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Nostalgia...circus days.

(49 Posts)
GabriellaG54 Sat 14-Sep-19 11:33:28

I was out with OH today (yesterday actually) and we passed a circus, set up on a green in Haslemere, a town near where I live.
Jay Miller's circus.
My OH booked tickets and I'm excited to see what the modern circus offers.
I remember elephants, lions and tigers doing tricks. Ladies and men balancing on two trotting horses, performing seals, even riders jumping through hoops of fire, high-wire acrobats and Charlie Caroli, the king of the ring.
All exciting in a different era, Blackpool Tower had the best circus ever and a Zoo under the legs.
We used to make a weekend of it and stay in either a BnB or a caravan.
Glitz and glamour in a very cheap way but it was huge fun and the Opera House was another attraction where they had several 'turns' and a known star at the time, topping the bill.
Have you ever been to an old-fashioned circus?
What did you like best?

lemongrove Sat 14-Sep-19 11:46:54

I remember the Blackpool Tower Circus well ( Albert and the lion! 🤣)
So many animal acts ( not allowed now of course.) Elephants, performing seals and dogs, and the scary lions and tigers.
I laughed at the clowns antics as a child, but was always glad we sat in the cheaper seats, not likely to be dragged out to the circus ring by them.😱
I haven’t been to a circus since our children were young, but am now musing whether to visit a nearby one, just setting up.

eazybee Sat 14-Sep-19 12:07:19

I loved the circus when i was a child, and my father used to take me; my mother didn't come because she thought it was humiliating to train wild animals to do tricks.
Once we were watching the acrobats and trapeze artists perform and my father was quite flattered because one of the girls was flashing smiles in his direction, only she turned out to be smiling at me; she was one of the 'big girls' from my ballet school who had turned professional, joined a variety dance troupe but ended up under contract for a season to the circus.
I used to really dislike the clown in the spangly suit with the white face, can't remember his name; I found him quite eerie and rather disturbing.

Anniebach Sat 14-Sep-19 12:18:46

I remember going to a Bertram Mills circus when a child , so

crazyH Sat 14-Sep-19 12:24:34

I loved going to the Circus and still do, although I think there are no 'trained' animals. I love the excitement of the 'globe of death'.
These days we have the Canadian import 'Cirque du Soleil'. I have been to a couple of their performances. Excellent! Highly recommend it !!

lemongrove Sat 14-Sep-19 13:34:04

I wonder if you take away the magic effect ( being a child) how much you would enjoy a circus now?
Tbh, acrobats leave me cold, am too old to find clowns funny,
So I think that it was probably only the animal acts that made the circus what it was.
The only animal acts that were ‘fair’ though, were the horses and the dog acts.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Sep-19 13:40:50

The Blackpool tower circus was brilliant!

I went on holiday to Blackpool when my daughter was little, and the circus was the highlight of our trip.

At the end of the show, the ring filled up with water, and some of the performers did some synchronised swimming.. suddenly, a really realistic crocodile began swimming into the ring, and my daughter screamed the place down! She was almost hysterical!

BBbevan Sat 14-Sep-19 13:48:44

Went to a circus only once when I was about 8. It was Chipperfields Circus in Cardiff. All the usual, lions, elephants, horses and the two sorts of clown. But what I remember most is that the ring was flooded at the end and there was an enormous fountain. I didn't think the clowns were funny. Was bored by the animals but loved the trapeze artists. Never been to a circus since and have no real desire to go now.

Oopsminty Sat 14-Sep-19 13:53:56

I went to Blackpool circus. Friend of mine had their party there. Long before it was the norm to go anywhere for parties. Hated the clowns. Didn't like the smell of the place. My party dress was itchy. But I got a large blue plastic dolphin which I think is still in my loft. Never went to a circus again

Daisymae Sat 14-Sep-19 14:08:42

Circus acts and zoos hold no attraction for me now. The suffering that I realise went on behind the scenes has clouded any memories.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 14-Sep-19 14:12:19

Hundreds of a animals suffered dreadful existence for our “entertainment”

No thank you

GabriellaG54 Sat 14-Sep-19 14:16:49

I rode on an elephant at Chester Zoo lots of times. Crazily high.
Cirque du Soleil is utterly amazing but so slick that you don't have time to appreciate the huge skills and hard work put in to make it so mesmerising.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Sep-19 14:27:18

I really fancy going to a more grown up circus.

