Manchester Zoological Gardens , Higher Broughton , (1838-1842)


Manchester Zoological Gardens , Higher Broughton , (1838-1842) …. This establishment was opened on 31 st May 1838 (Reverend John Clowes who resided at Broughton Old Hall was attempting to utilise part of his land to get wealthy people to build mansions on his estate ) … The idea was to build a Public Pleasure Ground and Zoological Gardens centrally and have the Mansions set around its perimeter … Finance was sought to set up the Zoo and a Company was formed and 1800 shares were sold and a Mr Whitton was appointed Chairman … The Zoo was set on 15 acres on the Land leased from Reverend Clowes Estate … Richard Forrest who had designed Bristol Zoo designed this Zoo layout … £2000 was used to purchase animals and many animals were gifted to the collection too .. Harry Richardson (from Exeter ‘Change ) was appointed Head Keeper and the gardens were the responsibility of a Mr Mearns (who formerly worked at the Duke of Portlands Estate) … Within the collection there were Lions , Various Monkeys , Kangaroo , Zebus , Leopards , Polar Bears , Rhinos , Camels , Alligator , Brown and American Bears , Porcupine , European and Silver Foxes , Coatis , Raccoons , Wallabies , Dingos , Llamas , Guanaco , Exotic Birds and Waterfowl …. In fact all in all this Zoological Gardens had more within it and was both better laid out and was a much better proposition than the Belle Vue Gardens Zoo which had opened in 1836 , also in Manchester .
However , it was still losing money … An age old problem as to whether they should open on a Sunday reared up in yet another 1800’s Zoological Gardens … The main opposition to this was that the land the Zoo was on belonged to a Reverend …By 1842 Manchester was suffering a manufacturing crisis too which meant less money for people to spend on “luxuries” …The Gardens were in rent arrears to the tune of £1290 and they owed tradesman over £1200 … Reverend Clowes agreed to forego the rent arrears provided all Tradesmen were repaid … There was nothing to do but to close the Zoological Gardens …All the animals gifted to the Gardens were given back and the rest were sold at Auction on 23rd November 1842 … Ironically some of the animals ended up at Belle Vue Zoo .. ..Belle vue / John Jennison was having financial difficulties himself but that is a story for another post …(other sources I have looked at state that no animals ended up at Belle Vue due to their financial situation )
Image shows the plan of the Zoological gardens
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