The Belle Vue Story
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Belle Vue Zoo and Amusement Park was for over a century one of the top tourist attractions in the North West of England. After Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Belle Vue was the North's leading amusement park, and home to the famous Bobs roller coaster. This book tells the full story of Belle Vue from its opening in 1836 to its sad closure in 1982.

Less than twenty years after its opening, Belle Vue had swept away all of its competitors and achieved a significance extending over the whole of the North of England and beyond. For the remainder of the nineteenth century and a considerable part of the twentieth, Manchester was the home of the country's premier provincial zoological gardens and inland amusement park.

Belle Vue's significance as an amusement park cannot be underestimated. As this book shows, it was one of the UK's first amusement parks, with early rides including the Flying Sea Planes, Caterpillar, Whirlpool Whip, Jack & Jill and Dodgems. Its most famous ride was undoubtedly the Bobs roller coaster, erected in 1929. But it wasn't Belle Vue's first roller coaster. This was the Scenic Railway, installed in 1926, and lasting until 1975 (outliving the Bobs). This book painstakingly chronicles the development of the amusement park over the years.

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The book covers all other aspects of Belle Vue in equal detail, including most notably the zoo. It tells the story of the different people who have controlled it over the years; their successes and their failures. It also sadly documents the park's slow decline which finally resulted in its closure, and the removal of all the rides, in 1981/82. How can the mightiest tourist attraction in the North West of England outside of Blackpool end up as a derelict shadow of its former self? This book tells the full story.

This is undoubtedly the most complete story of an amusement park yet to be released. It is not a glossy book, but what it lacks in visual quality, it makes up for in detail.

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