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Oh What a Circus; the elephants escape – a guided walk

December 28, 2023 @ 11:00 - 13:00

In 1884 Sanger’s Circus came to the south-east corner of Parliament Fields. Some of the animals and vehicles arrived via rail and, during the unloading process, two of the four performing elephants got unusually spooked and broke free of the yard, fleeing through nearby streets, causing mayhem and excitement along the way.

Ida and Palm’s journey ended in N19 where they had managed to trap themselves in a basement space between two residential houses. Luckily, the elephants were unharmed, although there were some extraneous casualties along the way, and, after being rescued, they walked to the circus site and the show went on as planned, no doubt better attended than previously expected.

This walking tour follows the whole of the elephants’ rampaging route to see the kind of obstacles these two lost and confused beasts would have experienced along the way.

We’ll admire Georgian streets, Victorian terraces, cobbled lanes and narrow little alleys including a row of cottages in Little Green Street which was only recently saved from demolition. Learn about the real “Greatest Showman” and what was one of the biggest circus companies in the world at that time. Hear about music, Margate and monkeys. See how the arrival of railways changed the area. It all helps to make this a really evocative tour.

As per my other walks, I will be pointing out other things of interest along the way including ghostsigns and film locations.

  • The walk lasts approx two hours, starting near Gospel Oak station and ending amid-way between Tufnell Park and Archway stations.
  • The exact meeting point will be clearly described on your ticket and confirmation – these will both be sent via email after purchase.
  • Please do not rely on maps supplied through other non-Eventbrite apps can sometimes give incorrect/vague information.