Belle Vue book published 90 years too late!

To coincide with the Manchester Histories Festival, we are excited to announce the publication of a new ebook on the history of Belle Vue Zoological Gardens.

Written nearly ninety years ago by George Jennison, grandson of the founder John Jennison, but remaining unpublished until now, the book has been edited and annotated by Zoe Willock as part of her history degree at MMU. The book was written when the Jennison family gave up its concern in the famous zoo and amusement park, and was intended to represent the official history of the site, but George Jennison insisted that publication be delayed for at least twenty-five years to avoid upsetting his family.

The book is a tribute to Zoe’s hard work and dedication to her subject, and is beautifully illustrated with material from the Belle Vue collection at Chetham’s Library as well as from other repositories. The full title of the work is The Making and Growth of the Famous Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester, and the History of its Competitors: A Century of Lancashire Open-Air Amusements 1825-1925.


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    • ferguswilde

      Hi Shirley, the e-book is available as a free download from our ‘Virtual Belle Vue’ site – please go to, right click the thumbnail of the cover, and use ‘save as’ to get your own copy. I’m afraid the filename is slightly incomprehensible, but you can rename it to something more memorable as you download. Please let us know if you have any trouble with the process.

    • ferguswilde

      Dear John,

      Yes, sorry about that. The link was live in 2017 when the post was published, but we’ve since moved to a different system. You can still see the book online, and should be able to download and enjoy it from this link:this link. Please contact us if you encounter any problems getting the file.