Cross’s Menagerie, 18 Earle Street , Liverpool (1882-1898)

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Cross’s Menagerie , 18 Earle Street , Liverpool (1882-1898) … This establishment was set up from a paying visitor perspective in 1882 and probably ran until 1898 …. In 1912 Cross’s Menagerie were still active as a trading Establishment but no longer admitted the general public on an admission paying basis.
So to get to Earle Street we have to delve a little into the background of how it came about … William Cross , and here it gets confusing Son of William Cross and Grandson of Edward Cross (proprietor of Exeter ‘Change in London) and to confuse matters more Father of William Simpson Cross (Southport Zoo Park and Otterspool Grounds ) and James Conrad Cross ( future Mayor of Liverpool) … He left London in 1865 to attempt to set up an Animal Dealers business in Liverpool … Initially he was reported as setting up with a James Cross (not his Son ) at 121 Park Lane Liverpool (James Cross it was reported was an established Animal Dealer for 23 years )
By 1872 William Cross had taken his own premises at 10 Upper Pitt Street , Tabley Street and Upper Pownall Street he continued working from these 3 premises until November 1874 at which time his trading premises were at 51 Oldhall Street
William Cross was by this time if not THE biggest certainly one of the biggest Animal Dealers in England any Animal anyone wanted could be obtained…
By May 1880 the business was listed as at 16 to 18 Earle Street and also 12, 14 and 16 Rigby Street
By 1881 the Adverts just state 18 Earle Street
By 1882 Cross’s “Great” Menagerie was opened …Address given was 18 Earle Street , Oldhall Street .. Admission was 6d and Children half price … There were Lions , Tigers , Zebra , Tapir , Elephants , Camels , Crocodile , Leopards , Snakes , Baboons , Monkeys , Llama and Many other animals …. due to the nature of the business the Animals on show changed regularly
William Cross was by all accounts the perfect Boss and he was widely adored by his workforce
The Business was so popular with Travelling Menageries , Zoological Gardens and various exhibitions across the country
In April 1888 a Health Inspector visited Earle Street after a public complaint and the premises were found to be Really clean and no smells were given off by the Menagerie
Things were going so well over the years until in April 1898 there was a fire at the premises the damage was slight and no animals were hurt in the Fire
However, in August 1898 at 2.30 AM a major fire occurred at the Menagerie and many Animals perished in this fire including 4 Lions , Hyenas an Elephant and Several Tigers as well as several other animals … The cause of the Fire was a faulty Gas Jet …
The Menagerie was then seemingly closed to the Public although Animal Sales continued to take place …
On the 7th April 1900 Mr William Cross passed away after what was deemed a long term illness he was just 57 … His Sons and Daughter continued with the business right up until 1912 …
There has been more written in other posts of William Simpson Cross who went on to form Southport Zoos and his involvement with Otterspool Grounds (Zoo) will be written about in future posts (also his sister , Daughter of William Cross Senior ) was involved heavily in Otterspool Grounds (Zoo)
1st image 1882 opening advert , 2nd image William Simpson and 3rd image shows devastation caused by the fire in August 1898
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