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  • Belfast Between The Wars


Northern Whig, Friday 14th November 1930

It was in the heart of Belfast – High Street, to be exact – I heard the growling of animals. Lions, looking very ferocious, roared at me; cows, more gentle, mooed; monkeys paused in their climbing to chatter. Tigers with wild, red eyes clearly resented by intrusion into this tropical jungle; an elephant in trumpet-like tones informed me of his annoyance, and even the beautifully soft, white bear grumbled.

My advent into the jungle was very thrilling. I entered the toy department of Robb’s and was conducted to a triple-engine twenty-seater aeroplane. Then I was taken on a most adventurous journey. The machine buzzed through space, the mechanic’s voice warned me to “hold tight”; wonderful blue and purple tints of clouds appeared before my astonished eyes. Earth was below me, and the beauteous glory of the heavens around me.

After what seemed like a considerable period the buzzing stopped and I landed on terra firma. Leaves made a carpet for me; all around were strange exotic plants – plants which grow in warm countries. The animals, too, were such as do not inhabit these Western Isles, and although by their noise and the angry rolling of their luminous eyes I could see they had no love for me. They attacked me only by their noisy derision. A trifle put out by their growls, I found peace and contentment in watching gondolas sway gently on a calm unruffled stream; a waterfall played near by; there was peace and quietude.

It is undoubtedly a unique Christmas show that Robb’s have arranged. Ostensibly for children, it will attract hundreds of adults, and the toys they have purchases for the delight of young folk will give as much pleasure to their parents. A Mickey Mouse orchestra, huge motor cars, big dolls’ houses, children’s pianos are all toys with which one can easily imagine many a fond father and mother, big brother, or sister playing.

The window display is one that is attracting many spectators. Hornby trains, worked by electricity, rush to and fro; there is a Meccano representation of a dock scene, dredges and cranes, &c., and the whole thing is arranged with such ingenuity that one has nothing but congratulations to offer the management – and, above all, for their bringing the jungle exhibition (also worked by electricity) to Belfast. It will be officially opened on Saturday.


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