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Bell Vue Zoo and Fair in Manchester. Does anyone remember it?

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I went to Belle Vue Zoo Park as it was called then on a coach trip from school in 1968.They had a waxwork display which was very dark and the figures moved.Frightening for a 10 year old boy.I also remember"The Bobs",a wooden roller coaster which was closed and close to collapse or so it appeared.

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I'm going back a bit with this, but when I was in the RAF national service in 1950 we were stationed at Padgate ,Warrington and had several trips to Belle Vue. mostly to ride on The Bobs. It was the RAF Padgate challenge that you had to ride the circuit without holding on to be a qualified 'Bobber' ! You were allowed a couple of trial rides which you had to pay for because all this was very much kept away from the management of the ride..

 

I seem to remember they had twin cars coupled together because between the two cars stood a brakeman who actually controlled the speed of the car before it entered the next downward dive and this was considered by many to be quite a dangerous bit of entertainment, no health and safety in those days.The turns were tight and steep and the ride was not very smooth , I often wonder why no one ever got catapulted out of their seat, but most hung on tightly for dear life the first time but often went back later for another turn !.

 

The design was very much like the modern roller coasters in that the track turned in and under itself quite a lot so the whole system did not take up too much area. Well before it's day and not another ride like it in the UK at that time. westmoors

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Back in the 1950s my Dad won £39 on the "pools" and took my mum, younger brother and me and my then girlfriend (later my wife) to Belle Vue for the day on the train, we did everything and also had a dinner. £39 in those days was a small fortune, it was a great day out.

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Never went there but remember passing it on the train to Blackpool.

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I only went once, around 1967 give or take a year.

 

The only sideshow I remember was the woman living amongst wild rats.

 

I remember it because it was so poor. A cage, probably 5 or 6 ft square, with a single chair, and a totally bored teenage girl in a bikini, reading a magazine. There were about 3 or 4 equally bored pet white rats wandering around the cage.

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We used to go to Belle Vue quite often,Ive old cine film of some of our days out there.

I went back sometime in the 80s when all the animals had gone and it had become a rundown funfair of sorts.

I had great memories but,I recall how poorly the animals were treated,people threw allsorts into the pens,and stubbed their fag ends out on the elephant that gave rides,the polar bear enclosure was full of litter floating in the water and some of the cages were very small.

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I remember the Hippo that was there, it was in a very small pond and it was full of litter, the keeper fed it cabbages. Happy days.

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Went once or twice remember the big dipper called "the Bob's " last time I went I took the kids and it had been closed 10 years. So we went to Chester Zoo 🥴🥴

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I recall being taken to a circus around christmas time by the parents of a school friend,Micheal Armstrong, it became an annual trip for a few years and would have been in the 1950,s.

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I visited belle view in the 60s and vaguely remember a flea circus and motor bikes on the wall of death.  Or did I imagine it?

 

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Went on a school trip from Lancaster in 1968,they had a waxworks with movable figures,frightening.Also "The Bobs" roller coaster which looked derelict.

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