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Liverpool's first zoo, West Derby Road.  OS 1848 Liverpool Page 21. Map from LRO. | by philipgmayer
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Liverpool's first zoo, West Derby Road. OS 1848 Liverpool Page 21. Map from LRO.

Notes on Liverpool's Zoos.


The first Liverpool Zoo to be opened to the public was The Liverpool Zoological Gardens in West Derby Road. The proprietor was Thomas Atkins and they were opened on 27 May 1833.

The zoo was closed in 1863 (but the grounds finally closed about 1865).

Boaler, Goldsmith, Bourne and Empire Streets were built on the site.


On an 1836 map, Zoological Gardens are shown at Pembroke Place and Boundary Place, but nothing else is known about this zoo.


Cross's Menagerie was at Old Hall Street by January 1878, and this zoo moved close by to Earle Street in November 1879.

On 24 August 1898 there was a fire in which many wild animals were destroyed.

The closing date hasn't been established, but it was still open in 1911.


Edmonds' (late Wombwell's) Menagerie was sold by auction at Kensington Fields on July 29 & 30, 1884; and the stud of 50 draught horses sold by auction at Aintree Race Course, 31 July 1884.

Nothing else is known about this place, and it may not have been a public zoo.


The Rice Lane Zoo was called the Liverpool Zoological Gardens. The Liverpool Zoological Gardens Company was formed in November 1882. By Easter 1884 the zoo still hadn't opened and a "World's Fair" was held "to acquaint the public with the site". Shares were still being sold in the company in February 1885, when it was hoped to open the zoo at Easter. The opening date was 25 May 1885. Prior to this the Gardens had been open to the public with music hall attractions like tightrope walkers (one of them fell). The zoo was never a success (the selling of shares appears more often in the Liverpool Mercury than reports of the attractions of the zoo), and the company went into liquidation. A petition for winding up the company was to be heard of 30 December 1885, and the animals were sold in March 1886. Greek gypsies were on the site by August 1886. The entire range of animal dens were for sale in August 1887, and the selling point was "only used a few months". As the "Zoo Gardens" (without animals) the site survived until the late 1890s, and from 1892 it was regularly mentioned in the Sporting columns as a venue for football matches, and other sports. By 1899 part of the site was occupied by the Liverpool Rubber Company (later Dunlop Rubber Company). The entrance to the zoo is still there.


Bostock & Wombwell's Gigantic Menagerie (aka The Liverpool Zoo), adjoining the Olympia, West Derby Road. (Liverpool Echo, 29 December 1905).

This was almost certainly a temporary structure, taking advantage of the fact that the Olympia had opened at Easter 1905.

The Grafton Rooms were built on this site.


Cross's Menagerie (Open-air Zoo). By 11 July 1921 Cross's Menagerie was in Otterspool Grounds, and was still there on 29 July 1927.

The closing date has yet to be verified, but wouldn't have been any later than the 1920s.


The most recent zoo was run by Captain Rogers on the Rosemont Estate in Mossley Hill. It was open from 1932 to 1938 and Rosemont Road has been built on the site.


Original research by Philip G Mayer.

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Taken on April 22, 2011