What a good web site well done it brings back many good memories.
I am a Brass Band Fan and run the web pages for The United norwest
Coop Milnrow Band who used to compete at Belle View under the
village name of Milnrow Band.
I work for a community development organisation based in Miles Platting called Manchester Community Information Network. Our work is particularly related to the internet and we are involved in a number of community web sites, including www.hlminfo.net, www.mymanchester.net and www.eastserve.com.
I have just been having a look through your own web site and have been really interested in finding out about the history of Belle View. I was wondering if it would be OK for me to link to your site on eastserve? There is a section on eastserve called 'Memories of East Manchester' through which people can post their memories of the area. Perhaps you would be interested in having a look. It would be great if your site could be included here as an interesting insight into times gone by and a memory jogger for local people.
Many thanks for your help.
I found your site absolutely fascinating. Having as a kid
enjoyed the zoo, amusements, circus and especially the speedway,
I find it sad that the area
It would be greatly appreciated if you could add my father
to your mailing list. He doesn't have web access but would most
definitiely enjoy any
Good morning, I just had to say what a gem of a site ,I lived just the other side of the outerwall on Kirkmansulme Lane between 1949 and 1962 so spent a lot of time in Belle Vue, especially lookin and riding the steam railway and the bobs,Im now in my fifties,so to see this brings all the good times back,Im especially interested in seeing the steam locomotives again and plan to visit ALL of them next year,what started out as a search for a couple of books on Belle Vue for my Dad ,as unearthed a wealth of info ,thank you David for putting together a fascinating insight into what was In my opinion the forrunner of todays theme parks,perhaps tame by todays standards but neverthe less,it was still fascinating at the time,
My name is Belinda Norris. I came across your website in serach of my Jennison ancestors. William Jennison married Anne Garbutt 22 April 1834 at St Oversitten, Yorkshire. They had 4 children: Charles Just Jennison, Alfred Jennison, Jane Jennison, Fanny Jennison. I was wondering if you have ever come across these names before? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Incredible site!! I used to work with my pal Macca Emery in
Dear David Boardman
Yours is a truly great web site..although I never went to the park, one of my biggest coaster regrets in life as I approach the dreaded big four oh! is that I never got to ride the Bobs..I heard that Geoffrey Thompson was offered it at Southport but room was of a premium...a great shame!!
Somehow my pictures of Vikingar look better on your site than my own!!: bits of the beach <http://hometown.aol.com/radiceathome/auto.html> (a tribute to Blackpool Pleasure Beach)..but hey, that's showbiz!!..feel free to use any pictures that you may want from my site although, other than Vikingar, how they would fit in with Belle Vue is anyone's guess!!..oh, and I've linked your site on the blackpool ride bits <http://hometown.aol.com/radiceathome/rides.html> section of the site.
Keep up the good work,
Lovely website. Its great to see the pictures and reading everyones e-mails. In the sixties I lived across the road from BV in Greenwood House flats on Kirkmanshulme Lane (across the road from Central Grammer which I used to attend)(my primary school was Stanley Grove). In the late 60's while I was at college I worked in BV at weekends. You could either work for BV itself or get a job with one of the privately owned rides. I did both in my time there. Working on the Water Chute. Bobs and Scenic Railway for BV. I also worked for the Wadbrooks (whom I saw that Steve Barton mentioned) amongst other things they ran the Dodgems and Waltzer. What would BV be worth now if it was a going concern ??? Like one persons e-mail said, 'it deserved better than being turned into a car sales pitch and a few houses'.
I have just logged on the Belle Vue site and must congratulate you for a fascinating insight into the zoo and other activities. My links with Belle Vue are that my father was on of the founder members of the Belle Vue Aquarist Society along with Gerald Iles and others I believe not long after the last war. Being society members we had free passes (little red books similar to the old driving licences) and living close by on St. Johns Road Longsight, we used to visit the zoo most weekends, me mother being an avid animal lover. We quite often were allowed "backstage" of the animal enclosures. Every year, a large exhibition was held with aquarist societies from all over having stands with displays, typically with tanks of fish set in excostic surroundings.
Gerald Iles was a friend of the family and he took one of our kittens (Smokey) which he had for many years and took it when he moved to Montreal zoo. We used to receive cards from him usually with a picture of Smokey attached. My most vivid recollection of the fireworks was as yours 'The Storming of Quebec'. I could just about see and hear the fireworks from my bedroom window. I also went to speedway for several seasons when Ron Johnson, Ken Sharples and later Peter Craven were riding. We would wear a hat, scarf coat and goggles and stand by the fence on a corner to get "sprayed". I remember the stadium being full every week, and crazy nights. My first visit to the track was Jack Parker's last night I seem to remember.
My last links with Belle Vue are that I played with Shep's Banjo Boys at the Lake Hotel and the Golden Garter and used to rehearse in one of the old buildings near to the Hyde Road entrance. I do have some photos of various things at Belle Vue and can download them for your information if you wish. I am 56 and hold many happy memories of Belle Vue. Thanks.
