Maharajah the elephant arrives at Manchester station 147 years late

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The skeleton of Maharajah on display at Piccadilly StationImage source, Manchester Museum
Image caption,
The skeleton will be on display at the station until 16 June

An elephant which refused to board a Victorian train, forcing a 10-day trek from Edinburgh to Manchester, has finally arrived at the city's station.

The skeleton of Maharajah, an Asian elephant bought from a circus by Belle Vue Zoo in 1872, has gone on display on the concourse of Manchester Piccadilly.

The pachyderm and its trainer had to make the 220-mile walk after Maharajah refused to get into a carriage.

Manchester Museum said it was showing exhibits in "unlikely locations".

Image source, Chetham's Library
Image caption,
Lorenzo Lawrence was head elephant-keeper at Belle Vue Zoo for over 40 years

Maharajah, and trainer Lorenzo Lawrence, became local legends after making the journey from Scotland.

On arrival, Lawrence decided to stay in Manchester with the elephant and became head elephant-keeper at the zoo for over 40 years.

The skeleton was put on display at the zoo after Maharajah's death, aged 18, in 1882 before being sold to Manchester Museum.

It was housed in the Manchester gallery, which has now been closed - along with several other galleries - to allow a £13.5m refurbishment to take place.

Image source, Manchester Museum
Image caption,
Maharajah has been housed in Manchester Museum for many years

Museum director Esme Ward said in advance of the institution's full reopening in 2021, it would be working with local communities and businesses to display its collections across the city.

"We're on a mission to become the most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum in the country - and Maharajah in Piccadilly exemplifies this ambition," she said.

"Only in Manchester could the story of an elephant that refused to get on a train end in a station."

Maharajah is on display at the station until 16 June.

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