I was brought up with Belle Vue in Manchester being a promise of a wonderful Saturday afternoon out.

Along with mum, dad and my younger sister Natalie – we’d queue up for the 53 bus that would take us to Belle Vue. I can remember the sun always shining.

The Zoo and Its Inhabitants

We’d walk round the Monkey House, I can still remember the rather strange smell that had us glad to get out into the fresh air.

Then there were the lions and tigers, hippopotamus and bears, not to forget the snakes and lizards in the Reptile House.

We stuffed ourselves with ice cream and candyfloss. These were a rare treat as the war hadn’t been long over including rationing.

As I Went Into My Teen Years

By the time I was into my mid teens Belle Vue had a Ballroom, so Saturday nights would find a group of us girls waltzing and quickstepping the night away – well at least until the last bus was due to leave at 11.00 pm.

My First Date with My Husband Was an Afternoon at Belle Vue

There was a permanent fairground where we enjoyed ourselves.  Although at one stage I lost my dignity when we went on a ride called, ‘Shooting The Rapids.’  I ended up with my full circular skirt up round my waist, while my gallant knight slithered and slid on his back beside me down this chute – that dumped us in a heap at the bottom.

Bob and I Took Our Daughters to Belle Vue

By this time, we had moved to Longsight. This meant Belle Vue was now only a walk away from home.  We would go for a walk through Belle Vue on a Sunday morning.

Saturday nights were filled with the sounds of the Speedway as the motorbikes roared round and round the track.

The fireworks displays also on Saturday nights would light up the sky – often making settling our daughters difficult.

Belle Vue in the Present

Belle Vue Zoological Gardens closed in 1982, after being open for over 150 years.

Now all that’s left of the magnificent Belle Vue is the Speedway that has always been a great money maker.

Plans to Bring Back the Magic of Belle Vue

People with memories of Belle Vue in its heyday are now campaigning to bring back Belle Vue to its former glory.

It is planned that starting May 23rd 2009 there will be a festival called ‘Belle Vue Weekender.’

The Belle Vue Weekender will possibly have two funfairs, street performers, wrestling, bands, magicians and some children’s competitions.

It is to be hoped that bringing Belle Vue back to Manchester will help bring employment back to an area that has a very high unemployment rate.  We were promised a casino but the government changed its mind.

Therefore, the Belle Vue Weekender is not just nostalgia, but an economic need in East Manchester.




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