It has been a while since I published anything. However, I have been very busy researching travelling menageries. I am currently conducting a research project at the University of London on the subject of early travelling menageries and associated visual culture. That’s why I have not published articles here. It has uncovered a wealth of information and that will keep me going for several years I think! One day, I hope to announce that we can say we ‘know’ the early history of George Wombwell the menagerist. Included in this will be an account of the so called ‘Warwick Dog Fight’. I have some surprises in store for you all on that subject! Right now, I have to concentrate on the matters in hand.
A postcard sized coloured advert for Barnham and Sanger outfits (1882)
I have also been busy collecting items associated with the subject and also with early circuses like Sanger’s. Below is the first batch of items that will, in due course be added to the research website. A short description is attached to each item. Sometimes I have to rely on the originator’s description which may not be 100% accurate. As always, higher resolution images have been stored.The card shows Barham, Sanger and Hutchinson together with a procession including the Lion Queen on the elephant from Sanger’s outfit (his wife Ellen). Eventually, after about 1880 the Barnum outfit became known as Barnum & Bailey’s. The original poster would represent some time between 1881-1887 after which date Hutchinson retired. His main job was as booking agent and he had worked for Van Amburg’s some time during the 1870s.
The postcard is much later of course and some ‘granny’ must have received it hand delivered!
This undated card is thought to be from Paris.
This card shows a ‘Black Comic Parade’ and is marked 1904. Its origin is not yet known.
The card was sent from Brussels during 1904 or it may be 1922-23. I’m no philatelist! Research is required to place this troupe in the history of entertainment and identity studies.
Here is another cracking image from the Goose Fair in Nottingham showing Bostock and Wombwell’s presence in the centre of the city during the early 1900s. Note the juxtaposition between the outfit and the statue of Queen Victoria, fascinating! The menagerie was always centre stage when it went to the fair.