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Giffords Circus (Established 2000)



  • Existence: Established 2000


Gifford Circus was founded by husband and wife Nell and Toti Gifford in 2000.

Nell Gifford was born Eleanor Rose Stroud in 1973 in Oxford, to Rick Stroud, a television director and producer, and Charlotte Pumphrey. When she was ten, the family moved to a farm in Wiltshire, where Nell learnt to ride horses.

Nell developed a passion for circus at a young age and while studying English at New College Oxford, she took a break to travel to the US to work for Circus Flora with her brother-in-law Gerald Balding. Following her graduation she worked on several circuses including Bobby Roberts, Santus, Gandey and Roncalli, where she learned a range of skills.

Nell married Toti in 1999, the son of a farmer from the Cotswolds, together they started Giffords Circus a year later and travelled around the world in search of new talent for their shows. They populated their circus with musicians, singers, dancers, tight-rope walkers, trapeze artistes, stunt riders, magicians and gymnasts, although horses were always at the centre of every show.

Through her career, Nell published five books about circus and a cookery book. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and died on 8 December 2019. Giffords Circus was bequeathed to Nell’s niece Lil Rice.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

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

Gifford Circus Programmes, 2004 - 2015

Reference code: 178K43.627
Scope and Contents

Gifford Circus programmes for Pearl, The Cockerel, Love, Caravan, The Saturday Book, War and Peace at the Circus and Moon Songs shows, containing black and white and colour photographs of acts and performers and illustrations, text and commercial advertising.

Dates: 2004 - 2015

Programmes, c1800 - 2019

Reference code: 178K43
Scope and Contents

A collection of mainly British and international circus programmes and some variety and music hall programmes containing circus acts.

Dates: c1800 - 2019

Additional filters:

Archival Object 2
Collection 1
Acrobats 2
Aerialists 2
Animal trainers 2
Animals 2
Art 1