A command performance for boy who missed circus

It's 1952 and the day the circus rolled up at St Mary's Hospital, Milton, Portsmouth
It's 1952 and the day the circus rolled up at St Mary's Hospital, Milton, Portsmouth
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

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Roll up. Roll up. One of the most famous names in the circus world – Billy Smart’s – opens at Southsea tonight.

So today Remember When casts a nostalgic look back to periods when the circus arrived in the city.

In 1952 when the circus not only came to town but went to St Mary’s Hospital, Milton.

Apparently a young boy patient sent a letter to Chipperfields on Southsea Common telling them that he was too poorly to make the show, but asked if they could come to him. Amazingly, they did.

Of course, those were the days when nobody batted an eyelid about the use of animals in the circus and on this occasion some of them even went into the wards for the children to see.

Elephants were always one of the main attractions to old-style circuses.

But there was an extra special reason for the arrival of these gentle giants.

The clue was in the name of the pub – the Elephant and Castle in Sultan Road, Buckland.

The enterprising landlord obviously had a nose for a publicity stunt and persuaded the elephants and their keepers to pop along in 1930.

Of course, a photographer was on hand to capture the moment for the Evening News.

The chap holding the bucket, which was filled with beer, was the aptly-named Charlie Phillpots, the pub’s cellarman.