OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
When Tigers took a walk at CityBank
I’ve always loved Circuses and I have fond memories of childhood visits to Bertram Mills Circus in London and also to the touring Circuses that regularly came to Ciren. Before Giffords Circus, which continues to come to town, Chipperfields Circus was the main touring company. Chipperfields stopped touring in the late 1980s, but they last came to Ciren in 1986; a memorable visit for two reasons; the first being that during one of the performances, the banked rows of audience seating collapsed, and secondly because the Circus trainers exercised a Tiger at Citybank (and allowed it to use the slide.)
Chipperfield’s; once the largest Circus in Europe with a tent that could hold 6000 people had an enormous menagerie of animals which included 200 Horses, 16 Elephants and 200 other animals. They didn’t bring all of these to Ciren in 1986, but they did bring a camel, 5 elephants, four lions and a Tiger.
It is still lawful to keep and train wild animals for Circuses an two Circuses still do so in the UK. This will come to an end in 2020 when a new Law comes into force prohibiting it.
The collapse of the seating at the afternoon Matinee in 1986, caused a few minor injuries and some people I’ve spoken to recently, can still remember losing bags and shoes in the confusion. Luckily there were no tigers (or lions) loose at the time!
One of the photos this week, shows the ChIpperfield tiger at the Citybank having it's stomach rubbed. To the rear is the old metal slide that many readers will remember from their childhood days. What I remember from childhood has distorted over time and what once seemed to me to be an enormous pleasure tower, seems quite small now; or perhaps it really was huge and its the tiger that makes it look small in the photo.