Hull, in East Yorkshire is one of those cities that has a long tradition of markets and fairs. The Hull Fair is a regular annual event from the thirteenth century onwards and is rivelled only by the Nottingham Goose Fair and Bartholomew’s Fair in central London. It was then, a popular destination for the travelling menageries. Wombwell is known to have attended and Bostock and Wombwell shows were a favorite with the nineteenth century audiences.
There were a series of excellent photographs taken of B&W at Hull Fair. This is probably the finest example of the menagerie booth photographs that exist and was possibly taken in 1919 although the fashion might indicate somewhat earlier.
During the early part of the twentieth century, Frank Bostock returned to England from New York and toured his Bostock’s Jungle. It visited several large cities and Earl’s Court, another of those large exhibition sites in London. It had also operated for 7 months in Sheffield, South Yorkshire during 1910.
Here is one of the many postcards produced to advertise the shows:
At the very end of the Menageries era, circuses were finding winter quarters. One famous venue was the Olympia exhibition halls in central London. Bertam Mills were regular occupants over the winter for a period greater than thirty years. Indeed, it is where I was introduced to the circus for the first time. Here is the front cover and some internal pages from the 1936 season programme.
Other scanned images are available.