Gorton is a town in Manchester, and it is rich in cultural heritage. For example, the world-famous Belle Vue Zoological Gardens opened in 1836. In its lifetime it served as a zoo, amusement park, exhibition hall complex and speedway stadium. It developed from containing a small amusements park in the 1870s to the ‘show ground of the world’ by the early 20th century, thus making it one of the most popular attractions in Northern England.
The first privately financed zoo in England, Belle Vue grew into the third largest in the country. Initially consisting of domestic birds, the animals kept came to include kangaroos, lions and bears. A chimpanzee called Consul became a popular attraction. Dressed in a smoking jacket, and inhaling a cob pipe, Consul would accompany the owner James Jennison to business meetings. Although at its peak it attracted over two million years, it began to sustain losses. Therefore, it closed in 1977. It consequently became a greyhound racing course and snooker hall.
Gorton is also home to The Monastery. This 19th-century heritage venue is a former Franciscan friary, and is subsequently an example of High Victorian Gothic Architecture. Of course, it is no longer a friary, and, after a £6 million restoration fund, instead operates as a multi-purpose venue for hire. This beautiful building will the site for Group Travel Organiser’s very own Northern Travel Show.
Gorton Heritage Trail is great for people who love exploring the past. Largely set in the Gore Brook Valley Conservation Area, it includes 20 sites including local landmarks and Grade listed monuments and buildings.
One monument is the Peacock Mausoleum. It was designed by prominent architect Thomas Worthington, and was built to commemorate Richard Peacock – an engineer and Liberal MP. Peacock was a partner in engineering firm Beyer, Peacock and Company, which exported locomotives all over the world, and provided lots of employment in Gorton.