Manchester Histories Festival

Belle Vue Roadshow

The Belle Vue Roadshow returns to Gorton Monastery!

Please join Manchester Histories and Gorton Monastery for two days of family activities to celebrate the fascinating history of Belle Vue. Our programme of events will remember the dancing, the music, the circus, the fairground and the zoo so come along and relive your memories or discover many new exciting things about the legendary Belle Vue Zoological Gardens.

Sunday 5th June   11-5pm

Belle Vue collectors and enthusiasts will be exhibiting including a collection of 40 speedway jackets. Manchester Museum will be bringing along some special Belle Vue items.  Come and discover Chetham’s digital archive of Belle Vue. Listen to talks on Belle Vue history including the famous apes and the Halle orchestra’s connection with the venue. We will be hosting a Belle Vue Question Time with our panel of experts so you can ask your own questions and test their knowledge! There will be opportunities to capture your own memories with our oral histories team.

There will be so much going on for the children! A chance to earn your very own Arts Award discovering all about the history of Belle Vue and Gorton Monastery. We have a cartoon workshop featuring Maharajah the elephant and a chance to create zoo animal face masks. Come and listen to the story of time traveller Danny Higgins and his Belle Vue mission and then go on your own assignment around the Monastery to solve the clues - who will get there first! The marquee will be hosting a fantastic circus skills workshop where you can learn to juggle, plate spin, walk on stilts or hula hoop and then you will be ready for ice-cream or have your face painted in your favourite Belle Vue character.

Our musical programme has something for everyone. Gorton Philharmonic will serenade you and Stockport Silver Band will be reviving the brass band music that was so popular at Belle Vue. Gorton Voice Choir will be performing including a ‘sing a long’ for everyone to join in and look out for ‘The Bobs’, a new collaboration of art,drama and history who will be performing and entertaining you with their Belle Vue memories.

Come and see Belle Vue Coaches' heritage bus and a Belle Vue Aces speedway bike. The Monastery's historian Janet Wallwork will be exhibiting the tithe maps of Gorton and we will also have some film footage of the happy days that so many people spent at Belle Vue.

Roadshow Programme

Stockport Brass Band  11.30, 12.30 & 2.00

Gorton Philharmonic 12.00, 1.30

Gorton Voice Choir 1.00, 3.00

Belle Vue  Question Time 3.30

Belle Vue Talks

12.00 -Eleanor Roberts from the Halle will talk about the history of the Halle and it's special association with Belle Vue

1.00 - Rev David Gray will tell you the touching story of the Great Apes of Belle Vue

1.30 - Stephen Casey from Belle Vue Aces and their history with Belle Vue

2.30- Robert Nicholls' history of Belle Vue from the opening in 1836 to the closure in the 80s

Children's Programme

11.30-1.00pm Comic workshop with Oliver East

11-5.00 - Circus Skills Workshop, Danny Higgins storytime, arts awards, mask making, face painting, 

Monday 6th June 11-4.00pm

Another chance to see the Belle Vue collections from local enthusiasts and today you can hear more talks on Belle Vue’s fascinating history and take part in the ‘Show and Tell’ session. Bring along your favourite Belle Vue items such as concert tickets, badges or other memorabilia and discuss with our Belle Vue collectors Frank Rhodes and Brian Selby.

1.00 - Karen Gabay and 'The Gardens that John Built'

1.30 - Frank Rhodes and Brian Selby - The History of Belle Vue in 20 objects' followed by 'Show and Tell Session'

Gorton Monastery is hosting the Roadshow so come along and enjoy its beautiful surroundings. The Friar’s Pantry will be open both days serving refreshments.


Sun 5 Jun 2016 11am - 5pm

Mon 6 Jun 2016 11am - 4pm


Gorton Monastery

Gorton Lane, Manchester, M12 5WF



More information


Suitable for


Event category

Belle Vue

Event type

Be entertained, Exhibitions, Family events, Learning, Talks

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