Bostock & Wombwells Menagerie (Wombwell No.2 menagerie) in United Kingdom

Elephants at Bostock & Wombwells Menagerie (Wombwell No.2 menagerie)

Photograph taken in 1912 by Tom Airton whose studio was at what is now 6 High Street (Hidden behind the wagon). Original photograph loaned by Mrs Dorothy Hudson. The three boys on the left are Walter Hudson, Maurice Hudson and Rufus Bradley though the correct order is not known.
CollectionKept totally 7, 0 present (0,0,0), 0 births, 5 relocated, 2 deaths
LocationGlasgow, United Kingdom
Type: circus, closed 1932



E. H. Bostock
James Bostock and George Wombwell's niece Emma had three sons, among them Edward (E.H) Bostock and Frank Charles Bostock, who made his fortune in America, while Edward purchased the original business from his mother in 1889. Edward became also owner of The Scottish Zoo And Variety Circus in Glasgow.



Star of the show was Captain Fred Wombwell, one of the most famous animal trainers of all time.

Arthur Douglas Fairgreave Bostock, the third son of E.H. Bostock, born 13th August 1887, assisted his fathers Bostock and Wombwell's circus and menagerie. Took charge of the show, visiting Australia, New Zealand and back to Australia.





Bostock and Wombwell at Aberdeen, 1917.

"I think it may be said that the travelling menagerie proper has had its day and, after 130 years on the road, will be seen no more. I am talking of the show of not less that six or eight wagons of beasts and a big front. Small wild animal shows are still touring the country with the fairs, but when the Bostock Wombwell show was sold to the London Zoo in 1932 it was the end of the menagerie that relied entirely on itself."Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, in his book "English Fairs and Circuses

Break-up of Bostocks



Inhabitants of Whipsnade, London's famed zoo, looked down their noses at 100-odd new arrivals last week. With ill-concealed disgust they observed the plebeian habits of 25 chattering monkeys, 50 impertinent parrots, two elephants, two brown bears, one polar bear, two spotted hyenas, one striped hyena, 13 lions, two tigers, two wolves, five leopards, two dromedaries, a pelican, a crane, a leaping kangaroo and a sloppy old sea lion named Bonzo. Wondered the Manchester Guardian: "Will they bring the circus habit into the glades and meadows of Whipsnade? Or will the old circus performers keep themselves entirely to themselves?"

Known far & wide throughout the British Isles since 1805, Bostock & Wombwell's Royal Menagerie gave a farewell performance in Glasgow last fortnight and then folded its tents forever. Big, florid E. H. Bostock ran the circus. Last year he was 73. He arranged to disband the animals, then went off to South Africa to avoid seeing the menagerie broken up.

Sources, among others

  • http://www.systemf.demon.co.uk/gargrave/bostocks.htm
  • http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho0331.htm

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