These ( 350+) War Circus articles are set in a chronological based on the action they report between 1914 and 1919, starting in August 1914. They have been transposed from contemporary newspapers, in order to retain the language of the time. Other information has been drawn from people realted to the artistes.

Ref: including various newspapers found in the British Libraries’ online archive, British Newspaper Archives; Tyne and Wear Archives, Fenwick Collection; The World’s Fair, the Showland newspaper held on microfiles at the National Fairground and Circus Archive, Univeristy of Sheffield. The American titles were found already transposed online via the Circus Historical Society, (with much appreciation form the War Circus team).

Unfortunately this website does not have a search function to asset in searching for individuals names featuring in these article. Please see the Circus A-Z lists for a brief overview of individuals lives between 1914 – 1918.

Page from Arthur Fenwick’s cuttings book – © Tyne & Wear Archives, Newcastle

AUG 1914


Amelia Bell (nee. Feely), granddaughter of renowned English clown Richard Bell, reports that she and her whole family of 19 acrobats, and stage hands have had to cut their 1914 tour to Europe short. They have instead returned to South America via the new Panama canal.

Geoff Younger, G.G. grand-nephew of Amelia Bell, obituary, 6/6/2008



Owing to Mr. David Taylor’s Mexican circus closing down on account of the war crisis, Mr Harry Humphreys – the energetic advance agent, is at liberty to accept offers as advance agent or manager for any travelling concern, large or small. We wish him luck.

22/8/1914 The World’s Fair




   It is not every man who cares to make himself notorious by appearing like a spy. An artiste who is appearing in Inverkeithing Theatre this week had this experience on Tuesday. As he was journeying to Dunfermline (a town strange to him) to make some purchases (sic), his manner attracted the attention of the military who handed him over to the civil authorities, who after making exhaustive inquiries which proved satisfactory they allowed him to go. Sarraqua is a North American Indian of the Blackfoot tribe, and is a splendid specimen (sic) of manhood. His feats of weightlifting are simply marvellous, and his closing scene where he lifts an iron frame piano from the platform with his teeth caused a thrill of sensation in the theatre. His other performances are such as no ordinary man would dream of attempt-ing and his turn proved one of the best seen in the house. At the close of the show he gave a practical exhibition of his loyalty. He sold his photo post cards at one penny each, and he handed over the proceeds to Provost Findlay to be sent to the Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund.

15/8/1914 The World’s Fair



Marshal Fowlers Engine doing her War Work © Harry Lee Collection, University of Sheffield Library, National Fairground and Circus Archive


   So at the present time when all sorts of rumours will be in the air, remember the old adage, “Don’t believe what you hear and only half of what you see.”

15/8/1914 The World’s Fair


One of the worst sufferers from the commandeering of of horses is Mr. Fred Ginnett. It has been stated that over a hundred horses have been taken and the “Wild Australia” Tour has had to be cancelled.


   The Caravan Club of Great Britain is organising two fleets of caravans for war service. One will be placed at the disposal of nurses engaged at base hospitals, and the other will be allocated to the Boy Scouts engaged in guarding telegraph wires on the south and east coasts. About 40 caravans have already been offered, and promises of further help are being received by every post by the honorary secretary, Mr. J. Harris Stone.


There is great animosity to everything German just now and those of our readers who own paper organs should overhaul their music and see the selections by German composers are withdrawn.

22/8/1914 The World’s Fair




   The whole of East and West Main Street was turned out en masse on Monday morning when the shout got up by the young folks that they had captured a German spy. The fact was that a Canadian Indian, who had been in the circus line, was proceeding along the road in the direction of Edinburgh to catch up with a circus that had passed along the road a few days before. His red skin, with feathered hat and show attire, made him a conspicuous figure, and the annoyance he got from the children caused him to make a show of throwing stones at the children, which excited the crowd the more. At last, when the crowd had grown to large dimensions, a gentleman took charge of the man, and marched him to the police station, where Sergeant Duthie satisfied himself by papers in the possession of the stranger that he was a Canadian Indian and a British subject, following the circus profession. He had recently left Paris when war broke out, and arrived at Folkestone on the 20th August, with letters of recommendation and identity to the police at Folkestone. Travelling by train and tram he managed to reach Glasgow the other day, and got on the track of Fossett’s Circus, and was endeavouring to overtake them on foot with empty pockets, without once being molested until he reached Armadale.

He gave his name as Walter McDonald, 17 years of age, and stated that his father was a Scotchman and his mother a red Indian, but that both his parents were dead. He said he had relatives in this country if he only knew where to find them. After the crowd that had gathered had cleared away the police conveyed him outside of the burgh in the direction of Bathgate, but he had not got far beyond Heatherfield when he was again met by a band of young men, who surmised he was a German spy, and after giving him a licking they threw him over the hedge into a field. Mr Alfred Ezzi, when cycling to Bathgate, found him struggling to get over the fence and falling back. On Ezzi approaching him, the young man said he was dying, and asked to be taken back to Armadale Police Station. The Bathgate to Armadale motor ‘bus came up at the time, and he was put on it, and taken to the police station as requested, where he made a complaint about being set upon. Dr Jenny Anderson was called in, and found he was suffering only from shock. She procured for him a suit of clothes to wear instead of his show garb, and a few shillings being collected for him by some sympathetic friends, Sergeant Duthie took him to the station, and paid his fare to Edinburgh.’

4/9/1914 Linlithgow Gazette



   Richard Bratby, and his partner Jim Zola (Zola Brothers), have recently toured with Duffy’s in Ireland touring as the “American Swells” with their hand-balancing acrobatic act have both volunteered – Bratby has enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery. Jim with the King’s Own Lancashire regiment.

Editor & Family: Tom Sandow



   Sixteen German reservists employed in a travelling circus at Johannesburg have been arrested: consequently the circus has been closed down.

14/9/1914 Manchester Evening News



   Mr. Ford (a well known comedian) was in Kalgourlie, the goldfields city, at the outbreak of the hostilities, and he says he will never forget that intense wave of excitement which swept the country. They knew at once that they were “in it,” and as the fiery touch of old was sped from valley to mountain top, so in Western Australia immediate steps were taken to acquaint the whole of the population, even to the squatter a hundred miles from anywhere, that Britain was at war, and looking to her sons in the far lands for help. He saw the messengers start from Kalgourlie for all quarters of the country, on horseback, in motors, on cycles, and even on Camelback, for the camel is used for transport in Western Australia. Men volunteered for the work, and you would see a cyclist start for a hundred mile journey with the pack on his back containing rations and everything necessary to encamp by the wayside.

   The response was immediate. Young men left everything standing, and made their way to the railway. Within two days of the receipt of the news every train that left Kalgourlie was filled with volunteers on their way Home, to enrol themselves with the hosts that were to fight for Britain. No wonder that Mr. Ford, as an Australian, is proud of his country and of what he saw in Kalgourlie!

1/4/1916 Nottingham Evening Post



Circus, – Sir Robert Fossett and Sons’ Circus and Hippodropme paid a visit to the town on Tuesday, and performances were given in the afternoon and evening on the Recreation Ground. The various artistes were heartily received, their efforts greatly enjoyed by the audiences. A procession through the town at mid-day attracted considerable attention.

Fenwick Collection 19/9/1914 Alnwick Gazette



   London – The first rush of applicants for aid was made up chiefly of tourists, but later began the stream of Americans who had resided in Europe for some time and were employed in the various countries affected by the war. Actors, circus performers, vaudevillians and all sorts of entertainers, found themselves out of work and seeking the help of the American government. Chief Lewis Deer, of the Cheyenne Indians, and his company of braves who were delighting American crowds with their reproductions of “Custer’s Last Stand,” came to grief at Linach, where the circus with which they were engaged was forced to disband, and after several weeks of interviews with German and Austrian officials, who were suspicious of the Indians, they finally made their way to London with tales of hardships which rival the stories of pioneer days in Wyoming. Only by putting on all their feathers and war paint were the Indians able to establish their identity thoroughly and make their way through the war zone. In ordinary clothing they had nothing but trouble and merely progressed from one jail or compound to another. But buckskin suits decorated with beads and crowns of turkey feathers stamped them as real Americans and speeded their passage.

Paraphrased 19/9/1914 El Paso Herald


William Taylor’s Bioscope Show “The War” 1914 © Arthur Jones Collection, University of Sheffield Library, National Fairground and Circus Archive.




   The attractions of Hull Fair are up-to-date as ever, and include many new novelties. The showmen realise that they are living, like everyone else,in strenuous times, and arequite expecting a falling off of receipts.


Bostock and Wombwell’s Zoo, with all it’s fascination of yore and old, has arrived, and last evening was thronged. It had been a fine sight earlier in the day to see the arrival of the caravans, drawn by teams of 30 horses. The old favourites, such as the elephants and dromedaries, looked as well as ever, and much interest is displayed in the great pet of a little baby elephant only 3ft high, affectionately known as “Tiny”. A great novelty also is the hippopotamus, the only one ever seen in the menagerie. There is the usual cages of splendid animals, all in the best condition, and daring performances are gone through, albeit they are humane. A capital zoological collection is to be found, the latest additions including a pair of Tasmanian devils, a hairless or India rubber skinned mare, baby leopards, lions, Assyrian ibex, and a host of rare animals. Messrs. Bostock and Wombwell’s have amongst the new arrivals two educated chimpanzees, who of can eat, drink, dress and undress almost like human beings. The various cages contain interesting specimens of forest and jungle. There are lions, tigers, leopards, bears, hyenas, wolves and jaguars.


The great novelty at Chipperfield’s menagerie this time (and the menagerie has been coming to Hull Fair for 21 years) is a great freak of human nature, part woman and part lion, alive. Mr Chipperfield states that he still has a fine collection of wild beasts but the freak woman and lions are one of Nature’s wonderful works, and no one should miss it. There are as usual the daring displays of animal training, which appeal to a large section of patrons.


Anita the Doll Lady, © National Fairground Collection, University of Sheffield Library, National Fairground and Circus Archive.

Anita, the living doll, was holding a busy reception last evening, and had many triumphs. She is the tiniest adult human being ever seen, and although 31 years old is only 26 inches tall. Mr James W. Bostock, who is the oldest member of the famous Bostock and Wombwell family declares that this lady is the greatest novelty which has ever been seen under the Bostock and Wombwell banner, which is saying something indeed. Anita is the little lady which greatly interested King George and Queen Mary on to visit to Earl’s Court. Anita holds her reception in a bright little pavilion in the main avenue.


   The name Bailey conjures up great things in the circus world. In a talk with the proprietor, we learned the circus is this time at Hull is better that ever. A “star” turn is the bareback riding by Robert Fossett, Jnr., described as champion jockey acts rider of the world. He rides his horse blindfold and then leaps form the animal with baskets attached to his feet. Trapeze and wire walking acts are also included in the daily performances. Mr. Fossett also introduces her performing stallion Pasha and Popsy, the clever ragtime elephant; trained by Mr. Roberts does some wonderful things. The programme includes:- The Great Broncho Troupe in their thrilling performance upon three prairie mustangs; Sen Sen and Yen Yen, in an up-to-date Chinese juggling performance; the marvellous riding dog Nigger, introduced by Mr C. Ginnett; the Bailey Family, equestrians, bare-back riders, acrobats, and gymnasts, and Miss Hilda Fossett, in a performance with a miniature pony.


   Proctor’s Circus is always popular. This time it is situated in the first avenue (Spring bank West), and the fine new waterproofed tent will hold a thousand people. There is a talented troupe of male and female bare-back riders, tight-rope dancers, wire walkers, flying ring experts, backward and foreword somersault throwers, barrel dancers, globe runners, jugglers, and dancers. The circus includes entertainments by funny clowns, trick horses, and fortune telling ponies. The Bros. Proctor contribute a sensational aerial act on the flying rings, and Miss Marie Proctor, described as the world’s greatest tight-rope dancer, appears at every performance. Master Willie in a hurricane hurdle act on a flying steed. Mr George with his intelligent pony, Miss Ada and Master John in  double jockey act. Jerry the fiery donkey, Indian and Cowboy performers, and comic entrees by the clowns! All contribute to the capital entertainment.

10/10/1914 Hull Daily Mail



Cirkus Kludský.

Karel Reports: The War has stopped us in our tracks. We, Cirkus Kludský, Europe’s largest ever circus, were traveling with our 86 x 54 meters three-ring, four-pole big top that can seat 10,000 spectators. Our menagerie includes a herd of 25 elephants, 160 horses, 74 wild animals (lions, tigers, leopards, etc.), and a vast assortment of exotic animals, among which three giraffes and a hippopotamus—an ensemble of some 700 heads. We have two hundred performers from thirty-five nations, including two large bands, and two hundred wagons traveling by train were used to transport the circus equipment and house the personnel. Most of our performers and staff have enlisted, The Army has taken the circus’s horses away.

Narrative from CP






   The spacious marquee in which the performances of Lord John Sanger’s Circus take place was destroyed by fire on Wednesday evening, at Leamington. Fortunately no personal injury was sustained, and the menagerie was saved, but the evening performance had to be abandoned.

   The circus was in Burton’s Field, Lower Tachbrook Street, and the fire occurred at about 5 o’clock, midway between the afternoon and evening performances. The Borough Fire Brigade received the “call” at 5-7 p.m., and although the Chief Officer (Mr. T. T. Earnshaw) and a full complement of men were quickly on the scene with the fire engine, they could do little or nothing to save the marquee.

   The absence of wind can alone be credited for the saving of the menagerie because had there been the slightest breeze the fire must have spread to the cages and stalls which were situated around the tent.

17/10/1914 Worlds Fair


   The chatty writer. Mr. Gossip, says: I am glad to learn that the World’s Fair is to be held as usual this year Islington– more particularly as it is an all-British function. It would be hard, indeed, if, as a result of the war, the poor were to be deprived of their accustomed pleasures.


And as regards the all-British function when we think of the names of Read, Fossett, and Bostock, who will provide the chief part of the World’s fair we can think with pride how very British it will be.

24/10/1914 The World’s Fair



    Our thanks are due to the military authorities for not commandeering all the horses and fiery chargers in the country and depriving us of the opportunity of witnessing the feats of horsemanship only to be seen in Procter’s unparalleled circus on the classic ground of Holme for the education and delight of the inhabitants thereof, is now, it is said on the way to London. Other engagements prevented ( the writer) from attending the illuminating and illuminated performance held at the Red Lion field on Tuesday evening last, but from a distance we heard the lould inspiring strains of the organ and were reminded of the memorable saying of the late Lord Salisbury that “what the villages wanted was not parish councils but a circus.” How very true!

24/10/1914 Hull Daily Mail



   The above circus has just finished a record season in Ireland, and showed the nature of an entertainment, the like of which had not often been seen before. From start to finish there was not a dull moment as the artistes were all of a high-class order and comprised such notabilities as Miss Cooke with her wonderful performing horses, Haigs the droll; Haras and Jones continental eccentric acrobatic fiddlers; Miss Cora Cooke, the Irish Colleen; Funny Valdo, the one and only clown; Miss Chloe Convert and her wonderful cake-walk horse “Kentucky Bear”; the Prairie Girls; the Three Aerial Patteres: Waldow and Waldow and their screaming motor car; Miss Wade and her ‘cello, sweet singer; Alberto and assistant, extraordinary juggler; the Eight Winternals; and Togo, the Japanese, in his “Slide for Life.”

Crowded houses twice daily testified to the excellence of the programme. The mammoth three-pole tent was lit by electricity and there were several other first-class and up-to-date novelties not generally seen in a tenting show.

   At the commencement of the season the foot and mouth disease broke out in Cork, which meant giving that county a hasty miss. Then the Ulster Volunteers and threats of civil war necessitated making a route very carefully, and if these were not enough the South formed volunteers, and to cap all the war crisis started, which meant hurriedly changing the name, although the company composed Britishers only. Notwithstanding all their woes no fluctuation in the business which remained at record standard throughout.

   The tent master was Mr. P. Walsh who deserves great credit for his manipulation of the canvass, although handicapped at some periods by shortages of men, whose “King and Country needed them.” Messrs. Heckenberg deserve great credit for bringing such a fine show to the country and received dozens of flattering letters and press notices of eulogistic nature from magistrates, councillors, two members of Parliament, and other gentlemen of standing, who expressed themselves delighted with the class of fare placed before them.

   The agent was ——, I forgot his name for the moment; but I think he is changing it as there is only one letter between it and the commander-in-chief of the German forces.

31/10/1914 The World’s Fair





   On Saturday morning, at Macroom, before Mr. Denis Buckley, a coloured man named Albert Williams, who is connected with Buff Bill’s Circus, was charged at the suit of D. I. Egan, Macroom, with having been guilty of disorderly conduct at the circus on 16th October and putting divers persons in bodily fear.

Mr. T. P. Grainger, solicitor, appeared for the defendant.

   John J. Vaughan, deposed that on the night of the 16th October, 1914, he was a Macroom, where there was a circus. He was passing into the circus by the entrance, and saw the defendant (Albert Williams) come towards him. He had his hand in his pocket, and when he pulled it out it contained what looked like a revolver. They had hot words before that.

… &c.

31/10/1914 The World’s Fair


   The Tasmanian Government’s financial proposal in connection with the war include an amusement tax, the revenue from which is to be devoted to be upkeep of the hospitals.

31/10/1914 The World’s Fair



Rosaire’s Circus: The one man circus, has had to come off the road and their horses were commandeered and the show dismantled. Fred has gone to work in a mine.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref:C-C R (1)



   Whereas a Rumour has circulated widely amongst the Showmen of the United Kingdom that Jacob Studt, of 112, Kennington Park Road, London, Showman, is a German subject and liable to be dealt with under his Majesty’s recent Proclamations concerning alien enemies, in consequence of which rumours, our client has suffered material damage, we are instructed to publish that he is not a German or an alien enemy to this Country, that he was born on Goose Street, Carmarthen, Wales, on the 27th day of April 1857, the son of Catherine and John Studt long resident at Carmarthen, and that the origin of his name is Dutch, and that he has never communicated with Germany or Austria. And we further state we have in our possession the birth certificate of the said Jacob Studt, and he is known to us as of high integrity and a great benefactor to the present War Charities. We further make it know that should imputations be made against his loyalty to this country we shall take immediate action against the party or parties responsible for such imputations.


              Solicitors and Notary Public,


7/11/1914 The World’s Fair




   Jingo, the conjuring clown, who has long been one of our readers, was in Belgium at the commencement of the warned. He has sent us the following details of his terrible experience. The writer has fortunately now arrived in England, where he hopes to find work, and we feel sure that amongst our numerous readers he will not ask in vain. We give the article in his own words:—

   When I was leaving England about 18 months ago, I certainly did not think I should come back so soon, and especially under the present conditions. When I left England, it was to fulfill an engagement on the Continent, and on arriving there I bought a small business for my wife as she did not care to travel on the Continent. This business consisted of a small restaurant and everything went on as well as possible. At the end of July I was staying at Lyon, where I had secured a contract in a magic theatre in the exhibition; I received news from home that my wife was ill, and I set out at once to rejoin her. On my arrival I found her indeed very poorly, and her doctor advised me to put her out in the country. Two days afterwards this was done and Mrs. Jingo went to stay at Melin, a little village some 8 miles from Verviers which is our home.

   A week afterwards my poor country was invaded and we saw the Germans march through Verviers on the 4th of August, at 11a.m. They did not show their true character at that time thinking that we were afraid of them and that we were going to let them pass quietly, they just sneered and grinned at us, not knowing what we had in store for them and so they passed through the town singing their beastly “Wacht am Rhein.” But the whole thing changed during the night when they came into view of the first forts, and the dinner they wanted so badly was served them, and hot too; it has proved a most indigestible dinner too, because most of them died there, but those who escaped showed their true character, and then, we had to learn what is a German. All the farms around were burnt down and the owners shot, but it was not until they were repulsed from Leige that they started their most base and cowardly feats. Since then not a single place was spared, neither women nor children could find pity from there brutal hordes; my pen refuses to describe the awful ordeals that poor women had to go through very often in the presence of either their father or husband whom were well guarded and even bound to trees so as to be unable to do anything; men as a rule were shot unmercifully.

   When I heard of all this, I set out at once to fetch my wife back and when I arrived at Melin, I found the place where the village had stood once, but not one house had been spared. The men had been taken first and put in a row three deep on one side of the street, women and children on the other side, and then the men where shot and the women driven out of the village and immediately the village was set on fire. I arrived in time to find my wife outside the ruins and we set out to go back home, but before we had gone half a mile we met a German patrol. I was taken a prisoner. My wife kept away from me. After a few days’ detention I was lucky enough to make good my escape. Marching through Louvain on our way to Cologne and after many difficulties we reached Verviers, which was then completely in the hands of the German, and when we came home we found the whole business had been ransacked.

   What they found was of no use to them they had smashed. I was compelled to stop among those brutes till a fortnight ago when the Rustington No. 1 lodge of the R.A.C.B. made arrangements to get me over. We had secured a passport for my wife and I had to go and get food from Maastricht and we set out on the Sunday at 3 a.m but before we had done many miles we were overtaken by an automobile containing two German officers; they abused us in the lowest styles and asked for our passports, without even looking at them they tore them into pieces and threw them in our faces. Anyhow the next day I secured another passport for Aubel, a small town midway between Verviers and the Dutch frontier, and I was disguised as a carter driving a tumbril into which I had put my wife, concealed under some sacks, we were lucky enough to arrive in Holland after nine hours’ drive. Here my experiences were at an end for the next day we shipped for England.

   Surely we are safe now, but all the same it breaks our hearts to think that so many other families have to stop over in Belgium in the iron grip of the brutal Huns, and not only that, but out dear country, or at least what once was our dear country now lies completely ruined; but still there is one great consolation for us, the best, we have done our duty and if we have lost everything; our honour is safe; and let come what may, thanks to England and her brave men, we shall never; no, never; be Germans.


14/11/1914 The World’s Fair





   We are pleased to hear, in which no doubt many of his friends will join, that Fredrick the Great, the well-known English Giant, together with his manager, have landed back in England, having been allowed to pass through by the courtesy of the German Minister of War. Fredrick was turning in Germany when the war broke out, under the banner of Mr. Otto Heinemann one of the most prominent and popular showmen in Germany. It is pleasing to know that Mr. Heinemann has stood by the novelties which he was exhibiting and none of them have suffered any want, and incasing their thanks for the kindness extended to them we are to say that it is the wish for all to be able to repay him for what he has done for the English people with whom he was associated.

14/11/1914 The World’s Fair




    A sombre account is given in the German paper, “Vorwaerts” of the opening of Schumann’s Circus, a fortnight ago. “The sad times in which we live,” says the Socialist organ, “were reflected in the audience”.


   “A large proportion consisted of wounded men striving to secure for themselves a few hours’ relief.” Men “who could only with difficulty drag themselves into their places” broke out occasionally into a laugh at the antics of some clown. “The net proceeds of the premier were given to the Red Cross.”

21/11/1914 The World’s Fair



   Carl Leamy, manager of the Leamy troupe of aerial artists, used circus methods when he confronted the problem of landing in this country without immediate work. The Leamy boys, who hail from Quincy, Ill., were in Australia when the war came on. As soon as they were free to do so they left Australia for native shores. Seven days out of San Francisco, Carl Leamy used wireless and booked the act with Bert Levey, of the Levey Circuit. The Leamys arrived on Thursday, and Sunday they went to work. They remained on the Coast for three weeks, and then came home. After arranging their practice barn at Quincy, Carl Leamy came to Chicago to look over the vaudeville field. His stories of Australia throw some light on the situation there. Germany was the largest buyer from Australian mines and Australian wool found its best market in Germany. These industries closed as soon as shipping ceased. This made many of the theatres close their doors. . . . Mr. Leamy says the conditions in the South are a paradise when compared with those in Australia.

  21/11/1914 New York Clipper



   Emerson Dietrich, 24, has been killed by his fiancée’s (Adige Costello) lions when he entered their cage while it was on a railroad siding in Chicago. Dietrich was the son of a prominent Brooklyn architect and was considered somewhat of a daredevil himself. Anyway, according to his father he wanted to learn about lions and signed on as “M’lle Costello’s” manager for her vaudeville engagements prior to the Barnum & Bailey 1914 season. According to an article in the Brooklyn Eagle, while feeding the lions on a railroad siding in Chicago, one of the lions pounced on him. It was just a matter of moments before another joined in. As for “M’lle Adige,” she was evidently not at the scene when the accident happened.

Chris Berry, Circus Historical Society, Facebook




A remarkable feat by a French soldier who has some celebrity in the Continental circus business as an “English clown” and calls himself Williams, has been told to me (says a war correspondent of “The Standard”) by one of his company officers. A French trench was enfiladed by a German machine gun, and the losses in consequence became so serious that the lieutenant in charge remarked aloud: “if he only had somebody up there he might be able to deal with them.” Pointing to the tottering remains of a chimney stack, the jagged top of which was thirty feet above ground. He knew nothing of the peculiar abilities of Williams, and when the latter saluted and said “I think I can get up there”, he merely shrugged and nodded.


   Throwing off his heavy overcoat, the clown-soldier rushed to the chimney stack, and with his rifle slung on his back climbed up it like a monkey, resting momentarily in projections which crumbled beneath his touch, till from the summit he was able to shout the exact position and distance of the deadly German gun. Then he coolly began firing himself. The trembling brickwork seemed to sway with every movement he made, and it was too much for his comrades nerves to watch him. They begged him to come down, and finally an officer peremptorily ordered him to descend. In  a few minutes he was on the ground.

First he dropped his rifle, and then brining the hearts of all who witnessed   his feat into their mouths, he literally took a header at the low-tiled roof twenty feet below, and he rebounded form it like a ball of india rubber, landing on his feet and playfully striking a grotesque, clownish attitude, with his fingers behind his ears, saying with a grin in the peculiar Anglo-French he affects: “My new turn-the leap of death.” He is to have the Cross of the Legion of Honour for his “leap of death.”


“Le Quips the Clown”

   I have only just heard of the death of Le Quips, the well-known circus clown, who passed away at his residence in Blackpool, at the age of 64. The deceased, whose correct name was John Griffiths, belonged to a well-known family, his father before him being a famous clown. His sisters were Letitia Griffiths, the finest rider of her day; Alice Hengleur (Fontainbleau), who, to-day had one of the best troupes of dogs in existence; and Pauline, who married Tom Yorick, Hengleur’s clown.

                                                                                    Harry Wilding.

28/11/1914 The World’s Fair



   A Scottish friend of mine, who knows how I like to record the doings of the circus, has sent me the following:— “I was present at the re-opening of Hengler’s Glasgow Circus on Saturday last and what a delightful show it was! The equestrians are headed by those well-known and remarkable performers, the Hanneford family; Miss Silvani, a brilliant Italian rider and Jack Yelding, the blindfold jockey-act rider. The famous Jees perform wondrous feats on the wire and Les Alocianis tender a pretty musical act. A horizontal bar act by the Poppescus group of gymnasts is a fine display and Felix Gontard, whose acquaintance I first made at Beketow’s Russian Circus in 1908, introduced his truly wonderful troupe of animals, The popular clowns, Mr. Doodles and Pimple, create the jocularity, and a splendid water spectacle “Very Soft,” concludes the entertainment. In this Dare Devil Tootzer executes a thrilling high dive. This water show is more elaborate than any I have seen and claims the highest praise.”

28/11/1914 The World’s Fair



   We are sorry to hear of a nasty accident to Mr. Jas. Chipperfield of Chipperfield’s Menagerie. Whilst engaged in pulling the tilts at York from the top of the big wagon the rope broke and he fell from the top. Luckily he fell on an adjoining wagon and this broke his fall to the ground or the accident would have been far more serious. As it is he is suffering from a sprained knee and wrist and a nasty cut in the forehead. We hope by this the popular young showman is on the high way to recovery.

5/12/1914 The World’s Fair



   At the Show Ground, Wallsend, on Saturday night, Mr. John Hancock, the well-known Lancashire and North of England showman, was accidentally shot in the head. It appears that some soldiers were firing at the targets, and Mr. Hancock, who had been doing something at the back of the range, raised his head just s one of the soldiers pulled the trigger, receiving the charge in the head. After been medically treated, he was removed to Newcastle Infirmary, where he was detained.

12/12/1914 The World’s Fair






   “Very Soft” is one of the most ingenious and amusing spectacles that Mr. Albert Hengler has produced. The setting of the little comedy is delightful, especially the village scene, which very realistically suggests rural charm and simplicity. The martial note is vigorously sounded, and the story reaches a sensational climax with a cloudburst, water gushes in roaring cataract reducing to ruins the fair village, and there are exciting scenes in the arena, where men, women and horses struggle in the water. The spectacle alone would give distinction to the current program at Hengler’s, but in addition a variety entertainment for first-rate quality is provided. It is exceptionally strong in equestrianism, one of the remarkable acts being performed by the Hannerford Family, which is as clever and daring a performance as has been witnessed in a circus arena. In the same line Miss Silvani and Mr. John Yelding are conspicuous. Wonderful displays of animal training are given by Mdlle. Rancy, with her sagacious dogs, and by Captain Pinder with his ponies and elephant; while there are admirable acrobatic performances the the Jees and The Poppescus. A circus show would be incomplete without clowning, and of that there is a sufficiency. The jesters are the old favourites, Doodles and Pimple. They are seldom absent from the area, and their antics and funny sayings set the house in a roar. The amusing pair appear also in interlude “The Animated Statue,” which may be described as one long laugh. Further variety is given to the programme by the musical experts, Les Alosianis.

12/12/1914 The World’s Fair



   Mr. F. Ginnett is now meeting with great success with his British and Belgian boy armies in miniature military manoeuvres. Eight English boys and eight Belgian boys give a unique and dexterous display. As the future of Britain will considerably depend upon the rising generation it is hoped that Mr. Ginnett’s efforts will bring home to us the fact that every boy should learn to drill, shoot, and ride, so that if ever the need should come when he arrives at man’s estate, he can take up martial duties without a moment’s delay. Mr. Ginnett has invented a wagon that can be turned into a crane, and a new kind of saddle. Both of these have been submitted to the War Office, who are considering the taking up of them. Mr. Ginnett claims that any boy can learn to ride in three days by means of his saddle. The boys go through rifle, sword, lance, and cannon drill the Belgian boys competing with the English lads. Each Belgian boy appearing with the army has lost either a father or brother in the war. Eight ponies are used in the demonstration and the display altogether is …..(&c.)

26/12/1914 The World’s Fair





   A Dublin correspondent writes:— This season you can meet more circus proprietors between O’Connell’s Bridge and Nelson’s Pillar, Dublin, than in all the rest of the United Kingdom put together. Last week the following circus proprietors were seen and seemed very busy:— Fred J. Connor, James Washington Myers, Buff Bill, Duffy, Johnny Patterson, Frank Stephenson, Arthur Wilson, Johnny Watson, Carl Bernardo, and Major Fred Lewis. All of the above are well-known in the circus world. Seeing so many artists as well would make you think of 30 years ago when it was quite usual to see a lot like this in any city. I hope all will have a Happy Xmas and New Year.”

26/12/1914 The World’s Fair 





Six lions created a sensation by appearing loose on Broadway, New York, after leaping off the stage of the Vaudeville Theatre, stampeding and terrifying the audience, and romping merrily around the neighbouring streets until five were rounded up by a large force of police and one was shot dead. Fortunately for everybody concerned the king of beasts failed to live up to his reputation, and, except for stepping on the faces of several people in the theatre, who had thrown themselves on the floor for safety, the lions did no damage. The “Telegraph” says the only serious injury caused by the lions’ escapade was to a police sergeant, who was shot in the back by one of his comrades during a fusillade directed at Alice, a lioness, who was cornered in the top storey of a neighbouring flat and finally killed, after receiving 35 bullet wounds.





