Virtual Belle Vue

Welcome to Belle Vue

Welcome to Virtual Belle Vue, Chetham's Library's digital archive of Belle Vue Gardens. Click on the links above to explore over one hundred years of manuscripts and ephemera from Manchester's legendary pleasure garden or just use the search box at the top of the page.

Most of the items shown are from the Library's extensive Belle Vue Collections, although you will also find photos and documents that have been loaned to us by other people. Our collections include postcards, photographs, slides, guides, programmes, a significant collection of newspaper cuttings, notebooks, ledgers and business accounts stretching from the mid 1800s through to Belle Vue's final days in the 1970s. Subjects range from fireworks spectacles to circus acts, and from boxing and wrestling to brass band contests, political rallies and trade fairs. The people, the animals, the rides, the happy days out and even the scandals are here. (Murder! or should we say Matricide! Hippo kills own mother!)  Take a walk with us down memory lane--and make sure to add your thoughts and comments. We especially need help identifying people, places and events, and even an occasional animal.

Viewing the Belle Vue Collection

Most of the Library's Belle Vue holdings are included in the National Archives portal Discovery, where you should add "Belle Vue" and "Chetham's Library” to the search box for a detailed list.

If you already have an idea of the sort of thing you are looking for, you can email the archivist who will help you find what you need.

Growing the Belle Vue Collection

We are still adding to the Belle Vue collections, and to our online resource, and would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has material related to Belle Vue which they would like to donate. Please send an email to: