Artefacts: Some New Additions

The following have been added to the reseacrh website and collection:

A postcard showing the view of some of the cages with lions and lionesses. Appeared at Earl’s Court and around the UK, especially Sheffield.

Postcard from Frank Bostock’s Arena, Coney Island, New York, USA, showing Polar Bears with unknown, rather camp male trainer. More information is sought.

Lowly Entertainer circa 1900 ‘Poor Billey’ also labelled ‘King of the Ring’. Thought to be Billy[Spell] Bertram, a lowly comedian circa 1890s. Had a reputation for being a ‘Jonah’, whereby he would have a part in a production which immediatley went bust!  The dramatist George R Simms wrote an article about Bertram under the title Without the Limplight .
Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, February 5, 1899; Issue 2933. Reproduced here by permission the the British Library under their normal terms of usage. More information is sought regarding the phrase ‘King of the Ring’.

Artefacts: More New Items Added

This card shows a tableau with Indra the Elephant as the main attraction. Tableaus containing exotic animals were popular around 1908, the year of the Earl’s Court Exhibition, London.

 

 

 

 

 

A souvenir postcard from one of Frank Bostock’s Jungle appearances. Artist unknown to date.

A card, also from Frank Bostock’s Jungle tours. It can be dated to 1908.

 

 

 

 

The rear view of the above card, showing Bostock’s enterprising use of associated advertising.

Artefacts: New Items in Possession

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.

Further items will be added shortly.