   At the Clerkenwell Police Court on Saturday an application was made for a license for a child performer aged ten, and Mr. d’Eyncourt directed especial enquiries to be made about the performance. As a result an officer of the London County Council reported that the father of the child- the name was given of Yvonne Marchard de March- enraged a lion and lioness by fighting them with a chaired and stick The father then fell and the child rushed in and caressed her father. Then the lions retired to their den. The child was protected by four adults, who stood in the wings protected with revolvers.

   A representative of the Islington Empire suggested that it was necessary that the child should appear in the sketch with the lions.

   Mr. d’Eyncourt: But that is the essence of the performance- that the child should go to the rescue of the father. A very dangerous performance I shall not allow. It has not been inquired into so fully before.

Jan 1915 The World’s Fair




Alf. Sutcliffe.

Letter from Alfred Sutcliffe, of the Sutcliffe Family, from Grimsby, England: “We spent seventeen years in America in the circus business, five years with Sells Brothers, and seven with the B. & B., La Pearl and other shows. Now our country with others are at war. As we all cannot go to the front, we are doing our little bit at home. When not on the stage we are out with our bagpipe band recruiting. I don’t know when we shall return to America again, as our King and country may need us.”

9/1/1915 Billboard



 Jack Joyce is working his Wild West in circus and music halls in Sweden. Jack closed his own circus in Denmark shortly after the war broke out.

2/1/1915 Billboard

 P. Hall will not put out a circus this year, but the odds are that he will have one next year. In the meantime the “Sage of Lancaster” continues to ship horses to warring powers.

9/1/1915 New York Clipper



Arron Shostoff, a boy of six years, who weigh 12 stone, was the subject of a prosecution in Sheffield yesterday. George Proctor, circus proprietor, was summonsed for procuring the boy to be in a circus for the purpose of performing and exhibiting him for a profit, and Alexander Shostoff, the boy’s father was summonsed for allowing him to appear.

   The boy, who has hair hanging over his shoulders in ringlets, went into the witness -box, and in answer to his father said he played two drums “and then knocked a clown through the door.”

   Each defendant was ordered to pay a fine of 40s, or serve a twenty-one days’ imprisonment.

 9/1/1915 Birmingham Mail




   One of the greatest celebrities in the entertainment world, Whimsical Walker, the famous Drury Lane Theatre clown, celebrated his fiftieth year before the public last week. As a youngster the more popular clown travelled with such famous old showmen and circus proprietors as G. Biddall, Bennet, Ward’s mumming booth, Pablo’s Knight’s, Swallow’s, Freeman, Croueste, besides his old pals, Bob Fossett, Joe Smith (Ohmy) and Thos. Holden. He has worked his way up from the show ground to Windsor Castle where he appeared before the late Queen Victoria. He has at various times had the honour of appearing before most of the royalty in Europe. Born at Hull nearly sixty years ago he first appeared with Pablo Fancies circus at Stockport in 1865. But in spite of all there successes Whimsical Walker’s heart is still in show land, and in a pleasant letter to us he says he is longing to have a nice living wagon, and get on the road again, and he hopes to be soon paying a deposit for a bit of tober. With the travelling he has undergone, and the troubles of many landladies, this we can readily understand, and we can assure the world-famous clown that a genuine welcome awaits him amongst those with whom he started his professional career.

6/2/1915 The World’s Fair


One of our readers in India writes:

   “The season in Calcutta would be incomplete without Harmston’s Circus which is a regular cold weather visitor whose advent is eagerly looked forward to. This year the company is entirely new, each performer being a “star” in his or her particular turn. Several novelties are shown and as all the “turns” are first-class, the circus has drawn full houses both at the matinee and night performances since the opening date. Conspicuous among the “turns” are the riding of Miss Jennie Harmston and Mr. Willie Harmston, who first appear separately and then together. Both are accomplished and graceful riders and are as much at home on horseback as the average individual is on “terra firma.” Amongst other items of special interest may be mentioned what is described on the programme as the “trampoline act” of the wonderfully clever Cottrell troupe. Their acrobatic feats are daring as well as unique, and the exhibition given by them has certainly never been witnessed in Calcutta previously. It is a performance which must be seen to be appreciated. The Saldecks in their clever cycling feats, Ambrosia in his excellent display on the Roman rings, Carangeot in his splendid balancing tricks, and the Antonios and the Cottrells in their amusing musical exhibition and Richard’s intrepid performance with two huge lions stand out prominent among the many items which help to make up a lengthy, varied and attractive programme. Nor must mention be omitted of the clowns, who are exceptionally funny.”

6/2/1915 World’s Fair




   There is a famine of acrobats in the music-hall world. They are nearly all of them Germans or Austrians, said Mr. E. Pierce, a well-know Manchester variety agent, to a “Daily Dispatch” representative.

   “Many of them were interned, but have since been released, and have gone to America, which is the only place where they are likely to earn a living just now.

   “The reason why Germans make such good acrobats is that gymnastics is their national sport. In every village almost throughout the German-speaking countries there is a local ‘Turnverein’ or gymnastic association, and the best men of the village join the club in the nearest town, and gradually push their way to the front, and become professionals. The best of the German acrobats are accordingly very good indeed. There are good Japanese acrobats, and some Italians and French. But they do not seriously compete with the Germans and Austrians.

   “Now, of course, no audience would stand an ‘enemy turn,’ nor would a self-respecting manager foist one upon the stage. The result is that the acrobatic turns, which before the war were thought indispensable to every well-constituted variety programme, have been largely dispensed with.

13/2/1915 The World’s Fair





   Mr. W. C. Burnes, the famous advance agent and manager, who describes himself as one of the few practical business men of circus (resident or tent) also theatre or hall now left, and yet not a “Methuselah,” and who knows how to run a show, writes:—

   “In your last week’s issue, I see you mention briefly, the death at Copenhagen, of Herr Eduard Wulff, who one time ran a season of circus at “Hengler’s” but your correspondent apparently does not pretend to know much about that famous circus impressario; let me enlighten him.

   Exactly 23 years ago Herr Wulff took the whole of London by storm when he opened (at a great financial risk, at “Hengler’s,” Argyle Street, London,W., had then been closed for a number of years) in November with an equestrian programme unparalleled in the history of the ring, culminating with 75 horses and ponies in the arena, under the sole control of Herr Wulff, each having on their backs (fixed on the sursingle) different coloured lights, which gave forth a beautiful effect, with the gasses been turned low (there was no electric installation in those days)


   Herr Wulff was the rage of London for three consecutive seasons at Hengler’s, and after for five seasons at the Crystal Palace Circus.


   In conclusion, I wish to say that I never served a better employer. Herr Wulff could talk five languages each of which he talked without any accent of the other.


    Herr Wulff was a Hungarian belonging to Budapest.”

20/2/1915 The World’s Fair



   Fred Ginnett will take out tenting the British Boy Army and Military Tournament, in fact, an entire and complete army in every detail. It will play all the public parks throughout Britain. A portion of if has already played the London Coliseum and met with the greatest success. The advance brigade will be in the experienced hands of one of the greatest of all British agents, Mr. Joe Hastings, the well-known agent and journalist.

27/2/1915 The World’s Fair




   Lc-Cpl. Barnum, circus agent, who is attached to the 23rd Divisional R.A.S.C is lying seriously ill at Pangbourne, Berks., suffering from a kick in the face by a mule, and the accident was so serious that it is feared he will be laid up for some time.

27/2/1915 The World’s Fair



   Mr. Fred Ginnett has now bought Strawberry Vale Farm, East Finchley, London. It is a delightful residence with a magnificent river for fishing and a fine orchard. Mr. Ginnett is now preparing his new boy army for the forthcoming tenting season. This Exhibition will commence on Easter Monday next and Mr. Joe Hastings (Fred Ginnett’s manager) informs us that this will be the biggest thing ever attempted in this country. All the uniforms of the Highland boys regiment, the Indians, and the Belgium Boy Scouts are designed by the ever popular Mrs. Fred Ginnett who, in former years, has done such good work in organising many charitable institutions in London. Lord Chas. Beresford has written congratulating Mr. Ginnett on the valuable work accomplished by the boy army. Mr. Hasting also informs us that there is still room for a few more grooms and tentmen, also about ten good window billers, all to wear the uniform.

6/3/1915 The World’s Fair



   Arthur Feely, elephant trainer and showman, from Bostock and Wombwell’s Gigantic Combination Menagerie has volunteered with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

Family: Geoff Younger



As will be seen by the photograph above, Frederick the Great, the famous English Giant, is still growing. It is interesting to know that Frederick is about to start on a world’s tour and a full report of particulars will be found on page “10” of this issue.

   “It may interest our readers to know that during the five months that Fred was a prisoner of war in Germany he lost four stone in weight, as he was only allowed ordinary prisoners’ diet with very restricted exercise, in fact, for the first few weeks he was confined in a semi-dark room, without any exercise, but on his return to dear old England, the land of his birth, under the tender care of his loving sister, he soon began to regain some of his lost strength, vigour, and energy, so much so that after touring several Lancashire towns, under the Headley banner, he feels sufficiently strong to undertake a tour of the world, which he will commence almost immediately, in fact, as soon as the passports, etc., are ready.

   Mr. Otto Heinemann, with whom he was turning at the outbreak of the war, has organized the present tour, which will be taken via France, to Italy, visiting all the principal Italian cities, then if conditions are favourable proceeding to Egypt, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and returning by America.

Jack Headley, junr., who is accompanying him is not yet 20 years of age, but has five years’ experience of exhibiting life with Mr. Clarence Barron, Barron Bros., Giant Wright, and his father. In wishing them both bon voyage, our readers will, we are sure, join us in wishing them a speedy and safe return from what we hope will be a very profitable and pleasant tour. Both will be pleased to hear from friends, old and young. The first address will be c/o Post Office, Milan, Italy.

20/3/1915 The World’s Fair



   Tuesday’s blizzard, which caused so much damage in many parts of England and so many delays, was responsible for the disappointment occasioned by the non-appearance in Gloucester on Thursday – the day announced for its visit- of Sanger’s Circus. This all-British institution has been a welcome visitor to Gloucester for many years, and it is satisfactory that the visit has only been delayed and not abandoned. On Monday next, April 3rd, the Kingsholm Ground will be alive with the many delights which are attached to Lord John Sanger’s Royal Circus and Menagerie, and Gloucester people will have another opportunity of indulging in the thrills and laughter which the fearless riders and comic clowns of Sanger’s are so adept at providing. The people of Cinderford will have similar opportunities on Tuesday on Thursday, April 4th; and those of Lydney on Wednesday, April 5th. One of the features of the entertainment will be the brilliant and fearless exhibition of riding by the “Great Russian Cossack Troupe,” who give peasant dances, ground manoeuvres, and a realistic representation of the way in which the men of our Russian Ally fight the Germans. It is stated that these wonderful riders are not circus performers, but are the pick of Russia’s finest horsemen, who are unfortunately debarred from taking their part in the great European conflict. The circus will also include Pimpo’s great absurdity, a most laughable production in which the two Willies introduce the Turk to the British Lica, and Pimpo’s exhibits his ship of the desert. The beautiful Della Cassa Sisters give an interesting exhibition with three elephants and three horses; while a pair of pure white twin horses are led by “Francesca” in a riding and driving performance. Other star turns are the Aerial Danes and the performing sea lions. On the whole Monday’s programme is one of the best Mr. Sanger has provided.

1/4/1915 Gloucester Journal




At Newry Quarter Sessions on Wednesday, before his honour Judge Orr, K.C.

   Henry Hazenberg, Waterford, circus proprietor, sued Francis Carvill, Warrenpoint, for £30 damages for that the defendant got into his possession a horse, the property of the plaintiff, in the month of July last, and converted same to his own use, and damages for the detention of said horse and for consequential damages.

   Mr. John Cusack, B.L. (instructed by Messrs. Fisher and Fisher and Hamilton), appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. P.J. O’Hare (Messrs. O’Hare and O’Hagen) represented the defendant.

   The plaintiff’s name was entered as Henry Chadwick, and

   His Honour asked why he had changed his name.

Mr Cusack said he was an English man, and traded under the name of Hazenberg before the war, as he found it more profitable. After the war he found the name rather unprofitable, and he changed it to his own name.

   His Honour, on the plaintiff entering the witness-box, asked him where he was born.

   Witness: In London.

   His Honour: Why did you take the name of a brutal German?—It was practically a show name.

   Mr. Cusack: All shows are supposed to come from Germany. (Laughter.)

   Plaintiff said he had not given himself a German name since the war started.

3/4/1915 The World’s Fair



   Pte. Daniel Grimmer, a rider in Sanger’s Circus, joined the Royal Veterinary Corps, earlier in the year. He was serving with them in Turkey at the time of the landing at the Dardanelles in April 1915.

 1/3/1935 Nottingham Evening Post.



Bar on Cloven Hoof Animals.

   Those one time circus animals, the camel, the giraffe, the American bison, the zebu, the llama and the peccary, will probably be missing when the circus parades this Spring. Secretary Huston of the Department of Agriculture, has put the ban on the transportation of these six beasts from State to State, because they’re all likely to catch the foot and mouth disease, which has been affecting domestic cattle all over the country. The camel, the giraffe, the bison, the zebu, the llama and the peccary must remian where they are at present. By June 1, when, it is expected, the foot and mouth disease will be under control, the interstate ban may be lifted. The tough hide and feet of the elephant (who hasn’t much of a mouth, anyhow) makes him immune from the dread disease. Lions, tigers and other cat beasts never catch it. 
    Elephants and menagerie animals are hard to get this season as the war has stopped shipments of animals from Hamburg, Germany. 

10/4/1915 New York Clipper



    At the Empire this week, the bill is headed by the Sosmans, we get a splendid equestrian act, the party comprising two gentlemen, one lady, had a horse. The Sosmans are natives of Ypres, and prior to the war owned one of the largest circuses in Belgium. The circus was itself at Namur, and the horse they have with them is the only one left out of a very large number. This turn is most clever particularly so considering the space in which the artistes have to perform. While the horse is trotting in a circle all manner of tricks are enacted, and although he is not a large animal, the three artistés jump and land with their feet on his back. One of the most amazing feats is performed by the younger of the two gentlemen. For this a trap is attached to the horse. The artiste stands on the back of a horse, and while it is trotting he executes a backward somersault and comes down with both feet on top of the trap. The lady displays remarkable agility by clean leaping upon the back of the horse.

28/4/1916 Express & Advertiser



   Apart from their interest to our readers, the value of showmen soldier blocks on the front page of this paper, is shown in a letter we have received from Private D. Quinn, who is now No. 15230 Coldstream Guards and stationed in the Soldiers’ home at Caterham, Surrey.


   Quinn, who is a nephew of Mr. W. Strand and for fourteen years has worked for the Lorenzo family and Texas Bill, and he expects to be sent to the front any day.


   He is located in a room with some thirty other soldiers, and out if them are ten policemen, so he is amongst some tall fellows.


   A short time ago Quinn was asked by an officer what he was before joining the Army and he answered “a Showman”


   The officer said he never thought there were any showmen in the Army so Quinn showed him a few recent issues of the “World’s Fair.”


   And the reply was that the officer said he was very pleased to know showmen did not forget their King and Country in time of need.


   The above is rather peculiar after the remarks made in last week’s issue about giving prominence to what our lads are doing, and we are pleased to know that Quinn showed the true state of affairs.


   It has, of course, been previously pointed out that we, ourselves, know how well Showland has responded, but this is not sufficient, and it is the duty of all showmen to make it known to outsiders at every opportunity.

29/5/1915 The World’s Fair




   An entertainment of a character which makes a never-failing appeal to young and old is announced in our advertising columns to-day. This is the visit to the South Inch, Perth, of the world-renowned amusement caterers, the always welcomed favourites, Ginnett’s Royal Circus. What happy memories are recalled by the Ginnett combination always with something more daring and strange than had ever been seen on previous visits.

   The present visit from the point of view of sensations is certainly worthy of Ginnett’s historic past. There are numerous wonders in the colossal programme, but the special attraction is something altogether out of the common. This is the marvellous show given by Madame Oma, the celebrated Russian trapezist. The performance given is by a lady who goes under the sobriquet of the Cannon Queen, is so amazing in its character as to be almost unbelievable. Madame initiates her “turn” by having herself fired through mid-air from the mouth of a cannon to the trapeze on which she executes her startling performance.

   Madame Oma has just finished a twelve months’ tour of the world, and Mr Ginnett secured her services for her first tour in the British Isles. Her amazing feat, which is guaranteed by the proprietors as a reality and not an illusion, is presented at both performances day and night. The rest of the entertainment consists of the usual numbers, equestrian and otherwise, found in first-class circus exhibitions, including, of course, the children’s favourites, the clowns. As Messrs Ginnett travel with a waterproof tent they are independent of the weather! and therefore never disappoints, whether it is snowing or blowing. The advance arrangements are under the direction of Mr. Hadley.

12/6/1915 Perthshire Advertiser



Mr. Ginnett presented his well-known exhibition, “Wild Australia,” to large and enthusiastic audiences at Paignton on Saturday last. It is difficult to particularise the various items of the programme as all were of an exceptionally high standard. Australian and Belgian Boy Scouts carried out some realistic war drill, including the rapid dismantling of guns and forage wagons, while Miss Poppet, of Oklahoma, gave a wonderful display of rifle shooting from the most awkward attitudes. The mule, “Bumper,” caused considerable merriment by its persistent buck jumping, successfully ridding itself of all aspirants for a prize of £1 per minute. One was given a glimpse of real cowboy life in many branches of its varied work and amusement, the use of the stock whips and lariats being somewhat mystifying to the uninitiated. The whole time was genuinely full of interesting and thrilling episodes of colonial life.

19/6/1915 The World’s Fair



Pte. Wm. Sedgmore is stationed at Pwllheli, North Wales, acting as stud groom in the R.F.A. The regiment has been at Pwllheli for some time and he is now ready for the front. He sends greetings to all relatives before leaving. His address is Pte. Sedgmore, 1973, South Beach Hotel, Pwllheli, North Wales.

 26/6/1915 The World’s Fair



One example of patriotism behind the scenes was in the Tower Circus at Blackpool.


   The speaker was talking to a troupe of aerialists who were performing in Australia when the war broke out. One of the troupe was a French boy of of twenty-one, and as soon as he heard that the Germans were attacking France he took the first boat back to France to rejoin the colours.

26/6/1915 The World’s Fair



   A postcard from Tom Roxburgh informs us that he is a prisoner of war in Ruhleben, Germany. He has been confined there since he left Frederick the Great, in Berlin, on November 4th . He sends greetings to all the boys and wishes Billy Thompson to know he will be back in England some day “if nothing happens.” His address is: Tom Roxburgh, Baracke No. 10, Kriegsgefangeensendung Englanderlager Ruhleben, but correspondents should note only postcards are allowed, and no letters in parcels.


   Corporal S. Smith at the head of a bombing party at Hooge on June 16th killed no fewer than thirty Germans, and with comrades, captures a machine gun. Corporal Smith is a champion diver and was engaged on Southport Pier. On a recent occasion he dived from Westminster Bridge in connection with a film entitled “The Gold Robbery.”


   In an amusing and entertaining letter Private W. Mott who is No. 3756, Foden Section, Wagon No. 3, c/o D.D.S. and T., 2nd Army British Expeditionary Force, France, says he has received copies of the “World’s Fair” all right for which he is thankful as they bring him all the latest news of the fairground direct to the firing line. He says he has been to a good many “gaffs” but this is the biggest up to now. The heavens are ablaze at night and it is one continuous booming of guns of all sizes. They give no rest to the Germans day or night. This is the place to do a bit of tober sharping in reality. Touch-‘ems is a great game here. You see the officers with clothes almost torn off with barbed wire, but they all enjoy the scrap. The sooner this Fair or B— Carnival ends and the organ plays “God Save the King,” and peace reigns once more the better we shall all be for it. This job tames lions and fighting men as well as Germans.

3/7/1915 The World’s Fair





   With his well-known enterprise in the direction of freak exhibitions, Mr. W. Russell, of Belton Gardens, has just opened his Vivarium, on the Marine Parade, Yarmouth, with the most remarkable of them. Last year he produced Kiki, the wild man, and is placing before the public a man with two bodies and one head, but with a multiplicity of arms and legs (four of each) , with hands and feet. The double man, who is named the Bros. Jean and Jacques Liberra, is an Italian and was born in Buenos Aires in 1844, and is therefore 31 years of age. He is a man of aged physique, and speaks five languages. In most of the capital cities of Europe where he has travelled scientists have examined him, but cannot account for his duality which is not of the Siamese Twin’s type, the secondary body having no head visible whatever. The inferior body is dependent upon the normal body for sustenance, and, according to Mr. Russell’s lecturer, undergoes the same physical discomfort with it. The junction of the one body with the other is plainly seen, and any bona fide medical practitioner is welcome to make any private examination desired. The double-bodied man will be on exhibition until further notice.

17/7/1915 The World’s Fair & NFCA



W.J. Daplyn Signs up.

 J. Daplyn, who was connected with the Gollmar Bros., Sparks and Robinson shows for the past few years, is at present in the Royal Engineers, and expects to be out at the front shortly, helping the cause of the Allies.

10/7/1915 Billboard




   Foster Sanchez (31), described as a musical and circus performer, was charged at Bargoed on Friday by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, with neglecting his five children.

   Mr. W.J. Canton, Merthyr, prosecuted on behalf of the society, said defendant was an acrobat and heavyweight lifter, and frequently obtained arrangements at circuses and music-halls. He sometimes earned £3 or £4 a week, and only occasionally sent sums to his wife.

Elizabeth Sanchez, Bargoed, defendant’s wife, was married to him 13 years ago. She was then not quite 15 years of age, and defendant led her away from her home. He had been a performer and circus artist ever since she met him. She had appeared in contracts with him. During the whole of the 13 years she had never lived with him for 12 consecutive months. He had sent her no money constantly, and never enough to cover expenses, and the children never had sufficient clothing. From August last year he travelled about with another woman. The guardians issued proceedings against him in November for neglect, and the woman gave evidence that he was a good husband to her. Defendant had a contract at Aberdare, receiving £12.10s for five nights. He sent her £3 out of this, but witness had debts to pay, and this left her only 18s. out of that amount. During the last few months defendant had been sending her 15s, a week. He had been travelling with Bronco Bills Wild West show. Witness had found it necessary to pawn both jewellery and clothing.

   Defendant said there had been a lot of unhappiness. In 1912, when he was at Glasgow, he sent her 5 pounds for her to come to him, but she could not come. In Scotland he bought 5 pounds worth of clothing for his wife and the children. Defendant added that he received letters from the landlord of the house where his wife lived complaining about her conduct.

Defendant was sentenced to prison for four months with hard labour.

17/7/1915 Western Mail



   There was a remarkable scene at a Fishguard recruiting meeting on Monday evening, when Segt. Fuller, V.C., entered a cage containing two African lions attached to a menagerie. Fuller, upon telling the men if they were not fit to die they were not fit to live, was challenged to enter the lions’ den. Fuller immediately threw up his cap, calmly entered the cage and stroked the lions, amidst tremendous excitement. The proprietors awarded Fuller a gold medal as a memento. Many enlisted as a result of the incident.

24/7/1915 The World’s Fair


   The announcement is made that the whole of the “Wild Australia” Show including 80 horses, mules, and donkeys, 20 carriages, and vans, tents, etc., will shortly be offered by auction at some town near London. Full particulars as to date, etc., will be announced in our next issue.

24/7/1915 The World’s Fair 



   Miss Constance Drever, the famous prima Donna, who has caused such a sensation in theatrical circuses through out the country, will make her first appearance in Dundee at the King’s Theatre and Hippodrome next week. Constance Drever is the lucky possessor of a voice which would delight the gods! even the theatre “gods”. She will entertain the Dundee audiences with the most delightful selection from her repertoire, which indeed is not a limited one. “Billy in the Ring” is the title of the extraordinary humorous sketch presented by the famous Craggs. The various characters of riders, vaulters, and acrobats are taken by J. W., E. T., J. A., J. H., and A. E. Cragg, while F. Noel and A. Hastings take the part of the grooms. The famous Billy Cragg plays the side-splitting part of the country yokel. The members of the troupe are probably unequalled as comedy acrobats, and one can almost hear the roof crack when the audience is sent off into convulsions by the grotesque antics of the troupe. Penman and Millar are the gymnastic messenger boys on the triple bars. The manner in which this clever couple throw themselves from one bar to another is little short of marvellous, and on more than than one occasion the audience holds it’s breath during the performance of their unusually difficult feat. Ernie Grossman is a comedian, the feature of whose act is his extreme originality and clever patter. His songs are also irresistibly humorous. Maggie Benson, late of “The Bensons,” the original servant girl at the piano, is one of the most versatile comediennes on the boards, whose songs are tricky and catchy when sung in her own imitable style. Wilfred Burnard, in character studies, is a turn which is always welcome in vaudeville. His adaptability and perfect impersonation is extraordinary, and he nerve fails to rouse the appreciation of his audience. The Brothers Curran are knockabouts whose eccentricities create the greatest amusement and whose numerous sayings have the peculiar quaintness so pleasing to listen to, but so difficult to acquire.

31/71915 Dundee, Perth, Forfar and Fife’s People’s Journal


“Piano in the trenches”.

   How closely associated is amusement to actual war is shown in a lively incident during the recent fighting in which the Leinsters participated and is described by a private of that regiment as the charge of the Mad Mulligans.


   “I have been out there for ten months,” he said, “and, though the Germans in the beginning were afraid of the bayonet, it looks now as if you can’t give them to much of a good thing. If we have learned a few tricks from them, they have learned a good deal from us.


   They played the devil with us at Givenchy, but when the order came for the Mad Mulligans to charge we put the bayonet through them as if they were so many sausages.


   We had a piano in our trenches, and just before the word came to go at them we were having a little sing-song. It was a little music-hall show, in which we were doing a revue entitled ‘Tempt Me Not.’


   The German trenches were only ten yards away. One of our fellows was singing ‘I do like your eyes,’ and when it came to the chorus the Germans joined in. Half-an-hour later we were sending them to sleep with the bayonet.”

21/8/1915 The World’s Fair



While in Edmonton, Can., en route for Alaska, James Conrad Sawtelle, in an interview, said: “Now I am on my way to Alaska, where I hope to take a tent show next summer. You known they allow only two shows to enter Alaska a year, and so far as I know no circus has ever invaded the far North. At present there are two shows up there, both Canadian attractions, the perennial Juvenile Bostonians and a repertoire company from Moose Jaw. It is a big undertaking to pilot a circus, even a small one, to the sparcely settled far North, but I believe there is a chance to make some money up there, and I intend to take a chance. There is little opportunity in other parts of America for a one-ring outfit, and of course Europe is impossible.”

21/8/1915 New York Clipper




   The old saying that adversity brings strange bedfellows is surely exemplified in the composition of what has been called Lord Kitchener’s Army. Over and over again, since the out break of this “the greatest war the world has ever know”— as has been so repeatedly thundered from recruiting platforms— we have been told how Britain’s sons the world over have responded to the call of the Motherland for men to uphold the honour of the Empire, how North and South and East and West, how our Colonies across the seas, how our great Indian possession, have rallied so nobly to the old flag (says “The Gossip” in the “South West Echo.”). It may be readily imagined what strange comrades, dukes and earls and heirs to vast estates, men of the professions, tradesmen and labourers, are metaphorically— in many cases, in the field literally— rubbing shoulders, and what a wonderful leveller the suit of khaki has proved to be.


   Until a couple of weeks or so ago, one of the most active and successful recruiting officers in South Wales was Sergeant Franklin. He had not been blessed by nature with big physical proportions, but he was full of enthusiasm and activity, and his zeal carried him through difficulties which, perhaps, an Army recruiting officer of the old type, might not have circumvented. For this, doubtless, his remarkable experiences were largely responsible. He was born at Fall River, Mass. U.S.A. His parents were English, and were circus performers. Naturally he took to the “boards” at an early age, and when his parents returned to this country he appeared as a juvenile music-hall artiste in cities and towns in then country. When only 15 years of age he joined the Royal Navy, but after serving about two and a-half years his parents purchased his discharge, and he immediately returned to America, where he toured the halls.

   England again called him, and after touring as a comedian, with “fairly decent success”— to use his own words he was one of the first to produce a revue in this country. It was called “From Grundy Creek,” and the company numbered 17 performers. He also took on tour the Twelve Western Girls and the Ten Britishers. When he turned his attention to pantomime; and now, as he puts it, he is “a soldier rehearsing for the great European drama, in which he hopes to play, and play well, the part of a British fighting Tommy.”

              Thousands of Britain’s sons across the sea have made sacrifices in order to help the Motherland in her hour of need.

21/8/1915 The World’s Fair


J.A. COOK.             

   Private J. A. Cook sailed for the Dardanelles last week. He would like to hear from any old pals and letters to his old address 11376, 10th Batt., “B” Co., K.O.R.L., No. 3, Camp, Swanage, will be re-forwarded.

28/8/1915 The World’s Fair



 Eugene Anderson is the son of Madame Gitana, the famous English strong lady. He was formerly on H.M.S. Ganges, but the last letter from the Admiralty states that he was on H.M.S. Grafton, and so far as is known is safe and well.

4/9/1915 The World’s Fair



Frank, the youngest son of Col. Cody the Showman and Aviator, has become a pilot at the British Flying School in France, making him a second generation pilot.                                                        




   As if by magic a little canvas town has sprung up in the Wish Meadow at Hove. It houses Lord John Sanger and Sons’ royal circus and menagerie, and the keen interest taken in its visit was proved yesterday, when the big procession through the principle streets of Brighton and Hove attracted an enormous number of onlookers, and was followed by a performance witnessed by thousands of people. It was given in a mammoth tent, which is officially stated to hold 15,000 people, and it is no exaggeration to say that it was crowded (says the “Sussex Daily News.”)

4/9/1915 The World’s Fair





   We regret to have to announce that Private Fred Sanderson former Secretary of the “World’s Fair” Ltd., has died from wounds received in the Dardanelles operations. Private Sanderson, who was 31 years of age, enlisted in the 6th Battalion King’s own Royal Lancasters last October and went out to the Dardanelles in June.

11/9/1915 The World’s Fair




   Mr. Fred Ginnett, who is busily employed training mules for the Army tells in “Pearson’s Weekly” how he accomplished this difficult task. In his article Mr. Ginnett says:— “For army purposes particularly transport work over rough country, the mule is greatly superior to the horse.

              Recognising this, the War Office have sent me a batch of exceptionally vicious specimens to train on my farm at Finchley. All my life I have been engaged in circus business and in breaking in and training animals of all sorts. And when I have done with them these mules will be hard-working, docile animals worth probably £50 apiece.

              In many respects the mule beats the horse. He lives longer. A horse is old and generally nearly useless at fifteen years of age; but mule can work well up to the age of twenty or twenty-one years.

              You can get twenty hours’ work a day out of a well-trained mule. He works much harder than a horse, takes rougher food, does not suffer from nearly so many ailments, and has greater powers of endurance.


   But the mule is much more difficult to train. He is naturally vicious, very stupid, and you cannot make a start until he is four years old.

   The system I adopt in training is never to knock the animal about. I treat him as a friend until he comes to look upon me as such. If I want him to do a thing I don’t drive him to it with blows, but show him how it should be done. When he has done what I wish I reward him either with a pat, a caress, or a little of something to eat. No animal was ever yet trained by cruelty.

