This website is dedicated to the Travelling Menagerie and in particular (but not exclusively) George Wombwell, the most famous Victorian showman and Menagerist. The story of Travelling Menageries and George Wombwell are difficult tales to tell since hitherto there have not been a great deal of reliable sources of information regarding Wombwell other than anecdotes and various forms of misinformation. The site will take many months or even years to materialise in a form that the authors are happy to publish. I am currently carrying out post-graduate research at Birkbeck College at the Unversity of London and will publish results as soon as possible. If you have anything to contribute then please get in touch with me at

From Karl Pearson, The life, letters and labours of Francis Galton. Vol I Birth 1822 to Marriage 1853 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1914)

Letter to Emma, March 1841:

'Yesterday I made my appearance before the eyes of wondering Cantabs, where do you think? Why right in the midst of a den containing 1 Lion, 1 Lioness, 1 huge Bengal Tiger and 4 Leopards in Wombwell's menagerie. The Lion snarled awfully. I was a wee frightened for the Brute crouched so. The keeper told me that I was only the fourth that had entered that den. Nothing like making oneself a " Lion " at Cambridge'

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