20th C visits
Chipperfield’s Circus is a long-running English family show based on the 300-year old Chipperfield dynasty. It can be traced back to a James Chipperfield who exhibited performing animals at the Thames Frost Fair of 1684. Through the 19th century, the circus toured the whole of England, with its growing menagerie and teams of acrobats and clowns.
After World War II, under the management of Jimmy Chipperfield, it became one of the biggest circuses in Europe, with a tent that could hold 6000. There are several posters, brochures and a Circus Newspaper in the Fenwick collection. As well as an article which includes the Gridneff family in training.
Jimmy Chipperfield then diversified into safari parks and fairground supplies, and since his death in 1990, Chipperfield’s Circus has toured only intermittently, sometimes featuring members of the extended Chipperfield family. In 2013 it was reported that Chipperfiled’s Lions performed with Jolly’s Circus in Darlington, much to the shock and dismay of the audience who were unprepared for an animal act.