Your Letters


Hello from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia!

Your account of the history of Belle Vue Zoo makes fascinating reading.

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
- zebras
- camels
- elephant
- goat?
- 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 know.

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!
Viva Richardson

Hello David,

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
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 Levenshulme.

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 at though,,


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.

Dave Cox

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 Revisited Web
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.
Steve Barton

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 end.

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.

dear david,

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!

Kind regards,
Paul Roberts


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 ex-pats.

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

Hi David,

I don't know if you've seen this before. From obits column of newspaper. Gives you an idea of the character of Lorenzo.


Jenny McKay

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.

Dear David

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


Jenny McKay

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?

Gordon Leek

I was surfing the net looking for a car rental company in Manchester when I came across this website. What a lot of memories it brought
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


Dear David,

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


Carole Traynham
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 amazing?

Take Care David and at this rate, will send you another one soon.


Paul Watkins


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.



Dear 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 bought from?

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.

Paul Watkins


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
Steven Massey

Hi David,
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

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 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...


Tina Clarke

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
June Palmer


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