This is the skeleton of Maharajah, a male Asian
Elephant. Like many of our specimens, Maharajah's skeleton has a very
Maharajah’s Manchester connection begins in Edinburgh.
In 1872 James Jennison, the owner of Belle Vue Zoo in Gorton, bought the
elephant from a travelling circus for £680 (about £30,000 today). Maharajah was
eight years old and stood over two metres tall. He also had very impressive
Maharajah was supposed to travel to Manchester on a
train but this upset him. Maharajah’s
keeper, Lorenzo Lawrence, decided it was not safe for the public or the
elephant to travel by rail, so together they began an epic walk from Edinburgh
to Manchester. Their journey took ten days and covered a distance of over 200
Maharajah lived in Belle Vue Zoo for ten years and was
a very popular performer. He took part in lots of parades in Manchester. He
died at the age of 18, probably from pneumonia. Maharajah’s skeleton was
displayed in a small museum at the zoo for many years before it was sold to the
See it for real
This item is on public display
The University of Manchester
Open daily 10am - 5pm. Closed 24-26 December and 1 January.
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