The History of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens Volume One
A Preview

What others have said about this fantastic video, The History of Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and Amusement Park Volume One:

"The sounds of the zoo, funfair, dance halls and circus at Belle Vue can still be heard in the imaginations of people throughout east Manchester. Now, the memories have been put into pictures with a new video to bring Belle Vue's vibrant history back to life, in 'The History of Belle Vue Zoological Gardens'...The video, taking over two years to research, has been produced by Roy Nicol and traces the full story of the old complex from 1836 to 1981...."

"...In its heyday, the vast theme park, funfair, zoo, speedway stadium, circus and gardens were a part of Manchester's heritage. From its small start in the 1700s it became the home of famous rides such as the 'Bobs' and a Scenic Railway...Producer Roy Nicol even managed to track down World Rollercoaster Champion of 1967, Vance Tutton. Old cine films show the Great Lake, the Railway Queen and the fairground."

The Reporter Group, December 1995

"...There cannot be much disputing the fact that Belle Vue was the first major theme park in this country and probably the world, filled as it was with many kinds of entertainment and activity. A zoo, circus, ballroom, speedway track, football stadium and a giant amusement park covered the acres of ground, and as one lady interviewed by the commentator on the video remarks, 'Belle Vue was the poor man's Blackpool'..."

"...The programme runs for 140 minutes and is a comprehensive study of this entertainment mecca, based on archive material including old cine film, both amateur and professional, prints, photographs and interviews with personalities directly connected with Belle Vue and after in the film, personal reminiscences from people with fond memories of the place..."

"...An interview with the last ringmaster of the circus, plus the man who set a new world record for riding on a roller coaster, all add to the interest in this absorbing production. It is of interest for anyone who knew Belle Vue and also for anyone with an interest in fairgrounds, amusement parks and general entertainment..."

"...A marvellous record of a piece of social history now gone forever, but still remembered by many. With the aid of hitherto unseen film, this video brings it back to life and shows today's generation how we were entertained in days gone. Great entertainment, but at over two hour's viewing time, probably best watched in a couple of sessions!"

World's Fair, December 1995


"...entertaining and informative..."

"...The tape is a two-and-a-half hour labour of love which combines archive film and interviews to capture the flavour of what has been described as 'the world's first theme park'..."

Manchester Evening News, December 1995




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