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The Circus Comes to Sparkbrook.

robroy

master brummie
Hi Phil.I lived in Oughton Road Highgate in 1951. I attended Christ Church school on Stratford Road. To get there I walked along Highgate Place across Kywicks Lane down Priestley Road through a passage between houses, which came out on the bomb building site where the marque is pictured, then on down Main Street to school.I also remember the coronation celebrations on the same site. Roy.
 

tim eborn

master brummie
Didn't realize at first that pic 4 was of the Ladies toilet!
Guess the Gents was just the nearest wall?
Oh for the good old days!
Cheers Tim
 

robroy

master brummie
Hi Phil..Looking back at the picture on the forum with the elephant in the foreground ,you can just make out a small shopfront that I remember being on Main Street,and to the right in the picture the backs of the houses in Spark Street I hope this helps in locating the site ..Roy
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
This aerial view from the south east dated 1946 shows lots of open space from bombing. Spark St looks undamaged.
MainSt__1946.JPG
a 'britainfromabove' image.
 

robroy

master brummie
Hi Mowhawk...thats a great picture of Main Street..The Circus tent would have been on the bomb site in the top of picture , The photographer was standing on the open ground to the left of your white lines..looking down Main Street to his right ...It brings back a lot of memories
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Hi Phil..Looking back at the picture on the forum with the elephant in the foreground ,you can just make out a small shopfront that I remember being on Main Street,and to the right in the picture the backs of the houses in Spark Street I hope this helps in locating the site ..Roy
Robroy

I have gotten my bearings now and since Main Street was put forward as a possible solution it all falls into place. These two maps indicate the location of the site of the circus and the on the OS map the red X in Larches street shows where my father was living at the time though if it was in 1953 as stated then I was living in Vincent Street about a mile way having returned from Scotland.
 

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robroy

master brummie
Hi Phil I think the photo of the Circus was earlier than 1953 , possibly 1949..50. there was new building on the sites between Spark Street and King Street in the early 50s ..Its all a bit of a distant memory now ..I cant be sure Regards Roy
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
I've just realised that this great Phyllis Nicklin photo shows without a doubt that the circus site was indeed in Main Street. Just compare the end house that is still standing on the Big Top site and you will see that they are indeed the same although the Phyllis Nicklin photo was taken some years later.
 

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robroy

master brummie
Hi Phil Do you have a date for the Phyllis Nicklin photo?..You can see new houses on both sides of King Street..Could it be mid 50s. Roy
 

Ray T

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.
Hi, Tim. I grew up in Long Street through all of the 1950s and you're right, there were a couple of bombed building sites in it, but they were too small to host a circus, and I would have remembered one if it had come to our immediate area. I don't know about bombed buildings in the Larches Street area etc, so perhaps it did set up around there. Good wishes, Ray.
 

Ray T

master brummie
Hi Phil I think the photo of the Circus was earlier than 1953 , possibly 1949..50. there was new building on the sites between Spark Street and King Street in the early 50s ..Its all a bit of a distant memory now ..I cant be sure Regards Roy
Yes, Phil, I agree the circus must have been no later than 1950 because those waste areas had been built on by the mid-50s according to my memory (which isn't infallible). And I'm sure I'd have remembered a circus so close to my Long Street home if it was there in the mid-50s when I was about five or six.
 

Ray T

master brummie
So, according to my memory, if Master Brummie's photo number 7 does show elephants in Main Street with King Street behind them, they were being loaded into a vehicle on the site of what was Main Street infant school, which my younger sister attended. But perhaps that wasn't opened until the later 1950s. It's odd that I can't see it past the end of King Street in the later picture posted by Phil. It looks like an area of waste ground, yet there was an abandoned (looked like) school building standing when I visited a few years ago.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
thanks for the other photos two...what a sight it must have been to see an elephant strolling across the road...
 

robroy

master brummie
Hi Two..Thanks for posting the Main Street Circus pictures They have brought back a lot of childhood memories Regards Roy
 

soco

Brummie babby
Has anyone any memories or photo's of the big top circus in New st. My Father was general manager and ring master in that circus in 1944/45.
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Hi Soco

I'm sure there is a thread on the forum somewhere concerning the circus on New Street and this is why the site became known as the Big Top, but as it was a couple of years before I was born I can tell you very little about it. Though I'm sure there are others on the forum who can remember it better than I.
 

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