   I stick to a mule until he carries out my wishes. It requires patience, but the time is well spent. The mules I am training for the War Office are required quickly, and therefore I cannot devote the personal attention I should like to each one. Accordingly they will be trained by machinery! It sounds startling, but this is how it will be done.


   I have invented a contrivance, in the centre of which is a revolving platform. At various points shafts will be fixed horizontally and between these the mules will be placed fully harnessed. A lazy brute will be placed side by side with a worker. The mule cannot buck, he cannot lie down, he cannot turn round, and there is only one way left for him to go— forward.

   Stupid, as he is, naturally the mule will eventually recognise this and will trot quietly round the ring.

   After a few lessons he will do it without the aid of the machine. Then he will be given over to my riders for the finishing touches. Among these is my own little girl, aged fourteen, who can keep her seat on any horse, mule, or donkey alive.

   During my recent tour round the provinces the offices at one of the camps brought to the circus three mules that were supposed to be unrideable. In ten minutes my men had ridden all three. One was a particularly vicious brute, who had injured several men. He had bitten off one man’s ear, broken another man’s ribs, another man’s arm, and severely mauled a fourth. But he was quickly subdued by one of the men who are helping me to train these mules for army purposes.

11/9/1915 The World’s Fair



Van Dweller’s Terrible End.

   James Hunter, a circus labourer, about 30 years of age, met up with a terrible death at Tiffield in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hunter was one of the employees at Fossett’s circus, and was sleeping alone in a van. Early on Sunday morning the occupants of the other vans, awakened by the crackling of burning wood, where amazed to find that then occupied by Hunter in a mass of flames. They went to his rescue, but on first breaking in the door of the van the whole structure collapsed, and the remains of Hunter were afterwards found in the debris.


   Mr. W.E. Watson, the Divisional Coroner, conducted the inquest at Tiffield on Monday afternoon.

Mrs. Mary Kleinschmidt, circus rider, wife of Otto Paul Kleinschmidt (a German who is now interned in the Isle of Man), said she now resided in a caravan at Mr Fossett’s farm. Her husband, who, prior to his internment, managed the farm for Mr. Fossett, set on Hunter to help with the hay and harvest in July. She did not know him prior to that time.

   Deceased was accustomed to sleep in a small caravan use as a blacksmith’s wagon. There was nothing in the van but a straw mattress on which Hunter slept. He had some rugs, the sheet, and a pillow.

   The caravan in which witness slept with her two children stood by the side of that in which deceased slept. They would be separated only by about 5 feet. Witness last saw Hunter alive on Saturday night about 8 o’clock. She did not hear him turn in.


   About a 3:45 on the Saturday morning witness was awakened by the window of a caravan breaking. She went to the window to see what was the matter and could then see the other van all in flames. Witness called to Hunter, but got no answer. She then gave the alarm and called her brother-in-law, who lived along the yard. They got water and tried to put out the flames, but that was impossible.

By the coroner: Hunter had no lamp in the caravan, but he sometimes had a candle. Witness could not say if he had one on Saturday night. Witness had never seen him the worse for drink. He seems a decent enough sort of young fellow. She did not think anyone was likely to have any grudge against him. He was a very good tempered chap.

   Replying to further questions, witness said she generally had a boarhound dog under the van. It was there when she got up in the Sunday morning, but witness had not heard it bark or make any noise.


   Frank Leatherland, farm manager to Mr. Robert Fossett, said he also lived in a caravan in the yard. He produced a charred ring and a pair of burnt iron tips of shoe heels, and said by those he could identify the body seen by the jury as that of James Hunter. He had seen the ring on Hunter’s finger.

On Saturday Hunter worked with a witness at the filling of manure cars in the yard. They were together up until 830, but witness did not see him again after that.

   On Sunday morning, about 4 o’clock, witness was awakened at the cry of fire raised by his sister in law. He at once ran to the van and could see the head and shoulders of the man through the side of the van. He ran to another van where another man Cooper was sleeping to see if he was alright, and then went back to the other van and burst open the door with a fork. He tried to get out the body which he could see lying on the floor, but was unable to do so.

By Superintendent Andrews: Hunter was quite sober when witness left him on Saturday night. He was a heavy smoker of cigarettes, and witness had cautioned him about dropping them about the place.

   John Cooper, A showman’s labourer, of no fixed abode said he arrived at Tiffield from Southham on Saturday, and was looking for a job. He had known Hunter for several years and had worked with him on different shows. He had often heard Hunter to say we he had no relatives.

   On Saturday night about 8:30, after supper, witness and Hunter went to the public-house down the village. They were both quite sober when they returned to the farm. They stood talking sometime in the yard, and Hunter wanted witness to go to sleep with him, but witness refused. When he was aroused witness did what he could to help to put the fire out.

   They did not know any of Hunters people, but had heard him say his father was a juggler. He believed he had to belonged to Nottingham.

Inspector Robinson also gave evidence.

   In respect to the coroner he said he had made careful enquiries, and as far as he could ascertain that the man was sober when he turned in on Saturday.

   The jury returned a verdict that deceased was burnt to death, but there was no evidence to show how the van got on fire.    

17/9/1915 Northampton Mercury



    Friends of Les Zeimars, the male partner being better known as “Tiddles,” the clown, in Ireland, will be pleased to hear he has answered his country’s call so far back as April, and is stationed at Winchester, and will be pleased to hear from all friends. His address is Corporal Albert Prentice, 32594, 19th Welsh Pioneer Regiment, c/o 9, Lawn Street, Winchester.

18/9/1915 World’s Fair





   Mr. Fred Ginnett, the horse breaker, visited a military camp recently to show the soldiers how easy it is to ride a mad mule. Any animal which showed unusual vice during the past week had been carefully rested by the troops for Mr. Ginnett’s men.

   Mr. Ginnett drove up to the stables in a large motor car which contained three Mexicans and his two sons, all in battle array, several saddles, coils of rope, stock whips, various railings and appliances and five lassos. The soldiers had built a ring with stakes and ropes, and into this they had driven a dark horse. It did not look up as the Mexicans entered and appeared to be fast asleep.

   The circus men went airily up, fully aware of several hundred soldiers grinning through the railings. “Do a trick on his back,” shouted a Tommy; “he’s a quiet one to start with.” Claudio, one of the Mexicans, jumped up and the horse did a most amazing manoeuvre . He sank to the ground with all four legs spread out like those of a horse in a pantomime. Then he pulled them together with a jerk that made the soldiers yell with joy….

   “He’s a bit tired, ain’t he. It’s a shame to ride him.” The horse tried sitting and rolling and bucking and grunting and hitting out with his forelegs. He pretended to go forward and suddenly jumped back two jumps and then one sideways and finally lay down.

   The soldiers shouted at him not to give up, called him a coward, threw grass at him, barked and screamed to startled him, but he was beaten. The only thing to his credit as he was led away was one private sent head over heels with a clever kick, and the wooden railings badly broken here and there.


   Then a mule came, and as he went ambling into a field the Tommies grinned afresh. “This is the feller. He’s saved hisself for this all week. He knows more tricks than any circus can show him. Watch his shifty eye.” Then minutes later, when he stood saddled in the yard with that quaint genius they call Charles Caplin sitting astride of him and dusting his mane, there were some among the soldiers who were almost inclined to think there was a fraud in it somewhere. But a call for volunteers to ride the beast round the ring was not answered. Every soldier had found a job about the yard and could not leave.

18/9/1915 The World’s Fair




   In a vivid account of his second visit to the Western Front the Rev. R. J. Campbell, speaking at the City Temple, said:— “Daring as our men are, there was one man the minister of the City Temple met who was exceptionally daring. He had won the V.C., the D.C.M., and been awarded the French Legion of Honour. He had done many remarkable things and suffered for them. He had been wounded all over the body, but laughed and declared the Huns “will never get me.” One of his grimmest exploits was to blow up a chateau in which seventy-five German officers were living.

   “The man,” said Mr. Campbell, quietly, “had been a lion-tamer before he became a soldier.”

25/9/1915 The World’s Fair



   Without doubt the circus owes its never-lessening popularity, despite the numerous counter-attractions springing up every day, to a certain irresistible fascination impossible to define…. All this may be said of Boswell’s Royal Circus, which made its debut before an appreciative audience on September 9th. (writes a South African reader.) The show is all that the management claims it to be— bright, clever, and refined. There is nothing in it that can offend; while there is a great deal, a very great deal, that will please. The arrangements could not be bettered; everything is done with that clockwork precision which is only attained by long experience. The animals look in fine trim, their glossy skins and graceful movements calling for no little admiration.

16/10/1915 The World’s Fair



   Corporal F Barnum, who is not somewhere in France, writes:- “I am sorry to tell you that I am in hospital in France at present but hope to be our soon My work out here put me in mind of the old circus days when we have been travelling at night. The Army Service Corps do their work at night, taking the supplies up to the trenches. I have to keep galloping up and down the column with the old cry, Wake ‘em up,” as the drivers are very often asleep. It is surprising how soon one gets used to the roar of the guns. I should be pleased to hear for any old friends. My Private address is 6, Angola Mews, North Kensington, London.


Our readers will be pleased to hear Charlie Phillips, the brother of Jack Philips, Ring King, now with Headley’s Franco-British at Birkenhead – who went to the front as a member of the Australian Corps, was promoted to sergeant, for bravery on the field, on the anniversary of his 26th birthday, on Sunday October 3rd, somewhere in the Dardanelles.

16/10/1915 The World’s Fair


William Shufflebottom “Texas Bill” © Shufflebottom family collection, University of Sheffield Library, National Fairground and Circus Archive.

Shufflebottom Family Standing: twins Elizabeth & Rosina Seated: (l-r) Tommy, Margaret, Richard and Wally. Shufflebottom family collection, © University of Sheffield Library, National Fairground and Circus Collection, released by Margaret Wilby.


We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. William Shufflebottom, 54, professionally known as Texas Bill. The deceased met with an accident whilst showing at New Road, Milford, on Saturday last and he passed away on Tuesday without having regained consciousness. At the West Surrey Coroner’ s his son John explained that he was not sure why he had fallen from his horse. Dr Hall, who attended Mr Shufflebottom said, “It was exceedingly difficult thing to decide whether the hemorrhage was caused by the fall or came on naturally.” He also said it was “exceedingly wrong they should be compelled to do a post mortem in stables at the back of public houses. The parish had a much bigger population, and out to have a mortuary.” The coroner replied, at ordinary times he was as keen as anyone in favour of mortuaries, but the present was not the time to ask public authorities to spend money. He closed the proceedings declaring an “Open Verdict.”


The late Billy Shufflebottom, as we knew him, was a familiar figure all over England. In his early days he travelled the North of England with a shooting show in which he had few equals. A few years ago he migrated to the South and launched out with a Wild West Circus, a style of performance which he has always favoured. He passed away in the midst of the business he has loved and kept to for nearly 30 years. The sympathy of all showmen will be with the family in their loss.


The children, lead by John Potter Sufflebottom, are carrying on the circus, with his wife Rosina, well known as “part of the Shufflebottom act she performed as a target for her husband in sharp shooting and knife-throwing acts, as well as her own role as a snake-charmer,” is now concentrating on administration.

30/10/1915 Surrey Advertiser & The World’s Fair

National Fairground & Circus Archive online



   George and Mary Enos will sail with the Shipp & Feltus Circus in December for a three years tour of South America, Central America and the West Indies. They are now with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, doing their rolling globe and high perch act. 

6/11/1915 Billboard



   Private F. Wilson, who enlisted at the beginning of the war, has, after seeing a good deal of fighting, been put on Home Defence, and is located at Prees Heath, Whitchurch. He has travelled with Mander’s and Chipperfield’s menageries, also Randall Williams, and circuses. He would like to have a few lines from any people with whom he travelled or came into contact with. His address is Pte. F. Wilson, 25081, Camp Hospital, Hut 29, Prees Heath, Whitchurch, so no doubt some of his former acquaintances or friends will write.

6/11/1915 The World’s Fair





   According to the “Aftenblad” music-hall artistes who have returned here from Berlin relate that hundreds of French, Russian, and Belgian prisoners of war are acting nightly as supers in a great war pantomime at the Circus Schumann.

The pantomime, so-called, is really a great spectacular play, and it was staged a few nights ago, only after the greatest of difficulties, as over 400 supers were wanted and only a few could be found among the native population of Berlin.

   In this dilemma Herr Schumann appealed to the military authorities, who gladly permitted prisoners to act as “the enemy” at a salary of one shilling per night, an opportunity which naturally offered a great attraction to many men with no other means.

   The play contains a number of battle scenes, supposed to represent incidents from the present war, and all, of course, ending in the he glory of Germany and the utter discomfiture if the borrowed prisoners, whose own war-stained uniforms are presumedly regarded as adding a sensational touch of reality to the typical German show. – Reuter.

12/11/1915 Birmingham Mail



According to the “Aftenblad” (Copenhagen). Music Hall artistes who have returned here from Berlin relate that hundreds of French, Russian and Belgian prisoners of war are acting nightly as “supers’ in a great war pantomime a the Circus Schumann.



   With a programme that, it may confidently be stated, will prove as interesting as the best of former years, Mr. Hengler’s Glasgow circus re-opens to-day.

   The entertainment will be as diversified as ever, and the great feature will again be a water spectacle, on this occasion entitled “Silver Falls,” which will be presented in five scenes, each of which will be brimful of thrilling incidents.

20/11/1915 The World’s Fair






Rifleman John Burns who was formerly with Bostock and Wombwell’s menagerie, also with W. Slater is now in the Military Hospital at Hillsborough Barracks, Sheffield, suffering from wounds. Rifleman Burns who is known to many Scottish readers, received his injuries in the big charge at Loos on September 25th, this being the second time he has been wounded. He had a very rough time of it and was wounded in the back and both legs, but we are pleased to say he is improving rapidly. He has had the misfortune to lose his brother, who was a motor driver and met his death in France. He would be pleased to hear from any old pals and his address is Rifleman John Burns, No. 12147, K.R.R.C., Military Hospital, Hillsborough Barracks, Sheffield.

27/11/1915 The World’s Fair



   It has been suggested to us that our boys who have joined the Army would appreciate a small gift of cigarettes, etc., from the whole of Showland, and we have the pleasure in putting our columns at the disposal of such a worthy object. Any amount sent to us will be expended to the full on cigarettes, chocolates, etc., and no expenses whatever will be charged by us. Cigarettes and tobacco will be ordered direct from the leading merchants, so all duty will be saved and full value of any monies will be received. As the time is short we hope our readers will act promptly.

4/12/1915 The World’s Fair



    A horse which saved its owners life during the German invasion of Belgium was the subject of an application to the Reading magistrates on Saturday. Jean Sosman had been fined for working a horse in the music-hall while it was incurably lame, and the court has ordered the destruction of the animal.

   Mr. Sydney Brain, solicitor, applying to the court to rescind that order said “Mr Sosman was a circus proprietor, being “the Sanger of Belgium”. At the beginning of the war the Germans burnt down his theatre at Namur, seized all his horses, numbering 68, and shot all his stock which was of no military value. Sosman himself escaped, taking flight on the back of the horse which was the subject of the present case. Thanks to his faithful friend, he reached Ostend, and therefore he owed a debt of gratitude to the horse, which he had tended and trained since it’s birth and which he viewed with singular affection. Witnesses were ready to swear that the horse did not suffer.

   The magistrates said that while sympathizing with Sosman, they has no power to rescind the order. Mr Brain (solicitor) said the question of appeal was being considered.”

6 /12/1915, Coventry Evening Telegraph



   “Bonnie Scotland”, as Mr F.A. Lovely has styled the forthcoming Carnival in the Waverley Market, will be opened on Monday week, the 20th. Mr Edward Forde, the scenic artist, has designed a pretty scheme of decoration, in which picturesque Scottish scenery strikes the dominant note. That will be a welcome variation from the familiar Eastern settings. Mr Lumley has engaged an exceedingly interesting list of artistes for the stage performances, while the incidental shows will contain quite a number of attractive novelties. Among the former there will be Captain Fred Woodward with his trained sea lions and seals, Miss Marquis and her wonderful trained ponies, Seener’s Imperial Russian troupe of singers and dancers, and other excellent acrobatics, juggling, comedy cycling, dancing, and comedy work.

   The outstanding show Amanda “incidentals” will be a Serbian native encampment. There are 17 members of the troupe, and they will travel to Edinburgh from London in their 45 caravans with a strange collection of performing animals. While the Serbian gypsy circus has been “on the road,” one of the boys 15 has fallen in love with a girl of 16 and they are to be married after their arrival in Edinburgh with all the mysterious rights of their sect. The circus includes dancing bears and some almost human monkeys.


   The other curiosities in the Carnival comprise the smallest married couple in the world, a lady who walks through a solid wall, the champion fat boy, a handcuff expert, and cowboys and hunters in their sports. Mons, Meny’s Royal Belgian Band has been engaged by Mr Lumley.

11/12/1915 Edinburgh Evening News




   Private D. Quinn, 15230, No 4 Co., 3rd Batt, Coldstream Guards, 1st Guards Division, B.E.F. Writes: ” I now take great pleasure in writing a few lines. Being a showman most of my life and depending on same for my livelihood, I thought you would welcome a few lines from me. … I was in the trenches when I received your (World’s Fair) world-wide journal, and it greatly helped me to pass a couple of weary hours away. Whilst I was reading about some of my friends .. I fancied that I was back in tober when suddenly our old friend “Hock” obliged with a “Wizz Bang,” scattering your humble and a couple of my pals, in all directions. Whilst I was with “Texas Bill” appearing on the halls with his show, I had many a time had my life in peril, what with having thousands of bullets pass within a fraction of an inch of my nose and head, and having apples sliced on my throat with swords, and being impaled with knives and Indian tomahawks, but I can say with honesty that I have been one nearer than that. It happened like this. Whilst I was on look-out in the trenches I heard a very curious rumbling sound, and on looking over the parapet I suddenly discovered the earth going skywards. Having been in the trenches only for a short time I could not quite make out what had happened, and it left me quite dumbstruck. My comrades having more experience than me knew exactly what happened, and were actually laughing at me. When I found out later what happened I could not help but laugh myself, as it was really too funny for words. What actually happened was our old friend “Hock” had exploded a mine, as he thought under our trenches, but in reality he was fully twenty yards short and he did more damage to his trenches. It was certainly a unique experience for me, and a very trying one whilst it lasted, but happily it ended in a complete failure, leaving me “smiling as usual” which has been my motto since I came out to this country.”

1/1/1916 World’s Fair





   It is remarkable how many men I met there in some way or other connected with the fair business, during my seven months I have been on active service in France. …. Is it luck or a matter of chance? … No; it is neither luck nor chance. There is only one thing for it. It just shows you how splendidly and handsomely our fellows have answered the country’s call; how ready they have been to rally round the old flag in time of need. They are doing gallant work and doing it well without a doubt. They are taking their corner in this titanic struggle along with the rest, without even flinching a muscle. Every day they are doing great deeds. Deeds that make heroes of men, not only out here in France and Flanders, but at the Dardanelles, in Egypt, in Serbia, and last but not least they are helping in the struggle against the Turks for Baghdad. One ought to be proud, very proud indeed, of the splendid response our fellows have made to help to bring the Mad Dog of Europe to book.

1/1/1916 World’s Fair



Philadelphia, Dec. 25. Frank P. Spellman announces that the Spellman Indoor Circus will re-open in Convention Hall in this city immediately after the Auto Show, which starts January 8. The opening had to be postponed owing to the fact that the contract for the new heating plant for Convention Hall was delayed, due to rush of war orders. Mr. Spellman says he will produce a tremendous circus here, using nearly three hundred head of Doctor Martin J. Potter’s horses, which were formerly used in the New York Hippodrome.

1/1/1916 Billboard



    Private Bob Marshall writes:- “Another Christmas has come and gone, and I hope that you have all enjoyed yourselves very much indeed, thanks to the splendid efforts of our officers and N.C.O.s who did everything that was humanly possible to make the Christmas for the troops as homely and as enjoyable as possible, and every man made full use of the privileges that were granted, and what is most praise-worthy no man abused them. We had plenty of rain, but neither that nor the distant thundering of the guns succeeded in killing the Christmas spirit. And all things considered we had a real good time. One of our chaps who is “some gun” at home, gave a tea-party to about 100 of the poorest kiddies in the village where we are, on Boxing Day, and it was a great success, and they enjoyed themselves very much – at least they made noise enough and looked happy enough, but my French was not good enough to sort out the babel of sounds, and framing it into anything intelligible, flattering or otherwise, so we have to leave it at that. We had an impromptu concert at night when all available talent was present, to make it an enjoyable evening. Officers and men did their bit.”


   Pte G. Wigg, who has only recently joined. He writes to ” … You remember reading in the Mail about food waste. I am d____ unlucky. I backed a loser. We don’t get enough to waste; in fact I could eat the cook on top of my rations. Don’t think that I am grumbling. I’m in a really decent crush. Rough and ready boys. Wednesday: Turn out of bed 6-15, parade at 7; a four mile run in the country to get an appetite for breakfast -6oz. bread, margarine ad lib., 1 sardine between four. After breakfast a four hours chase round the barracks, then dinner. After we had dined they gave us a change, took us to the gymnasium and tried to make us turn somersaults, walk on head and stand on our elbows. I shall soon be a novelty freak. Well I’m feeling well and fit, but to cap the lot on Saturday they “paid” me. I got 3s., less 6d for washing, and have to buy soap, blacking, and metal polish, so you can bet I was like a multi-millionaire.”

8/1/1916 The World’s Fair



   One of the results of the Great War has been the revival of the ancient art of tattooing and our photograph shows Professor Pat Kilbride, one of the foremost followers of this art at work in the Agricultural Hall, Islington. Professor Pat Kilbride is the artiste who is responsible for the clever designs on Miss Queenie Morris, the Irish tattooed queen. Pat has had a busy time at the Agricultural Hall, as the famous place is the acknowledged rendezvous of the “Tommies”. By a strange coincidence the soldier whom Pat is at work upon is a West of England showman.

13/1/1916 The World’s Fair




   The question of many circus people holding aloof from the Showman’s Guild was again mentioned at the annual meeting of the Showman’s Guild in Manchester, on Wednesday. It is a matter for great regret that these people who are numerous do not provide their fair share of the financial burden that has to be borne. With the exception of one or two the members of this time-honoured profession are not members of the Showmen’s Society and they are in the happy position of reaping all the benefits that others work hard to pay for. It is to us very strange as the majority are good-natured people and we feel that it is in part thoughtlessness on their part. In the season they have vast numbers of loads on the road and they are enjoying privileges that Showland has fought hard for. We appeal to them to toe the line and do their duty. If they cannot assist with work they can with financial support and we hope to hear of any alteration for the better in the near future.

13/1/1916 The World’s Fair



   Johnny Quinn, formerly known as Ireland’s famous talking and singing clown, and now of the Munster Fusiliers, whose letter has evidently been delayed, writes form No. 28 General Hospital:- ” I should be pleased if you would let the boys know that I am still in the land of the living. … It is good to know that I am doing my little bit to keep the wheels going around. I hope that old Buff Bill and Duffy are still in Ireland. I think a circus would do well out here, especially as a cannon ball catcher. Where is old Fred Lewis that he is not running a show here? Still I wish everyone a good season. Hoping the war will be over so as to get back travelling again. We are using one of Melor’s lamps here. I am leaving the hospital soon all right again. They are splendid hospitals here.

5/2/1916 The World’s Fair



   Mr Charles W. Harcourt, the chief resident electrician of the Woolwich Hippodrome, is the inventor of a new gun-sight for use on anti-aircraft guns. Advantage of this instrument enables the gunners to instantly find the correct ranges from the Zeppelin or aeroplane, giving its actual distance away, also the speed at which it is travelling. This knowledge enables the shell fuse to be set at the correct bursting-point. The aircraft authorities have the matter in hand. Mr. Harcourt has had considerable experience in aircraft, being at one time on this work at Hendon.

9/2/1916 The Era


   A free canteen for soldiers has been inaugurated at Queen Street Station, Glasgow, and the promoters are in urgent need of funds to put the scheme on a sound financial basis. Hengler’s Circus at once offered a special matinee for the purpose, and this duly took place on Monday of last week, the amount handed over to the canteen fund being £184 12s.

9/2/1916 The Era



   This week’s company at the Hamilton Hippodrome is a good one in many respects, several of the turns presenting new features which make the program all the more interesting. topping the bill is Lockhart’s famous elephants, which have been trained by Captain Taylor, and whose performance is certainly a marvellous one. Three in number these animals exhibit intelligence, if one might say so, which is surprising indeed. Every act is performed with that little prompting. And these comprise a very varied selection – mostly of the circus type – which the trainer must have been at great pains in perfecting in them. One of the best turns on the program is presented by Hayley’s Komets, a juvenile company of singers and dancers who appear in “The Garden Revue” the chorus singing is grand, and so are the solos rendered by one or two of them, while their patriotic spectacular finish exhilarates one and quite takes the house by storm. The entertainment of this talented company is one of the best of its kind we have yet seen, and it’s well worth patronising. “Learning to Ride a Horse” featured by Poppy Ginnett and Co., when a good deal of humour is associated by the antics of the lady who is receiving her first riding lesson. A delightful musical entertainment is given by Violet Parry, in which many instruments are introduced, all played with very best effect. Alec Shaw, in a series of clever imitations of birds, beasts, etc., is another of the artistes who is very popular, his entertainment exhibiting a versatility which the audience fully appreciates. The Scotch comedy couple J.D.Maclean and Jesse Mac, in “The Gamekeeper” are well received, the popular song, “When the Boys Come Marching Home”, being a great favourite. contributions to the program by Fow Davis, a young comedienne of great promise; and the bioscope, with an amusing comedy picture, compete in the evenings proceedings – A good couple of hours of genuine Vaudeville entertainment.    

10/2/1916 Hamilton Advertiser



   The action against an exhibition of the illusion shows to what depth the police will, at times, go to get a conviction and if actions such as this are to be taken every illusionist and conjurer in the land will be subject to prosecution.

The remark of the Mayor in reference to the exhibitor saying the girl came from the Philippine Islands was surely an example of innocence abroad. Who, amongst showmen, has not told the tale in this fashion, and who among the people would not laugh and enjoy the joke. We are afraid that justice in Gateshead has gone back to the dark ages, and anyone visiting the town in future will have to be very careful, or, if a man says he is going along High Street and turns down another street he may be summonsed for intent to cheat and defraud the one who asks the question. &c.

12/2/1916 The World’s Fair




   In more normal times the death of Mr. William Henry Hartley, event though he passed away penniless and friendless in a hospital in Johannesburg, would have called for a great deal more comment. For the was none other than “Sequah” the last of the race of quacks. &c.

19/2/1916 The World’s Fair



   The management are living well up to the true definition of “Theatre of the Varieties.” Following on this weeks most delightful of reviews, they are presenting next week, a fine variety programme. Vera Wootten, the celebrated chorous comedienne, is sure of a welcome. Another interesting engagement is that of Ada, our English sharpshooter. This clever little lady has taught over 3000 other “boys” her a method of shooting. Ada, it will be remembered by many people, was the first English girl to make her escape out of Germany after being interned in Berlin for three weeks.   Miss Maggie Clifton and her partner will thrill the Derby audiences as they have done in nearly all the principal towns of the United Kingdom in her novel equilibrist gymnastic act.

26/2/1916 The Derby Daily Telegraph




   Many of my readers particularly the elder of them, will doubtless remember Thora, who, as far back as 1889 and for many years since then, toured the principal halls in the kingdom with a remarkably clever ladder-balancing act. In later years Thora – who, of course, must not be confused with Thora, the ventriloquist – has been devoting his time to animal training, a business at which he has achieved considerable success, particularly with the training of chimpanzees ( says a writer of the “Liverpool Post” )

   He trained principally for the late Mr. Frank Bostock, for whom, he toured this country and America with the “almost human” “Consul the Great.” On the death of Mr. Frank Bostock he took up an engagement with Julius Seeth, a well-known Continental menagerie proprietor, with offices at Frankfort-on-Main, Germany, where he trained and performed chimpanzees for Mr. Seeth.

   At the time war broke out he was playing the Circus Schuman, Frankfurt and was interned together with other British subjects in the Ruhleben Camp. Ruhleben is one of the principal racecourses of Germany, and the accommodation offered to the prisoners consisted of horseboxes.

Now, after thirteen months or more in Ruhleben, the authorities have discovered that he is over military age, and have therefore, granted his release. When I met him the other day in Leicester Square, the hardy Yorkshireman, despite his fifty-one years, was not looking at all in bad condition.

   Of course, he has in the meantime paid a visit to his home and recuperated his health to a certain extent. He tells me that in addition to a number of artistes who are only known on the continent, there are still in Ruhleben several artistes known on this side, among whom are Alf. Jackson, of the troupe known as the Grecian Maids; the Brothers Stafford, Bert Bernard, of Karno’s “Mumming Birds” Continental Company, John ….. , S (not legible) King and Cray; George Scott, the comic juggler; the Brothers Morris, Alf. Pearson, horse rider; and Claude Ohmy, of Ohmy’s circus. Hackenshmidt, the Russian wrestler, according to Mr. Thora’s information, is a prisoner in Berlin, but is allowed out in the streets on parole.

   Mr. Thora, tells me a good story of what may justly be described as poetic justice. While the various “foreign” artistes were waiting for the internment camp to be prepared for them they were given a certain amount of liberty, subject of course to police supervision.

The manager of one of the principal music halls in Berlin was placed in a great deal of difficulty owing to native artistes he had engaged being called up for war. In order to “carry on” he was prepared to engage certain of the foreign artistes pending their internment and “bill them” as being Americans or of other neutral nationality, and had, in fact made preparations to do so.

   This information somehow came to the knowledge of a German artiste, who has several times played this country, he threatened to make a “stir” about it, and get the hall boycotted. The arrangements therefore were called off. Now here’s where the ” poetic justice” comes in.

Shortly after the German artiste who had raised objection set sail for America the ship was stopped when a little way out by one of our gun boats, brought to England, and the male passengers, including our objecting friend, are now interned in London.

Thora has not gone back to his old love, animal training, and is now “on the road,” driving his own comfortable little caravan about with him, and animal trainer to E. H. Bostock, of Glasgow, having joined them at the completion of their engagement at World’s Fair, Islington.

26/2/1916 The World’s Fair



Madame Paulo: Things are desperate, Frank has enlisted and before long was in France. His allowance is barely sufficient to keep the family going but I am managing. The living wagon is pitched on Home Moor, for two years the family has lived there, existing from hand to mouth. In the winter wood was chopped and sold from door to door; or young Frank earns a few coppers performing acrobatics in the streets.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C-C R



 Tommy Bentley…

   This is the right way and we hope to soon see reports of more of our lads being promoted. They are made of the right stuff and if they only put the energy into the work that they put into their own business they will soon get on.


The influx of showmen, circus people, and others into the Army is all for the good as they can turn their hands to all sorts of things, and in addition to work can attend well to any amusement that may be organised.


   We were surprised and delighted to read last week that a circus performance had been organised by the Tommies at Salonika and we could see the work of some of our readers in it.


   Certainly a circus performance in the war zone is something of a novelty but from the description and photographs nothing was missing.


   In one of the photos the performing horse is shown on a tub with the regulation dress and the clowns with the donkey and pig to assist them, were all made up.

11/3/1916 The World’s Fair



Sittings on Friday and Monday Bedfordshire.


   Mr. Robert Fossett applied through Mr. C. S. Alsop for the continual exemption of Frank William Leatherhead, who manages our farm at Tiffield of 100 acres, which is to be kept up to grow food for horses intended for Circus purposes. Leatherhead is 26 years of age, and has been placed in class A. – Mr. Alsop said that if Lertherhead was taken the farm would have to go out of production. – Two months, final.

