Bostock and Wombwell’s Menagerie in Gargrave
By Dennis French
Photograph taken in 1912 by Tom Airton whose studio was at what is now 6 High Street (Hidden behind the wagon).
Original photograph loaned by Mrs Dorothy Hudson. The three boys on the left are Walter Hudson, Maurice Hudson and Rufus Bradley though the correct order is not known.
People rarely ventured far from home in those days and relied on entertainment being brought to them by travelling shows. Often for one night only in the smaller towns.
Bostock and Wombwell’s Menagerie was probably one of the best known and travelled the length and breadth of the country giving many people their first glimpse of wild animals at their “Wild Beast Show”. They had lions, tigers elephants, camels and giraffes amongst their twenty nine different animals. One of the favorites being Billy the Pelican.
Star of the show was Captain Fred Wombwell, one of the most famous animal trainers of all time.
The other heavier wagons would be drawn by up to six horses depending on the loads. The one pictured being used purely for publicity purposes.