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Friday, 29 April 2016

A-Z: I Remember...Zoo at Blackpool


 Z is for the ZOO at Blackpool.

I grew up in Blackpool,  the seaside resor with its famous Tower.in north west England,  This was the entertainment complex of its day, with its Tower Ballroom (where my parents met),  circus ring, aquarium and zoo. We used to go there about once a year. as a treat. 

The zoo would now shock!  But in the 1950's it was deemed acceptable.  You walked into a large tiled hall, with windows one side and two sides tall, narrow cages for the animals, which included the big cats, bears and monkeys - no room whatsoever to roam exercise or be stimulated

I was surprised to read that it was not until 1973 that it was closed down.   A new zoo opened on the edge of the town in an extensive area that once was the old airport during the war - and where in the 1950's as children we went to fly  our kites.   

Blackpool Tower from the North Pier

But the memory of the old Blackpool Zoo reminded me of a poem which we read at school " Albert and the Lion" by Mariot Edgar  which opens with the verses: 

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool 
That's noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr & Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert their son. 

A grand little lad was young Albert
All dressed in his best, quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's ''ead 'andle
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.  

The next 16 entertaining verses tell of a visit to the Zoo with disastrous consequences as young Albert encounters the lion.   

The most famous  recording of the poem, told in a broad Lancashire accent  is by music hall entertainer Stanley Holloway (he also played Eliza's  father in the classic film "My Fair lady").  

This A-Z challenge has been a very stimulating blog prompt to follow and great fun. It has been amazing to read how different bloggers have interpreted each letter.  

Thank you to everyone who has taken he time to comment and share their own reminiscences,   amidst their own busy schedule.  I have very much  much appreciated these, and I am  delighted  to have discovered new (to me) family history bloggers. 

One  thing is certain - we have all approached the challenge with ZEAL and ZEST.   We have  ZOOMED in  on our chosen theme, ZIPPED  through the letters, at times been ZANY,   but we have   now  reached  this ZENITH 



In Case You Missed

A-Z Challenge 2016 Theme Revealed:      I Remember......Memories of Childhood

C - Clothes + Church, Chores, Christmas, Crafts & Cars   
D - Dolls + Dogs & Desserts     
E - Events + Eating Out & Easter    
F - Food + Fads & Fashion and Freedom
G - Grandparents + Games   
H - Hairstyles + Hobbies, Houses & Halloween 
I - Inspiring Teachers 
J -Journeys & Joining 
K - Kitchens & Knitting   
L - Libraries     
M - Music + Movies     
N - Needles  + Nativity and Names   
O - Occupations  
P - Poulton - My Ancestral Home + Poems, Pets, Penfriends, Politics and Protests 
Q - The Queen's Coronation  
R  - Radio + Religion, Remembrance and Russia 
S - Speccy Four Eyes + School, Sports, Sundays, Student Days and the Space Race    
T - Toys + Treats, TV, Theatre and Technology   
U - Uniforms     
V - Village Life + Vacations and Values 
W - Wars and Weddings
X - XRays, Xylophone and Xmas
Y - Youth Culture  
Z - Zoo at Blackpool  


  1. Oh Sue - haven't you done well. It has been an epic challenge. And you did it!! I'm going to steal your idea and list all the letters with links at the end of my Z blog post too.

  2. PS That poem is an absolute crack-up...I laughed out loud. Fabulous stuff.

  3. Great ending to your A to Z challenge Sue. It has been my pleasure to follow you on your journey.

  4. I grew up in a very rural area with no zoos around. I didn't see a zoo until I was an adult and luckily at that time, it was already a modern zoo with good habitats for the animals.

  5. Modern zoos do a good job creating natural habitats for animals. But I do remember those old ones that often were little more than concrete cages - awful. I enjoyed the little poem.

    Congratulations on not just surviving A-Z but on capturing your story with such great detail. Your descendants will appreciate it.

  6. I remember going to the Detroit zoo when I was growing up. It wasn't quite as bad as you describe but still, when you were built to roam the vast savannahs, those little spaces must be depressing.

    I always think of ballroom dancing when I hear anything about Blackpool.

    Congrats on completing the challenge! Yay!

    Finding Eliza

  7. A-Z has been a great challenge but I'm glad it is over.
    It has been fun to read about your memories from growing up and to compare them to my own.

  8. Perhaps one day we will discover that we are relayed through our Danson families.


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