Historians have documented the wide-ranging use of animals within the entertainments business throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, and even earlier. Travelling menageries for festivals and wakes, circuses, exhibitions and zoos massive and small are apparent gamers however so too have been entertainers with unique animal acts, usually utilizing snakes or crocodilians, who have been showing on the selection theatres all through Britain. Even so it got here as a shock when I discovered that the theatrical newspaper of the time carried commercials for unique animals positioned by the main importers of the day, William Cross of Liverpool, Jamrach of East London and Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg who all, to some extent, operated in live performance.
The Period newspaper was revealed weekly from 1838 till 1939. From normal protection The Period grew to become the good theatrical journal to the extent that actors and music corridor artistes simply had to purchase it.
The commercials give a flavour of the animal sellers’ companies. They weren’t simply promoting animals. Hagenbeck was providing to design and construct full zoological gardens, whereas Cross was providing his pair of Walruses both on the market or for exhibition in a ‘massive metropolis’ for a share of the proceeds.
The commercials present snapshots of what animals have been being imported and sometimes present that way more have been in circulation in Britain and in continental Europe than zoo information would indicate. The sellers and showmen have been additionally the supply of the skins and skeletons that made their approach to the burgeoning collections in college departments of zoology as professors engaged in outdoing others within the sport of aggressive museuming.
Because the sellers would haven’t have marketed their animals had they not been acquiring gross sales because of this, it’s clear that the entire wild animal business, not simply these showing on the stage, was utilizing The Period to accumulate inventory. The newspaper closed in 1939 and the weekly Cage Birds was the principle promoting medium, notably for birds and mammals however with some reptiles, for the sellers of the Nineteen Fifties and 60s. On this latter interval there have been tales of printers being bribed to tip off a well known chicken keeper about what selection specimens have been on provide earlier than the paper arrived on the newsagents every week. Maybe one thing comparable occurred within the days of The Period.
And if you happen to didn’t need the walruses then silk tights at 7s 6d or a switchback with gondola, automobiles and electrical lights have been on provide.
I ponder what occurred to the walruses.
|The Period 4 September 1897|