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The bear necessities

The Belle Vue collection continues to grow in surprising ways. We have recently acquired a most unusual relic from the Zoological Gardens – a beautifully engraved red leather and chain bear collar.

In response to a Manchester Evening News article about our recent grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Trust, Jill and Richard Salisbury of Derbyshire got in contact with the Library. Would we like the bear collar to add to our collection? We certainly would! Richard’s family had lived next door to the Jennison family in Hathersage in the 1930s and 40s and had been given the bear collar, which had disappeared into the attic for many years.

As far as we know, very few items like this survive from the zoo’s heyday. The name of Richard Jennison on the collar suggests that it dates from around the end of the nineteenth century, although we would be very glad to know more about this fascinating object. Do get in touch if you have seen one like it before, or have any more information.