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Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion : Foldout

The Exley Zoo

The Halifax Zoo & Amusement Park opened at Whitsuntide, 29th May 1909, a venture of Alfred McKill of Leeds. It stood on the site of Chevinedge mansion at what is now Chevinedge Crescent, Exley

The opening ceremony included the King Cross Band conducted by Arthur O. Pearce. Nigger, a 17-year-old Indian elephant which took part in the opening ceremony was alarmed by a tram and bolted as it came down Salterhebble Hill, and frightened the crowds before stumbling and falling over. Almost 50,000 people visited on the opening weekend.

This was a popular attraction at weekends and holidays with the zoo – there was a pygmy farm with miniature buildings and small animals – a monkey house, an ostrich farm, aviaries, a bandstand, and a lake with a fountain. The zoo aimed to represent the world's range of animals, and exhibited more than 1,000 including

There was a stage with pierrots and other performers, and the grounds were extended to the site of the present rugby fields.

Other attractions included

An admission price of 6d was charged.

A miniature narrow-gauge railway – known as the Little Elephant – was opened in 1910 and ran round the grounds. It was said to throw off sparks which damaged ladies' hats. The engine was originally at Blackpool's South Shore, and was later moved to Sunny Vale.

In 1912, a small figure-of-eight roller-coaster was erected.

There was a concrete roller-skating rink.

The zoo closed in 1916 when the war reduced the number of visitors and made it difficult to obtain food for the animals. The amusements closed the following year

See Captain Spencer

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© Malcolm Bull 2017 / [email protected]
Revised 14:07 on 8th May 2017 / mmz6 / 6