tomwilson

25 May 2020 72 views
 
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photoblog image Beware of the bear!

Beware of the bear!

Before we leave, a visit to the bear pit.  From the Gardens' Website:

 

"The Bear Pit is the finest surviving example in the UK. The superb condition of the structure is due to the many years it was used as Yorkshire’s biggest compost pit.

This is a Grade II listed structure and was built in 1836 to home a black bear. In 1839 the attempt to combine zoological exhibits was stopped because of the noise and stench. In 1855 Sir Henry Hunloke presented 2 brown bears to the Gardens although little is known about how long they remained there. Local legend relates that a child was killed after falling into the pit around 1870.

The Grade II listed Bear Pit was fully repaired during the restoration of the Gardens. The old railings (of a somewhat dour municipal character) have been replaced with more elegant ones, matching the railings which surround most of the Gardens. Grilles have been re-instated and can be pulled across the entrance to the Pit, and also across the 2 side dens (which once housed the 2 bears). The grilles can be locked, thereby keeping things either in or out.

In January 2005 a mild steel sculpture of a bear (2.4m tall) was installed, to remind people of the former use of this structure. The bear was originally a pale silver grey colour, but the sculptor allowed the metal to rust naturally. The bear is an interesting and very realistic grizzly-brown colour."

 

Beware of the bear!

Before we leave, a visit to the bear pit.  From the Gardens' Website:

 

"The Bear Pit is the finest surviving example in the UK. The superb condition of the structure is due to the many years it was used as Yorkshire’s biggest compost pit.

This is a Grade II listed structure and was built in 1836 to home a black bear. In 1839 the attempt to combine zoological exhibits was stopped because of the noise and stench. In 1855 Sir Henry Hunloke presented 2 brown bears to the Gardens although little is known about how long they remained there. Local legend relates that a child was killed after falling into the pit around 1870.

The Grade II listed Bear Pit was fully repaired during the restoration of the Gardens. The old railings (of a somewhat dour municipal character) have been replaced with more elegant ones, matching the railings which surround most of the Gardens. Grilles have been re-instated and can be pulled across the entrance to the Pit, and also across the 2 side dens (which once housed the 2 bears). The grilles can be locked, thereby keeping things either in or out.

In January 2005 a mild steel sculpture of a bear (2.4m tall) was installed, to remind people of the former use of this structure. The bear was originally a pale silver grey colour, but the sculptor allowed the metal to rust naturally. The bear is an interesting and very realistic grizzly-brown colour."

comments (11)

Encore un ours en cage.
Tom Wilson: Oui, mais beaucoup plus sûr! smile
How very odd... but I guess these things still go on don't they?
Tom Wilson: Not widely, I think, Elizabeth - these kinds of pits for viewing the bears were a Victorian thing and were replaced by the more extensive zoological gardens around the world.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 25 May 2020, 04:59
It's amazing that the structure has survived Tom, there can't be many like it..
Tom Wilson: Very few, I imagine, Chris. There's an article here about them: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28944797
Une deuxième vie pour cette cage, moins dangereuse dans tous les sens ....
Tom Wilson: C'est vrai, Claudine!
An interesting piece of history Tom. I like the sculpture
Tom Wilson: Nice piece of work, isn't it? The kids certainly enjoy it.
  • Chad
  • Somewhere+in+deep+space
  • 25 May 2020, 08:38
One can only feel sad at this sight Tom. Good that this is preserved though.
Tom Wilson: Indeed! Many years ago on my first trip to Turkey, I saw a guy with a "dancing bear" - fortunately, that cruelty is now a thing of the past.
It's a fine sculpture and interesting insight to the garden's history, Tom smile
Tom Wilson: Normally one can go in and look around, but covid-19 has put a stop to that!
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 25 May 2020, 12:33
I had no idea that such a thing existed anywhere, Tom
Tom Wilson: The BBC news item I mentioned to Chris gives info on three or four bear pits still in existence - the Sheffield one is the only one I'd ever heard of.
I get the significance of the bear at the dump as in my home town that was always a sight to see. I did not know England has bears.
Tom Wilson: It's a long time since there were wild bears in England, Care - these were captured and imported.
Like some of the others here I wasn't aware such things were in use in times gone by, it is quite a good sculpture.
Tom Wilson: Yes, I rather like the sculpture. It seems that the bear pit wasn't in use for very long.
  • Louis
  • South+Africa
  • 25 May 2020, 16:45
As I grew up, I came to associate "bear pit" with an out house. You had to "watch what you are doing or you will fall into the bear pit". Little tykes clung for life, when they had to go.
Tom Wilson: I grew up in similar circumstances, Louis - except it wasn't called a "bear pit" - an outdoor earth privy, with a "night soil" man coming every couple of weeks or so to clean it out, and I think, use the waste as farm manure.

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