Belle Vue Timeline
- Belle Vue Over the Years -

Coronation Street Stars
          at Belle Vue

John Walker is granted a lease on a parcel of land, formerly used for the digging of lime, adjacent to Hyde Road.
The lease on the property is taken over by William Crisp who advertises it as "Belle Vue Tea Gardens".
John Jennison took over the lease on a 6 month trial but in December he took out a 99 year lease.
Jennison extended the existing gardens by opening up another 13 acres. This included the Small Lake, a Natural History Museum, and an entrance at the Longsight end of the property.
The first guide book was published. A maze was added to the gardens and a racecourse was built near the Longsight entrace.
The Hyde Road entrance was built.

The building at the Longsight entrance was built. It differed in one respect from the entrance I knew in the fifties in that it had two stories. Above the gateways was a ballroom capable of accommodating 500 people.

George Danson came to work at Belle Vue. He was a scenic artist and he designed the backdrops for the firework displays.


The first brass band contest was held at Belle Vue, a tradition that continued on and off throughout the history of the park. In fact, the final event at the Kings Hall was the North West Amateur Brass Band Competition in February of 1982.

The bear pits, polar bear cage and the Paddock were built.

A train station was opened close to the Hyde Road entrance. It was later named Ashbury's Station.

A large ballroom, capable of accommodating 10,000 was built beneath the fireworks viewing stand.

The Great Lake was excavated.

John Jennison Snr. died on September 20th.
The Italian Gardens, the Indian Grotto and the New Maze were built.
A new Jennison Brewery was erected near Hyde Road. The elephant Maharajah was purchased for £680 from one of the Wombwells travelling manageries in Edinburgh. When Maharajah smashed his railway wagon it was decided to walk him to Manchester. The story of his journey is told in the book, "The Elephant Who Walked to Manchester" by David Barnaby, published by Basset Publishing.
The first Elephant House was built.

The Belle Vue Railway Station was opened and the Lake Hotel and the Lake Entrance were built.

The original Elephant House was relaced by a new building and the Lion House was extended.

The Monkey House and Camel House were built
Belle Vue started generating its own electricity.
An Athletics Ground was added near Hunters Lane.
The "Ocean Wave" amusement was built.
An open-air sea lion pool was added.
The Helter Skelter Lighthouse was built.
The Hall of Mirrors and the Figure 8 Toboggan Ride were added to the funfair.
The Kings Hall was built and a roller skating area was constructed in the ballroom block.
The Jennison family sold the park to Belle Vue (Manchester) Ltd.
The Scenic Railway was built on the Belle Vue site.
A Miniture Railway was built. The railway survived almost to the end of the park but was relocated on a number of occasions.

 Control of operations at Belle Vue was assumed by John Henry Isles. The Bobs roller coaster was purchased from Fred Church of Buffalo and was erected by Harry Travers. Travers went on to build coasters of his own including the famous Cyclone at Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada, which is regarded as possibly the scariest ride ever constructed.

The speedway started in 1929 but the team didn't adopt the name "Aces" until a later date.

The first of the Christmas Circuses was held in 1929 and the ringmaster was, of course, George Lockhart, from Blackpool. Lockhart retired from his job as ringmaster of the Belle Vue International Circus at the age of 90 in 1972.

Gerald Iles took over the job of zoological superintendent.
The Floral Clock was constructed close to the Hyde Road Entrance. At the same time the Gibbon Cage and the Monkey Mountain were added.
John Henry Isles resigned.
The Hallé Orchestra started a 30 year association with Belle Vue during which regular concerts were given at the park.
Stock Car racing was introduced at the speedway stadium.
The Children's Zoo opened.

The Water Chute was introduced near Hyde Road turnstiles.

Louis Tussaud's Waxworks opened.

On January 17th a fire broke out in the Great Ballroom. The building was totally destroyed. Many animals were evacuated and one of the lions, in a very distressed condition, was shot.
The Monkey Terrace was replaced by the Birdcage Walk.

Charles Forte gained control of Belle Vue. The Great Lake was filled in and the 32 lane Granada Bowling Centre was built on the land.

The minature railway was relocated to run behind the Firework Lake and new enclosures for the lions, tigers and wolves were built beside the track.

Miniland, a minature village designed by Sid Lane, a commercial artist who worked at Belle Vue, was opened.
The Bobs were demolished.
The Scenic Railway stopped operating.
Belle Vue Zoo closed.
The Amusement Park was sold to Mr. Wadbrooke, who ran it at weekends in the season.
The final Christmas Circus ran at the Kings Hall from December 26, 1981 to January 30, 1982.


This timeline is based on information from Robert Nicholls' book, "Looking Back at Belle Vue", published by Willow Publishing, ISBN 0 946361 29 0. You should buy it, it's a great book.

The image of Elsie Tanner and Alan Howard at Belle Vue is shown with the permission of the T.V. Times

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