Projects‎ > ‎Bibliography‎ > ‎

Circuses and Travelling Menageries

N.B. There are a great many books on circuses, but only a small selection are listed here. Whereas travelling menageries fall comfortably within the remit of the Bartlett Society, the Society has, in the past, had little to do with the circus world, mainly because there are specialist circus societies.

2013. BARNABY, DAVID. The Great British Circus: Views of Martin Lacey. Book Guild Publishing, Brighton. Hb.
Martin Lacey has not always been a circus man. He started in zoos, but it is in circuses that he made his name - and along the way founded a dynasty, because he has sons actively engaged in the same line of work. He has been mauled by tigers in the circus ring, and lived to tell this tale - and many others - to his biographer, David Barnaby, a long-standing member of the Bartlett Society. This is the eventful life story of a colourful character, a well-known trainer of lions and tigers, and founder, recently retired, of The Great British Circus.

2008. CLUBB, JAMIE, with contributions by CLUBB, JIM. The Legend of Salt and Sauce: The Amazing Story of Britain's Most Famous Elephants. Aardvark Publishing. Pb. 148 pp.
A very well researched and written account of the so-called "Cruet" elephants, articulated with passion and understanding. A compelling read.
1987. MIDDLEMISS, J.L. A Zoo on Wheels: Bostock and Wombwell’s Menagerie. Dalebrook Publications, Burton-on-Trent. Pb. 56 pp.
A good account of the most famous travelling menagerie of them all, Bostocks and Wombwell's, written for the general reader coming to the subject for the first time, rather than the zoologist or zoo historian. The author, a medical practitioner, saw the menagerie in 1927 and 1929. His parents had run a medical practice for many years in Settle, Yorkshire, and had enjoyed the confidence of many travelling show people as patients, among them the Bostocks. At just fifty-six pages, it is not a thick book, but the text is quite closely spaced and the book contains a wealth of information, although not all of it is completely accurate.

1989. PERCIVAL, GEORGE and TOMLINSON, KEVIN and BARNABY, DAVID. The Wombwell Menagerie Log Book. ZSGM Publications. Pb. 104 pp.
A spiral-bound book containing photocopied, handwritten records as retained by George Percival, driver of the elephant wagon in Wombwell’s Number One Menagerie, who died in 1906. These leaves are really photocopies of a copy. The original log disappeared a long time ago, but at least someone had the presence of mind to make a duplicate. David Barnaby provides an introduction on the travelling menageries, and Kevin Tomlinson, grandson of George Percival, also contributed a short explanatory chapter.

1936. TYRWHITT-DRAKE, Sir GARRARD. Beasts and Circuses.