23/2/1916 The Northampton Mercury 



   In reference to a question asked in Parliament, Mr. Lionel Pablo sent the following letter to the “Northern Daily Telegraph”:—

   “Sir,— I see that Mr. Walter Long’s son-in-law, Colonel Gibbs, the member for West Bristol, is asking in the House of Commons if gipsy and other van dwellers are being brought under the provisions of the Military Service Act; he is under the impression they did not get National Registration Cards. I can assure Colonel Gibbs that they all got a card, both gipsies and all the showmen, but the fairground were stripped of all the youngest and best men long before the cards were sent out. They thought it their duty to go at once to help. They went freely, and in the right spirit, in my opinion they have done quite right, as some of them have had a little of the German law.

25/3/1916 The World’s Fair



   Following the fire at Fillis’ Circus, Moulmein, India, the police instituted inquiries and Mr. Shwe Tin, of the Big Bazaar, was brought before Mr. W. B. Perkins, I.C.S., Head-quarters Assistant, and charged with having set fire to the circus. The evidence of the members of the circus was recorded as they were soon to leave Moulmein. U Shwe Tin and Mr. C. E. Law, who appeared for the accused, asked for his release on bail, but Mr. Perkins declined to grant bail.

25/3/1916 The World’s Fair





   A postcard from Private Cook (the Colonel) informs us that he is well and hearty, and he sends his greetings to all the “Ohmies” of Showland.



   Private E. C. Pablo, 124391, A.S.C., writes from Cornwall Hall Hospital V.A.D., Sevenoaks, Kent:- “You will no doubt be surprised to hear that whilst out in France I got the royal order to K. O., resulting in Fractured ribs, Concussion, Spine Damaged, Chest Crushed, and Internal Rupture, etc. ( not so bad to be going on with) I was in the 3rd Canadian Hospital Bologne for two weeks, Then they brought me to England and put me in a “Gilbertian” sort of hospital at

Chatham. They called it a clearing station, and I don’t mind telling you I was d____ glad to clear out – after three days – and now I am here, where they’re doing me well. I was a bit upset when I got my papers for “Blighty” and saw they had endorsed them “ unfit for further service, “ as I did hope to go back to my company (32nd Co., 2nd “L” Section) , but as the Canadian captain said, “Dad, you’ve done your bit, and put the young shirkers to shame, and it’s real plucky of you to have faced it,” and when I come to think of it they were right by endorsing my papers as they did, as “I’m all broken up.” I’ve been in four hospitals and seen some. Well, when I get my ticket “which may be for years and it may be for never,” as you must know the War Office has not yet disposed of all it’s red tape) I must look around to see who’s going to give a permanent position to this broken old showman – Variety, – Circus- Theatrical-Soldier – Edward Charles Pablo, son of the late Pablo Fanque, circus proprietor.”

1/4/1916 The World’s Fair



   Frank Paulo: from Ireland. In the main the Irish, although hating England, do not hate the circus, circus people were different. On occasions however, after a performance, a few bricks are thrown at the show, but that is usually all. But one evening in Cork, barrels of oil blazed along the streets, a gang broke in and wrecked the circus. Heartbreaking, Madame Paulo was then seven months gone with her third child. The tent was gone, there was no alternative but to resume the old game of showing at the crossroads. I barked from the caravan steps, at the rear a rough ring was marked on the turf. After every act, the hat was passed round. More often than not the family came hungry to a performance, when a few coppers had been collected, Lizzie would be sent running to buy bread and cheese. Food was the daily problem. Clara was born. The day after, Madame Paulo strapped the child to her back and walked to Killarney. Here, hanging head down, she kissed the blarney stone and wished little Clara should never know the life of a circus. Now our existence has became even more precarious. People now were afraid to come to the show because of the “troubles” and kept at home: we decided to returned to England and had to come by way of a bombed and silent Dublin.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref:C-C, R (1)



              Writing to the “Daily Mail” Mr. Fred Ginnett says:— “I have now another stable tent to shelter some of the war horses out on the lines. The first one I gave to the military would hold 300 horses; the one I have now ready to dispatch to the first officer commanding who writes for it will hold eighty horses. I hand it over free of cost, and will go and erect it anywhere required.

1/4/1916 The World’s Fair



    For a troupe of trick cyclist to be able to boast of over 40 years popularity is a wonderful record, and there is no wonder that the Selbinis are proud of it. Mr. Jack Selbini, the father of the present members of the troupe, and one of the most remarkable veteran athletes of my acquaintance, was practically the originator of trick cycling, his only rival being Professor Brown, who was also known by the less dignified appellation of “Old Jock Brown.” Mr. Selbini started as a horse rider in Powell and Clark’s Circus, Londonderry, and stuck to that line for about five years, when he was impressed by the possibilities of trick cycling, and started practising at once. His first machine was of the old-fashioned bone-shaker type, with a wooden frame and iron-tyred wheels, which had to be roughened with a chisel to prevent them slipping on the stage.

   Soon afterwards Mr. Selbini took a partner, and they developed and elaborated that act, performing at Covent Garden, where they were the first to do tricks on the high bicycles. They appeared before the late King Edward and Queen Alexandra, then Prince and Princess of Wales. When the partners married their wives were included in the act, and they toured America, where, at St. Louis, the partnership was ended, and each family worked on its own. As the children grew old enough they were trained as performers, the most famous of the younger generation being the beautiful Lalla Selbini, who has been in America for several years past.

   The Selbinis have given their performance all over the world, the continental appearances including practically every country in Europe, from Stockholm to Madrid and from Copenhagen to Bucharest. In the Romanian capital city they appeared before King Carol and his Queen, the late “Carmen Sylva.” They have toured all through Germany and Austria-Hungary, and had contracts, of course affected long before there was any thought of war, to appear last year in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest Pesth. When will those contracts be filled? Echo answers “when.” The Selbinis are hard workers, and every morning finds them rehearsing their ordinary repertory of feats and practising new tricks, for “progress” is, as always their motto.

1/4/1916 Nottingham Evening Post




   For Easter week Mr. G. H. Harrop presented a big programme in the Tower Circus, Blackpool’s unique home of novel entertainment. The famous animal wonders, Lockhart’s Elephants, now owned by Capt Taylor, returned with their clever performance which stamps them as being amongst the most highly trained elephants yet known.

29/4/1916 The World’s Fair



Joe Ward, the well-known show-man boxer, is probably the first soldier from Showland to win three distinctions in the field for bravery, namely, the D.C.M., Croix de Guerre, and the Russian Military Cross. We feel sure our readers will congratulate the popular showman boxer on his great distinctions.

6/51916 The World’s Fair




   The passing of the Conscription Bill will take from Showland, as well as from other businesses, a further large batch of men who are of military age and though Showland has been severely hit already further heavy calls will be made upon the business. There are not many of Showland’s sons who object to doing their duty, but we received many enquiries as to the possibility of our readers being put together in one regiment so that our people, who have nothing much in common with the outside world, may be kept together. We have made enquiries on this matter and, though officially nothing can be done, we are given to understand that, if those who have attested are prepared to go through their examination and are willing to join at once, this can be arranged, and they will all be kept together. If this meets with the approval of those readers who are interested we shall be pleased to take the necessary steps to have the matter put in order.

20/5/1916 The World’s Fair



   It is stated that Private J. A. Cook, husband of Madame Zaza, and familiarly known as “The Colonel” has been killed in action. It will be remembered that Private Cook joined the Army at the outbreak of war and was drafted to the Dardanelles, afterwards being sent to Egypt and India.

27/5/1916 World’s Fair



I write “Au Revoir” in regard to our friend Charlie Banks, who, times without number, has given us a hearty laugh. Who will forget his annual “circus,” the collection at which has taken for The institution? “Charlie” will not be in a “cage” taming his wild beasts this year, but he hopes, after a little training, to be able to tame some of his Teuton “wild animals”, More power to Charlie Banks! – In three years he collected over £160 by the means of his “Circus”, for the Royal Victoria Hospital, and, and he helped to make as cheerful into the bargain.          

3 /6/1916 Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton Herald.



By Permission of the Lieut-Col. Strickland-Constable, the band of the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire regiment (Regulars) will give two band performances at the Circus Hull, on Saturday and Monday afternoons next at 3 o’clock. The net proceeds will be for the Voluntary Aid Committee’s Prisoner of War Fund. Lady Nunburnholme has promised to attend.

7/6/1916 Hull Daily Mail



    At St Helen’s, yesterday Thomas A Hall of Manchester, who had come into town with a circus was charged with being absent from the Army Reserve.   (age 26) fine 40s and handed over to the Army.

17/6/1916 Liverpool Daily Post



   During the past few weeks Broncho Bill’s Circus has been touring Lancashire and has met with huge success. Among the artistes were members of the Yelding Scott, and other circus families, also Bellini on the trapeze, whilst Goff Godfrey, in the part of Broncho Bill, used his stentorian voice to advantage, and Whimsical Walker headed the lists of clowns.

   Broncho Bill’s show had toured England for three years, and the success which has attended it proves that the old-time circus still has potent powers of attraction. In this instance there is ample variety of entertainment, including a Roman two-horse standing race, a chariot race, voltage, wire, and equestrian novelties, the tricks of gymnasts and equilibrists tight and slack wire feats, straight jacket and handcuff escapes, and the like, while a notable feature of the programme is a “wild west exhibition,” revealing Indians and cowboys and girls, in all manner of daring and skillful exploits. All told, the programme contains no fewer than 30 items, and it is possible for the great majority of the spectators to obtain a clear view of both rings in which the items are produced.

17/6/1916 World’s Fair



    Anatole Durov, the famous Russian clown, who died recently at Marvel, and who made a tremendous reputation, was probably one of the cleverest animal trainers of the day, says the “Times” Russian correspondent, his speciality in this respect being the common or domestic pig, with whose education he proved so successful that he taught it to do almost everything save talk. A favourite pastime of his was to drive about the town in a special carriage drawn by a team of these interesting animals.

17/6/1916 The World’s Fair



   At Whitley Bay, this afternoon, four showmen were charged under the Military Service Act with being absentees. J. Firrell, 36 married, who had already registered was discussed, Lieut. Pettigrew, the military representative pointing out that the man had until July 24th to join up.

The other three namely E. Wallace 34, William Smith 32, Alexander Campbell 32, all single were fined £2. 

Fenwick Cutting 30/6/1917



   ZAZEL, Mrs. George Star will be

Travelling to America on the liner Philadelphia.

Bibliog. Ref: P N







   An incident which occurred at the Peel Park Galas at Whitsuntide, when a member of the audience was shot in the leg by one of the performers, led to the appearance in the Bradford City Police Court on Wednesday of Henry Gibson, music hall artiste, giving as his address, The Palace, Doncaster. The defendant performs under the name of “Zakaree Ermakov, Russian expert of arms; permanent address, Vokzal Benderi, Bessarabia, Russia.” He was charged with assaulting Hermon White.

   The Chief Constable (Mr. Joseph Farndale) said the defendant was engaged at Peel Park Galas at Whitsuntide. Mr. White was one of the audience, and during the performance the defendant used a rifle and was firing at a target. While this was going on the witness felt a sharp pain in his leg, and felt blood running down. He afterwards found a hole in his trousers and was medically attended. The bullet was not found.


   Cross-examined by Mr. Demaine, who defended, witness agreed that the incident was the result of a pure accident.

1/7/1916 The World’s Fair





WEDNESDAY, July 26, One Day Only

THE GREAT ALLIES TROUPE Great military display by our Allies: France, Russia and Belgium – the worlds greatest trick riders. &c.

Two Performances daily

22/7/1916 Dumfries and Galloway Standard



   In Showland, women have always worked and worked hard. We have seen our women at the head of circuses, menageries, roundabouts and many other amusement concerns, and in fully ninety per cent of our people, it is the women who look after the exchequer.

Worlds Fair 1916 Editorial, Toulmin NFCA


   Mr. Fred Lewis is piloting Duffy’s big circus to Ireland with quite some success, despite rebellions, martial law, and extra-strong opposition.

26/7/1916 The Era



   Mr. Gerald Martin, the manager of the Stratford Empire, received the following letter from the captain of D Co. of the Essex Regiment concerning private William Benson, who for some time was the assistant manager of the hall, and has recently been killed at the front. Vincent was extremely popular with Stratford audiences, to whom Mr. Morton is reading the letter at each house.

“I should like to stand on the stage at Stratford Empire and tell the people of it,” writes the captain “ Private Benson had joined up at Stratford as anyone else – just one of the crowd. In civilian life I believe he was assistant manager at the Empire. As an infantry man in the company he was a nuisance – he could not soldier, somehow: he was far too sensitive.

   “When he was attached to a trench mortar attack battery we felt somehow relieved. He took a fancy to his new work and an interest in it; the change that suited him. The night of the little “show” his battery commander called for a volunteer. Benson was the first, arguing that, as his regiment was going over the top, he wished to be in it, and thought it’s only right that he should. He was ordered to work his gun for a certain time at A, and then moved to position B. He did work his gun; he moved – but then they found him it was as a corpse, the gun in his arms and his body covering it. His was the last body I visited to identify, and as I looked at his poor dear face and reviewed his association with D company I thanked God for the example of courage and devotion to the duty of the Jew.”    

26/7/1916 The Era



   We regret to have to announce that Private W. Whiteley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Whiteley, midland travellers, was killed in action in France on July 1st. He was only just over 17 years of age.


   Mr. Harry Lyons, of Klondike Picture fame, travelling Ireland, has received news that his son, Sergeant Harry Lyons, has been killed, and his second son, Sergeant Percy Lyons, has been wounded, and is now in the base hospital.


   Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Holmes, organ builders, of 17, the Polygon, Clapham, S.W., and late of Manchester, have received notification that their son, Private Albion Holmes, who has been in France since the beginning of the war, has died from shell wounds.

29/7/1916 The Era



   At Pwllheli Tribunal on Saturday, the chairman, referring to a circus which visited the town the previous night, at which crowds of young men were present, said the tribunal could not send married men with large families to the colours while single men supposed to be indispensable, were enjoying themselves. The army authorities were pressing for more men, and the tribunal felt that they ought to have some organisation so as to replace single by married men.

19/8/1916 The World’s Fair


   The two clowns employed at the Tower Circus, Blackpool, appeared before the local tribunal yesterday.

One is only 4’10”, but he, with his companion was granted exemptions only until the end of October.

21/8/1916 Daily Gazette Middlesbrough




   An exciting story of a police chase was narrated at Tottenham Police Court, when Leslie Young, of Hertford Road, Enfield Wash, N., was charged with being a suspected absentee and with assaulting the police.

Questioned by Police-sergeant Caunter, Young ran into his house and locked himself in his bedroom, and when the door was forced with a crowbar he jumped out of the window— a 20ft. drop. Scaling a fence, he dashed into the next door house, occupied by a magistrate, with the sergeant close upon his heels. After some furniture had been upset, the prisoner evaded his pursuer and managed to reach his bedroom again. This he barricaded, but the officer forced an entrance, and a fierce struggle ensued.

   Prisoner jumped through the window again, and concealed himself in an outhouse, where he was discovered when police reinforcements arrived. A further struggle took place, and, shaking himself free, the prisoner broke down some fencing. He darted into his house, and was there secured. When charged he said, “I am a lion tamer.”

   Accused was sent to prison for fourteen days.

9/9/1916 The World’s Fair



   A raid on a travelling circus at Camberley for men of military age who have not reported themselves was attended with great excitement, the circus being left in darkness when the proceedings were but half-way through. The outside of the circus was surrounded by the Volunteer Training Corps, and all exits secured by special constables, while the recruiting staff and police proceeded to the arena, where the performance was at its height. There were between three and four thousand people in the circus and the military representative as once summoned all men of military age to step inside the ring and produce their papers exempting them from service. Over 200 at once responded. The papers of those who had them examined, and the names and addresses of some seventy men who had not were taken, while police officers proceeded amongst the audience and weeded out men of military age who had not responded to the invitation to step into the ring.

   The work of examination was but half-way through, when the whole of the lights of the circus which were supplied from an acetylene gas generator, went out. An attempt to relight only resulted in the generator being set on fire, the flames were got out by throwing turf on them. The only light available was a stable lamp, and, of course, the remainder of the “raid” and the circus programme has to be abandoned. Happily there was no panic or rush from the seats, this being due in great measure to the action of Police Sergeant Kenward, who from the centre of the arena thanked the audience on behalf of the military and police for the great forbearance they had shown. At the sergeant’s remarks the whole audience stood and joined in singing the national Anthem and giving cheers for the King the Army & Navy.

9/9/1916 The Daily Mail



   At the Stockton Tribunal yesterday, a coloured man, named Joe Foster, lion tamer, applied for an extension of his exemption. He said he was still in charge of six lions, which were caged in the town during the temporary suspension of a circus.

   The chairman said the man had sufficient exemptions, and he would be given until November 1st for his employer to make other arrangements.



In 1915 there were more than 18,000 individuals interned in Britain. Many are still under guard. A few have managed to negotiate a release. We have no news of any circus people among these, although the problem of securing acrobatic acts in Britain would not be aided by their release, as there is no taste for foreign performers. They would be best to travel to a neutral place.

Ref: W S 



   Before Ald. E. Smith and Dr. Cragg.

WOMAN FOUND DRUNK. – Elizabeth Fossett, a married woman, attached to a travelling circus, was charged with drunkenness at Bournemouth on Sept 20th. – P.C. Dodd found the woman lying helpless in the middle of the road. – Fined 7s 6d.


   Thomas Fossett, a married man, 27 years of age, and Robert Fossett, a single man, 18 years of age, brought up in custody charged with being absentees under the Military Services Act, at Bournemouth, on Sept 20th. These men were both attached to a travelling circus, and were found by Sargt .Jackson and P.C. Dodd when they visited the show the previous night. The older man stated that he was not medically fit, but had not been examined by the Army Medical Board, whilst the younger man stated that he was 18 in June last. – The men were both find £2, and ordered to be handed over to the military escort. The court awarded the officers five shillings.

22/9/1916 Lincolnshire Echo



   An actor named Joseph Essangey was charged at Enfield Police Court on Monday with being an absentee. The police stated that the man was arrested in the course of a raid at the Edmonton Empire on Saturday night when he was taking the part of the hero in “Her Great Love.” Prisoner’s own statements could not be verified. Essangey now said he was born in a caravan, both his parents being Mexicans. He knows that he was over age, because when he was 12 he performed at Windsor as the World’s youngest lion-tamer, on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. For the past three years he has been with Madame Ella Lyons, touring Ireland, and he only came to England on Sunday week. He had travelled all over the world, and he had not registered, as he left this country before the war. Colonel Bowes (chairman) said as the man could not prove his statement, and as he had no fixed abode, no bail could be allowed. He would therefore be handed over to the military authorities.

23/9/1916 The World’s Fair



Driver John Francis Stroud is the eldest son of Mrs. George Taylor and the late John F. Stroud, and nephew of Mr. W. Biddall, of Circus fame. He has joined the Royal Horse Artillery and would be pleased to hear from any of his friends. His address is: Driver J. F. Stroud, 140081, Room 112, “R” Battery, West Square, Woolwich, Kent.

23/9/1916 The World’s Fair



   S.F.L. Cody is now 2nd Lieutenant and a flying officer in the Royal Flying Corps 41 Squadron.







   As briefly reported in a recent issue the Military authorities at Camberley made a raid on a circus audience in one of the round-ups and full particulars are now to hand of the excitement caused; One of the female performers at the circus, who performs in male costume, was ready for her show when the raiders arrived, and promptly remarked to one of them, Do you want me? I am of military age and wear the breeches.”

   Since Monday night the Local Recruiting staff have been very busy with those whose names and addresses were taken at the circus. Many were, of course, resident outside of the Camberley recruiting area, as the circus audience was drawn from the residents in the places on the borders of the three counties— Surrey, Berks and Hants.,

30/9/1916 The World’s Fair




At Leeds police-court yesterday, before Mr. J.R. Bower and Mr. O. Connellan, three more men, charged with being army reserve lists and with having failed to report for service, were handed over to military escort.

Timothy Kayes, 24, the son of a well-known circus and menagerie proprietor, exhibiting on local feast grounds, was again before the court. He was described as a “lion tamer” when he was before the court, having been arrested on the Showground recently. On that occasion he was discharged on his promise to join the army at once. He then reported to the recruiting office, and after having described his circumstances to Major Hill, was given a fortnights grace which expired on September 27th. He had not carried out his promise to report at the end of that time, and was arrested at the show on Woodhouse Feast Ground on Saturday night by Detective-Sergeant Gunton.

   The facts having been detailed to the Court by Supt.. Blakely, Mr.J.A.Atkinson, from the office of Mr.A. Willey, representing the prisoners father. Mr. Wm. Kayes, said he did not dispute the facts, but says it was a sad case. Prior to the war, Mr.Wm. Kayes had 20 men, 100 horses and ponies, and a number of wild beasts, and three sons, who assisted him in his business. The whole of the men and two of the sons had already been taken into the Army. After a fortnights leave had been granted as a sequel to the last appearance of the prisoner, and application was made for permission to launch an appeal, and the reply was received from the Town Clerk of Leeds on Saturday morning saying that the application had been refused by the Tribunal.

   He advised the prisoner that, as it was Saturday, it would be alright if he reported on Monday. Prisoner was arrested the same night. Mr.Atkinson also pointed out that Mr.Wm. Kayes is 70 years of age: that he has now three lions, a monkey, 15 ponies, and five wagons, in addition to having six young children under 14 years of age. Now that his son has been taken away, he has no one to attend to the animals.

In addition to that Mr. Kayes himself is incapacitated, having sustained an injury to his toes whilst giving a performance for wounded soldiers last week. He (Mr.Atkinson) asked the Bench not to inflict on the prisoner of the stigma of a fine, but simply to order him to be handed over to the military authorities.

The Bench assented to this course.

3/10/1916 Leeds Mercury




Before the Wallasey Tribunal on Saturday an application for further exemption was made by George Clownes, described as a showman, New Brighton.

   The Chairman said they thought the applicant was off when he previously came before the Tribunal. He wished them good-bye, and they understood that he was going to the front to entertain the soldiers.

   Applicant said he would have been off, but he could not arrange his business matters. He was proceeding to talk to the picture halls in the country which could have been put to better use, when Councillor Griffin asked what all this had to do with the Tribunal.

   Applicant said they had not read his application through.

   The chairman said they could not sit there all day to read such applications.

   Applicant said he did not want to tell them their business, but he would like his application read.

   The Town Clerk proceeded to read a portion of the written application, in which applicant declared that they still allowed Germans to be at liberty, and they banked their money in Germany. They were still in Liverpool and gave information as to their doings and the whereabouts of their transports and munition works.

   Asked by the Chairman what time he really wanted before he would be ready to go, applicant said he wanted about a month in which to square up his affairs.

   The Chairman: We will give you a month.

   Applicant told the Tribunal, amid laughter, that he did not think he was a cripple before, but the Medical Board seemed to think so.

Colonel Hamilton, military representative: When you get to the front I don’t think that the Germans will think you are a cripple.

   Applicant: If you had taken notice of Joe Chamberlain twenty years ago Germany would have been bankrupt today. You would have had them whacked (laughter).

   Col. Hamilton: We have all made mistakes.

   The Chairman told the applicant that he would not be called up until October 31st, and asked how old he was. Applicant: Say 41, and then you will be right (laughter).

9/10/1916 The World’s Fair



   The war has provided the economists with the rarest of opportunities of proving the virtue of their principles.

   But there is available a disconcerting array of facts to show that more than two years of war have not served to make some people economical, even in pleasure and luxuries.

   Though it has not been exactly “pleasure as usual” everywhere, there are examples in plenty of flourishing businesses in luxuries and enjoyments, which some people say we ought to do without altogether. The nation as a whole refused to be so dejected or depressed as to deny itself entirely any relief from the acute anxieties and accumulated difficulties of war time.

   So far from being “taxed out of existence,” which was the alarming suggestion of those with capital involved, there are some “luxury trades” which have readjusted themselves so successfully to the altered circumstances of the time that they are doing as well or even better than usual.

   The secret of this remarkable recovery from business despondency is to be found in the undoubted fact that the war has brought unparalleled prosperity to a great many working-class people. They have had much more money to burn than they ever had before, and to the horror of the economists many of them are spending it somewhat extravagantly in indulgences, little and big, which they have avoided before.

   The untold wealth following on years of enforced economy, even in necessities, has told its tale in many families. “Lightly come lightly go” hardly fits in with this remarkable state of affairs, for the money has been well earned by hard and strenuous toiling in munition shops and Government factories.

   The entertainment tax, which was so strongly resisted by some amusement caterers, has had a damaging effect on theatres, music halls, and other haunts of pleasure, and yet Manchester people are still so keen on amusements that business had not suffered a serious slump, except in a very few instances.

              Surveying the whole field of amusement and luxuries, it would be difficult to discover a single instance where war-time anxieties have not in some degree been relieved by the prevailing tendency of people with more money to spend to indulge themselves more freely than ever.

7/10/1916 The World’s Fair



   We regret to have to record the death of Private Henry Strand, a popular young Scottish traveller, who passed away on Sunday last, at the Glasgow Military Asylum. The late Private Strand, like many other young Scottish showmen had joined the colours some time ago, but the shock of his brother being accidentally killed last year had left its mark on him, and this caused his removal to the Military Asylum where he unfortunately passed away. The late Private Strand was only 36 years of age, and news of his death will be received with regret by a large circle of friends as he was universally respected. He was laid to rest in the Camelin Cemetery, Bonnybridge, on Wednesday, and a large number of travellers attended to pay their last tribute.

 14/10/1916 The World’s Fair




   Mr. Archie Pearson, has returned to Britain. He was the Ring Master at Olympia, and one of the famous circus men of the continent before the war. He was in Germany with his son in August, 1914, and the two were interned at Ruhleben. The son owned some special circus horses, and these the Germans promptly seized for the Army.    

   Mr Pearson had luckily sent some of his savings to England while travelling on the continent, and as he was slowly starving in the prison on a diet of cabbage, it occurred to him that the bank with whom he had placed this savings might help him. He wrote to them, and they, glad to assist their unhappy client, arranged for a London firm to send him a fortnightly supply of biscuits. He doubts if he could have sustained life there without them.

     Thanks to his age, he was released when the exchange of interned persons began. He returned to England and has been able to put his knowledge and experience at the service of the British Government.    

Narrative relates to 1916 extracted from

19/12/1919 The Sheffield Daily Independent





   There has just died in America from appendicitis Isla Tudor, aged thirteen, who was the youngest girl aviator, she made many flights with her father, Mr. Harry Tudor, who came to England and joined the British Flying Corps.

   “She became known as ‘the little air lady.’ A machine was fitted with a dual control so that she could pilot it. Mr. Tudor was for many years the personal representative of Mr. Frank Bostock, the ‘animal king.’ Isla was christened in a cage containing twenty-seven lions at the Old Sea Beach Palace, Coney Island, where the Bostock show was exhibiting. Cant, Jack Bonita, the trainer, was her god-father. Twice she accompanied her father in trips round the world.”

21/10/1916 The World’s Fair



   We regret to have to announce that Private Tommy Hall, son-in-law of Mr. Biddall, of Biddall’s Circus, has been killed in action.

28/10/1916 The World’s Fair




   The sequel has not been reached in connection with the alleged horse cruelty case in which Jean Sosman, a Belgian circus owner and horse tamer and trainer, was found guilty of cruelty to an animal which was performing at the Palace Theatre. Mr. John Stainton, veterinary surgeon, of Reading, it may be remembered, had purchased the animal, which had been placed in the custody of Mr. Oliver Dixon, and from time to time had been reported as going on favourably. Mr. Stainton and Mr. Oliver Dixon went surety for Sosman’s appearance, each in the sum of £25, but the Belgian did not appear at the Reading Borough Quarter Session on Friday last week. Mr. Stainton pointed out to the Recorder that he was unable to produce Sosman, who had apparently decamped; he also added that the horse was now all right.

   Then the horse need not now be destroyed, but you and Mr. Dixon became sureties for Sosman, who had not paid the costs, which must be met by you, and an order also must be made estreating the recognizances.

   Mr. Stainton said he had some money of Sosman’s still in hand, to which Recorder replied, “You can take that as a set-off against your payments.”

28/10/1916 The World’s Fair



   Writing to a member of our staff, Mr Fred Vallance, the well-known conjurer and ventriloquist, who is with a concert party at Malta, states:-

“We have been here three weeks today and are having a great time. We do nine concerts each week, and find it’s quite enough in this climate. It is very warm here, and we bathe every morning. We show at all the hospitals and convalescence camps. Last Thursday we did a show on HMS –___ .we had an audience of close upon 1000, with fine stage, footlights, scenery, &c., on deck. It was a grand site. I twisted a lot of “gyms” patter round to suit the occasion. I shall not forget the reception they gave us all for a long time. We expect to reach Bristol about the end of November. We had some exciting times coming out. Expect to turn home via Italy. I trust the good work of looking after the boys are still going on alright in Bristol. I met a boy here in hospital, yesterday afternoon, who saw me at the Beaufort: It does one good to hear how well they speak of what Bristol is doing for them. I met another boy last week I had met at Cleveland Hill. I met a lot of Bristol boys out here: some were on the battleship we visited, and they don’t forget to let you know.”    

28/10/1916 The World’s Fair




   The Moss’ Empires having decided to start a great circus at the Olympia, Liverpool, Mr. Ernest Wight, of the Moss’ Empires, outlined to a “Referee” representative certain of the arrangements which are being made for this big show.

   In spite if the many and obvious difficulties in transporting the animals from abroad to England and from the port of debarkation to the place of destination, everything even at the present shapes for the provision of one of the biggest shows ever known in “The Annals of the Ring.”

25/11/1916 The World’s Fair




   CHARLES TURNER & SONS (Farmers’ Friends), LTD. Are instructed by Mr Coleman. On behalf of Mrs Haundford, circus proprietress. To SELL BY AUCTION, on Thursday, November 30th, 1916, the whole of the remaining Plant etc. viz: 6 Horses, 20 Spring Trolleys, Vans, Trucks, 2 Flat Carts, Coup Carts, Framework and Seating for large tent, Ropes, Blocks, Lamp, Tools, a large lot of Harnesses and parts of Harness etc,

Sale 10.30am.   For Catalogue apply to Auctioneers, Lasenby, Easton.

25/11/1916 Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough



   Regimental Sargent Major, Richard Bratby has been wounded and hospitalised following a mustard gas attack at the Somme and has had to be repatriated to England. He was in command of a field gun horses and riders – he is a rider.

Family: Tom Sandow



   It is remarkable on the equestrian side, the leading feature being “Horses in Liberty,” a stud of beautiful animals who go through a number of exercises which surely mark the highest achievement in animal training. There are besides splendid examples of horsemanship by John Yelding and Jos. Cranston, the latter combining humour with equestrian skill. The horse, while still monarch of the circus ring, no longer monopolises circus entertainment. At Hengler’s sea lions, dogs, and monkeys are also among the performers. The sea lions, introduced by Petite Nina, give a sensational cycling turn, the dogs of Miss Cashmore, who also introduces highly trained ponies, do wonderful things, and the chimpanzee with the pleasant name of Hiawatha is the limit. This quaint little creature dines, drinks, smokes, cycles, un-dresses and tucks itself in bed, and goes through performance in the most business-like and diverting manner. The Hanlon Family of gymnasts gave an extraordinary display, and the somersaulting of one of it’s members is a remarkable exhibition of acrobatic art….&c.