I've just seen your Belle Vue site! My father was Hobo Toby
Regards Laurence Staig
I thought I'd drop a line to say how I'd enjoyed reading your web site on Belle Vue.My mum worked in the zoo when she left school & used to tell me & my brother all sorts of tales of the place. I know she has a photo somewhere that appeared in the Daily Mirror with her & an owl from the Zoo.
I grew up in Bury, but we used to go to the Amusement Park & Zoo on a regular basis. In about 1974 my mum started taking us to the Speedway, whilst my Dad went ballroom dancing at the CIS in Manchester. Looking back you'd have thought it would have been the other way around, but my Dad didn't like sport.
The Speedway was a magical place for 2 young boys, the noise ,the smell, the crowds, the muck. Saturday night wouldn't be Saturday night if you didn't go home covered in muck. We'd try & hide behind the Programme clipboard to protect ourselves but you'd still get plastered in it. I remember sitting on the steps of the stand of the 3rd bend staring over at the plastic seats in the stand at the start-line, wishing I could be sat with the wealthy supporters.
I went to Hyde Rd until it closed & then saw one meeting at Kirky Lane, the place just didn't have the same atmosphere. I then drifted off into other things & almost forgot about Belle Vue altogether. It wasn't until one Saturday in summer 2000,that is was reading the Manchester Evening News that i saw an advert for Speedway on the Sunday. I bundled my wife & son in the car & headed for Kirky Lane telling them tales of this magical place where I'd spent my Saturday nights as a child. When we got there, we were greeted by what can only be described as a dump. One on the stands had gone & the place just looked as if it were derelict, my family were less than impressed. I however have continued to go & support the Aces at home & when possible away. With home crowds of about 1500 people instead of the 4000 plus I guess they used to get, it still seems that Belle Vue is on the decline after all these years. Whenever I mention to anyone that I go to the Speedway at Belle Vue the standard replies are "I didn't even know it was still going" & " I used to go there". It just seems that Belle Vue has got lost in time & just needs somebody with enthusiasm & money to dust it off & bring it out of the closet, I know without the zoo, amusement park, ballrooms & wrestling it would never be same but I'd like to think that someone would like to breath life into what's left.
I hope these ramblings don't send you to sleep, I just thought
the memories of a child brought up at Belle Vue may be of interest.
T & E.Parry,
I used to go with my school (St James R C Boys) Pendleton Salford every June 29th. One year about 1952 I fell into the main boating lake headfirst. I was a non swimmer. would any record have been kept of this event.? About 1957 I used to go dancing in the 3 ballrooms with a bar in-between each ballroom. It was very sad to see the zoo close. I remember the Baboons looking very hungry.
I live in Melbourne Australia, and I was visiting the Virtual
Manchester website when I found a link to Belle vue. I gew up
in Longsight/West Gorton
Carole Lloyd-Flanders (formerly Brennan)
Bye for now
It was a pleasure visiting Belle Vue, I have many good memories,
my Grandmother worked there in the restaurant.....
great site it takes me back to when i worked at Belle Vue in the 70s I lived in the Belle Vue area and went to school on Hyde Road in nearby Ardwick. I used to work after school and weekends in the zoo shop. when you worked there you obtained a pass which enabled you free access to all the park my mates used to let me on the rides for free and we used to get in the concerts to see all the top stars of the day Rod Stewart, Elton John etc. we also used to go in the ballroom to the disco called the Scooby Doo.
Dear Mr Boardman,
I'm trying to piece together my father's family history, and in doing so have obtained a copy of my grandmother's 1926 marriage certificate on which her registered address is given as ...
I have been using your fantastic site to learn more about the Longsight area, but cannot see how any residential houses could have the address of Longsight Entrance, Belle Vue. Are you aware of any housing in the area which might have had this address around 1926. There is no house number given.
As this is an intriguing address, any insight you could give me would be very valuable.
Thanks in advance - and thanks for a wonderful local history site.
Regards, Denise Kleine
Thanks for your site. I have lived away from Manchester for
15 years or so now but recently Belle Vue came up in conversation
with some London Youngsters well under 30 at least and they didn't
believe that Manchester had a zoo.
Many thanks for your excellent website.
Wow what memories, I happened upon your site whilst browsing. The pictures brought back memories of 40 years ago when I was a ten year old. That day trip to Belle Vue made a lasting impression on me. I particularly remember the boat rides and the water chute. I intend to search the family photo album for more reminders of that day. Well done and thanks.
Just been browsing your excellent Belle Vue site, very good! Unfortunately I never made it to Belle Vue myself but I do have some further info on the Steam Railway which you may find of some interest. Four different steam locomotives worked at Belle Vue over the years:
"Railway Queen" built in 1921. Worked at Belle Vue between 1928 and 1977. It then went to the railway at Rhyl for 10 years before going on static display at James Pringle Weavers at Llanfair PG, Anglesey, North Wales. It can still be seen there today.
