'Lord' George Sanger

From the list of elephant persons Family: Sanger

'Lord' George Sanger
George  Sanger

Personal details

Spouse(s) Nellie Chapman

Country United Kingdom

Title owner 1851-1905
Location at Circus Sanger in United Kingdom

Relevant literature
Biography details

George "Lord George" Sanger , circus director in United Kingdom

Born 1827-12-23 in United Kingdom dead 1911-11-28 in United Kingdom , son of assistant director James Sanger and assistant director Sarah Elliott .

George Sanger and Nellie Chapman, sitting in front of Nellies brother, Henry Chapman Jr.

George Sanger was born on 23 December, probably 1825, in Newbury, Berkshire to James Sanger.

James Sanger, the son of a Wiltshire farmer, had been pressed into the service of the Royal Navy at a young age, where he learned conjuring tricks, and later, as a navy pensioner, became a showman. He and his wife, named Sarah Elliott, travelled the country in a caravan, showing human curiosities and a peep show. After they began to have children, the family settled in Trowbridge and then Newbury, where George was born.

George Sanger was the sixth of ten children, and the youngest son. The children grew up helping with their father's business. As a young man, Sanger made his first start in business, independent of his father, as an animal tamer. His first "troupe" consisted of canaries, redpoles, white mice and later, hares. He taught them to fire miniature cannons and walk tightropes. The show was a success and he exhibited at private parties, although he drew a few accusations of witchcraft from rural villagers.

Sanger started a travelling conjuring show with his older brothers William Sanger and John Sanger Sr. Sanger had earned the nickname "Gentleman George" from fellow showmen, and "his Lordship" from his father, for the smart way he dressed. In 1848, the three brothers took their show to Stepney Fair. Here, he renewed an acquaintance with a woman he knew from his childhood called Ellen Chapman. She was a lion tamer employed by George Wombwell, known professionally as Madame Pauline de Vere.

They could not afford to marry immediately and George, with his brothers, John and William, toured the country to raise money. They married on 1 December 1850 in Sheffield.

The brothers decided to start a circus. Their first purchase for the circus was a Welsh pony, for £7 and their assistants were two nieces, a nephew and four apprentices.

In 1871, the Sanger brothers bought Astley's Amphitheatre for £11,000 and George Sanger ran it for 28 years until the London County Council ordered it to be closed in 1893. Sanger ended his professional relationship with his brother John in 1884.

In 1905, Sanger sold off his zoo and circus effects, auctioned by circus auctioneer Tom Norman. He retired to Park Farm in East Finchley, north London, and published an autobiography in 1910.

On 28 November 1911 George Sanger was murdered with a hatchet at his home by employee Herbert Charles Cooper, for Unknown reasons. Cooper then committed suicide on a railway line. Sanger was buried on 4 December next to his wife's grave in Margate.

George had two daughters: Laurina who married Alexander (Sandy) Coleman and Sarah Harriett who married Arthur Reeve, son of the then Mayor of Margate.


Total: 2 children

  1. Laurina Coleman. Born: "1852. Dead: † 1882-10-14
  2. Sarah Reeve. Born: 1854-06-05. Dead: † 1929-04-02


Siblings through the father James Sanger (1778 -- about 1849):

  1. John Sanger Born about 1815 Dead: † 1889-08-22
  2. William Sanger Born 1826 Dead: † 1901
  3. Sara Sanger Born ?

'Lord' George Sanger s ancestral Ahnentafel:


'Lord' George Sanger
Born: 1827-12-23

James Sanger

Born: 1778

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Sarah Elliott

Born: 1787

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Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). director George "Lord George" Sanger in United Kingdom. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 21 April 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=2534. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications
  • Sanger, George (1926) [1910], Seventy Years a Showman, New York: E. P. Dutton, OCLC 3775375

Links about Sarah Reeve

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Categories director | circus | Circus Sanger | Sanger family | Born 1827 | Dead 1911 | People from United Kingdom

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