For over a century everyone, it seemed, was going to Belle Vue!
Years before theme parks and 'entertainment for all the family', this unique attraction
brought anyone who was within a charabanc ride or a railway excursion to Manchester for a
day of fun.
|In 1836 John Jennison acquired the lease to Belle
Vue House, an inn with gardens on the Hyde Road, and set about creating a new sort of
attraction. He opened the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and set about developing them on a
grand scale, buying up adjacent farmland and adding new features. He died in 1869 but his
family continued to develop the business so that by 1905 the site occupied over 68 acres
and was attracting visitors from all over the Midlands and he North of England. Belle Vue
remained a major entertainment complex through much of this century, only going into final
decline and closure in the early 1970s.
Two million people
a year were visiting Belle Vue in the early 1930s and even in the 1960s it was possible
for 150,000 visitors to pass through the turnstiles on a single Bank Holiday.
The authors have used old photographs
from the collection of the late Stan Horritt and the archives at Chetham's Library to
chart the growth, the heyday and eventual decline of Belle Vue. If you went to Belle Vue
in its heyday this book will evoke many happy memories and if you didn't, you will find
this book a revelation.