Looking Back at Belle Vue
A Preview

Belle Vue, Manchester, is no more. Although the name survives as the name of the surrounding district, and is still used in connection with certain facilities such as the Bowling Centre and Greyhound Stadium, the great zoo and amusement park, so well known to generations, are now only a matter of history. Closed down in stages in the years following 1977, the North's greatest entertainment site is rapidly being obliterated by modern commercial and residential development.

What was the historical significance of Belle Vue and what should we remember it for? This question and more is answered in this excellent publication, which traces the history of these pleasure gardens in words and pictures.

Belle Vue was famous for having the country's premier provincial zoo. The Belle Vue Amusement Park was the largest inland amusement park in the UK, and housed famous attractions such as the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster, the Water Chute and, most notably, the Bobs Roller Coaster. Other attractions such as the fireworks display, the Kings Hall, the Circus and the Speedway, are all well remembered and included in this book.

Historical facts are one thing, but the true significance of Belle Vue lies in the sheer pleasure of the occasion that a visit to Belle Vue meant to the millions that passed through its turnstiles.

In its various hey-days, Belle Vue tried to go out of its way to cater for the enjoyment of ordinary people and to give good value for money. Small wonder that children would anxiously tick off the days waiting for their promised trip to Belle Vue, for once behind the forbidding perimeter walls, inside the 'Showground of the World' as it was once publicised, the visitor entered a totally different world from that outside, constituting perhaps the nearest that Britain has achieved to America's Disneyland.

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