Strange But True! Elephants on Parade in Norwich, 1898

The Norfolk Record Office recently shared these images on their Facebook page, and we just had to share them! Here we have a string of the famed American circus P.T. Barnum & Bailey’s elephants making their way up past Jarrold to the Guildhall. Perhaps they’d done some shopping?

Picture Norfolk also has this gem: an 1899 image of another Barnum & Bailey circus parade travelling up Prince of Wales Road.


Interesting story: “Barnum and Bailey’s were touring the country by railway that year, and the circus included a menagerie, a military band, 70 horses and collection of ‘living human curiosities’. Touring circuses in the late 19th century were much grander affairs than they had been when circuses first went on the road one hundred years earlier. A big parade through town to advertise their arrival became standard practice. During the tour pictured here, there was a slight accident when the parade passed through King’s Lynn in Norfolk. A ’40-horse hitch’ (a wagon pulled by 40 horses) damaged the front of a pub called The Mayflower. The resulting publicity more than made up for the expenses incurred by the owner, and he renamed the pub the ‘Forty Horse Inn’.” – story from V&A museum website



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Filed under American Culture, Local Interest

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