2/12/1916 The World’s Fair



Good all round, without any transcending item, must be the verdict on the Hippodrome production. Every turn has an interest of its own, and there is not one that can be described as weak. Will H.Fox, an American humorist, gives what he facetiously calls satire on the great Paderewski. Without any pretensions as a pianoforte genius, he is nevertheless an exceedingly clever player, and he turns his abilities to a droll purpose, interspersing his performance with many a funny yarnery. An eccentric comedian of marked originality, made a most successful debut on Monday night. MacIvor and Scott are two Scottish artists, whose step dancing is superior to anything of that kind that has been witnessed in Derby for a long while. Fred Lens is a speciality artist of exceptional merit, juggler, acrobat, and comedian, he is equally attractive in all three rolls. Elsie and Emmie Newton are acceptable duettists, and Miss Jesse Preston is a versatile comedienne. The Sossmans gave short circus acts, and an interesting story attached to them. – In Belgium, before the war, they were circus proprietors and in a large way of business, but the Germans drove them out and took over all horses and other property, compelling them to seek refuge in this country. The usual bioscope pictures are included in the evenings entertainment.

19/12/1916 Derby Daily Telegraph



 James W. Bostock is continually producing surprising novelties which succeed each other in every-varying round of pleasurable change. Last week saw the abnormal athletic feats of Madame Hercuine. She and her husband are on the eve of leaving for London where they join Sir Robert Fossett’s circus at the Hall.


On Friday, Mr Bostock’s excellently appointed show occupied by la Belle Zoe, whose body is adorned with really splendidly tattooed pictures of the great war, which the lady describes with telling effect. With the assistance of her manager, Mr. Staley, she gives a display of telepathy.


Mrs Collins’ lion show was, of course a great centre of attraction, where, amid breathless silence, the heroic Albert Williams put the beasts through their facings.

23/12/1916 The World’s Fair





For the fourth year in succession a big circus has opened at the Olympia, Liverpool, and, judging from the initial performance on Boxing Day, it would seem that the successes of previous ventures in this line will be repeated. The programme is entirely good, and includes the Grenadier Guards’ band, the Decars with their clever performing geese; Mlle. Mona, lady rider; Gardener’s remarkable maniac bulldogs; Eddie and Cornel, splendid comedians; the Sylfide Sisters of The Air,” they go through an astonishing and graceful performance; the Royal Assam elephants and horses; Eddie and a Zeppelin; Gudzow, Caucasian rider; Grock and his partner, an exceedingly funny pair; the educated “Bonita” pony, guided by Rob Anderson; Frank Van Hoveen, the American mad musician, who made his immense audience shout with laughter; Pimpo and Timmy, with elephant; and the Shannon Family, daring riders. Jack’s Smiles is a first class clown. On this occasion Mr George Harrington acts as ringmaster.

 6/1/1917 The World’s Fair




   At Old Street Police Court on Saturday Stevan Marinicovike (37), a Serbian showman, was charged with causing an obstruction at Virginia Road, Bethnal Green.

   A police constable said he found the defendant and his daughter surrounded by a large crowd. The man was prancing about with a brown bear, and the girl was performing antics with a monkey to the accompaniment of a tambourine.

   Asked by the magistrate what he had to say, the defendant replied, “Sir, your Worship, no more; I have finish. No more London. If you catch me in London again, you cut off my head.”

   The defendants daughter, who went into the witness box carrying the monkey in her arms, explained that her father and she had been travelling from Manchester with two bears and the monkey in a caravan.

   Mr. Clarke Hall suggested that they might get rid of the bears, as they must be expensive to keep, to which the girl replied, “Oh, no, no. Must keep the bears, can’t sell. Oh, no, we will be vary, vary sorry to sell.”

   On undertaking not to exhibit his animals in the street again the defendant was discharged. As he left he danced and gesticulated, apparently in appreciation of the magistrate’s leniency.

6/1/1917 The World’s Fair



   On January 10th 1917, Buffalo Bill, Col. William F. Cody, died at Denver Colorado. He was a fine, upright, manly fellow and though much rubbish has been written about him, no one has ever said a mean thing about him.

              Correspondence with John S Clarke



    We regret to have to record the death of Mr. James William Chipperfield, who passed away on Thursday last, January 4th, at the age of 68. The deceased was a popular Midlands traveller, but for some time has been located at Ludgershall, Wilts., where he was laid to rest.

13/1/1917 The World’s Fair


   At Chelmsford on Thursday, before Alderman G. W. Taylor and Mr. F. A. Wells, Leo Stanley, 19, described as a lion tamer, was charged with being an absentee under the Military Service Act.

   Police-Sergeant Field stated that the defendant was arrested in London on December 19th, and was then wearing a uniform. He told the police officer who took him into custody that he belonged to the Highland Light Infantry. A telegram was dispatched to the address he gave and a military escort was sent from them, and the prisoner conveyed to camp. On arrival there it was found that he did not belong to the battalion, and he was brought to witness, to whom he admitted that he had not been in the Army, nor had he attested; he said he bought the uniform in Petticoat Lane.

              Prisoner: The sergeant is quite correct.

              The Chairman: What are you?— I am an actor.— What, a military actor?— No.— What do you do?— I am a lion-tamer— Is that why you call yourself Leo?— No.— Where did you get the uniform?— I brought it in Petticoat Lane.— How long have you been a lion-tamer?— About two years; I bought some lions at Bostock’s— In reply to further questions the defendant said that he had a manager, who was somewhere in the provinces with his show.

              Mr. W. F. Arlidge, the assistant clerk, pointed out that the defendant all the time had been standing to attention properly, and asked defendant if he had not been in the Army. Defendant: I have not been in any unit. I am only 19. I know how to stand when speaking to a gentleman.

              A fine of £2 was imposed and defendant was ordered to be handed over to the military.

   Mr Taylor: I suppose your manager sends you the profits of the show?

   Defendant: I get them all right.

Mr Taylor: Well, the country will want £2 of them now.

13/1/1917 The World’s Fair



A party of 300 soldiers were entertained by Lord Dean of Guild Reid in Springburn Public Hall, Glasgow. Tea was served, and attractive entertainment was given by the artistes of Hengler’s Circus.

26/1/1917 Daily Record




   In the death, at the age of seventy-one, of Mr. Albert Jamrach, the famous “purveyor’ of all manner of wild beasts “from elephants to earwigs” (his own phrase) a remarkable figure has passed away.

“The war killed my trade and it is slowly killing me.” He said to me only a few months ago as we stood beside the empty cages in his formerly wonderful menagerie at St. George-in-the-East, London. “My heart is broken. My beloved beasts have gone except a few small birds and beasts, and all that I have left is the museum of curiosities collected by my father in his travels. Even these I am now selling off, but every time a blue vase or heathen god leaves this dusky exhibit I feel as if a part of myself goes with it.”

   The Jamrach business was started by his grandfather a harbourmaster, when he bought strange birds and beasts from deep sea sailormen. From specializing in parrots and monkeys his son Charles launched out. It was quite a common things down my the docks to see him gravely conduct a camel through his wide shop door and showing it into the back premises, where alligators, ostriches, eagles, and man-eaters lived in harmony quelled by Jamrach’s eye…

The business prospered under Albert. He took just as much trouble in supplying his customers with kittens as with kangaroos.

Best of all he was a kindly cultivated gentleman, generous and simple-minded. He considered his trade not as a tradesman merely, for his heart was in it.

Fenwick Cutting 24/1/1917 Daily Mail



   On 23 January, Frank Cody was shot down in his plane over France. He was seen in combat with four enemy planes east of Boesinghe after which he spiraled down in a nose dive. From an enquiry, which was dropped over enemy lines, reliable sources confirmed that his body was found at Houthulst G.C. His father also died in an plane crash, 1913. He was 21 years of age and father of one.




   After an unbroken record of activity from 1843, it is stated Lord John Sanger’s circus and menagerie is to go on tour no more until the end of the war. The big tent has been stored away, the animals disposed off, and the seventy-five draught horses, including the famous royal cream ponies, are to be sold in London at an early date.

   “It is chiefly the labour trouble that has made us come to this decision,” said Mr. Sanger on Saturday. “We have decided to heed Mr Neville Chamberlain’s appeal, and not hold men employed with these show horses who can be utilised for work of national service. When the war is over we shall resume our tour.”

17/2/1917 The World’s Fair




              During the past week or two the end of three circus seasons has arrived. These circuses have been run in London, Glasgow, and Liverpool. Our readers know how successful Sir Robert Fossett’s Circus always is at the Agricultural Hall, and the lessee, Mr. T. E. Read, would never dream of attempting to run his World’s Fair without such a valuable draw. Hengler’s Circus in Glasgow has had another successful run and extra matinees have had to be given to cope with the crowds. At the Liverpool Olympia, the season has again been a record one, and it is interesting to read what the local papers say of the circus as an entertainment. The “Liverpool Courier” says: “There was a scene of enthusiasm in the Olympia on Saturday evening, when an immense audience bade farewell to the great circus, which, since Christmas, has afforded pleasure to many thousands. Notwithstanding the unusual condition of things under which we are living, this year’s circus has broken records, and has been kept longer than the previous one. It would certainly have continued for two or three weeks more, but it has been found necessary to close the theatre for three weeks in order to make preparations for the stupendous revue, ‘Follow the Flag,” which is now in course of construction. The circus idea has been very successfully tried for four years, and like pantomime, has certainly established itself in Liverpool as an institution. Not only the younger generation, but grown-ups will regret its unexpected early departure.” Now all the above cities are, to most people, over-stocked with places of amusement, but all reports have shown there is a great demand for the circus where bright, happy, and healthy amusement can be found. Our reason for drawing attention to the above is that we feel there is a growing demand for this class of entertainment, and we feel it is the duty of our readers to supply this want. Circusland had always been connected with Showland, and we have no desire to see a boom for circuses, when it does come, and we feel sure it is coming, to fall into the hands of outsiders. We all know what has happened in the cinematograph business where showmen, after doing all the spade work and paying the piper, have let the business slip out if their hands, and we do not wish to see the same take place in the case of the circus.

17/2/1917 The World’s Fair, Editor



   Havana, Cuba, Feb. 19. The uprising in Cuba has caused a panic among circus proprietors here. Other shows are also affected, but tent shows are the greatest sufferers. Before the disturbances, show business of all kinds was better than it has ever been. The Plantz Circus has closed and the company disbanded. All the circuses on the road have closed and the Santos & Artigos and O’Holoran’s Shows have returned to town. In districts not appreciably affected by disturbances show business continues good.

    7/3/1917 New York Clipper



   Paul Horompo, a midget, visited the Federal Naturalization Bureau last Friday and announced his intention to becoming a citizen of the United States. Paul was born in Hungary twenty-three years ago and was brought to this country for the Barnum & Bailey Circus. At present he is in vaudeville.

21/2/1917 New York Clipper





   Footit, the English clown, who went to France with Lord George Sanger’s circus in the eighties, settled down and became an established favourite in Paris, has spent a week between the British front on the Somme, where he has been giving two performances a day.

   With a son who has offered himself several times to the British Army, but has been rejected— one son has joined up— Footit gave shows in tents and huts, anywhere, in fact, where an audience could be gathered. One of the old clown’s shows was given before 3,000 men who were returning to the front trenches the next day.

   “They made the old clown cry, they are so wonderful,” Footit told a correspondent. “At the end of my show I called out to the boys: ‘Now give three cheers for your King and country.’ They cheered loudly; then I said: ‘Now give three cheers because you will all be in the front trenches tomorrow.’ One or two men laughed, but otherwise there was silence for a moment; then they all rose to their feet and cheered more lustily than ever. I cried, I couldn’t help it, they are so wonderful.”

23/2/1917 Newcastle Journal

also 3/3/1917 The World’s Fair



   The motor vehicle has now begun to oust the horse from its long monopolised importance in connection with travelling circus, the United States Circus Corporation, of New York, having just placed an order for no fewer that one hundred 3 1/2ton Kelly-Springfield trucks, on which the animals and properties of the circus will be transported from town to town and village to village throughout the United States.

24/2/1917 The World’s Fair



   Havana, Cuba, March 2. Havana is shut off from the rest of the island on account of the revolution. All the wires are down, and there are no trains leaving this city. There is considerable anxiety felt for shows on the road, which, though they have closed, have not reached here. The Pubiliones Circus played Camaguez more than two weeks ago, but nothing has been heard from it since. 

7/3/1917 New York Clipper



   On Wednesday, February 28th, at the Hospital Command Depot, Tipperary, the sick and wounded soldiers were entertained with a tea concert provided by Mrs. Cox, wife of Lieut.-Col. Fitz Cox, commandant at the depot, and other ladies who reside in and about Tipperary. It is interesting to note that the artistes who appeared were well up to the standard. These included Johnny Quinn, late principle clown of Buff Bill’s, Hanneford’s, and Duffy’s circuses, who gave the boys a treat with his extempore clowning, bringing in all the events that happened at the concert, and that charming little comedienne, Annie Quinn (daughter of Johnny Quinn) was the bright spot of the evening.

10/3/1917 The World’s Fair




   Havana, Cuba, March 7. Pubiliones and what is left of his circus troupe has been marooned in Camaguey since February 11, and can not move anywhere, not even to this city. Some of his acts, including the Toto Seigrist Troupe, who have arrived here were obliged to spend four days and nights in a little sailboat in order to reach this city. There seems to be little abatement in the Revolution. 

4/3/1917 New York Clipper




   Los Angeles, March 23. Capt. Jack Bonavita, famous animal trainer, died Monday night from injuries received when a polar bear attacked and mortally wounded him before the keepers could come to his assistance. Capt. Bonavita entered the show business a quarter of a century ago as an acrobatic performer with a wagon circus. He soon became trainer of the wild animal show and his life from that time had been a series of thrilling escapes. He was formerly associated with Bostock’s Jungle, and travelled the world and had appeared before royalty. He had had many narrow escapes more than most men in his profession.

28/3/1917 New York Clipper

31/4/1917 The World’s Fair



   A famous old performer— whose name, for the time being, I must not divulge— invited me the other day, for my own satisfaction, to witness his pupil— a most artistic young performer— a true Olympian— practice his unique Funambulistic “stunts.” Calm reflection showed me that I had discovered a rara avis in the direction of performers on the narrow path of the tightened rope. It would really be hard to find a more novel act, and it has rarely been my lot to see a youngster perform with such masterly ease; his somersaults, twisters, pirouette and new tricks being executed with incredible dexterity and grace. The act will be ready for showing in a month from now and if any enterprising entrepreneur would care to see it and would make it his business to communicate with me, I can promise him something worth travelling miles to see.


A first-rate “topper” at the Birmingham Hippodrome this week is Miss Cashmore’s great sporting act, introducing her five splendid white horses and highly trained canines. She is assisted by Joseph Cranston and his clever monkey. These performers some little time back, were the success of South America, being with the Frank Brown’s show for 18 months.

31/3/1917 The World’s Fair



   Los Angeles, Cal., April 7. According to the will of the late Capt. Jack Bonavita, “Monte,” his favorite lion, is to be given to the children of Brooklyn. In accordance with Bonavita’s wish, the animal will be shipped East at an early date and take up his permanent abode in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

7/4/1917 New York Clipper



Proof that the men of the outdoor show world are ready and willing to do their bit in defending Old Glory is evidenced in the fact that a movement is already under way to organize a detachment of outdoor showmen for active war service. It is estimated that when the detachment is completed it will have a minimum strength of about 1,500 men, although its actual quota may even double that number. 

   The movement started several weeks ago when Frank P. Sargent wrote to Secretary of War Baker offering the services of outdoor showmen and asking authority to organize a detachment of Big Top men to aid Uncle Sam in his trouble. Baker sent back word that Sargent would be called upon to make good his offer in the event of the outbreak of hostilities. 
    Now that war has actually been declared, Sargent and his assistants are already planning for the organization of the detachment, believing that the official order to assemble it is only a matter of a few days. 

   When the detachment is formed, Major J. H. Shanton will head it. For more than eight seasons, Shannon was chief cowboy with the Buffalo Bill Shows. Since that time, he has been connected with the New York mounted police and has also seen active service in Mexico. Heading the proposed outdoor showmen’s detachment, he would rank as its Colonel. Whatever may be the initial cost of the organization, Sargent says that he is willing to personally finance it.

11/4/1917 New York Clipper



Many Circuses Ready for the Road 

   In less than two weeks’ the circus season of 1917 will be in full blast with every manager almost hoping against hope that it may prove better than last year. 
    Despite the war scare managers have gone ahead and are willing to at least take the gambler’s chance. There are practically no new shows hitting the trail this summer, but some of those that made their initial bow last season and fell by the wayside are out again, but under new management, and with strong financial backing will make a try for some of the money supposed to be waiting for the circus, both large and small. 
    Of the old standbys there is not much new that can be said. They retain the same heads of departments and most of the same performers. As usual, the two big ones – the Barnum & Bailey and the Ringlings – divide the country.

The Hagenbeck & Wallace show will this spring again invade the East as far as Pennsylvania, there to buck up against not only the Barnum show but the Robinson and Sells-Floto as well. 
    The Wallace show this season goes out again with Billie Curtis as general superintendent. 
    The Robinson Ten Big Shows will endeavor this season to re-establish itself in the good graces of the people. In the South this show is a household word, and fears opposition from none of them, but, until Jerry Mugivan and Bert Bowers got control of it, and thoroughly reorganized it, it had lost most of its prestige. This season it goes out combined with the Howe’s London show’s equipment and a lot of new stuff.

18/4/1917 New York Clipper


Army Service Corps.

 Driver Jack Powell.

Engine Driver Jack Powell is the second son of Arthur Powell now travelling the North, and grandson of the late John Whaite, artist, of Manchester. He would like to hear from old friends. his address is: Engine Driver J. Powell, 281442, A.S.C., M.T,, Saltfleetby, Louth, Lincolnshire.

The World’s Fair Ltd.    




    John G. Robinson, of circus fame, has tendered his services to the Government, and his name has been enrolled on the list of reserves for the quartermaster’s department. W. I. Swin is another showman connected with the quartermaster’s department, and in case of active service will be enrolled with the rank of captain. The value of experienced showmen in handling transportation matters was demonstrated to the Government during the Spanish-American War, when Broncho John Sullivan was put in charge of the loading and shipping of all stock from Tampa to Cuba.

21/4/1917 Billboard

   Chicago, April 21. Will Delavoye, principal and producing clown with the Sells-Floto Circus, has turned over his eighty-six acre farm on Pensacola Bay, Fla., to the government for army or navy purposes.

25/4/1917 New York Clipper

   Len Goheen will not troupe this season. He says he will go to war if Uncle Sam needs him.

28/4/1917 Billboard



Wexford: “Duffy’s Circus arrived in town in May 1917. It promised a noble stud of horses and coloured ponies along with a troupe of lady and gentlemen acrobats. Also to be looked forward to was “Mademoiselle Petresque, the female human serpent – a mystery to all the medical experts of America”. Add to these, Texas Jack, the famous rough rider, a merry gathering of men in motley, 10 clowns and several rare attractions and you had an excellent entertainment. To add to the excitement Duffy’s promised a gorgeous street procession.”

Wexford County Online publication



   Frank Paulo: I am pleased to say I got back from the war in early 1917. With my gratuity I bought a couple of horses and broke them for the ring. With the help of a “mechanic,” my daughter Clara was taught to ride. She loves it. Meanwhile, the other children, excited by these circus preparations, are playing truant from school and climbing on the horses’ backs and imitating their elders. I have set up a post for the rings and muscles are hardening on them.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C-C R



Circuses Aid Recruiting for Navy. 

   Two circuses have volunteered to do their share towards encouraging enlistment in the United States Navy. John Ringling, for the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and his brother, Charles, for the Ringling Brothers Circus, are giving their cooperation in this direction to Commander K. M. Bennett, officer in charge of the United States Navy Publicity Bureau. The two circuses will carry with them a corps of United States officers and representatives to recruit wherever the circuses exhibit, to give out information, to answer questions, and to distribute literature. 
    Circuses should be especially effective for propaganda purposes because of the large crowds they draw on show days and because of the vastness of the territory they cover during their tours. These two organizations, between now and next November, will completely cover the entire country, exhibiting in small towns as well as large cities and attracting throngs from surrounding districts. Their campaign will be far-reaching and is expected to bring forth big results.

2/5/1917 New York Clipper




   The Duke of Bedford, presiding on Monday at the annual meeting of the Zoological Society, said the animals were now being fed on food unfit for human consumption.

Meat was limited to horseflesh purchased from the Army. The potato problem presented no puzzle. Though they used to use over 15,000 lbs a year they use none now.

   Bread has been prepared by flour not up to the Board of Trade standard and by stale ships’ biscuits rejected as no longer fit for use. Other substitutes were paddy rice and lotus beans for wheat, split beans and maize for oats, trusses rejected by the Army and grass from London parks for hay, salted or stale fish for fresh, except for some delicate birds, and mangle wurzels and beet root for bananas. Sugar (about 51lb a week in all), greens, dates, and bananas are used in small quantities, but only such as are unfit for human food.

5/5/1917 World’s Fair 


In Penzance Police Court on Wednesday Col. H. W. Williams, a magistrate, drew attention to the advertisements of a circus travelling through Cornwall. As a member of the County Tribunal, where the question of food shortage was often discussed, and having in mind the face that a member of a Penzance firm had informed him they had not sufficient fodder for their horses, it was a serious matter, seeing the amount of fodder which the circus horses consumed.

   Lord St. Levan said the Government were making a return of the horses kept by everybody, and when that return was received they would no doubt consider the matter.

22/5/1917 The World’s Fair




   Mr. John Purchase, Junr., of Purchase’s Menagerie, who is now in India, sends us the following cutting from the “Madras (India) Times”:—

   “A Bogra correspondent reports a daring dacoity which was committed by a large number of Mohammedans in a fair at Mahasthan Gar in that district. It is said about 100 attacked in broad daylight a Poona circus party, assaulted the players and shop-keepers, set fire to the tent and looted about Rs. 10,000 in cash and property. A lion getting temporary release mauled some animals. The police on duty sent information to the Superintendent of Police and the Magistrate Armed police soon arrived and arrested about 24 men.

19/5/1917 The World’s Fair



Auto Circus Has Many Guessing. 

   Now that the circus season is well under way there is considerable speculation in the outdoor show world as to whether or not Frank P. Spellman’s outfit is going to take to the road. Opinion seems rather equally divided on the point. 
    Ever since Spellman declared his intention of putting out a big show on motor trucks, the eyes of the circus world have been glued upon him, for all have been anxious to see the outcome of such a revolutionary venture. There have been many wiseacres who, from the first, have predicted that it “can’t be done,” while others have been just as quick to declare that Spellman is leading the other showmen in outdoor progress. 

23/5/1917 New York Clipper



Boston, May 29. Nearly two hundred employes of the Ringling Brothers circus will be obliged to register for conscription on June 5 in this city. Arrangements probably will be made for an election official of the Back Bay section to have an office on the lot on that morning. The show reaches here Sunday, June 8. Nearly one-third of the acrobats with the show are within the conscription age limit, according to the advance men of the circus.

30/5/1917 New York Clipper




    Paul Schoene, the hand balancer, trapezist and loop walker, left the Cooper Bros. Shows at Conrad, Mont., June 2, to join the colors. He has enlisted in the Navy.

16/6/1917 New York Clipper





   A misapprehension exists among a large number of men who are affected by the Military Service (Review of Exemptions) Act as regards the time during which they may apply to the local tribunal for exemptions. All such application must be made within thirty days after the date of issue of the statutory notice calling them up for re-examination, and not within thirty days – which brings them out of date – of the date of examination of the calling-up notice to the colours.




Claude Powell (37), circus proprietor, 137, Dawlish Road, Bournbrook, was summonsed before the magistrates in the Second Court of Birmingham Police to-day, for being an absentee under the Military Services Act.

It was explained that the proceedings were of a friendly character, with a view to giving defendant an opportunity of providing his contention that the Act did not apply to him as he was not “ordinarily resident in this country.”

   Mr. F. E. Darling, the defendant, described Powell as a nomad, adding that his family had been of nomadic tendencies as far as it could be traced back. His parents were in the circus business, and defendant, who was born at Rochdale, left England when five years of age and had travelled all over the world.

   When war broke out he was in America. From there he went to Cuba, and he came to England to fix up an engagement in South Africa. At the termination of the engagement there, he failed to get another and returned to England, where he had an engagement of Blackpool. At present he was in this country against his will, and because he could not get away again. In 1910 he married a German woman, and had three children, the eldest being born in Germany and the two others in Blackpool and Yarmouth. The Bench decided the defendant came within the provisions of the Military Services Act and committed him to await an escort. No fine was imposed.

20/6/1917 Birmingham Mail




              Sir,— It has come to my notice that the showmen soldiers are wishing to wear some kind of badge of recognition so that should they meet at any time: out here they can always welcome and be welcomed with the same thoroughness which has always been characteristic of this widely-known body. As I perceive, you think that a difficulty may arise as to whether the Army will recognise the adornment of this sign. Judging from my own observations a large number of Tommies out here have some charm or seal attached to their watch chain, which is generally hung from the top breast pocket and is allowable in the Army, why not attach the Showmen’s Guild badge to the chain by a small ring. I have mentioned this to two there of our boys who are of this profession and they heartily agree with me. Hoping to hear of this being taken up by the mass of boys who are now serving in the colours.— Yours, etc.,


              HENRY HARVEY,


              9th Lancers, B.E.F., France

   The many friends of Charley Colman, formerly of Bostock’s Circus, will be sorry to hear he is at present lying in Edmonton Ep. Colony, Silver Street, London, N. 18, suffering from paralysis of the right arm and leg. Charley was out in France with Mr. and Mrs. Bostock when war broke out and immediately after he did two trips to Canada with Harry Clarke, the well-known horse dealer, collecting horses for the Army. He then joined the Army Service Corps and was drafted to France, where he contracted the paralysis, he then being discharged. He has previously spent six months in the Camberwell Infirmary. He sends his best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. W. Pinder, of Lavilledien, France, and Mrs. and Miss Bostock.

23/61917 World’s Fair



   This well-known circus has lately been touring through Oxfordshire and adjoining counties, and last Wednesday paid a very welcome visit to Bledington. There were performances in the afternoon and evening which were well patronised. We heartily congratulate Mr. Harry Fossett and all the artistes who, in spite of the great present day difficulties, do their utmost to give the public every satisfaction. The programme, an excellent one in every way, and by far the best seen in this neighbourhood for a great many years, includes the following: Joey, Pony, and Clown; Mrs. Macken, trapeze act: Tom Keyes, bar act: Miss Doris and her sister in their marvellous bending act, an excellent turn for artistes so young as these. Little Arthur, England’s smallest bareback rider; Mons. Henry, on his silver wire; Kelly, the baboon with human brain, introduced by his trainer Henry; Miss Priscilla, stirrup act; the original Funny Harry, Funny Phillips and his dog; Miss Carrie Fossett in her latest war songs, a smart up-to-date act; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Fossett in their daring jockey act; Rattlesnake Bill and Young Arthur, whip cracking, rope throwing, etc.; Funny Philips on his stilts; Mr. Willie Scott in his dashing trick act; Star, the educated pony, with the South African monkey, introduced by Count Floyd, Excellent clowning by Redhot, Chaplain, and Funny Harry. Special reference must be made to H. Phillips in his stilt act, this is certainly the cleverest performance on the stilts we have seen, and is a novel and unique act which deserves much praise.

23/61917 The World’s Fair 




 L. Morey, last with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was a caller at The Billboard last week, and was wearing the uniform of the Supply Company, Third Ohio Regiment, now stationed in Eden Park, Cincinnati. Morey hails from Dayton, O., and enlisted in that city July 4 and saw service with the boys down on the border during the recent Mexican trouble. Another one of the Hagenbeck-Wallace boys in the same company is Wm. Barker, of Parkersburg, W. Va. 

Peter W. Barlow Dies.

   Peter W. Barlow, aged 48, bareback rider, acrobat and elephant trainer, died in his apartments at the Park View Hotel, Pittsburg, Pa., June 11. Barlow was born in England, and started his career under the white tops at the early age of seven, going out as an apprentice to Ten Bausard. He next toured Australia with the famous St. Leon Circus, then joined the Eldrids in a tour of India and the East, and later returned to the Antipodes, joining the Wirths. After he had toured nearly the entire globe with the Circo Chirini, he became recognized as one of the world’s premier bareback riders. In later years, he was seen with the Barnum & Bailey Show, doubling in an acrobatic act. In 1901 Barlow joined Fank Bostock, and during his connection with Mr. Bostock, as an elephant trainer, he introduced many tricks hitherto unknown. Upon the opening of the New York Hippodrome, he was engaged by Thompson & Dundy to put on the Hippodrome elephants, and the act was one of the most talked of offerings of the day. Of late years Barlow had appeared in vaudeville with a dog and pony act (Barlow’s Comedy Circus), and until a few days before his death, was connected with the Brunen Carnival Company. He is survived by his widow and a daughter. Interment was in New York City.

23/6/1917 New York Clipper



    News has been received by Mr Henry Dolman, Highfield Lane, North Wingfield, that his youngest son Sergt. William Dolman, who was serving with one of the Canadian Entrenching Battalions, has been killed by a shell in France. Sergt. Dolman, who is a brother of Mr Matthew Dolman, Senr. Bailiff at the Chesterfield County Court, had been through the South African war, gaining two medals and six bars. He went to Canada some years ago and enlisted there on the outbreak of war. He was a keen boxer and wrestler, and was sparring partner to Johnson and Ginnett during their tour of Canada. Before going to Canada he won the heavyweight lifting competition at Algy’s Circus. Sergt. Dolman was 35 years of age, and is survived by his wife, who lives in Sale, Cheshire.    

29/6/1917 Belper News  



              We are informed that a syndicate has been formed to build a huge circus in London as soon as the war comes to an end. A capital site has been secured in the West End and all arrangements are complete for proceeding with the venture. At the moment we are not at liberty to state who are the promotors.

14/7/1917 The World’s Fair



   The “Montreal Star” (says the “Daily Express” correspondent) quotes a statesman from the “Boston Christian Science Monitor” to the effect that Charlie Chaplin will shortly join up. The “Monitor’s” report says:—

The inimitable motion picture performer who is known to all the inhabitants of the world is immune to German censorship as Charlie Chaplin, has taken the great war and his relationship to it very seriously. Like Harry Lauder, he has put a large part of his professional earnings into British bonds.

   On June 5th he was among the first to register at Los Angeles, Cal., and under the call of his native England, he will cross the ocean and report for military duty at an early date. Meanwhile, he will enter into no new film contracts. Whether it shall be screened or not, however, he has never appeared in a more creditable role than that of an obedient son to his mother country.

14/7/1917 The World’s Fair




   The army authorities have long been accused of not putting soldiers to the particular branch where they would be most useful. but it is pleasing to know, at least in one instance, this has now been done. A short time ago we announced that Mr. G. Tyrwitt Drake, ex-Mayor of Maidstone, and owner of the largest private menagerie in England, had joined the colours as a private, and it is interesting to know that at the same veterinary hospital to which he has been sent are William Manders, of Mander’s Menagerie, and G. T. Sadler, who was formerly keeper to Mr. Tyrwitt Drake’s troupe of performing bears (Madame Doris) and previously lion tamer with F. E. Bostock and Lord George Sanger.

21/7/1917 The World’s Fair



 H. Clark, who for twelve and a half years trouped in the United States with Bostock, Ferari, Hagenbeck, Forepaugh and the Ten Big, is now a member of the King’s forces in England.