"George the Fifth" built in 1911. Worked at Belle Vue between 1938 and 1965. Previously ran at the Kursaal Amusement Park in Southend. On leaving Belle Vue it was restored back to running order and went to operate at Steamtown Railway Museum in Carnforth, Lancashire. It ran there until last year when it was sold to a buyer in the USA.
"Synolda" built in 1912. Worked at Belle Vue between 1939 and ??. Also ran at the Kursaal Amusement Park before coming to Belle Vue. Left Belle Vue at unknown date. Now kept on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in Cumbria and kept in fully restored condition.
"Joan" built 1920. Worked at Belle Vue between 1970 and 1977. Spent the previous 50 years running on the Marine Lake Railway at Rhyl. Upon leaving Belle Vue it went back to Rhyl again. It can be still be seen running there today, still happily pulling holidaymakers around the Marine Lake track.
On the subject of the rides, the small steel Pinfari coaster at Belle Vue ('The Jet Stream') moved to Rhyl Amusement Park upon closure. The last time I was in Rhyl (early 1990s) it was still there. The water chute obviously went to Blackpool but I believe it's since been scrapped. Identical water chutes were also installed at Margate, Porthcawl and Great Yarmouth.
I hope this helps!
Re: Belle Vue and Longsight Web Sites
Browsing both sites very interesting. My Father worked at Belle Vue for approximately 17 yrs up to the early 70's Mother worked at Longsight railway for about the same period of time. I have attached a photograph of the boats on the fireworks lake. The tall gentleman who is stood almost directly inline with the left of the two minarets on the rockery is my Father - Kenneth Mathew Knowles, there is a lady to his left.
Apart from the boats he also ran the Helter Skelter which was sited to the left and behind the rockery in the photograph. I will try and locate some more photographs and see if my Father can remember any details you might be interested in.
We remember Syd Lane, Raymond Legge and several other BV notables.
We have lived just outside Melbourne Australia since the late 70's so we have lost touch, although I have been back to Manchester several times, mainly for work, the last time being in early 1999.
Thanks for making the effort to put together the site and best wishes for the future. Please feel free to reply, which would be appreciated.
Many thanks for bringing back so many fond memories of my childhood most of which was spent at Belle Vue.
D J Vasquez
Just found your Belle Vue speedway tribute site - very good - brought back lots of memories. I started going there in '58. (In case you are unaware, the photo titled "Smell those fumes..." is of Dick Fisher and Soren Sjosten.)
Have visited your WONDERFUL site, and the memories came flooding back to me. Born in Bradford, not far from Belle Vue, I could not get to sleep on a Saturday night, as Sunday was to be spent at Belle Vue with mum and dad, brother and sister. From 9-00am. We were asking our parents "Is it time to go yet" sandwiches and flask in carrier bag, we set off. Caught the number 53 bus, and 10 or 15 minutes later arrived at entrance, If it were a nice sunny day we would walk there this being in the 50`s/60`s. See all the animals, had our picnic, then into the amusement park, all us kids crying when it was time to go home, but there was always next week.
Loved going to the Speedway on my own in the 60`s,Stockcars was my favourite, after going into the fun park. Was a member of THE TOP TEN CLUB from 1964 til 1969 great dancing to the pop groups of the 60`s and Jimmy Saville was a great d.j. could you find more articles of this club?
Family moved from Bradford in 1976,we now live in Abbey Hey, not too far from the old site of Belle Vue. I`m aged 52 now, but the memory of Belle Vue will always remind me of my childhood days.
Thanks again David, and look forward to more additions to
What a wonderful sight. Have you got or will you be doing
a page for the Brass Bands?? I am very interested. I have a grgrgrandfather
I was Sales Manager at Belle Vue from April 1976 to July 1978.
Those were traumatic times at Belle Vue and the pressures of
the "bottom line" and the
I have many reminiscences of my time there and would be happy to contribute what I can.
For now, I can solve the mystery of the circus tent on Redgate Lane car park.
If you look closely at the Atkinson van, you will be able to discern the words "Gerry Cottles Circus".
In 1977, Gerry Cottle came to an agreement with Chris Hind, General Manager, to erect his new tent on the site to test it prior to shipping it to the Middle East, where it was to be used for a tour.
The erection also served the purpose of evaluating a tent as a possible replacement for Kings Hall which, apart from horrendous maintenance costs, caused continual headaches in regard to fire precautions.
I remember a couple of excellent evenings in the company of
Gerry Cottle and, if my memory is correct, it was this tent that
got his daughters
i have spent many hours looking around your belle vue site
and would just like to say how much i have enjoyed it. is there
a picture of the main entrance on hyde road in the 60s or 70s
? as a teenager i worked for slack & cox which was situated
on redgate lane not far from belle vue, have you heard of it
or do you have any pictures of it?