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The Circus Comes to Sparkbrook.


Gone, but not forgotten.
As I cant find a thread on Circus's I have put this enquiry here. If its the wrong place, then by all means move it please.

I have just been reading a book "Birmingham the Way We Were" by Mac Joseph. In it are some photo's of a circus setting up on a bomb site in Sparkbrook. The problem is it gives no location or date or name for the circus.

The street and housing look like any street in Sparkbrook, but I am unable to put a name to the location. I have already ruled out the areas in St Paul's Rd and Alfred Street.

So if anybody thinks they recognise it or even better they remember this visit by the circus, please let me know, because its driving me to distraction.




master brummie
I remember the circus coming to Heybarnes Rec off the Coventry Road in Hay Mills. I lived in Oldknow Road, Small Heath and remember the circus coming down our road. It would be in the mid 50`s. I recall these huge elephants walking in a line tail to trunk and the clowns running around and lots of lorries. I was told they had arrived at Tysley station, and the only way to the field was to have a parade on their way to set up in Hay Mills. Such excitement.
Another memory relating to the circus. My Dad worked at the Rover factory at Tysley. Every Christmas us children would be taken by coach ( no parents just helpers) to the Hippodrome to watch the panto. The next year we would go to the circus at Bingley Hall. and it would alternate every year. After the circus performance we were taken behind the scenes to see the animals. Lions, elephants and horses are what I remember. It was so exciting even if a bit smelly. Old Mr Warner who lived next door always went into the road to pickup any horse manure for his roses. When the circus came down the road he thought he`d won the pools !! You can imagine him with his metal bucket and shovel collecting up the elephants poo.!!! but he had amazing blooms that year.


I loved the circus at Bingley Hall! I remember looking down through the slats of the floor and seeing the animals below, then I dropped one of my new Christmas mittens and it dropped through!


master brummie
does anyone know the year the cirsus was in Sparkbrook area it was a old bome site
thanks kc


gone but not forgotten
Hi Phil
I believe it was on the corner of Tauton. Road and Ladypool road oppersite The wash house
If I have got the road correctly and I think its the Bright house pub
On the oppersite corner on bright house road at the traffic lights and facing that there was a car show room
There was a bombed site there for years
So travelling up from stoney Lane on the Lady pool road right up to bright house pub
And on that Junction on your right hand was the pub
On the same side of the pub if continuing to walk on it was the big Laundry wash house
It lots and lots of steam belling out of the windows from there washing machines
Now emediatly turn and cross over the road if you go to Tauton road
Its that very corner which was bombed and left like it for years
On that site was the circus and the hear was 1955
Many years later they made it a park it goes far back almost to face that cafe on tauton
On the other side of the road I believe we did have the cafe on this site over ten years ago
As I posted it myself I believe they called it a farm or some think like that
Many years ago they had the huge tent right up on the corner of taut on and lady pool road
Best wishes Alan,,, Astonian,,,,,

tim eborn

master brummie
From memory there was quite a large area of bomb buildings in the Long St, Larches St area.
To take a short cut from Tillingham St to The Alhambra picture house on Moseley Rd we would go up Turner St. Then right into Marshall St, left up Larches St then across the bomb site into Long St, left up to Kyrwicks Lane and along to Moseley Rd.
The bombsite was bulldozed and left vacant for years and was used as a fairgrounds on a lot of occasions.
I think at one time at least there was a circus and I think it might have been Smarts Circus but someone may know better than me.
I remember the cycle speedway on Saturday nights at Stones Lane, I wore my Birmingham Speedway scarf, red and yellow, looked Real Cool!
Cheer Tim.

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
There was a fun fair on the bomb site of Alfred Road & Beech Road after WW2. From 1946/48 my paper round took in the area, and I well remember walking past the fun fair during my rounds, and indeed visited the fair myself. However, I do not remember a circus.

In the my Memories of a Birmingham Musician (drummer) website, I have related my later years, when I played in the band at Bingley Hall for the circus.


Gone, but not forgotten.

My grandparents lived in Larches Street and I used to visit regularly in the 50's and I can't ever remember a circus in Larches St, Long St, Kyrwicks Lane or Moseley Rd. I also remember the cycle speedway track on Alfred Road - Stoney Lane and I don't remember a circus there either, but I don't remember the fair as remembered by Norfolk Brummie so I suppose I could be wrong about that.


gone but not forgotten
The only two I can find registered is during the war years is pictured in 1941
Was a fair ground. And circus area on a bomb site
Behind the High street/New street corner known as the big top possibly in 1941
The photograph was taken from the Coo/operive building society in the High Street
Alan, Astonian

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
There was most definite a fun fair on the bombed Alfred Road site circa 1947. I remember I had to deliver Evening Despatch/Birmingham Mail newspapers there for a brief spell..

I also remember a circus on the New Street Big Top site.

The other fun fair that I went to was on Hay Mills recreation ground.


gone but not forgotten
Hi Norfolk brummie
Just been reading your thread on the circus I am incline to think you are correct
On one subject you say about the one in Hay mills I know you are correct I have pictures of the crowds
On the street and the elephants trapping along the road on Coventry road
I do not know for sure about the recreation ground would that be by the little river
Running across along side of the pubs going to Hob or road direction
Or could it had been that way back in time could that have been the huge ground down shipway rd
Where Bobby and Queenie Wilson bought the ground for there fair grounds entertainers
Whom lived there with there show stalls as it was a vast ground and young Bob
Built a huge dystiny house style house for his parents which is there today
Best wishes Astonian,,,,,


gone but not forgotten
Hi again Norfolk Brummie.
This is just a follow on from my previous post, I thought I would drop you a little note so to speak
Regarding my question where about the circus was ,
So it was not on Bob Wilson's fair grounds ,but it was what was Heybarns, recreation grounds
As I have just found the book with two pictures in it
And the Name of the circus was Bertram Mill,s circus in 1951.
The open aspect of the River Cole from the Coventry road North to Yardley
Has fortunately been preserved, the former meadows now grassland and tree plantation
Also Circuses with Animals are unacceptable today, but they used to be very popular
And were well attended
A parade of Elephants down the Coventry road to the river was good publicity.
Best wishes again, Alan,,, Astonian,,,,


master brummie
Circus Pictures.
I have recently found 13 negatives of the Circus in Birmingham? (same location as previous posts).
Hopefully the exact location may be found.
(I do not own them personally so I have watermarked them.)



Circus 03a.JPG

Circus 04 a.JPG



Staff member
what cracking photos two....your photo 1 is definately the same as phils photo 2 on post 1...would any of the other ones you have give us a clue to pinning down the exact location



master brummie
Hi Could this be Main Street Sparkbrook with King Street on the right.The site is now Main Street primary school..Roy


Gone, but not forgotten.

Looking at a 1950's OS map, I have to agree that it looks like Main Street running from left to right with the view being along King Street. It's strange that I didn't recognise the location being as I spent a good chunk of my childhood playing on those bomb sites. I lived in Larches Street on and off for part of my younger life, which you will probably know was only a couple of bomb sites across from the location of the photo. The circus must have visited whilst I was living on Scotland with my mother because I have no memory of it.