I have a leaflet for the 'Cirque Berserk' and the blurb says it makes the Soleil look wimpish.

EllanVannin Sat 14-Sep-19 14:38:15

I was never keen on circus's as a child nor the Punch and Judy shows on the sands, but I did enjoy the panto's so wasn't such a miserable child. I was probably scared !
Even as a child the zoos used to upset me too because young as I was I felt sorry for animals who were caged and still do to this day, though I now understand that the preservation of most animals is important.

KatyK Sat 14-Sep-19 14:41:03

When we were children, a circus used to occasionally set up in a local park. I went once with my older sister. It was so exciting. I can't remember what acts were on but there was a terrible thunder storm and the lightening was striking the tent and the rain was lashing down. We were frightened. Suddenly our dad appeared with raincoats and took us home. That was a miracle in itself as he wasn't exactly Dad of the Year!

MawB Sat 14-Sep-19 14:45:01

Given our ages, I expect most people were taken to a “traditional” circus in their childhood.
I remember Gerry Cottle’s - a bit tacky and tin-pot but also Bertram Mills which was a somewhat grander affair.
Yes, magical for a child at the time, but looking back, it was an appalling abuse of noble animals like elephants to make them perform silly tricks, and of lions trapped in a cage with a man cracking his whip and brandishing a chair shouting “Back!”
To us children who had no experience of such animals in the wild, we were not to know better, but I am glad those days have gone. Even the galloping horses and acrobats on their backs - what a miserable life for those poor creatures.
I have enjoyed “Cirque du Soleil” on several occasions, marvelling at the skill and artistic impression the artistes create.
Circuses, like old-fashioned zoos with rectangular cages belong firmly in the pasta do should stay there.

MawB Sat 14-Sep-19 14:45:34

Not pasta 😂😂😂😂😂
“The past” !!!

Ngaio1 Sat 14-Sep-19 14:50:38

I haver never and would never, go to an event which treats animals tis badly. I am surprised that anyone would consider it. Perhaps they would enjoy bear baiting and badger fighting as well.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Sep-19 14:53:34

I very much doubt anyone would go to a circus with animals, nowadays.

rafichagran Sat 14-Sep-19 15:08:14

I loved the Circus as a child, and saw it through a child's eyes,it was funny and magical,however as a adult I see it very differently. Those poor animals.

ninathenana Sat 14-Sep-19 15:10:23

The last circus I went to was at the O2 when it was first opened. I went as a parent helper with DD school. There was an amazing acrobatic show, jugglers, clowns etc. but no animals.
I don't remember going to the circus when I was young. Although we had a touring one come to our town every summer and still do.

MissAdventure Sat 14-Sep-19 15:15:57

We have one that comes around this way every year, and it's a great night out.

Death defying trapeze artists, "without the aid of safety net" and all! smile

GrannyGravy13 Sat 14-Sep-19 15:20:58

MissAdventure, I know the one you mean, we went the other year, it was raining and we were sitting under a constant drip drip through a hole in the "big top".

MissAdventure Sat 14-Sep-19 15:33:45


Yes, its a bit run down, and the performers appear by magic, dressed in ordinary clothes at half time, selling hotdogs. smile

Carillion01 Sat 14-Sep-19 15:44:41

A magical thread.

Annie reminded me of the name...Bertrand Mills! Joy!

We used to go on holiday always to North Wales but once went to Mablethorpe and went to the BM circus at Skegness starring Charlie Caroli, can still recall the technicolor effect.

This was a big treat for me and my late sister because we shared the same birthday in May, if that makes sense. I was born in the mid fifties and she was born five years later to the day...a big joke for our parents but I think it wore a little thin for them eventually!