Nostalgia Gallery

Barnum & Bailey: Hove 1899

By Jennifer Drury

This wonderful photograph shows the Barnum & Bailey Circus procession passing the mansions of Kingsway, between Third and Forth Avenues on the 13th July 1899. There must have been great excitement about such a famous circus visiting the town.

But the main reason I chose to publish this particular photograph is that it tells a very clear story about the strict social strata of those times. Although different social classes of people lived in those very large houses in the photograph, there were very clear distinctions made between them, and each knew their place.

On the entrance porch of the ground floor of one of the big houses in the background you can see the family of the house watching the parade. At the first floor balcony there are two females, probably governesses. On the second floor balcony we can see five housemaids. Of course none of those large mansions are now owned by single families, they have long since been converted into flats.

Photo:Barnum & Bailey circus parade in Hove 1899

Barnum & Bailey circus parade in Hove 1899

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

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