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Cardigan Road, Bear Pit

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Leeds Library & Information Services
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Cardigan Road, Bear Pit
4th January 1985 View from Cardigan Road showing one of the two castellated Victorian towers built as safe viewing platforms to observe the bear in the circular bear pit behind the wall. The bear pit was part of the Leeds Zoological and Botanical gardens which opened in 1840. Very little remains of the gardens apart from the towers and some exotic species of trees. It was not a success for various reasons. Adults were charged 6d (2.5p) on entry, children 3d (1p) which local people found expensive. Religious campaigners tried to ban Sunday openings as visits to the gardens would clash with church and chapel services. A compromise was reached where the park would only open on Sundays between 4.00 pm and dusk. In 1848 the gardens were sold to entrepreneur, Thomas Clapham but wihin ten years they were sold for building.

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