Visiting circuses were a common feature of Ventnor through the 1920s and 1930s. They were typically held in a field off of York Road, or else in a field near the top of Down Lane. Keepers would daily take the elephants down to the slipway on the east side of the Pier. Here they would have fun ‘sucking up the water’.
In June 1923, the Isle of Wight Mercury offered a detailed account of the coming visit of Broncho Bill’s Great Wild West Exhibition & Mammoth Circus to be held in Upper Ventnor in the month of July, with performances at 3 pm and 8 pm. There were some 60 horses, elephants and other animals, along with a ‘troupe’ of Japanese ‘artistes’, said to exhibit great skill and daring as acrobats. There were clowns and mimics to add to the entertainment, together with a brass band. A subsequent note in the Mercury recorded that some 2,000 people attended the performances in total.
Read PDF version here: When the Circus came to town