk
for a young child, but the thought of the elephants was enough
of an incentive!!
I was born in 1970, so most of the memories
are a little before my time. My most vivid memories of Belle
Vue are of the water chute, where I used to love to watch the
water hit the glass panels as the car reached the bottom of the
chute. The next memory that sticks in my mind is of the monkeys.
This is simply because at the age of 6, I ventured a little too
near one of the cages. I was wearing a red, knitted bobble hat
which unfortunately one of the monkeys took a shine to. It reached
out, grabbed the bobble of my hat, and dragged me right up to
the bars. My mum had to untie my hat from under my chin to rescue
me! The most upsetting thing to me at the time was that I never
got my hat back!!
As for the circus, well, my parents
took my brother and I on Boxing Day 1976. The funny thing is,
I remember absolutely nothing about the circus, only that it
was knee deep in snow at the time!
My parents often tell me about the Top
Ten Club, where they saw the likes of Billy Fury and Billy J.Kramer
and the Dakotas. My mum reckons it was a real pick up joint!
My dad also informs me that there was a Bavarian Beer Hall at
Belle Vue, where oompah bands regularly played.
Incidentally, the Granada Bowl that
was mentioned on your site is now a Gala Bingo hall. Showcase
cinemas now stands next-door to this and when my husband and
I take our children there, we reminisce about Belle Vue, much
to their constant dismay. It was nice to show them your website
as proof that there really was a zoo in Manchester, although
it was a tad scruffy.
Although in the Victorian era Victoria
Park and Ardwick Green were affluent areas in which to live,
this sadly is no longer the case. However, the recent work undertaken
by the A6 partnership will, hopefully, improve the general appearance
of the area, create jobs and eradicate some of the growing crime
rate. Houses are being constantly improved along the A6, one
of the best decisions, made several years ago now, was to knock
down Ardwick Fort on Hyde Road. This consisted of a huge row
of flats (ugly ones at that) that did nothing to boost the appeal
of housing in that area. However, we should consider ourselves
lucky not to have been born in the late 1800's when attempts
were made to improve the slum housing at the time. A London architect
in 1889 warned against setting too high a standard for working
class family housing. His advice was to provide....."no
wooden skirting, which might be used for firewood; no fresh air
inlets, the working man would only block them up; no baths as
there were plenty of public ones, it is no great hardship for
members of this class to share a scullery with other families"...thankfully,
times have changed!!
I will re-visit your site to see if
there have been any updates made and look forward to returning.
Keep up the good work!
Louise Mayoh, Manchester U.K.
I found your site at http://www.marple-uk.com/
Mark Whittaker's site... I have some
photo's of my mom who used to work on the Ice cream Kiosk...I
was wondering if you would like me to scan them and email them
to you? For inclusion on your site if there of any use? They
are in black and white...I have them I have to dig them out...so
it will take a week or two:) she is 72 now she worked there when
she was 17 I think...I can ask her some questions about belle
Vue as well if you would like...
I have just looked through your belle
vue zoo site and wondered if you knew Jack Fearnley he lived
in the house in the grounds of belle vue in the 1960's. He was
my uncle I have since lost touch with him as i was only a child
at the time but i used to visit often and stay with my aunt and
uncle. His wife was Laura and she worked at the speedway in the
offices. The site brought many memories back
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