Skeleton of Asian Elephant


  • Skeleton of Asian Elephant

This is the skeleton of Maharajah, a male Asian Elephant. Like many of our specimens, Maharajah's skeleton has a very special story.

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 50cm tusks.

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 miles.

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 Manchester Museum

See it for real

This item is on public display

Manchester Museum

The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL

Open daily 10am - 5pm. Closed 24-26 December and 1 January.

More about this location...

We use cookies to help us provide you with a better service, but do not track anything that can be used to personally identify you.

If you prefer us not to set these cookies, please visit our Cookie Settings page or continue browsing our site to accept them.