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Belle Vue Zoological Gardens

History Of The Park

The Jennisons set out a small amusements area near the main entrance to the gardens in Hyde Road during the 1870s. comprising steam-driven attractions such as the Ocean Wave, installed in 1894, which simulated a storm at sea.

John Henry Iles, who took over control of Belle Vue in 1925, believed that expansion of the rides and the fun aspect of the park was the way forward, and added attractions such as dodgems, the Caterpillar, the Ghost Train, Jack & Jill, and the Flying Sea Planes. The Scenic Railway, purchased in 1925 but not fully operational until two years later, proved to be one of Belle Vue's most popular rides, and remained in use until 1975.

The Bobs rollercoaster was arguably the most popular ride of all, so named because it cost a bob (shilling) for admission. It had an 80-foot (24 m) drop at a 45 degree angle, down which the cars travelled at 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). It was built by Harry Traver and designed by Fredrick Church,[50] who had to develop a series of engineering innovations to make the ride possible. The Bobs' distinctive white-painted wooden superstructure became an imposing element of the Belle Vue skyline.

During the 1960s and 70s "Professor" Len Tomlinson operated one of the UK's last flea circuses in a small booth on the amusement park. The attraction consisted of harnessed human fleas racing chariots at the rate of an inch every few seconds, pulling a garden roller, riding a tricycle and "fencing fleas" scrabbling at pins stuck in pieces of cork in a semblance of a sword fight. The flea circus closed down in the late 1970s as improvements in domestic living conditions made human fleas more difficult to obtain.

Park Information

  • Location: Manchester, England
  • Owner:
  • Opened: June 1836
  • Closed: 26 October 1980
  • Operating season: 
  • Rides Total: 10+
  • Roller coasters: 4
  • Water rides: 4





Rollercoaster Main Rides Children's Rides
  • Bobs
  • Figure 8 Toboggan
  • Scenic Railway
  • Whirlwind Dipper
  • Animal Rides
  • Bug (Spinning Ride)
  • Bumper Cars
  • Caterpillar
  • Octopus
  • Seaplane Deluxe
  • Velocipedes
  • Waltzer
Water/Dark Rides
  • Boat Ride
  • Ocean Wave
  • Shoot The Rapids
  • Water Chute
  • Helter Skelter
  • Merry-Go-Round
  • Monte Carlo Car Ride
  • Vintage Car Ride
Other Attractions
  • Slot Palace
  • Speedway
  • Zoo



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