Hull Woolly Zoo Project 2017
New for 2017 inspired by a tour of 1840s Hull... See our
progress so far here.
Tigers & Bears in Hull!
In 1840, the city of Hull was welcomed to the opening of
a new and most exotic attraction... the Spring Bank Zoological
At the northern end of Spring Bank and set out in 7 acres of land,
the gardens were home to lions, tigers, kangaroos, eagles, owls and
monkeys. Most famously, they also housed polar bears and an
elephant. Also to be seen were model replicas of the city of Naples
and the Crystal Palace that once stood in Hyde Park, London.
Regular fetes were held in the gardens with refreshments and
entertainment, and plays and circuses were staged by local
Although hugely popular and famous throughout
Yorkshire, the gardens were sadly too expensive to run. In 1861 the
gates closed on the animals for the last time. The gardens had to
be auctioned off and the land was sold, eventually becoming a
continuation of Hutt and Peel Street.
If you walk down Spring Bank today you can still find evidence of
this marvellous piece of Hull’s history. Next time you are down
that way see if you can spot the elephant (clue: careful, you might
step on him) or a pair of mischievous polar bears (clue: look
And next time you are in Pearson Park, remember that some of the
trees from the gardens were dug up and replanted in the park. That
makes them at least 177 years old!
Help us revive the gardens!
Throughout 2017, staff here at the History Centre will be
attempting to recreate this fantastic lost world in wool
by knitting, crocheting, winding and felting. New additions
will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and the website every month, so
don’t forget to check back on our progress.
At the end of the year we will be unveiling our zoo in all its
woolly glory. Details to follow closer to the time but, come
December, we hope to welcome visitors to see the newest inhabitants
of Worship Street in their brand new enclosures. It will be free,
and because the exhibits are made from wool they won’t bite, smell
or make a sound!
have a go yourself?
We want this to be a city wide effort so we welcome contributions
from all ages and abilities! You can bring your homemade woolly
animals, trees, plants and flowers to join ours for the
big-end-of-year reveal – the more the merrier.
Live too far away to join in or don't want
to part with your creation? You can submit an e-animal to add to
our Facebook gallery.
Download PDF or
instructions on how to submit an exhibit.
If you have a bit of time on your hands and want a bright and airy
space to sit and knit with a cuppa, come and enjoy the History
Centre arcade whilst you construct your contribution. Don't forget
to tell anyone who might be interested in getting involved!
You can do this by downloading our PDF flyer.
Follow our progress on Twitter (#hullwoollyzoo), Facebook and
via our online gallery just click