Friday 19 August 2011

The Circus (No. 1)

Philip Astley brought the circus to England in the 1850s. Having served in the Fifteenth Light Dragoon Regiment during the Seven Years War, he was a brilliant horse rider. He performed great feats of horsemanship, and his reputation grew. He hired other equestrians, then musicians, clowns, jugglers, tumblers, and dancing dogs - the modern circus was created.
Once upon a time there was a young woman, a bright oxbridge scholar. Her world was turned upside down by a family tragedy.  She gave up her settled life, and ran away to join a circus.
She travelled the world
Eventually returning home, she met and fell in love with her Prince Charming.  Together they started their own circus with vintage travelling vans and tents.
With the Victorians love of menageries, the circus fed into their interest by introducing wild caged animals, and teaching them tricks. However, in the 1960s with the advent of TV, and the outrage at using wild animals in this way, the big top circuses declined and closed down.

The circus comes to town 
Accompanying the circus,  our young couple have a tent restaurant, called Circus Sauce. It uses recognisable pottery, especially made for the restaurant, by her sister.
This highly acclaimed circus, travels village greens and commons for 8 weeks in the summer, delighting and bringing magic moments to children,  and nostalgic memories for older generations.
Everyone joins in with the fun of the circus. 
A new chapter recently began when the young couple added twin babies to their circus family.
Courtesy two of my grandchildren -
click on the picture you can just make out the twins in their pram
Link here for The Circus (No.2)


  1. Hello Rosemary:
    Although we have heard much of Gifford's Circus we have never yet managed to see a performance which is a shame as we are sure that it would be the most marvellous fun. Circus life sounds so glamorous but we are certain that it is is a huge amount of hard work with uncertain rewards.

  2. Dear Jane and Lance - do try and see it sometime if you can. They have a different theme each year; This year it was based on Tolstoy's epic tale War and Peace.

  3. Gifford's Circus sounds absolutely delightful, and I can imagine that people look forward to a new theme every year. Sarasota, Florida (which is about an hour from where I live), was the summer home of the Ringling Circus, and today it's the home of a good circus museum. My favorite artifact is General Tom Thumb's tiny carriage, which was drawn by a pony.

  4. Hello Mark - I wish I had known about the circus museum when I visited Sarasota in March. I have had a look at the tiny carriage on Google. It must have looked wonderful when General Tom Thumb was driving it with a little pony.

  5. Rosemary, another wonderful experience with a story behind it. I love the way you combine pictures with a winding story. Must look out for the circus when it comes to my town :-)

  6. Dear Kate - sadly the circus only visits the Cotswolds, and adjacent areas. It has just moved on to Marlborough Common, and finishes up on Stratton Meadows Cirencester. Pleased you enjoyed reading it.

  7. I hated the circus as a child. I was unhappy to see the confined animals and cried when a clown was hit on the head and a plume of water spurted out. I'm sure that a smaller, more gentle circus such as Giffard's would have met with my approval.
    Left a message about the twins on your previous post.

  8. Share my Garden - you would love Gifford's it is magical, just lots of skills and fun.

  9. Reading this post reminded me of the circuses of long ago in the fabulous book by Tracy Chevalier, Burning Bright.

    best, teaorwine

  10. Thanks teaorwine - I will watch out for the book. I have read her Girl with a Pearl Earring. Had a look at your blog - it looks lots of fun.


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