Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke) in Ireland

Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke)
Local name Powell and Clarke Circus, 1927 Edward Fossett and sons, 1930 Fossett, Powell and Clarke Circus, 1932 Fossett’s Berlin Tower Circus, Fossett’s Circus and Menagerie, Fossett & Heckenberg Berlin Tower Circus & Menagerie, 1952 Fossetts Circus

Owner -1919: Margaret Lowe
1868-: Anthony Powell
1868-: Alfred Clarke
1888-1939: William Powell
1922-1946: Mona Fossett
1922-1951: Edward Fossett
1951: Bobby Fossett
1951: Johnny Fossett
1951-1998: Teddy Fossett
1953-2024: Herta Fossett
1998-: Edward Fossett Jr.
1998-: Robert Fossett
1998-: Mona Fossett
1998-: Marion Fossett
1998-: Angela Fossett
Country Ireland
Website Website


Key People -1978: Gordon Howes (animal trainer)


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History of updates2024-03-07

Latest document update2024-03-07 05:42:10
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Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke), Ireland , was founded in 1888.

Comments / pictures1888: In the 1870’s there was a circus in England operating as Powell and Clarke, and later by 1888 the name Powell & Clarke circus was used by the Amazing Doctor Powell. William Powell (born George B. Lowe), married to Margaret Lowe née Bond, had one known child, Mona Fossett née Lowe.

1889: A sensation was caused in Lisburn on Sunday evening last [3 November] when it became known that Jumbo, the huge elephant belonging to Messrs. Powell & Clarke\'s circus troupe, had escaped from his keepers. It appears that whilst the cavalcade was proceeding from Lisburn to Belfast the elephant displayed signs of illness, and in order to appease his apparent sufferings a dose of whisky was administered to the huge brute. This had an unexpected effect, for in a short time he broke away from his keeper and made for the railway track. Proceeding up the line he in due time reached the goods station, but, finding nothing there to engage his attention, he made for the Antrim Road [Lisburn]. An iron gate prevented his exit, but this soon yielded to his great strength. Jumbo then proceeded up the road, entering, it is said, a gentleman\'s grounds, which he somewhat damaged. The elephant then came back to Lisburn, frightening the people out of their wits.

Passing up Longstone Street, he caused a flutter of excitement, but the huge animal did no injury. Proceeding to Knockmore Junction, he burst open a gate on the line which barred his progress, and headed for Hillsborough, where he visited gardens and stables. Jumbo then came in the direction of the Maze, where he burst in doors and caused terror amongst the residents. In one case he entered a house where the family were at tea, and enjoyed a feast of bread, butter and jam. At another house he made an unusual noise, and the owner rushed out, believing he had a burglar before him. In the dark he seized hold of the elephant\'s Trunk, which he dropped quickly enough, with a cry of terror. In another case he visited a stable and greatly frightened the horses. The employees of Messrs. Powell & Clarke were seeking for Jumbo all night, and it was not until half past four yesterday morning that he was found, apparently weary with his wanderings, at Hull\'s Hill, about four miles from Lisburn. He was quietly secured, and taken to join the remainder of the troupe.

Northern Whig, 5 November 1889

1918: an accomplished bareback rider joined the show, which was then touring as Powell and Clarke’s. His name was Edward Fossett, the youngest son of Sir Robert Fosset II and circus proprietor Mary Francis, a Wexford woman; both were renowned equestrian riders.
1922: Edward upon meeting Mona Powell (daughter of Dr. Powell), who at this time was also a noted equestrienne, fell immediately in love. With their mutual love of horses and circus, they were an instant match and were married in 1922. They had six children, Robert (known as Bobby), Mary, Edward (known as Teddy), Amy, John (known as Johnny) and Mona. They all followed in the family tradition and became excellent bareback riders and circus performers. Bobby went on to become one of Ireland’s best-loved clowns as Bobo.
1927: Circus was renamed Edward Fossett and sons.
1930s: Renamed Heckenberg’s Berlin Tower Circus.
1934: a newspaper ad appeared “Will Teddy Fossett and Dr. Powell, travelling as Heckenberg’s Berlin Tower Zoo and circus.
1939: George B. Lowe (Doctor Powell) died 26th Dec. 1939 aged 78 years.
1951: Edward Fossett died.
1952: The circus\'s first year run without the family\'s patriarch Edward Fossett was 1952. That year the show was renamed Fossett\'s Circus.
1953: Teddy married Herta Bhorsky in 1953. Of the boys Teddy was the only one to have children, Edward Fosset Jr., Robert Fosset Jr., Marion Fosset, Angela Fosset and Mona Fosset.
1956: Elephants Jimmy, Blackie and Monica (two males and a female)were sold to Fossett\'s Circus in Ireland. Teddy Fossett presented them and later his wife Herta Fossett or her father Otto Lordini.
1958: Herta presented Jimmy, Blackie and Monica on Circus Samerei Busch in Germany. They were later sold to Russia. Jimmy and Blackie, and one female elephant called Monica was sold to Russia. They included Banda and Shandra, who was also a female.Jim Clubb, UK.
1960: The show gained it\'s current name, Fossett Brothers Circus, in the 1960s.
Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke) in Ireland IrelandCircus ringmaster Teddy Fossett, petting Cindy the elephant, during the recording of a radio documentary entitled "The Circus", in early 1975.
1998: Owned and operated by Teddy Fosset until his death in 1998 at the age of 70. Teddys parents was Edward Fosset and Mona Powell (daughter of Dr. Powell, owner of the Powell and Clarke’s show. They had six children, Robert (known as Bobby), Mary, Edward (known as Teddy), Amy, John (known as Johnny) and Mona.
Today the show is run by Teddy’s two sons, Edward Fosset Jr. and Robert Fosset Jr.
2008: The Fossett Family made a decision not to have animals in their circus.

References for records about Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke)

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Fossett Brothers Circus (Powell & Clarke), Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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