Close

Poster advertising a performing elephant at Sanger's Grand National Amphitheatre, London

Poster advertising a performing elephant at Sanger's Grand National Amphitheatre, London

British Library

Image Licence

  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • When you think of a circus you probably think of a travelling show with acrobats and clowns in a big tent. Well this circus was a little different, this circus had a permanent location at the Astley Amphitheatre on Westminster Bridge Road in London.

      George Sanger, who owned the circus, was one of the most successful circus entrepreneurs of the 19th Century. He began his career with a touring circus and eventually they became so popular, he boasted that every town in England with a population over 100 had been visited by his circus.

      In 1871 Sanger purchased the Astley Amphitheatre, he used his permanent location to his advantage and put on huge shows with hundreds of people and lots of large animals, like the elephant advertised here.

      Things to think about:

      • Queen Victoria loved circuses and they were very popular during the Victorian times, why do you think this is?
      • What other types of popular entertainment can you think of?
      • You wouldn't see an elephant used in a circus these days, why do you think that is?

Share This