Over excited children hadn't been able to sleep the night before and expectant adults lined the streets three deep.
The circus was in town!
|There goes The Greatest Show On Earth|
The lucky folk living in Temple Street could just stroll out of their houses and there it was, slowly going past the bottom of the road, making its lumbering, noisy, fantastic way along Western Road into town.
This wasn't any old travelling amusement either – it was Barnum and Bailey's, the most famous circus in the world on its grand tour of Europe.
The American show was travelling around the country by railway that year and, as was the custom by then, on leaving its special train, it paraded through town to advertise that night's show.
The crowds lapped it up. That year Barnum and Bailey's procession was three miles long and included a menagerie, exotic horsemen, dozens of elephants, clowns, acrobats, jugglers, an enthroned king and queen, a military band, 70 horses, untold sundry beasts and a collection of 'living human curiosities'.
Here are two interesting old photos showing the southern end of Temple Street, looking west, as the procession rumbled by, and one shot taken from Bedford Square looking east.
In the two photos featuring Temple Street there is no sign of Temple Bar on the corner, showing a shop called Pullars instead.
The third photo shows the less exotic back end of the parade. An omnibus is following on and many of the crowd are starting to walk behind it. You can see that all the houses on the north side of in Western Road, looking east, still have their gardens at this time, before they lost them in its gradual widening. The Council started to buy up houses on the north side in 1906 but it wasn't until 1935 that the final property came into line, all gardens were gone, and the widening could be completed.
|Looks like it might have been a sunny July day judging by the parasol on the top of the omnibus|