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Chapman Circus (1928 - 1940)



  • Existence: 1928 - 1940


Chapman Circus was established by George Bruce Chapman (1885-1935) in 1928.

George Chapman started as an animal dealer and exhibitor in c.1922 with a collection of animals probably purchased from the estate of animal dealer and naturalist John Hamlyn, who died in 1922. Not coming from a circus background Chapman worked with Fossett Circus to set up the business.

In 1933 George Chapman presented a collection of animals at the Bellevue Gardens in Belfast, including two zebras, a pair of lions, a tiger, four Russian bears, one hyena, a few pelicans and a baby Asiatic elephant. In 1934 he became the co-founder of the Belfast Zoo with the Belfast Corporation. The zoo, also known as Bellevue Zoo, because it was built on the Bellevue site, was operated by George Chapman until his death on 15th March 1935. The Chapman business passed to George’s sister Ada Mary Chapman (1880-1965), who continued running Belfast Zoo and the Chapman Circus until 1940 when business was brought to a halt by the Second World War. Animals and equipment were put up for sale at auction and the animals that didn’t sale were moved to Ada’s property in Worcester.

Found in 10 Collections and/or Records:

Chapman's and Fossett's Circus Scrapbook, 1938 - 1955

Reference code: 178G21.5
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of posters, programmes, newspaper cuttings relating to Chapman's circuses, including Great London Zoo-Circus and Bingley Hall Circus until their closure, and Sir Robert Fossett's Circus, 61p.p

Dates: 1938 - 1955

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Circus Research Material, 1872 - 1975

Reference code: 178B30.1
Scope and Contents Photocopies of programmes from the London Hippodrome, the National Amphitheatre, Hengler's Circus, Olympia, Hagenbeck's Wonder Zoo and Big Circus, Barnum and Bailey, Paulo's Circus, Chapman's Circus, Rosaire's Circus, Grand Continental Circus at the Crystal Palace, Barrett's Canadian Circus, Cody's Continental Circus, Pinder's Royal Circus and Menagerie and other UK and international circuses, also photocopies of newspaper cuttings, ordenance survey, photographs of performers and posters,...
Dates: 1872 - 1975

Monographs, Articles, Manuscripts and Research Material, c1795 - 1999

Reference code: 178B30
Scope and Contents

Compilation of monographs, articles, manuscripts and a range of research material about circus companies and performers in the United Kingdom, Europe and other parts of the world by various authors, the research was mainly compiled by Hal Thomas.

Dates: c1795 - 1999

Newspaper Cuttings and Scapbooks, 1838 - 2007

Reference code: 178G21
Scope and Contents

A collection of newspaper cuttings on circus, circus proprietors and performers and scrapbooks containing newspaper cuttings, posters, programmes and other items of ephemera, covering mainly British circuses and venues such as Belle Vue and also some international circuses.

Dates: 1838 - 2007

Research Material on Various Circuses, c1900 - 1999

Reference code: 178B30.7
Scope and Contents

Colour photocopies of circus posters, one for Barrett's Circus and Zoo at Amlwch divided into three pages, one for Chapman's Great London Circus and three for unspecified circuses.

Dates: c1900 - 1999

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, 1930 - 1958

Reference code: 178G21.50
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, black and white photographs and copies of posters and illustrations, relating to multiple circus and acts including Clyde Beatty, Bertram Mills, Blackpool Tower and Chapman's, 134p.p.

Dates: 1930 - 1958

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, 1937 - 1938

Reference code: 178G21.9
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of posters, newspaper cuttings, and black and white photographs, relating to multiple circuses and acts including Chapman's and Rosaire's, 34p.p.

Dates: 1937 - 1938

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, 1925 - 1937

Reference code: 178G21.10
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, black and white photographs and advertisments, relating to multiple circuses and acts including Chapman's, Lord John Sanger's, Astley's, Blackpool Tower, Crystal Palace and Belle Vue, 61p.p

Dates: 1925 - 1937

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, 1930 - 1938

Reference code: 178G21.14
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, black and white photographs, programmes and advertisments, relating to multiple circuses and acts including Johnny Swallow's Broncho Bill's Circus, Chapman's Zoo Circus, Lord George Sanger's,34p.p.

Dates: 1930 - 1938

Additional filters:

Archival Object 9
Collection 1
Acrobats 2
Aerialists 2
Animal trainers 3
Animals 4
Art 2