Belle Vue Zoological Gardens

In the summer of 2014 I worked for Chetham’s Library in Manchester. They had recently been given the task of digitising several absolutely enormous collections of photographs and newspaper articles about Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, a zoo that opened in Greater Manchester in 1836 and closed in 1977. The zoo had a theme park and a circus as well as the animals. I looked at hundreds of these photographs and they are crazy. I’ve put a few of my favourite weird ones here and I’ve also included the link to the database in case anyone is inexplicably interested in crazy zoos that would never be allowed to exist in 2015. I haven’t included any of the pictures of elephant rides or the chimps dressed in human clothes on tricycles, but rest assured there are many.

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