Rue Enos, fool contortionist, has joined the Yankee Robinson Circus to do his comedy contortion act.

21/7/1917 New York Clipper




   Blackpool without the Tower Circus would be sadly deficient in its entertainment, and Mr. Geo. H. Harrop, the general manager, sees to it that the Circus improves year by year and thus adds to the pleasure of the thousands of Blackpool’s visitors, who show their appreciation of his efforts which is demonstrated by the large audiences at the various performances (says the “Times”)

   A remarkable large animal turn is that given by the three Sisters Della Cossa, who introduce three huge Burmese elephants and three horses, which go through a series of evolutions together that denotes not only the docility of the huge animals but also the perfect training of both them and the horses. The mammoths are most tractable and allow the ladies to do whatever they please with them, their every command being obeyed promptly and with precision.

   Lord John Sanger’s sea lions are another animals turn which merits the large measure of praise and rounds of applause that greet the numerous marvellous balancing and equilibristic tricks they indulge in. The remarkable thing is that the seals do all their balancing and equilibristic work on the tip of their noses. Their performance invariably evokes enthusiastic applause. Ague Gudzow is the fearless Russian rider who took Blackpool audiences by storm with his daring riding at Whitsuntide, and is once more amazing Tower audiences and eliciting round after round of applause. Pimpo and Tiny, the comedy elephants, cause much amusement by the burlesque of putting a baby to bed, having a meal, and taking part in a boxing bout with one of the artistes, and finally playing the big drums.

21/7/1917 The World’s Fair



Con Colleano’s All Star Circus is presenting a fine show in Australia, with exceedingly good acts. We look forward to seeing more.

The Lachlander, July 1917



   Drummer Rabbitt… writes:— “Just a little line to say, I am quite well, and still continue to receive the good old “World’s Fair” each week. About two months ago I got a shock on opening it. The first thing to meet my eye was a photo of my best chum, Georgie Wood (late with T. Essam). He was my best pal so you can guess it was a bit of a shock to see he had been killed. We had known each other for years, and his father (whom I was associated with) is one of the best know characters round Kettering district. The last time I saw George was at Northampton Fair in October, 1914. I remember, some years ago, on Stamford Road Ground, Kettering, a model roundabout being made by Paul Wright, brother to Harry Wright, a well-known traveller. George, I, and Johnny were also very interested in it. Upon it’s completion I bought it from Johnny. It evoked much interest wherever it was built. Through the “W.F.” I am now able to communicate with Johnny (whose photo appeared the same week.)…

28/7/1917 The World’s Fair




   Mr. R. H. A. Davies held an inquest at Brynmawr on Wilfred Hawkins (5), The son of Mr. E. Hawkins, Worcester Street, Brynmawr, who died at Ebbw Vale Hospital on Monday following injuries received on May 26th, when he was mauled by a performing bear at the show ground. Evidence was given to the effect that the bear chased the lad, and afterwards hugged him. The bear had been kept in the back of the van of the owner, and this van with others formed an enclosure.


   The Coroner remarked that the police had made every investigation and found that the bear had been allowed to mingle among the people at Abergavenny, where it was considered quite tame and harmless. Continuing, he said he could quite believe that the bear had been teased by the lads. As he was going to Merthyr recently the lads had thrown stones at his ear, and others had stood near as possible to it without getting injured.

   The jury agreed a verdict of “Accidental death”

28/7/1917 The World’s Fair



   Winninger Bros. Wagon Show was compelled to close temporarily at Steubenville, O. This is a small show and so great a percentage of the members were called for the army that the show was seriously handicapped.

11/8/1917 New York Clipper



As briefly announced in our last issue the sad news has been received that Bombardier D. J. Taylor, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. David Taylor, was killed in action on August 1st. He was only 28 years of age, and the sad news has come as a great blow to his wife and relatives as well as to a large circle of friends, in a letter to his wife one of his officers writes:—

   Dear Mrs. Taylor,— It grieves me very much to inform you that you husband was killed in action on the evening of the 1st inst. I was not there at the time, but, according to accounts from his fellow N.C.O.’s, he was returning to the guns after delivering a message when a shell burst just by him killing him instantly. He was buried on August in a pretty little cemetery some distance behind the line, a representative of officers, N.C.O.’s and men being present. I am sure you have my deepest sympathy at this sad hour. Your husband was one of our best men and has done excellent work since coming out here. He was ever cheerful and ready to do his duty whatever the danger. Amongst the men he was a great favourite, always putting their interests before his own. I can assure you the Battery have sustained a great loss through his death. The officers, N.C.O.’s, and men of the Battery desire me to express their deepest sorrow with you. I trust it may be some consolation to you to know your husband was such a good soldier and that he was held in such high esteem by everyone here.—

Yours sincerely,

              LIEUT. E. J. BLAYNEY,

                            Shrops. R.H.A.

 The World’s Fair



 The sad news has been received of the death in action on July 31st of Sapper Charles Wilfred Smith, Royal Engineers, oldest son of Mr Smith, florist of Victoria Market, Oldham. He was 30 years of age and leaves a widow and three children who live at Oldham Road, Rochdale. He enlisted fourteen months ago. before which he carried on the business of fruiterer and florist, and for some years he toured with the Lomas Troupe. His widow is a daughter of Captain Payne, a well known showman.

18/8/1917 The World’s Fair



              Champion Jess Willard may be 6ft.7in, and too tall for the trenches, but he is to have a chance to do his “bit” without going to France.

   Lawson Robertson (the old Olympic sprinter and coach of the University of Pennsylvania), who is in charge of training camp activities at Plattsburgh under the Fordick Commission wants Jess to come there and give a boxing exhibition for the benefit of the thousands of prospective army officers.

   Soldier Kearns is in the camp. Kearns is in the artillery. He says that he is willing to put on the gloves with Jess again, for either a fight or an exhibition, and that he does not want money for doing it either. This is a whole lot of willingness, for the doughty soldier must have a vivid recollection of the tremendous right hander Jess landed on his chin once, years ago, before Jess was even considered a championship possibility. That blow put Kearns out and spoiled his chance to become a title chaser. He has just knocked out One Round Davis in a round, and was looked upon as a second Tom Sharkey. …

18/8/1917 The World’s Fair



George A. Glover, circus trouper of Aiken, S. C., appeared at the local recruting office of the army this week, and after stating that he had failed to register because of the movements of the show with which he travelled, asked that he be allowed to enlist. He was accepted and assigned to the infantry after he had appeared before the board.

18/8/1917 New York Clipper



Between the plea for soldier recruits and the unprecedented demand for labor, circuses are finding it almost impossible to get crews. Practically every tent show is short of hands, and many have none at all, making it necessary for the performers to put up and take down their own show. This is even true with the Barnum & Bailey outfit.

22/8/1917 New York Clipper



   Lord George Clowes, circus proprietor, Tower, New Brighton, Has been wounded in the back and chest while serving somewhere in Belgium.

21/8/1917 Liverpool Echo



At the close of the evening performance at “Bronco Bills” Circus at Marlow, on August 14, some excitement was caused by a “round-up” carried out by the military and police, with a view of securing men who were evading military service. The result of the “raid” was the appearance of four men at the Marlow Police Court on the following morning, the magistrates being Mr. A. Davies (in the chair) and Mr.W. J. Morgan. The men were Goff Godfrey, of Stoke Newington, circus artist: William Crecraft, Newport, Mon, circus follower; Thomas E. Dolbear,, no home, circus follower: and Frank Groves, of Wolverhampton, circus follower, charged with failing to report for service. Lieutenant C. P. Wright, Recruiting Officer, Aylesbury, and Lieutenanant J. B. Rickatson-Hatt, Recruiting Officer, Wycombe represented the military authorities. After hearing the evidence the magistrates made an order in each case for the man to be handed over to the military authorities

Two other members of the circus staff were charged with failing to produce a National Registration card. Their names are Albert George Wallace, no home, circus follower and Alexander E. Fisher, Bath, groom, both being youths between 17 and 18 years of age. The defendants pleaded guilty, and were fined 10s each.

25/8/1917 Reading Mercury



   Private W. Testo is the son of Kate and Billy Testo… He has recently undergone an operation in France and is now in hospital in Macclesfield.

1/9/1917 The World’s Fair



   Billy Exton is in Detroit awaiting the call to the army. During his absence from the Sells-Floto Show his position as press agent will be filled by Ed Deck, a former newspaper man of Los Angeles.

1/9/1917 Billboard



   At St. Columb, on Friday, Thomas Fossett, a circus proprietor, was summoned for exercising a lottery by offering at Wadebridge on August 1st a gun-metal watch, which was to be worn by the person purchasing a certain book of songs. Mrs. Fossett, junr., represented defendant, and admitted the charge. Police Inspector Northcroft said he visited the circus. One of the defendant’s employees came out into the ring, and it was announced that a number had been previously chosen, and that the person purchasing the particular song book which had a corresponding number would get a watch. Later on it was announced that the number chosen was 1,484, and the holder was asked to step forward. A man named Sweet held up his song book, and was presented with the watch. A similar procedure was adopted at St. Columb the following day. Witness spoke to Mr. Fossett about it, and he replied that he had travelled all the way down from Wales and had conducted a similar thing everywhere and had never been interfered with before. If it was wrong he would discontinue the practice.— Fined 6s.

8/9/1917 World’s Fair



Private James Sweeny writes:

“In sending these few lines to you it is mainly with the idea of “Owt for nowt,” that is to say out here one can’t get much news, and I would be real happy if I could get a “World’s Fair.” I was talking to a sergeant of the King’s Own (a Yorkshire “tyke”) and he spoke of Woodhouse, Armley, Kirkstall, Eccleshill, Dewsbury, Holbeck. I wonder what you are all doing, Chas, Relph, Monty (of Irish Norah fame), Tippler White, Hobson’s pictures and posing, Sedgewick’s (Arthur and dear old Dad), Alf. Testo, and the Rev. T. Horne, Mr. and Mrs. Piper. Does Jim Watson still tell them about his likely lads? Did Bert Hughes get any decent houses on August Bank Holiday? My address is: Pte. Jas. Sweeney, 39492, 65th Trench Mortar Battery, Salonica Forces. All my wants are supplied from home (Liverpool) but I should like to read your paper. Last night I was back with Ben Hobson. We were building up, and then I woke up shortly after. I could pay for it quite easy but P.O.’s are very scarce and the crowd are far from base. I wonder if Bill Spendler (of Waddington’s yachts) is still lucky? Still I can’t help thinking of the happy days. A peep behind the scenes. Does tippler White remember that P.C. he got one Saturday at Oldham going to join up? how is Pauline, Carrie, Miss Elizabeth and Jim Chipperfield, also Frank Montano. Happy days of Long ago. Does anyone know where Paddy Burns is? If Mrs. Wesley wants any variety this beats Crosses. I must now conclude, wishing all the best of luck, Mrs. Ben Hobson, where is your driver? I’m in Macedonia, Merci Beaucoup, bon jour, Madame.”


Pt. Thomas Gardner, 16259, A.V.C., No. 5 Section, B.E.F., France writes:

   “Just a line to say I have been able to get the ‘W.F.’ every week, although somewhere in France, and reading the sensible part of it, ‘The Showmen’s Motto, We keep our own poor.’ Seeing you comment on same I think it only right we who profess it should act up to it and it would not rob the pocket of any traveller, say one or two days in the year to give a donation as he can afford to do, but to think no worse of those who can’t afford a trifle. I have been often named ‘Mysterious Tommy.’ It is a mystery to me why such a good scheme has not sprung up before now. So I look forward to reading the ‘W.F.’ where some of the tober look-outs have taken the matter well in hand. Well, it would surprise the the boys on the grounds to see so many showmen somewhere in Froggy France.’ We all know the meaning of the word ‘Showman’ is to show men what showmen are doing…… this is just what the ‘touch-em’ boys are doing. Showing Fritz they don’t keep a shooter on the fair ground for nowt. We’ve got out here one of Sanger’s lion tamers. Now he’s doing his bit taming Huns for King and the good old country. So he’ll be well able to bounce when showing at the next big fair. Let it be Hull Fair if you wish it. I was reading in the ‘W.F.’ of a certain Lord Mayor joining as a private. I find he now grooms odd mares in a vet’s camp. I wonder if he finds any difference in mayor or mare. Well, it’s about ‘lights out’ so down goes pencil. Wishing your good paper the best of luck and all travellers likewise. Keep smiling boys, good days to come.’

8/9/1917 The World’s Fair



 Ever hear of a “Yiddisher Artillery”? There is one with Sells-Floto. In the street parade there is a British field piece, which is drawn by two small elephants, and mounted on the cannon are three uniformed men. These three happen to be “Mickey” Goldberg, Jake Bloom and Willie Souble, the Hebrew ticket sellers. 

8/9/1917 Billboard 

Frederick Sargent, an outdoor showman, is now in France with a contingent of Big Top men who have volunteered in the service of the United States. Sargent has the rank of Captain. More than a thousand circus men are reported to be under his command, including “Lady” Bob Montgomery, who had the rank of First Lieutenant, “Blackjack” Sullivan, Jimmy McGuire, “Punk” Brunswick, Baldwin Sours and a host of others. Sargent collected most of his army during the last winter’s outdoor show conventions at Chicago, many of the men being recruited from the Wortham Show, the Con T. Kennedy carnivals, and the Hagenbeck-Wallace outfit. 

12/9/1917 New York Clipper




   “An interesting wedding took place at Eastbourne, on Wednesday last (26th Sept 1917), the Happy couple being Sergt. R. Bratby, 27, of the Zola Brothers., and Miss Carrie Fossett,” 21, “Miss Christine” youngest daughter of “Funny Harry” and Harriet Fossett, circus proprietor. “Both bride and groom are well known in the circus profession, the groom being known as Young Sandow, the strong man. The wedding was attended by several boys in blue ( late of the circus world), but now, like the bridegroom, recuperating from wounds received in France. After the wedding the newly-married couple left for Norfolk where the circus of the bride’s father is at present touring.” After the wedding the couple hitched a lift in an army lorry, with Carrie in a great coat and cap, seated between 2 soldiers in the cab, to avoid discovery, should they be stopped. They are two fine performers in equestrian riding and will make an excellent double act on the one horse and she an equestrienne ballerina. We wish them well.

29/9/1917 World’s Fair with added family information



 Lawrence, formerly general manager of the John Robinson Ten Big Shows, and this season with advance car No. 1, has resigned from the show to answer Uncle Sam’s call. Lawrence, having been drafted, will be sent to the training camp at Rockford, Illinois. 
 William Roddy, “Bill,” is now devoting his services to Uncle Sam. On August 30 he was appointed a first lieutenant in the National Army. On September 5 he was called to the colors and assigned to the 301st Regiment of Stevedores, now located at Newport News, Va. “We are living under canvas,” says “Bill,” “and the camp is an active one – reminds me greatly of the white tops.” His circus experience got him the commission. 

   Yankee Robinson people contributed over one hundred and fifty dollars at Albuquerque to a Soldier’s Tobacco Fund. Bat Nelson is a Spanish War veteran, so he gave his afternoon gross receipts

29/9/1917 Billboard



   Cincinnati, O., Oct. 7. Harold Rufus Ray, circus clown, failed to appear for rollcall at Local Draft Board No. 3, to go to Camp Sherman with the third group of selectives. He was certified to adjutant-general as a deserter. 

10/10/1917 New York Billboard



   Private Alf Fossett is the son of Sir Robert Fossett, the famous circus proprietor, and has been a popular artiste at the World’s Fair, Islington, for many years. He has been in France some time now and would be pleased to hear from old friends. # 76170 No. 4 Platoon, 126 Labour Corps, B.E.F. France.

13/10/1917 The World’s Fair



   The Postmaster-General announces that letters and parcels intended for delivery to the troops in Egypt, Salonika, etc., by Christmas should be posted in time to reach London as long as possible in advance of the dates given below:—

13/10/1917 The World’s Fair



   Private Mat Mooney, whose address is: No. 51310, 86th Labour Co., 3rd Platoon, B.E.F., France writes:— …However, I have been lucky up to now and expect to be seeing you all in Blighty by Christmas. I think, myself, Fritz is about ready to throw in the towel. i notice a lot of the boys in our game are eager to see a mark of distinction worn on some part of the dress out here, and I think it a good idea as we must often pass one another at times out here. I have never had the luck to meet any boys of Showland yet. When I saw Pte. Kayes was in a Canadian Hospital, I walked many kilometres to try and find him as I am attached to the Canadians myself, but he must be a long way from me as I could not get to know where the hospital was. I am pleased to say that I don’t do so bad as regards getting letters from some of my friends, but would be glad to hear from Fred Stanley, Dan Gartland, or Johnny Stockwell, so you three hurry up and use the pen. We have some Manchester lads in our company and a lively lot they are. They all know the Oldham Street shop where I worked for a good while, and wish they were there again doing damage to the wax. In fact, one of them remembers C. Birch, junr. and myself throwing him out one Saturday night. Well, I think I have told you all this time. Hoping to hear from some of the boys soon.”

13/10/1917 The World’s Fair



Private Henry Beaumont whose address is: 018003, Pte. H. Beaumont, A.O.C., B.M.E.F., Salonica, writes: “Can you find a small space to put in ‘The World’s Fair’ that I should be very pleased to try and keep in touch with some of the old boys, as no doubt there will be plenty that remember me as one of the old school, late of Sedgewick’s and Mr. F. Bostock, although I have not done much in the old country of late years, but, in the event of my return shall be pleased to meet them again. Wishing them all the best of luck and pleased to hear that things are keeping up under the circumstances.”

   “Many thanks for your wonderful paper, ‘World’s Fair,’ dated Sept. 15th. The photo of the late Charles Hart reminds me of the time P. C. ran a circus down that way. The scheme of unity is strength to help themselves is just what not only Showland wants but the world at large. The Jewish people are to be admired in that respect. I have been out here 12 months and only been sick once. I was at the base when wounded some five months ago. Your paper got here prompt and caused me to feel more happy than you might realise. That scheme of yours may entail a lot of worry, but carry on, then you will know how sweet is the saying, ‘In all things charity.’ Yes, I have had uphill fights in civil life and won. Also that recognition badge—clever. These improvements make me think of that song “Oh, this is the end of a perfect day.’ Well, I hope this strafing will soon cease. Of course, not being born in a wagon, as you can guess, I filled the humble capacity of doorman and general factotum. So I was a ‘general’ before I entered the army. Oh, yes; oh, no. In regard to animal training, does Richard Sedgwick recollect Buckfastleigh Devon, the Bouncer, Monicer, and I? Well, if I failed to join the army at first I did try at Leeds Car Sheds (Swingate) and Oldham, then got a rejection form at Clitheroe, failed at Manchester, and accepted in my own town. Yes, kind hearts are nicer than coronets and I quite realise I am taking up some, if not a lot, of your valuable time. Please forgive me, Young Pat has fished out the ‘dinarii,’ lives up to his reputation. Some sport. Does Billy Slater carry on as usual? How are the Brockleys? Is James Leo still at it in blighty? Does Ellis Cook (Fossett’s wonder) still beat the band? If possible will enclose the ‘Balkan News.’ When I first went to the Technical School, Liverpool, to enlist, my insurance card was marked ‘traveller.’ The sergeant said what sort of traveller. Then I had to laugh. Oh, Monty, the Top King. Oldham Street. Where did you get that girl? What a manager! Sup up! Oh, I wish you meant it!”

27/10/1917 The World’s Fair




Hans Stosch-Sarrasani Reports: While Circus Sarrasani survives with our patriotic pantomimes in Dresden, the touring circus was been in Denmark (in 1915) and while it was there we started a collaboration with the Nordisk Film Company. They have just employed the circus’s elephants, zebras, and camels in a few shots for Robert Dinsen’s The Maharajah’s Favorite Wife (Maharadjahens Yndlingshustru) it was released this year. The Maharajah’s outfit worn by the leading actor, Gunnar Tolnaer, is magnificent. I think maybe it is time for a change from my cowboy one.

   I am sad to say that the war shortages have almost destroyed our important and magnificent menagerie: elephants and exotic animals have been taken by the Army to be used for transport, and most of the wild animals in the circus’s vast zoological collection have died or had to be killed.

   I am also working on another pantomime this one Torpedo… Los! will open in 1918 and I am happy to say that it will be presented at Circus Busch, Berlin.

Paraphrased from CP




   Sir Donald Maclean, M.P., on Monday presided at the sitting of the House of Commons Appeal Tribunal, when a music-hall artist, who was represented by Mr. Walter Frampton, appeared.

   The Chairman: You are on the music-hall stage. Then you will have to come off it, that is all I can say. We cannot have a young man of 28, and single, on the music-hall stage who is fit for any kind of service.

   The applicant: I am not fit for any kind of service.

   The Chairman: You are fit for C3, and if you can go about presenting sea lions you can be of some service to the Army.

   Applicant: Mine is a juggling scene. I have nothing to do with the sea lions.

   The Chairman: A month, final.

Applicant: I shall ask leave to appeal.

The Chairman: You won’t get it. If you can juggle on the music-hall stage, you can go into the army.

3/11/1917 World’s Fair




Thursday, November 8th. – When tonnage is so scarce it seems odd that room can still be found for consignments of wild animals. Mr. Peto drew attention to a coming cargo, including two hundred avadavats, the little birds about which Joseph Surface was so contemptuous, and six hundred monkeys – “sufficient,” as he pleasantly observed, to fill this House.”

Fenwick Cutting 14/11/1917 Punch



Driver F. Charlton is the son of the late Mr. F. A. & Mrs. Charlton of circus fame. He is now in India, and would be pleased to hear from any of his numerous friends in Showland.

10/11/1917 World’s Fair



   R.S.M. BRATBY is stationed at Catterick where he is working as a PT Instructor for the Army. His wife has joined him there. Italian P.O.Ws are part of the camp’s labour force.

Geoff Younger



   An unusual case under the Entertainment Tax Law was heard at Ottery St. Mary Bench on Tuesday, when Thomas Fossett, circus proprietor, was summonsed, but failed to appear. According to the prosecution (Mr. C. E. Fitzroy appeared for the Customs and Excise authorities) the local Excise Officer and a friend attended Fossett Circus at Sidbury on September 25th and purchased tickets, paying 2d each tax. The tickets were not taken from a roll, but from among loose ones. Proceeding to the entrance box they had in turn handed their tickets to Mrs. Fawcett, who tore one in two and gave each man a part. Thereupon the Excise Officer revealed his identity. The advocate said there was a reason to believe that it was the practice of the defendant to use loose tickets and give up the wrong pieces to patrons, thus pocketing the tax. In the Sidbury case the officer found that portions of tickets held by many persons attending the circus were not correct.

Mr. Fitzroy stated that Fossett was summonsed at Truro this year on three counts, one being the same as that heard now, and find £3 in each – a total of 9 pounds – the bench imposed the full penalty of £50.

16 /11/1917 Western Times



My Papa, Sam Truzzi, is the boss of the famous Truzzi’s the Russian Italian Circus. But all our family have had to leave Russia and everything behind because of the revolution. We had to go in a submarine from Sevastapol. On the submarine there was also Nicholai Nicholaivich, the brother of the dead Czar.

   My Papa left only with a valise full of rubles. When we arrived at Constantinople Papa found that the Czar’s currency was worthless. Now we have absolutely nothing. We all wish to continues working as circus performers.

Narrative extracted Ref Online -Massimiliano Truzzi

Note Other sources say Nicolaivich left on HMS Marlbrough 1919.  



I happened to meet Madame Herculine the other evening who informs me that she has had a most successful season with Tom Fossett. Everybody admires a demonstration of unusual strength in a lady and Madame Herculine provides such an exhibition in abundance. So, I shall merely mention in passing that I see in her performance what I imagine to be an excellent “draw” for picture-house or sideshow.

15/12/1917 The World’s Fair



   Albert Flexmore, of the Royal Bucks Hussars, having been wounded in Egypt, has been lying in hospital in Birmingham, the town in which he first saw the light. His many friends (circus and otherwise) will be glad to know that, thanks to a fine physique, he had already been drafted to his regiment in Ireland to recoup. Albert is the son of Mrs. Flexmore, so favourably known in Ireland, and nephew of our own clown, Harry Gilleno.

15/12/1917 The World’s Fair



   Showmen although known all over the world as generous people, are slow at recognising the necessity of looking after themselves


There was never a greater need for a Benevolent Fund and still many thousands of Showmen have not sent along their donations.



If YOU think it isn’t, send along your donation to:


The Secretary

who is himself a Showman


“World’s Fair” Offices,


15/12/1917 The World’s Fair



   At West London Police Court on Friday, Alfred Rossi, proprietor of Rossi’s Musical Elephants, appeared to an adjourned summons, taken out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, alleging that he ill-treated a performing elephant at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 7th.

   The prosecution stated that the animal, which was known as “Daisy,” fell twice on its journey to the theatre, and although it was doused with three bottles of whiskey, it was unable to do its tricks. The defendant did his best to coax it, but it was alleged that an attendant goaded the elephant with a short spike. The animal has since died.

   Considerable interest was aroused by the arrival at the court of the three remaining elephants, which, gaily caparisoned and trumpeting loudly, made a brave show, as with jingling bells and gold-tipped feet they marched along the street, and lined up in front of the court buildings. In the courtyard the elephants were inspected by Mr. Boyd, the magistrate, at the request of Mr. Hanson, who defended.

   Frederick Stamp, inspector of the R.S.P.C.A., stated that on November 9th he saw the defendant, who said “The elephant was all right until I was going to the show, when she fell down twice. She was all right at the first house, but was not so well at the second. After the show I took her to the stable, and she died next morning. Asked if the animal groaned, he said, “She never said a word.”


   Mr. T. W. Chamberlian, M.R.C.V.S., said that the examination of the body showed that the elephant was in the second stage of pneumonia.

15/12/1917 The World’s Fair



Circus Experts Offer Aid to Government 
Will Advise on Transportation.

    At a meeting of important circus men held this week, it was decided to offer to the government the services of experts on transportation, who have learned by long experience with the tent shows just how to transport large bodies of men and equipment. 
    It is expected that the offer will be received gladly by the State Department at Washington, as the efficient methods of circus men can be applied directly and with great advantage to the moving of supplies for the army. 
    Through long years of close application and study the circus men have familiarized themselves with the various roads of the country, and with the obstacles that are met in transportation. For this reason there is probably no class better equipped on this subject in the world. 
    The booking of a circus or show depends largely on its transportation experts for its success. In touring across the country the making of jumps in the most efficient way is essential to the success of the company. This fact is demonstrated by the instance of the Barnum and Bailey tour of Europe some years ago. 

Business Affected by War.

Future of Circus Business in Doubt 
By Fletcher Smith. 
    The season passed has been an eventful one in circus history. It has been full of surprises, and more surprises are in store ere the blue birds take wing in the spring. What the future of the circus will be is problematical. Circus managers hope for the best, but the railroad situation is serious and it is a question whether circuses will not be classed by the Government as non-essentials and the railroads will refuse transportation. 
    Circus owners are doing nothing at present in fitting up for the next season. All are waiting for the first of the year, when it is expected the railroad magnates will arrive at some decision. Circuses have felt the effects of the war this fall, as, for the first time in the history of circusdom, all of the roads running from Washington south refused to haul circus trains. Carnivals also suffered, lost time and dates, and, in many cases, were obliged to close.

19/12/1917 New York Clipper



   To all our readers both at home and abroad, especially our soldier boys. we beg to tender the Season’s Greetings. To those at home who are assisting to keep the businesses going we extend our good wishes for a busy and happy Christmas, and to our soldier boys we tender in the name of Showland, as happy a Christmas as they can possibly have under the present circumstances. To those of our readers who have lost sons and relatives we send our condolences and sympathy. Showland has suffered severely in the war. May the coming year see a successful end to hostilities and 1918 bring a brighter and happier time to all.

22/12/1917 The World’s Fair



Last night, Bishop Taylor Smith, Chaplain-General of the Forces, spoke at the Pleasant Sunday Evening service at the Tower Circus, Blackpool, taking for his subject the words. “Be of good cheer,” words he said were used on four separate occasions by our Lord. They could have the merriest Christmas they had ever known if they knew their sins had been forgiven. Some people asked, “Why did God allow all this awful carnage to go on.” It was through tribulation they entered into the Kingdom.

24/12/1917 Lancashire Evening Post





   Mr. Hamlyn, the dealer in wild animals, is trying to discover an English boy ready to be trained into a successful buyer and organiser of transit in the countries where the animals are trapped. He must be prepared to go through the drudgery of learning the business thoroughly at Shadwell before going abroad. This is necessary, because the buyer must thoroughly understand the habits, feeding, and management of the creatures he deals in. He must know how to pack them, and how to provide for their food during a long overseas journey. He must also be a keen commercial man, capable of driving a good bargain with natives or hunters, and able to keep his own end up in freightage dealing with shipping agents. The rare boy who combines all these qualities will betake himself either to the forest of South Africa to bargain with natives or Boer hunters, or he will establish himself in one of the Indian cities and familiarise himself gradually with the business ways of native hunters and trappers.

5/1/1918 The World’s Fair



   Corporal Jack Lewis, whose address is 8447, 10th Warwicks, c/o A.P.M., 19th Division, France, writes:— “Would you please send me a copy of the “World’s Fair,” as I have not had one for a long time. I have seen a lot of boys of Showland out here. I have been out here now over two years and a half, and I am thankful I am still in the land of the living. Of course you know me, Corporal Jack Lewis, of the Warwicks, late of Bostock’s Circus. Will you please remember me to Mr. Joe Caddick, junior., of Brownhills, Staffs., and tell him I am coming to Hednesford after this is all over. Will you please give my best wishes for a peaceful New Year and I hope all the boys will be back on the old tobers once again in full swing. I have still got my photo and “World’s Fair,” which I had in June, 1915. I must now close, hoping all my dear friends in Showland are well and wishing every success for the good old showman’s paper, “The World’s Fair.” Wishing you all a Happy New Year.”

12/1/1918 The World’s Fair



   Jess Willard’s show, Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Brothers are in winter quarters in Chicago, unable to decide what to do. Their situation is made more difficult by the fact that their running expenses continue, the animals all requiring a great amount of food, which is in itself scarce.

16/1/1918 New York Clipper







   The “turns” were on just the same lines as you are accustomed to in a music hall at home. There are the usual couple— a man in a fantastic tramp’s costume and brilliant red nose and another in fashionable “nuttish” attire, the “nut” standard being quite sufficiently indicated by a stand-up collar and a relic of a silly hat. The two ran through the usual style patter in a mixture of army slang and pidgin French of the na-poo brand. I can forsee that the music-hall stars at home will have to learn a new language if they are to sustain their reputation when the army returns.


   A great joke progressed elaborately amongst some subalterns on the benches in front of me. One asked another if it was true that the (?) was a W.A.A.C. The other replied scornfully that he though everybody knew she was a V.A.D. from the C.S.S., who was engaged to the B.C. of a R.A.F. battery. The army nowadays talks in initial besprinkled language. The argument was bandied to and fro among the group and finally snared the “Guy,” who asked timidly if he-she were not a man. “Good lord, no,” he was told, “we’ve given up having men in these parts. You’re out of date since you went home, old man.”

12/1/1918 The World’s Fair



   John Ringling will shortly take up the routeing and management of a four-car show that is to tour in the interests of the Red Cross and the British War Exhibits, and is to be composed of one British tank, one German submarine and the articles that compose the British war exhibits. The tour, it is understood, is to go from coast to coast, playing one, two and three day engagements, the Government providing the transportation.

23/1918 New York Clipper



   Little Tony, who was only 4ft. height, has died at Liverpool at 40 (?) years of age. Beginning his stage career at four, he travelled Great Britain many times, and at one time was engaged with Chang the Chinese giant.

2/2/1918 The World’s Fair



 Circus Will Come Over.

The O’Donnell-Blair Circus, which has been playing throughout Europe for some years, is to arrive in America in April and tour the country under the direction of John Ringling. Owing to war conditions, there is no chance for the organization if it remains abroad. It may arrive here sooner if shipping can be secured.

6/2/1918 New York Clipper



   A remarkable explaination was given in Birmingham Children’s Court, to-day, of the appearance before the magistrates of Alfred Adamson (14), charged with stealing a £1 note and diamond ring, belonging to Mrs. May Fawcett, proprietor of a travelling circus.

   Detective Wright stated that seven months ago a travelling circus visited Halesworth, Suffolk. At the same time the boy disappeared from a comfortable and respectable home. “The detective did not know quite how it happened, but the lad was evidently attracted by the glamour and glitter of the circus, and went away with the caravans. Since that time he had travelled the country with the show which came this week to Raddlebarn Road, Selly Oak.

   When there the boy stole the money and the ring, the former from the caravan and the latter from the house where Mrs. Fawcett had deposited it with the occupant for security*. The lad went to the house and told the woman that there was a rat in the fowl-pen. The woman ran out of the house, and the lad dashed in and stole the ring

   The lad’s account was that the circus people have treated him so badly that he wanted to get home, and committed the theft to enable him to return to his parents. Immediately on obtaining possession of the money and the ring he went to New Street Station and boarded the first train which happened to be bound for Sheffield. It was in attempting to pledge the ring at Sheffield that the boy’s conduct aroused suspicion, and he was detained and handed over to Detective Wright yesterday.

   On the application of the Detective the lad was remanded for a week for enquiries.    

7/2/1918 Birmingham Mail *We have noted that Radelbarn Road is at junction with Dawlish Road, on p 72, its mentioned as Claude Powell’s address.






   We regret to have to announce the death of Joe Castanina, the Fire King, or Human Ostrich, who passed away in Glasgow, on Monday last after a short illness, at the age of 76 years. The funeral will take place from the Show Ground, Vinegar Hill, Glasgow, at 4 p.m., on Friday, February 8th.

9/2/1918 The World’s Fair



   Private R. Cowie is the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Cowie, of the Show Ground, Byker, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and is widely known in the North of England… he would welcome a few lines from any of his old friends in the north.

9/2/1918 The World’s Fair


   My name is Margaret Shufflebottom and I am seventeen. Things are as you would expect at the moment for us Shufflebottoms, but it is made worse when some people around here, who do not know us, are being really nasty to my big brother John, just because he is not fighting. They keep reporting him to the Military Boards, and each time he has to explain that he has to look after all 9 of us, his younger brothers and sisters. He has been the head of the family since Father died, helping my Mother keep the business going. Then when the snow came and took our tent away in 1917 things got even worse We had to stop Riffle Bills Wild West Show. Luckily John managed to get War Work in Hampshire Forrest, with our show horses. They are really stars and not suited to work outside the ring. I’m so pleased that they do not have to go to the front. Anyway, still people think that John is not doing his duty, he is, I have seen this with my own eyes, when I drive the horse and cart to take him a hot lunch. He and our horses help to get wood out of the forest down to the mill. It is a bit creepy there, I have asked what the wood is for. John says the big bits are for pit props for mines and the flat bits are for seaplane floats, but I get a feeling that that is not the truth as each is the right size for a man, and there are many needs for boxes of that kind at the hospitals and at the front. I don’t like to think about it. Much better to think of the planes.

Narrative drawn from conversation with Margaret’s daughter Margaret Wilby




   The Right Hon. Charles Fenwick, M.P., the representative of the Northumberland miners for the Wansbeck division, tells a story of a boyish adventure and kidnapping, which might have ended in his becoming a gipsie.

   “When a small boy, living at Seaton Burn,” says Mr. Fenwick, “I managed somehow or other to evade my mothers gaze, and strayed away from the door. I had the misfortune to be kidnapped by band of gipsies on their way to a fair held on Newcastle Town Moor.

   “When I was missed a search was made, but I could not be found. Then, obtaining a clue from a gentleman on horseback, my friends set off after a caravan. When my captors saw they were being pursued they set me down by the roadside between Seaton Burn and Newcastle, and left me to fend for myself until my friends came along. The caravan made good its escape.”

   When Mr. Fenwick was elected and M.P. on December 8th 1885, his father, on offering congratulations, with tears in his eyes, reminded him of the kidnapping incident. “Aye, hinny, instead o’ being a member of Parliament thou might ha’ been a gipsie.”            

9/2/1918 The World’s Fair




   At Alloa Sheriff Court on Friday, William Vincent Permaine, animal trainer, admitted having fed four performing bears with bread.

   He said he bought the bread in Glasgow and brought it with him to Alloa. It was sold very cheap— 3d. a loaf. Each of the animals got two pounds of bread a day. They would not look at turnips or potatoes.

   A fine of £5 was imposed. A number of loaves in the accused’s possession were declared forfeited.

16/2/1918 The World’s Fair



   Corporal W. Hughes, 352, E. & M.C., R.E., B.E.F., France, who has just been on leave, writes:—

   “May I take the liberty of thanking one or two friends who wrote to me in France. I would like Colman(?) junr. (of Punchinello fame) to know that being transferred from my company to R.E.’s his letter followed me from one sector to another so it was impossible for me to do anything re concert parties. I wish to tender my best wishes and thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Dick Monte for the kind way they treated my wife and children during their stay at Benwell. For their consideration and kindness I am very grateful. I wish also to answer a question and settle an important point (to me). I joined up on July 10th, 1916, after a fortnights exemption, and was not escorted to the station with a pair of ornaments on my wrists as some silly thoughtless person caused a rumour to be spread to that effect to the annoyance of my wife. The only escort I had was good old genial Joe Gess, to whom I would like to refer all maliciously inclined persons, with the following advice written in verse:


If a thing does not concern you

              don’t interfere,

   There is an old saying which is

              often said,

   A still tongue makes a wise,

              wise head,

   Never try kicking anyone when

              they’re down

   For you might be the next to fall,

   And if you can’t say any good of


   Then shut up and say nowt at all.


   Before going back to France I should like to give a message to the mothers and wives of our lads that have gone to help in the great cause of right and freedom, to bear up, and keep smiling a little while longer. All is right out yonder and I don’t think any letter will be addressed B.E.F. in 1919, and to those who have made the supreme sacrifice in loved ones I tender my deepest sympathy. I wish all our lads out yonder the best of luck and honours and a safe return and hope to hear from as many as possible.


   I wish to inform Mr. Headley through the “World’s Fair” that, following the directions as given to him by the War Office, I was able to locate his son’s grave on our map. It was just four English miles from our camp, but I am sorry to say I was unable to visit the place, as we moved out for the rest on the same day, and are now miles away. If we go back that way I will have another try…

23/2/1918 The World’s Fair



   I have just heard , with deep regret, of the death of Cyril Lloyd, late of the Brothers Lloyd, tight rope performers. The deceased, who was only twenty-four years of age, was a rarely gifted artiste, whose work won him a high reputation wherever he appeared.


   I also regret to announce the death of Robert Hannah, professionally known as Bob Swift, and at one time as Griffis, of Griffis and Brighton. Deceased, who was partner with Emma Swift in the popular duo of that name, was born in Liverpool, in 1864 and first started with his brother as Elvene and Oscar, performing on the trapeze, ring and bar at the Star, Liverpool; Day’s, Birmingham; the Scotia, Glasgow; and places of equal importance. Later on they joined Arthur Reed, the couple being known as Griffis and Reed. With him he toured all the principal Continental cities, doing a comedy trapeze act. Their many important contracts fulfilled by this strain included two exclusive engagements at the Palace, Shaftesbury Avenue, with the late Charles Morton. In the year 1900 Bob married Emma Leaurence, of the Leaurence group of lady cyclists, and commenced under that lady’s tuition, to learn trick cycling. The late duo was founded in 1901.

23/2/1918 The World’s Fair




   The new order prohibiting the use of shop window lighting in Liverpool and district area is now in force. The Order states:—

   No light shall be used in any shop front on any week-day, other than Saturday, after 3-30 p.m. or during any period of abnormal darkness occurring at an earlier hour.

23/2/1918 The World’s Fair



   At the Wigan Borough Police Court on Saturday, before Messrs. J. Heaton, E. Dickinson, and A. Ranicar, Thomas Hall was summoned for procuring for the purpose of performing for profit two boys under the age of 14, and engaging them in a public performances without having a licence for them to be so engaged.

   Mr. A. E. Baucher defended.

   The Chief Constable said the defendant had been performing at the Hippodrome as a clown during the week, and he had taken young boys from the street on to the stage to do tumbling feats. One of the boys in respect to whom the summonses had been taken out was 13 years and 10 months old and the other 11 years and 10 months…

   The Bench dismissed the case but expressed the opinion that Mr Hall should take pains to verify the ages of boys, and see that the regulations and the law were not being contravened.

9/3/1918 The World’s Fair



   Travellers’ butter and meat cards are now being issued. The meat card is mauve in colour, the butter card green. The class of person for whom travellers’ cards are intended include:


   Showmen, commercial travellers, lecturers, actors and variety artists on tour, employees in canal and river boats, buyers. Travelling inspectors or Government, municipal and other organisations.

9/3/1918 The World’s Fair



   I like to be where there is a bit of sawdust and if last saturday had been anything but the terrible day it was I should have run over to Atherstone to have had a look at Mr. Tom Fossett’s Royal British Circus, the energetic proprietor has got together very smoothly and giving much satisfaction wherever they appear. Hirsutia— known to us as La Belle Herculine— is once more with the show, which I sincerely hope, despite the troublous times, will have a successful tour.


   Sergeant-major (ex-circus hand): What’s that? Promised the chaplain you wouldn’t swear any more? Then who the blank blank is going to look after the blanking mules?

                                                        HARRY WILDING.

13/4/1918 The World’s Fair




   We regret to have to record the death of Fred Dempster, the famous English giant, who passed away on Monday last. As stated in our last week’s issue he had been on exhibition with Mr. J. Healey in Victoria Street, Blackburn. He was removed to the Queen Park Military Hospital on Saturday suffering from pneumonia. He was 8ft. 4in in height and weighed 27 stones, and eight men were required to move him from his room at the Haymarket Hotel to the ambulance, the fire brigade jumping sheet being requisitioned. On reaching the hospital, where he had been taken owing to accommodation difficulties arising from his extreme height, it was necessary, in taking the patient to his bedroom, to use the outside fire escape, the stairs inside being too narrow, and three beds were made into one for his accommodation in a room set apart for him. In 1916 he was able to visit his brother George, who was wounded. For most of the War Frederick had been touring the country.

20/4/1918 The World’s Fair




   Thirty German performers and other Teutonic attaches of the Barnum & Bailey circus were thrown into a panic last week when they learned that each one of them would be required to file a $1,000 bond before being allowed to leave New York. 
  Hasty consultations were held between the affected actors and the circus management, with the result that the legal department of the aggregation was appealed to. Counsel for the “greatest show on earth” repaired posthaste to the office of United States Marshal Thomas D. McCarthy, in the Federal building in park row, and a way out of the predicament was sought. The marshal told his petitioners that he was merely carrying out the orders of the Department of Justice at Washington, and that modifications of the instructions, if it was to be had at all, would have to be obtained at the National Capital. 
    John M. Kelly, of counsel for the shows, forthwith jumped on to Washington, where, it was reported Monday, the matter was being threshed out. In the meantime, representatives of the circus importuned Marshal McCarthy to issue a temporary permit which would allow the affected performers to appear in Brooklyn in time for the opening performance Monday afternoon. This permission was finally granted.

   The permit granted the Teutons, who are classed by the United States authorities as alien enemies, is for one week – the duration of the circus’ stay in Brooklyn, where it is appearing this week – at the expiration of which they will have to report to United States Marshal James M. Power, of the Eastern District of New York, in which Brooklyn is situated, before they can leave Brooklyn. 
    It is the intention of the Federal Government representatives to require a bond of $1,000 for each of the German subjects. The matter is now pending in Washington, whither lawyer Kelly hurried to effect an arrangement whereby permission would be granted for the men to fill the show’s engagements throughout the country during the season just entered upon.

   When it was realized that German artists and workmen connected with the show would violate the letter, if not the spirit, of the Government’s prohibited edict in various parts of the country, agents of the Department of Justice took the matter up with the United States Marshal for the Southern District of New York, with the result that the management of the circus was informed that, if it wished to transport the German attaches from town to town over the country, it would have to furnish bonds to insure their good behavior and respect of Government restrictions. It was for the purpose of obtaining a definite interpretation of the order that the management dispatched its legal representative to Washington. 
    Realizing that action could not be had before the time for the circus to begin its engagement in Brooklyn Monday, representatives of the shows conferred Saturday night with Marshal McCarthy, with the view of obtaining a temporary permit which would allow its German actors and workmen to be in Brooklyn for the opening show. The Germans were listed by the Marshal’s office and a copy of this list was sent to Marshal Powers in Brooklyn. The latter will keep the men under surveillance during the Brooklyn engagement, or until the matter is disposed of by the Department of Justice in Washington.

War Hits Circus Man 

   Cincinnati, O., April 20. The war has hit the Sparks’ World Famous Shows, which are preparing to start their spring offensive by leaving winter quarters at Carthage, near here. Fritz Brunner, German animal trainer for the Sparks’ Shows will not go on the tour. He was not permitted to travel by the government. George Sparks took Brunner to Marshal Devanney for a permit to engage in permanent occupation here. When Sparks said that a new baby camel had just arrived and needed Brunner’s care, the Marshal rushed through a local permit.

24/4/1918 New York Clipper





 Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), also known as the ‘Red Baron’, is perhaps the most famous and feared German air ace of the war and the highest-scoring ace with 80 official victories. After serving in the German Army on the Western Front, Richthofen transferred to the air service in May 1915 and was later given command of the ‘Flying Circus’, a unit comprised of Germany’s elite fighter pilots. He was killed in action in April 1918 and buried by the British with full military honours.




   Ginger Osborne, who toured the country with Harry Hughes, also Harry Collis and Alf Ball’s boxing saloons, is in hospital, after three years and seven months in France and Belgium, and would like to hear from friends old and new. His address is: Private J Osbourne, 4522, M.T.A.S.C., A.I.B. Ward, 1st Southern General Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham.


   News has also been received that Private Dennis (Peters) Saccomani, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Peters, Yorkshire and Lancashire travellers, has been severely gassed. He is in a base hospital in France. His address is: 37688, Pte. D. P. Saccomani, 1/10th Manchesters, B.E.F, France.

27/4/1918 The World’s Fair



   With the approach of summer the feast season will be in full swing, and most of the showmen are making arrangements for travelling through out the country. Many causes have combined to make the lot of the Showmen in war-time not a happy one. Chief among these are the lighting restrictions, the increased cost and the difficulty in travelling from place to place, and the shortage of labour. This latter feature is providing a great handicap, and in many cases women assistants have been called in to fill the vacancies created by the Army’s requirements.

   It would appear that the motor roundabouts which displaced horses, pigs, cockerels and the like, have had their day, for at the Preston Fair miniature tanks which made their appearance on the showground and “went into action” for the first time proved highly popular with the visitors. Among other novelties promised this season as the “Disappearing German soldiers,” a series of figures at which patrons are invited to shoot, and the “Flying Zeppelin,” in connection with which the amateur shots may have an opportunity of wreaking their vengeance on the “Baby Killers.”

Many of the side-shows where toys are given as rewards for various games of skill are suffering owing to the higher prices of goods and the difficulty in obtaining them, for in pre-war days the majority of these cheap articles came form Germany.

It is interesting that the ‘fat lady,” almost inevitably associated with the fair grounds, is still in evidence, and there are no signs of the Rationing Order having greatly reduced her rotundity.

Fenwick Cutting 23/5/1918



The Germans demand sail-cloths and other things such as tent canvas or even circus tents either new, used, or in use.

25/5/1918 De Gentenaar De Landwacht. De Kleine Patriot (Translated, Leanne)



   A despatch from Camp Upton, Long Island, U.S.A., states that George Bell, the negro giant, who was in the cast of “Chu Chin Chow,” at a New York theatre, has been rejected by the army surgeons on the grounds that he is too big to be a soldier. Bell is 7ft. 11ft in height, and weighs about 350 pounds. When he went to the camp with a contingent of drafted men, two army cots had to be provided for him, and he was entered on the company rolls of an infantry regiment as two men, because he couldn’t get along on the rations of a single soldier. The dusky giant was quite anxious to serve, but said he wanted to warn the quartermaster that his boots cost £3 12s. 6d. a pair in peace times, and that the regulation equipment of three pairs would make a big hole in the Liberty Loan, to say nothing of the yards of Khaki required for his uniform.

1/6/1918 The World’s Fair



   The menagerie of a traveling circus was seized recently while touring Germany and the entire collection of animals, including several lions, five or six monkeys, an elephant and one or two camels, were slaughtered to supply the inhabitants with food, according to a press dispatch sent out from a neutral country last week. 

Windjammers Enlist.

   Amusement parks, circuses and traveling shows, carrying bands are doomed to become bandless within the near future unless they grab the only alternative left – the employment of women musicians. A number of causes have combined to create this condition. The National Army draft since June 5 last year has drawn hundreds from the ranks, particularly players of wood, reed and brass instruments. A condition already acute has been accentuated by an order of the General Staff of the War Department, on General Pershing’s recommendation, that all regimental bands be increased from 28 to 50 pieces. Besides enlarging the bands, bugle and drum corps for every company of infantry are to be created.

5/6/1918 New York Clipper



   259, Private James Dixon, 3rd Royal Fusiliers, N. 11, No. 1 London General Hospital, Camberwell Green, London, S.E., eldest son of the late Robert Dixon, who has been a prisoner of war, writes:—“Just a line to let you know I have arrived in England once more after being in a living hell for over three long years, sir, and if you would be so kind as to let me know the address of any of my brothers and sisters or relatives I would very much be obliged as I have not heard from any of them for over two years. I am being transferred to Manchester some time during this week and I will let you know as soon as I am in Manchester the hospital I am in.”

8/6/1918 The World’s Fair




   At Lambeth, on Wednesday, Alfred Silaborn, of Brook Street, Kennington, and his daughter, Rosie, were summoned by the R.S.P.C.A. for causing unnecessary suffering to two cats “by unreasonable compelling them to go through a certain performance.”


Mr Polhill described the performance in detail, and complained that a white Persian cat, which was required to drop from a platform 12 feet high to the female defendant’s back missed it’s mark, and fell with a thud on the stage; and that a tabby cat, which was intended to drop on a dog’s back also fell onto the stage.

   After the performance on May 18th, a veterinary surgeon examined the animals. The white Persian cat was in a highly nervous state; and the tabby was ill, suffering from lung trouble, and ought never to be made to perform at all. Mr. Polhill submitted that the cats underwent physical suffering, and were mentally terrified.

              Without calling upon the defence, Mr. Francis said there was no evidence which would justify him in convicting the the defendants of wanton cruelty, and he should dismiss the summonses.

8/6/1918 The World’s Fair



   By the death of Johnny Julian the circus has lost one of its oldest and best-know members. He may be said to have been William Batty’s favourite clown, and there is not the slightest doubt that he was a most excellent performer.


   Chris Towler, the Birmingham agent and journalist, has been commissioned as second lieutenant in the Army Service Corps.


   My good friend, M. Hengleur, is engaged for the large five days Red Cross Fete, to be held on the Duke of Hamilton’s estate, Scotland, commencing next Monday. She also appears at Mr. F. A. Lumley’s Waverley Market annual Edinburgh season, 1918, when she presents her full troupe of dogs and ponies, Billy Housini and Co, and the Charley Meteor Trio of comedy aerialists are also engaged for the latter carnival and the bookings were negotiated through the Geo. Zalvo agency.

15/6/1918 The World’s Fair



   A disastrous railway collision has occurred near Hammond, Indiana. The first report states that many persons have been killed and injured. Four coaches, in which members of the well-known Hagenbach Wallace circus was sleeping, were demolished.

– Writer.


   A train of steel cars travelling at a speed of 60 miles an hour dashed into the rear of the circus train, which had stopped. The circus coaches, made of wood gaudily painted, were telescoped and caught fire. The deaths are mainly among the circus people. Early this afternoon the Michigan Central Railway officials estimated that 59 persons were killed and 115 injured. – Reuter.  

24/6/1918 Newcastle Journal



   Mr. Henry Fanning, proprietor of the Royal Court Marionettes, writes:— “No doubt it will interest many of our showmen and readers of the ‘World’s Fair’ that marionette workers are not always behind the scenes, as this war has proved itself. As to the boys at the front, my brother-in-law, Harry Wilding, of champion marionette exhibition, has five sons at the front. Eldest, Private Harry Wilding, 7930, 68th Prov. Batt., C. Company; Pioneer Herbert Wilding, R.E.; Private Arthur Wilding, South Staffs; Walter Wilding (eight years) in Royal Navy; Jack Wilding, 5th K.R.R., who has been wounded in 19 places in Somme battle; my son-in-law, Private Arthur G. Williams, twice wounded, 13th Cheshire Regiment.

28/6/1918 The World’s Fair



   Mr. Fred Connor, the genial stage and equestrian director of the Blackpool Tower Circus, has forwarded me a bill of the summer opening company at that popular amusement resort, which has earned itself the title “Highest Class Circus in England.” The same precision and carefulness is always practiced in the selection of the artistic talent that is to present the performance at this establishment. As all are of equal merit in their respective lines their position in the following list must not be taken as any indication that they rank and higher that the very last one named. Hickey’s Comedy Circus… A. D. Robbins and Co., the Canadian Cycle Tamers, The Beneditti Brothers, the Italian comedy violinistic limits, Doodles, Douglas Connor, Les Bastions, Mona Connor, The Demonas, The Flying Banvads, Miss Cashmore, The musical director is Mr. Tom Cheetham. It will be seen that there is no such thing as mediocrity or “fill-in” performers in the entire list.

28/6/1918 The World’s Fair



   Here in America, I have been busy. I have helped to launch the 3rd round of Liberty Bonds, and then made a film to launch the 4th set of Liberty Bonds, a short propaganda film in support of the British War loans with Harry Lauder.

   My film “Shoulder Arms” is set in the trenches,. I have to say that I was not pleased with it initially, but it is gratifying that it has become a great favourite with the soldiers in the trenches.

It brought me a chuckle to see in a French paper ‘The Bayonet” a caricature featuring the Kaiser holding a poster of me and it’s caption says, “Don’t be jealous of Charlie, sir! Your pride need not be hurt! He will never make as many people laugh as you have made people cry!”

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C C



   Here in America, I have been busy. I have helped to launch the 3rd round of Liberty Bonds, and then made a film to launch the 4th set of Liberty Bonds, a short propaganda film in support of the British War loans with Harry Lauder.

   My film “Shoulder Arms” is set in the trenches,. I have to say that I was not pleased with it initially, but it is gratifying that it has become a great favourite with the soldiers in the trenches.

It brought me a chuckle to see in a French paper ‘The Bayonet” a caricature featuring the Kaiser holding a poster of me and it’s caption says, “Don’t be jealous of Charlie, sir! Your pride need not be hurt! He will never make as many people laugh as you have made people cry!”

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C C




   William Shovelton, who claimed to be the original “Pimple,” the popular clown, who toured with Sanger’s Circus, was buried at Reigate.

   “Pimple” delighted hundreds of thousands of children by his merry antics. For the last two years and a half he had been employed at the Redhill Remount depot, and to the last was merry and bright, and cracked a joke.

6/7/1918 World’s Fair 


   An acrobat, aged 38, and Grade 2, appealed for the renewal of his exemption at the appeal tribunal sitting at Birmingham last week. His solicitor pointed out that he was supporting three homes, his own, his father’s and mother’s, and his epileptic brother’s. In his spare time he made crutches, four pairs of which he sent to military hospitals each week. If he went into the army he would lose his cunning and suppleness, which it would be difficult to regain. By the casting vote of the chairman, the Tribunal granted three months’ exemption, and gave Capt. Sydenham (N.S.R.) leave to take the case to the Central Tribunal.

6/7/1918 The World’s Fair



Driver Benny Biddall is one of the famous Biddall family of circus people who have for some years been in Scotland. He has been in France for two years… He would be pleased to hear from any old friends.



   Private H. Biddall is another son of the famous Biddall family and, like his brother, has been in France for two years. No doubt thoughts of both brothers as well as many other Scottish showmen will be of Glasgow Fair to-day, and we hope before another Glasgow Fair comes round they will all be back at the old game.

13/7/1918 The World’s Fair



   Paul Cinquivalli has died. He was a juggler with all the charm, humour, self-assurance, and geniality of a star of the stage. He was born at Lissa, in the province of Posen (then Prussia, now Poland) in 1859, and educated in Berlin. For two years he toured as an acrobat until he fell from a trapeze; while lying for several weeks in hospital he taught himself to juggle. He came to London in 1885, in the circus that was installed at Covent Garden and adopted us as we adopted him. He became a naturalized British subject on March 23rd, 1893 and settled down at Brixton as all good “variety artistes” did then. His curly, golden hair – a wig, for actually he was bald – won the hero-worship of womankind, and somehow it was certainly the thing to have seen Cinquevalli, whoever you were. But 1914 (and the War) changed all that. His Teutonic “name” like his Teutonic curls gave offence. Even old acquaintances were antagonized. “It broke his heart,” said H. G. Hibbert, who knew him well. Though Emil Otto Braun was Cinquevalli’s real name, he had no other country but England, no other people but this. Nobody is likely to approach his grace and kindliness of manner. We shall never see another like him and our affection for him, is equally and so sadly mingled with regrets.Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: D W & 17/71918 New York Clipper.



The strike of employees at the Blackpool places of entertainment was settled yesterday as far as it concerned the Tower Palace, Grand Theatre, and Tower Circus. The dispute was referred to the Conciliation Board of the Provincial Managers’ Association, and the resorts mentioned were carried on as usual. The strike continued at the Winter Gardens, and Opera House, but there was no interruption with the entertainments there. Last night negotiations were in progress, and it was expected that a similar settlement would be arrived at. The Mayor (Alderman Parkinson) took a prominent part in bringing the parties together.

19/7/1918 Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer





At Marylebone Police Court on Wednesday, before Mr. d’Eyncourt, a German woman named Sophia Gottlieben Blumenfeld, alias Bloomfield, living with her daughter at Oakland Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, was charged with failing to register with the police, entering a prohibited area without a permit and in giving false information at a boarding-house at Eastbourne.

   It was stated that the woman went to the police at Ealing at the outbreak of war and told them she was an American, with the result that she did not have to register. Last month, however, she was instructed by the Battersea police to register at Wandsworth. Instead of doing so she went to Eastbourne with her daughter where she stayed at an apartment house and signed a form giving her nationality as British. She explained that she did this because she could not have got lodgings if she had said she was a German.

   She also stated that while very young she had been married to a German in America. After her husband’s death she returned to Germany with a circus. At 24 she was married again in Berlin to Wilhelm Blumenfeld, and about 1881 she came with him to this country, where he died. Three of her daughters were married to British subjects now in the Army, and a fourth was married to a Frenchman.

   Mr. d’Eyncourt imposed a fine of 20s. on the first charge.

3/8/1918 The World’s Fair



Consett Prosecution.

   This afternoon, at Consett, Henry Powell, amusement caterer, was charged with having neglected to extinguish their lights at the roundabout shows and stalls in the public recreation ground act at Consett at 10.50 on the night of the 27th July.

   Defendant’s manager enquired what was the proper time for roundabout lights to be extinguished. They had been allowed to burn at certain places until 10.30 without complaint. The Bench said the official time was half an hour after sunset, and the Clark pointed out that the defendant could not display an outside light after this time without the authority of the superintendent of police.

Fenwick Cutting 12 /8/1918 Newcastle Evening Chronicle



    Portage, Wis., Aug. 10. A raid against the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus here last night netted the Government 150 slackers. All were members of the circus aggregation. The show left for Beaver Dam with boys in the places of the men arrested.

14/8/1918 New York Clipper



   Mr. Sam Stott has received the following letter from his son who is a prisoner of war in Germany. This is the first letter Mr. Stott has received.

31186, Pte. E. Scott,

12th Royal Scots,


         Strummlager, Gustroto, I.M.


   Dear Mother, Father and Kitty,— I hope you are all keeping well as I am a little better. I am still in hospital— shrapnel in the shoulder and malaria the same that I was sent home from Salonika with. I have been pretty bad and expect to be in for some time. I have written four letters and hope you have got them. I am longing for a letter from Sam and Maggie, but I am looking forward as they take so long to get through. There were three Belgian ladies came round the hospital visiting one day. They gave me chocolate, cigarettes, cake, a few strawberries and an English book, and before they left they gave me some underclothing. It was very good of them and was more than I expected. They were of the well-to-do class. I have very little to say. Is there no signs of this finishing. I shall write as often as I can, but don’t expect to have much to say. I will now finish. God bless you all.—

   Your ever affect. son, ERNEST.

17/8/1918 The World’s Fair





   Armley Feast, which starts today, is the first of what the showman speak of this as the “Leeds Circuit,” for the reason that four feast weeks follow in succession in the city. Next Saturday, Holbeck Feast will commence, then York Road, whilst Woodhouse will complete the “circuit.”

The Leeds Corporation has given notice to the showmen that the tolls for the feasts on the Holbeck and Woodhouse Moors will be increased 25 per cent, and proprietors of fairground paraphernalia predict that, as a consequence, the “shows” there will not be on the big scale of former years.

   Armley Moor, where the feast of that district is held, is not under civic control in this respect. A body known as the Armley Moor Trustees is letting authority, and the income they derive from the feast, as well as for the certain grass lands, in the vicinity, goes, in the first instance, to the Charity Commissioners, and under the provisions of a trust, is afterwards disbursed in the the locality. The present lessees are Messrs Murphy and Campbell, amusement caterers, Leeds who also control the York Road feast ground. Seville Green.

   The old-time circus has reappeared at Armley Feast, and it is still under the management of the family that has held it for two generations. Enough male members of the circus have now been returned from the Army on medical or other grounds, to enable the show to take the road again.

   The wild-beast menageries, which used to be a popular feature, has not yet returned. One of the two lion-taming sons of Lizzie Kayes the wife of the proprietor of Buff Bill’s Menagerie, is now in Leeds military hospital, minus a leg. Two years ago the sons had joined up, whilst the menagerie was in Leeds, and the mother entered the cages alone – a rare instance of woman’s courage. Following an engagement by the late Sir Edward Moss, to appear at the Waverley Market Carnival, Edinburgh, Lizzie Kayes, commenced a tour of the Variety Halls and is still “carrying on” in that way, until it is possible to get the menagerie re-established on the old lines.

31/8/1918 Yorkshire Evening Post



(Fred Ross) 

   We are at Wakefield with the family, our boys are nearly ready for the circus. I’m living in a little house belonging to the colliery company, where I work. I recently built a living- wagon, so that after the war, when we go on the road again, we will have something to live in and now that my boys are now old enough to perform. But a chap has offered me forty-five pounds so have sold it, and have set to work on another.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C-C R


    Private Frank Codona is a son of Frank Codona, the well-known Scottish traveller. He joined up in 1916 and was wounded on March 24th last and taken prisoner, and has had the misfortune to have an arm taken off. He would be pleased to hear from old friends… Germany

7/9/1918 The World’s Fair




At Ballycastle Petty Sessions, the District-Inspector summoned James Duffy and Elizabeth McLean, circus proprietors, for alleged cruelty to horses by working them whilst in an unfit state.

