The Belle Vue annual International Christmas Circus lasted for over fifty years and became a feature of the attractions at the world-famous showground. The capacity of The King’s Hall was five thousand and gave Belle Vue the status of the leading venue in the North West, easily outstripping Blackpool’s Tower Circus.

Bertram Mills’ famous circus supplied many of the animal acts. They were amongst the most popular because large, aerial attractions such as the high wire acts were not possible in the confines of The King’s Hall. By the late 1950s, tigers, polar bears, elephants and camels would be joined by artistes from France, Germany and Italy as the cream of circus talent would be brought to Manchester by the then General Manager Jack Fearnley.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin; National Fairground Archive, University of Sheffield

Circus at Belle Vue - Image courtesy Ray Liddy

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