   Mr. Louis J. Walsh, B.A., solicitor, appeared for the defendants.

   Sergeant Brannigan, stated that on the 23rd inst., he observed the defendants circus vans coming up Quay Road. Later, in the field, he examined the horses, and found one with a fresh cut on the shoulder under the collar, which it had apparently been in contact with. The wound was about three quarters of an inch in diameter. He also found on a piebald horse belonging to Mrs. McLean a very bad cut, about an inch and a half in diameter, under the saddle. Mrs. McLean said she had driven the horse from Cushendall, and it was her fault.

   By Mr. Walsh: He had known the Duffy family and their father for a great many years, and never remembered a prosecution against them before.

   Miss O’Connor, Quay Road, deposed that on the date referred to she saw some of the circus horses coming into town. A van stopped opposite her house. Witness paid Mr. Blackmore for bringing his two horses along and helping to take the van to the field. The circus animals were more like ponies than horses. The drivers did not beat the animals or show any cruelty towards them in that way.

   Mr. Walsh: The fact that they brought the van over Cushendall mountain suggests that they were able to take it up the Quay Road.

   Mr Walsh: The horses were tired, and when they stopped it was difficult to get them to start again.

   A small fine was imposed.

7/9/1918 The World’s Fair



   The entire equipment of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus will be brought to the lake front on Sept. 20 for a benefit performance for the Stage Women’s War Relief. The tents will be pitched in Grant Park. A monster circus parade through the streets of Chicago will inaugurate the event. The engagement will be limited.

18/9/1918 New York Clipper



   After leaving the services Bratby and his wife Carrie have started to perform their own double act – table adagio – with Duffy’s in Ireland.

Family: Tom Sandow




   The visit of Bailey’s great American Circus to Brighton drew large assemblies to the Race Hill when the first of the shows was given. A huge tent was erected at the back of the Grandstand and every seat in this was occupied before three o’clock, when the initial performance commenced. There was a long programme, put the interest and enthusiasm never flagged for one minute, and long and hearty was the applause at the various clever achievements.

28/9/1918 World’s Fair



   Frank Paulo: We’ve had a bit of luck. Mrs Paulo’s sister came for a stay and knew where a tent could be had cheaply. I bought it and another six horses, and I acquired an old lion. Days have been spent in practice and in painting the wagon and tent yellow and black with the cheapest paints that could be got. We are ready to take Paulo circus on the road again.

Narrative extracted from Bibliog. Ref: C-C R




   I have already undergone nine medical examinations, and failed to pass. I am quite willing to go to the army,” declared Carl Lisando Lister (33), music-hall artiste, 6, Elizabeth Street, Dundee, when he appeared before Bailie Gillespie at Dundee on Saturday. He pleaded not guilty.

   Mr. Albert Ramsey, National Service representative stated that the London area had informed them that a calling-up notice had been sent to Lister at his registered address in London, and as he had failed to respond, to arrest him as an absentee.

   Lister stated that his letters had not been forwarded in time with the result that when he was arrested at a theatre in Dundee last Saturday it was his first intimation that he was required to join the army. “I am quite willing to go, and have been nine times medically examined,” he said. “Since the age of 12 I have been on the stage as an acrobat, and also appeared in drama.”

   Bailie Gilespie asked the military representatives if it was possible to have Lister examined now.

   Sergeant Glassie— Yes

   Bailie Gilespie: We will adjourn the court until 12-30 to allow him to go before the doctors.

   When they court reassembled Lister stated that he had been passed Grade III.

   Mr. David Dewar said accused had conducted his defence in a straightforward manner, and he would not press for a penalty being imposed.

   Bailie Gillespie: That is the opinion I have formed, and I will just order Lister to be handed over to the military without imposing a fine.

5/10/1918 The World’s Fair



   Duffy’s Circus is touring Ireland with a first-class programme, including Captain Perman’s wonderful performing bears; John Moriarty, strongman, Mazaao handcuff king; Master James Duffy Champion Rider; Mlle. Rozaivie, on the flying trapeze; and other attractions. The name of Genial Fred Lewis at the foot of a circus bill is a guarantee of the quality of the show

9/10/1918 The Era



   News has been received that Private Alfred Chadwick, aged 22, is reported killed in action. Private Chadwick is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Chadwick, at present on the Market Ground, Crewe, and he has been in the army 2 1/2 years. His brother Joe is now in hospital.

12/10/1918 The World’s Fair


Previously reported missing and wounded, official news has been received that Private Frederick Holloway was killed in action on August 8th. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Holloway, Empire Theatre, near Nuneaton, and the sympathy of a large number of friends will be with the family for the great loss they have sustained.



   Mr. and Mrs. Holloway have also received official news that another son, Private William Holloway, has been taken a prisoner of war. He was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the double blow is very hard for the parents. News of his destination has not yet come to hand- but probably news will be received from him in the near future.

12/10/1918 The World’s Fair




   At the conclusion of a most successful Irish tour Mr. and Mrs. John Duffy and Sons entertained their artistes and band to a sumptuous dinner and dance which took place at the Grand Hotel, Limerick, on Monday, October 14th. The following members of the company sat down and did justice to a happy repast:— Mr. and Mrs. John Duffy, Masters John and James Duffy, the famous Fred Lewis (advance agent), Captain Permane (talking bear fame), The Siva’s (acrobats), Simmie and Rosie Mayon, Mr. and Mrs. Olgar, John Moriarty (strong man), Ida Chisolm, Mr. and Mrs. Paddy Walsh, Mr. and Mr.s Derbyshire, George Knight, Mr. Osmond (leader), full band and staff.

   Songs, dances, toasts, and speeches were freely indulged in, the function winding up about seven o’clock to the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” and “He’s a jolly good fellow.” The company then proceeded to the Theatre Royal where seats were reserved for them, and further enjoyed a splendid evening’s entertainment of the “Lord Mayor” and “Duty” presented by Arthur Sinclair’s clever company of Irish players.

26/10/1918 The World’s Fair



   Private Matt Mooney, whose address is: 51310, 80th Labour Co., B.E.F., France, writes:— “ I take great pleasure in writing these few lines and hope they find the staff of the “World’s Fair” and all my friends in the best of health…

   Well, I am pleased to tell you we have old Jerry on the run proper and am living in hopes of being home for Christmas, as our lads are sure he will throw in the towel before then. I had a leave last July and enjoyed it very much, but was in the wrong part of the country to see any of the shows. At any rate let us hope that before long i and all the lads of the game will be seeing them as of old. I have about told you all now, so will conclude, hoping you will excuse me for taking up too much space in your paper, which is as good as a tonic to me when I receive it.”

26/10/1918 The World’s Fair




   “Thousands of hard-working horses in London and other places are being starved by the rationing system, and are dying in the streets.” Said mr. R. R. Brown, president of the Association of Retail Corn Dealers, at a meeting to protest against the rationing scheme at Cannon Street Hotel on Thursday. Yet there were, he said, thousands of Army horse in this country doing practically nothing but eating all the best hay.

   “As a citizen and as a magistrate I positively refuse to be bound by stupid regulations. The law I recognise, is the law of humanity— the law of God— and I refuse to allow a beast to go hungry.” When the ration was applied for, added Mr. Brown, there was a great difficulty in obtaining it.

   Mr. F. Cox, Equine Defence League, said only that afternoon he saw two horses on their knees eating dried leaves that had fallen from the trees.

   The meeting passed resolutions protesting against the rationing scheme and asking for the cancellation of the registration and invoicing schemes.

26/10/1918 The World’s Fair




   News has been received of the death of Lance-Corporal J. H. Kidson who passed away in October, from bronchial pneumonia at A.V.C. No. 11 Veterinary Hospital Salonica Forces. The late Lance-Corporal Kidson was widely known in South Wales and news of his death will be received with regret by a large circle of friends. From letters he has sent home the traveller has met out there W. Yelding, no doubt one of the circus family, and if his parents should see this they are requested to communicate with Mrs. J. Kidson, Fair Ground, Barry Dock, South Wales.

2/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   Official news has been received of the death in action of Private H. C. Wrigley, professionally known as Algar. He was married to Amelia, youngest daughter of Walter Scott. His parent’s address is 32, Ronny Street, Blackpool.

9/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   A circus proprietor, George Proctor, was at Rotherham on Thursday, fined £2 for failing to post up a list of his employees above 16 years of age.


   The order prohibiting the sale of sweetmeats in theatres and cinemas will come into force on November 11th instead of November 1st as originally decided upon.

9/11/1918 The World’s Fair





   The following are copies of messages that have been sent in the name of Showland to his Majesty King George and the Right Hon. Lloyd George,   Prime Minister:—

   His Majesty King George,

   Buckingham Palace,


The Showmen of Great Britain and Ireland tender to your Majesty their sincere congratulations upon the termination of this terrible war and after these years of great anxiety they pray that the peace now proclaimed will be a lasting and binding one.

   Councillor Patrick Collins,

   President of the Showmen’s Guild;

   William Savage,

              Acting Secretary.

                     Lonsdale House



   The following reply has been received:—

   Councillor Patrick Collins,

President of the Showmen’s Guild,


   The King thanks you and the Acting Secretary, and Showmen of Great Britain for your kind and loyal congratulations upon the conclusion of the armistice with Germany.

Buckingham Palace.

The World’s Fair




   To my fellow member,— This week’s issue of the “World’s Fair” being a Peace issue, I take this opportunity of congratulating my fellow members, indeed the whole of Showland upon the return of peace after all these years of much anxiety and hard fighting, proving to the whole world the grit our brave soldiers and sailors are made of, and when the country is in danger they are ready to defend it to the last drop of blood.

   Their chivalry and endurance deserves the highest praise, and we shall never forget the debt of gratitude we owe to them in saving us from the great danger of invasion which at one time we were exposed to.

   Our own boys have proved themselves worthy of the ancestry to which they belong, and by their daring deeds and conspicuous bravery upon the field of battle have merited our highest appreciation and regard. When they return home, which we trust will not now be long, we shall not be behind in giving them a right royal welcome, and which they so richly deserve.

   There are many questions to settle now the war is over, some of which affect us as showmen and these will not be overlooked, so that a speedy return to pre-war conditions, so far as we are concerned, will be brought about.

              Believe me, yours sincerely,

                            PATRICK COLLINS, PRESIDENT.

16/11/1918 The World’s Fair 



Private Charles Birch is widely known in Noveltyland, having been associated with midget shows all his life. He would welcome a few lines from any of his old colleagues and friends in Showland.

16/11/1918 The World’s Fair

Photo reproduced by kind permission of

The World’s Fair Ltd.    



   We regret to have to record the death of Mrs. Pinder, of Pinder’s Circus, who passed away at a quarter to nine on Tuesday night, at Clydebank.

23/11/1918 World’s Fair





   The whole of Showland will rejoice that, after four years of war, peace has arrived. They will unite with other Britishers in tendering their thanks to the Army and Navy and to all our Allies for the splendid work they have done. Messages of congratulation to his Majesty the King and the Prime Minister have been sent in the name of the Showmen of Great Britain and Ireland, copies of which will be found elsewhere. To the soldier boys of Showland we send, in the name of Showland, a message of thanks for the great work they have assisted in. They with others have done their bit and it is now up to us to do our bit for them. We must use every effort to get them back to their old life at the earliest possible moment and though this may take some time some Showland’s claims must, as we have pointed out before, be put before the authorities. We are not out for preferential treatment, and when the boys do come home we must all give of our best to put them back into the position they formerly held, as early as is ever possible.

16/11/1918 The World’s Fair



Cirkus Kludský.

Karel Reports: Now that the war is over we must patiently start again. Our star elephant Baby, who weighed 6,600 pounds (metric) in 1914, weighed less than three tons (metric) at the end of the war. Of 400 animals in the Kludský menagerie, just sixteen have survived the war. Yet we will rebuild the circus, step-by-step, until we reach our pre-war size.

Narrative extracted from CP




    The following is a copy if letter received by the Showmen’s Guild from the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Lloyd George, in reply to a telegram sent to him:—

   10, Downing Street,

   Whitehall, S.W.1,

   13, Nov. 1918.

              Dear Sir,— I am desired by the Prime Minister to convey to you his thanks for your kind telegram.

— Yours faithfully,


23/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   Mr. P. Collins, as President of the Showmen’s Guild, writes:—

   I have read Mr. Corrigan’s letter in last week’s “World’s Fair” and which was directed to me as President of the Showmen’s Guild, upon the question of demobilisation and I can assure him, indeed all our people, that we are alive to the many sides of this important matter and have put ourselves in communication with the proper authorities with the view of getting our case properly considered so that our boys may be released at the earliest possible moment, indeed it would surprise them if they knew all that was being done.

   It must be remembered that peace has not yet been declared and a great deal has to be done before this can be brought about.

   It is true that the armistice with the Germans has been signed and for the present there is a cessation of hostilities, but the armistice only covers a period of 36 days, and if the conditions therein mentioned are complied with then peace negotiations will be proceeded with.

   No one will be more pleased than ourselves in knowing that we have succeeded in getting the whole of our boys released, also for them to know that their situations are still open to them, and they will find that the conditions will be much better than they were before they joined up.

   There will be more comfortable jobs and better pay, because during their absence we have had a lot of duds to deal with and muddled along as best we could.

   We are all proud of their brave deeds and when they all get home we must arrange to give them a right royal welcome at some convenient centre, also pay their expenses so that everyone of them will have an opportunity of being present and having extended to them a right royal welcome.

   We have been officially informed that there will not be any men released from the army for the next two or three months, but in the meantime cards are being sent them to fill up, giving particulars of where they were last employed and for whom, before they joined up, and when these are returned the employers will be communicated with asking them if they are willing to find employment for them once released…

23/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   One of our soldier readers writes as follows:— “I should be pleased to have your views on the following important point:— Are travellers to be included in the One Man Business Groups, and will they be eligible for grants in order to reinstate themselves in their pre-war capacity? I, myself, am a traveller, and in April, 1915. I joined His Majesty’s Forces from patriotic motives, and gave up the few joints which had hitherto provided me with my daily bread. The fact that is looming ahead now, is that I and thousands more of Showland’s boys will very soon be in the unenviable position of having neither joints or swag when we re-enter civil life, and in consequence I would suggest that the influential members of the Guild should (if they have not already done so) take such action as they deem necessary to ensure that those connected with the business derive some benefit from existing national funds, in order to resume their former business.”

   We have received several letters in a similar strain to the above, and the article by the President of the Showmen’s Guild which appears on our front page will no doubt convince all that every effort is being made to secure equal rights for our soldier boys with all other classes. It should be remembered that anything like this cannot be done hurriedly as the authorities will take their own time.

23/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   One of the best guarded secrets of the war has been the extraordinary successful use made by the Royal Air Force of the stereoscope as an aid to aerial intelligence.

30/11/1918 The World’s Fair

(Headline peep used here regarding stereoscope)



   The War Industries Board announces the removal of all restrictions in the non-war construction. All building operations may now proceed without permits. In view of the altered conditions, the Board of Trade give notice that the Horses Order has been revoked, and it will no longer be necessary for dealers or other persons to obtain licenses from the controller of horse transport for the purchase of agricultural horses for other work.

30/11/1918 The World’s Fair




    Many of our readers who have lost relatives in the war are anxious to have some information as to their last resting place and we have made many enquiries for them on the matter. It will be gratifying to them to know that every effort is being made by the authorities to keep a careful record, and we are informed that already nearly 500,000 graves of British soldiers killed in action have been registered in France and Flanders. Many inquiries have also been made as to paying a visit to the last resting place of those who have fallen, but it is stated this is not yet practicable. At a later date near relatives will be able to pay a visit to the sacred spot, but owing to transport difficulties it will be some time before relatives of the fallen heroes can pay a visit to the graves, but we understand every wife, mother, father, or other close relative will be afforded the opportunity directly circumstances permit. In no previous war has so much care been taken to preserve the identity of the resting places of our fallen and the long line of cemeteries numbering over a thousand will live forever in memory of British sacrifices in the great cause.

30/11/1918 The World’s Fair



   “Guilty in honourable way” was the plea tendered by James Ord Pinder, circus proprietor, at Forfar Sheriff Court to-day in relation to a charge of having, on 27th August, at Montrose, (1) by the hands of his wife, torn into two 200 government tickets before they were issued to persons paying for administration to the circus, and (2) failed to collect the tickets of 200 persons about to be admitted to the entertainment.

   Accused explained that under the method adopted by him his wife sold the tickets in two, giving half to the purchaser and droped the other half in a box. They have done that all the way down from Perth to Nairn and back to Montrose, and have never been interfered with. The half tickets retained were always kept for examinations by the Revenue Officers.

The fiscal stated that what the accused should have done was to have issued the tickets whole and have them collected by another person, by whom they should have been halved. The revenue officer who watched Mrs Pinder at work stated that he was quite certain a number of half tickets dropped into the box did not correspond to the number of persons passing into the tent. Examination of these taken showed that a large number are missing.

   Sheriff Gordon remarked that the fact that at least 200 tickets had not been accounted for showed great carelessness. He imposed a fine of £3.    

 3/12/ 1918 Dundee Evening Telegraph




    That the motor has not quite displaced, the horse, even in war, is vaguely understood by most people. Few, however, know how large a share in winning victory has fallen to the horse. In Captain Sidney Galtrey’s “The Horse and the West” (published by “Country Life”), we are told that while the army possessed about 25,000 horses on August 4th, 1914, it must now own at least a million.

   In four years this million, and many more (since allowance must be made for the heavy wastage from death and disease), has come from all quarters….

5/12/1918 The World’s Fair



Joseph Pilates believes that his new method of physical fitness has saved many from the T.B. outbreak at Knockaloe. Isle of Man.



   The circus bill posters have been granted a wage increase of some thirty-three and one-third per cent. This was brought about by the signing of a new agreement by the International Alliance of Bill Posters and Billers and the large and small circus managers of the country, in Boston last week. . . . Twenty-five per cent of the advance constitutes a flat wage increase, while the remainder is an allowance for traveling expenses and incidentals. The old contract expired on Dec. 2, 1918; the new agreement runs until Dec. 2, 1920.


11/12/1918 New York Clipper


    Showmen are constantly benefiting local charities and at a recent sale by Messrs, Fenwick, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Mr. Gordon Anderson, of the Bigg Market, bought a collection of war pictures to the values of nearly £200. The whole of the proceeds were to be handed over to the Royal Victoria Hospital so once more a local charity has benefited by a showman’s effort.

14/12/1918 The World’s Fair




   Adding to the long list of noble lads’ deaths from Showland there is still another to record in the person of Otto Sylvester, who died at his residence, 14, Hill Street, Bingley, Yorkshire, on November 28th, and was accorded a military funeral on December 3rd. The deceased, who was better known as Texas Harry, came over to this country in the late nineties with the famous Buffalo Bill, as an expert knife thrower. Subsequently, on the outbreak of the South African War he enlisted in the British Army and was with the column that relieved Ladysmith. As a despatch rider he carried an order from Ladysmith to the late General Buller when the latter was at Colenso. At Nicholson’s Nek he was badly wounded on the right side of his body. After the war he served in India. The intervening period between his discharge in 1904 to his re-enlistment in August, 1914, was spent working for some of the foremost and best known showmen of Great Britain, during this time he made a large circle of friends both masters and men. His first time in action in this war was at Armentierres, later in the thick of the fray at La Base where he received a bullet in the left shoulder. in the right groin, and pieces of shrapnel in the right ankle and right shin bone. His sight was also impaired as a result of a bullet having entered his head. Since his discharge he has augmented his pension of 13s. 6d. per week by working for various Yorkshire showmen as engine driver, but was too broken in health to remain with them long together. Consequently he and his wife were in dire straits, and we are sorry to relate that within a few days of his death he and his wife (she was ill with “flu” and shortly to become a mother) had neither food, stimulants, nor coal in the house. The local officials on learning the facts quickly remedied that by catering most generously to their immediate wants. We feel sure the sympathy of Showland will be with his young wife in this her hard and trying time.

14/12/1918 The World’s Fair



Lance-Corporal Harry Righini, 37897, 16th Lancashire Fusiliers, “D” Company B.E.F., France, writes:- Just a line to let all my relations and friends know that I have come through the war, without a scratch. I have been out here with the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers for the past three years, and I am now on my way to Germany as the Fourth Army to which my battalion belongs has been detailed as an army of occupation on the Rhine, and I am quite proud to be one of the boys to march into Germany. We are now, in Belgium, in a place called Froid Chapelle and we are resting here for a few days. It is quite a treat to be amongst civilians again, as we have gone, many a time three or four months, without seeing civilisation, and now that we are not disturbed by either lumps of iron or Fritz’s aeroplanes flying through the air, it seemed like heaven. I am anxiously looking forward to the time when I shall return to civilian life, but I don’t expect that will be for another six months or more, and by then I hope to find all fairs and Showland carrying on as in pre-war days. I am sure all the boys from Showland who are out here will be most anxious to get home, as quickly as possible now that the fighting is all over, so as to be ready for next spring, and all make hay while the sun shines, as they say. Well I must close, wishing all Showland the best of success for the forth-coming year and wishing the “World’s Fair” all the success it deserves…

14/12/1918 The World’s Fair







   I remember as a boy having to commit to memory a lot of poetry in which occurred the line “Coming events cast their shadow before.” Whilst home on my third and, I hope, my last leave before I finish, I had conversations with several men who had been like myself in France and whilst there had asked themselves the question “What have we to look forward to?”

   Out here I have met proprietors, proprietors’ sons, and workmen. Out here there is this difference— all are men!

   The man with the little joints has had the same chance of stopping a bullet as has the proprietor or his son.

   Of course when we have met the conversation has veered round to “what fairs are on? Are they having fine weather there?” and then the invariably “I wonder will my grounds be all right when I get back?— if I do.” Of course to me, any idea of there being any doubt whatever about a man’s ground being right after his being out here two or three— or even four— years seems ridiculous— but just a moment.

   Whilst on leave I met a man who had been refused ground and he was a discharged soldier who had been gassed and wounded. And a roundabout proprietor refused him ground.

   Don’t all blush , you budding Barnums! I may not mean you!

   Now I can write from a rather favourable position. I am of the show world without being a showman, and I ask you as a man who has no axe to grind, “Are you going to forget?” You must not forget nor must you allow the Big ‘Uns to forget. It is up to you. there are men in Showland who were unable go for three reasons, “Age, health, physique,” but there are others who, in vulgar parlance, have “ducked it.”

   Are you other sportsmen enough to remember both Big Uns and Little Uns when these men come back who have been and seen. There has been wire pulling and technical twistings that would have made Sir Choizza Money grey with guessing but the end has been achieved. They have stayed at home. And the Big Uns are more guilty than the Little Uns of this pro rata.

   I have not taken up my pen to accuse or defend, but I ask you men aye women also, to see that the men who have been “out here” get a fair share when they come back and allow no one who has been home through it all to dictate terms to those who have seen and suffered.

   I am not a Red Revolutionist. I am not a socialist, I am not after ground but I have seen, have heard, and I say again, “Don’t Forget, be Fair, and be Just.

11/1/1919 The World’s Fair



Private Fred Gray is the only son of Madame Herculine, lady athlete, and well known in both the showman and circus world, He volunteered early in 1915 and has had over three years’ service in France. He would be pleased to hear from any old friends.

11/1/1919 The World’s Fair



COBLENZ, February 2.

   The American soldiers have found a new source of amusement in Hagenbeck’s Circus which presents its first show tonight. It is but a poor remnant of the circus we know in pre-war days. Of the 800 animals which gave so much delight to children about 100 are left. The camels and llamas have all been killed. There are elephants tigers lions and bears.

   Hagenbeck, who is here, tells how during the war the people remarked that it was better to eat elephants then to see them, and many were killed for food. – “Times” message.

3/2/1919 Yorkshire Evening Post


Furno Drake.

Furno Drake, The well-known circus business manager, is back to harness with Lord J. Sanger, after a little over two years and nine months with the colours. He has seen a deal of active service – Ypres front being his principle sporting ground. Mr. Drake brings back with him a treasured souvenir in the shape of a cigarette case, finely engraved and suitably inscribed, presented to him by the 65th Brigade, R.G.A., for his untiring energy in connection with a Cinderella pantomime production put on for the boys and liberated civilians at Tourcoing, Christmas, 1918.    

26/3/1919 The Era





 No community of traders is looking forward more eagerly to a period of prosperity now that peace is at hand than the travelling show folk who provide the noisy entertainment of the feasts and fair ground, for no class has been harder hit during the war.

   The showman has now entered on his reconstruction period, and like the housewife, is busy “spring cleaning”, not only his caravans, but tractors, organs, roundabouts, and the general paraphernalia of the feast ground. It is still impossible to buy new vans, engines, or other properties, and consequently there will be no new feature in the shows which begin at Hull and other Yorkshire towns at Eastertide, and continue right through the Summer until the many Leeds feasts begin with the big one at Hunslet on August Bank Holiday.

   There are other drawbacks. Labour is plentiful once more, but many of the men have been wounded and disabled, and are now finding shell-shock and old injuries severe handicaps in the type of rough life of the fairground, the climbing and hard work generally.

   The people with the greatest troubles are the circus proprietors. The menageries are short of animals, and there is a tragic dearth of the young men who used to play a big part in the circus ring – bareback riders, trapeze artists, and lion tamers. Many have been killed or maimed in the war, and it will be a long time before the travelling circus is the delight it was of old. 

     Sad stories are told of clever circus lads who before the war earned £5 to £7 a week, and are now rendered useless in their old calling by the loss of a limb. One Leeds lad, well known among Yorkshire circus people as a bare-back rider and acrobat, who could go round the ring at full gallop turning wonderful somersaults from the back of the horse’s back, has now returned to civil life minus a leg. Whilst serving in France he stuck to his beloved horses, and combined duty with the occasional pleasure! when down the line, of delighting his astonished comrades by riding tricks! and many a time his skill was turned to good account for breaking-in spirited young animals.

Still proprietors generally are looking hopefully to the future, said an old Leeds showman Mr. George Campbell, to-day. “There is plenty of money about, in spite of unemployment, and a lot of it will find its way into our pockets when the feasts are in full swing again. It will be nearly like of old times with no lighting or other restrictions, and feasts will be as popular in every district of Leeds so as they used to be. All we want is more coal for our engines, and some novelties to replace the cake walk, razzle-dazzle and other comparatively modern shows. The old wooden horse roundabout and the coconut and Aunt Sally shies will go on for ever, because they are traditional institutions of the feasts.”

“Old amusements like this survive all the new-fangled sensations,” he added philosophically.

4/4/1919 Yorkshire Evening Post



Private R. J. Hatton is widely known in the South of England having travelled with Biddall’s for many years. He adds still another to the long list of Showland’s sons who did their duty in the war, and though there are many still in khaki we trust soon to welcome many more of them back to their rightful positions.

5/5/1919 The World’s Fair



   We hear that Corporal Pewee, acrobatic clown, has been discharged from the army and will be back in clown alley with the Yankee Robinson Circus.

19/4/1919 Billboard




The craze for pleasure and amusement during the holiday period, has led many folk back to the old-fashioned attractions of the circus and fun ground, and showmen have reaped a rich harvest. The circus in Leeds has been visited by great crowds of people; and wherever the small fairs have made an early start, they have met with remarkable success. at Grantham hundreds of people lined the queues for rides on the hobby horses. the proprietor raised the charge from 2d to 6d. Pretty rise, in the hope of lessening the rush somewhat, but still the folks trouped up.

   This sudden leap into popularity of the showman’s business, has prompted the inquiry as to where the roundabouts, the swing boats, and the caravans are made. Leeds and the neighbouring district of Yeadon provide many things showmen require. A Yeadon firm makes about nine-tenths of the caravans, swings and wooden stall fittings used in this country. Here also are made the “strikers” – the machines at which, if you would test your strength, you strike a metal pin, fiercely with a mallet, and up goes an iron missile to ring a bell or to register in pounds of your blow.

   Apart from some horse-carving in a small way at Brighthouse, Yorkshire does not produce roundabouts. The home of the whirligig is King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, which is the only place where wooden horses, ostriches, and motor-cars, and the machines to carry them are made.

The part Leeds plays in the showman’s trade is largely a distributing one. To showmen the city is the most important centre in the United Kingdom for obtaining “swag” – which is the showman’s abbreviated word for indicating the thousand and one small things they need for their stalls.

   “Swag” during these years of War, has been dear and hard to obtain. Prices for some things, tinsel goods and darts from France, for example, have doubled again and again; but the general increase is about 100 per cent above the prewar figure. Germany made most of the “swag,” especially alarm clocks and highly coloured china ornaments; but now Japan has captured most of the trade, with America a long way behind, and home manufacturers further off still. A few plaster imitations of German china figures have been made in Leeds. A Leeds firm invented and made the first rings and boards for the houp-la game which is still so popular at fairs. The wooden rings have been difficult to obtain of late, but the board of Trade has now issued a license for the importation of a large consignment from America. The smaller rings which “fair-goers” try to throw over a watch or other prize, on the miniature houp-la are made a in Leeds.

23/4/1919 Yorkshire Evening Post




   Reading through the report of the recent council meeting I find that when the Peace Celebrations were discussed one or two members expressed an opinion that “Lord” Charles Bank’s Circus would not be an altogether desirable feature. Whatever be the attitude in regard to this circus (made up as it mainly was by the fisherfolk), I would just remind those whom it may concern how this estimable young Folkstonion before the war worked with a will on more than one occasion for the best of all causes – The Royal Victoria Hospital. He put himself to an enormous amount of trouble in organising his troupe, and displayed an energy worthy of all praise. His one great object was always to hand over a nice sum to the Hospital and with that accomplished Charlie was always happy. When the war broke out he joined up subsequently for fighting in Palestine, with the result that one of his arms is practically crippled. These things should be remembered of him. “Lord Charles’s” circus as always pleases the millions and many will be disappointed if his “Lordship” does not have a “look in” during the coming festivities, with amongst other things, his two “Sea lions,” which are said to have been recently captured in “the mackerel nets.” In regard to the arrangements for the celebrations, why not give Major H. R.. Willis and Mr G. W. Haynes (the chosen organised a free hand. They have the confidence of the town generally, and I hope their efforts will not be thwarted or hindered by any carping criticism.


Lost reference to name of British Newspaper



   One advantage of having a kiddie of your own (writes Stephen Proctor in the “Daily Dispatch”) is that you can play the fool without looking one. You may even go to the circus. And the circus is still just the same elemental affair that it was when you were a boy. The same airy Nymph on horseback, fluttering like the Winged Victory as she floats through the paper hoop. The same old chalk-face clown, cracking his whip and his chestnuts in the same old way. It is the chief merit of the circus that it is so delightfully out of date. Thank goodness, it has clearly never heard of the war, or even Smillie. The performers are men not of to-day nor of yesterday, but of all time. They and their circus and their audience, too, are the deathless spirits of the ancient amphitheatre, changeless as childhood itself.        

5/9/1919 Yorkshire Evening Post



A considerable portion of the ground was taken up by the manifold effects that go to make Lord John Sanger’s Circus and Menagerie the stupendous affair it is and nearly 200 men were engaged in the many and various duties in connection with the circus.

   After an absence of eight years the circus arrived in Hull this morning from Beverley, making the journey in two hours. The stay of one-day only had been made in the Minster town, but remarkable business had been done, and at the evening performance there was a crowded “house.” The heavy rain during the night did not seriously affect operations, as these sturdy people of the travelling circus make light of the vicissitudes of the elements.      

14/9/1919 Hull Daily Mail