Die Jim Stockley Collection

Chipperfields Circus vor 1945


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Jim Stockley

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Many Thanks Jim !


Die Texte zu den Bildern stammen von Jim Stockley.

Jim Stockley wurde am 24 Juni 1953 in Salisbury/Großbritannien geboren.

Jim ist der Sohn von Jimmy und Marjorie Stockley /Geb. Chipperfield

Er wuchs im Circus auf und ging 1964 mit Chipperfields Circus auf Süd-Afrika-Tournee.

Ende der 1960er Jahre kehrte er mit dem Circus zurück, um 1982 erneut und für immer nach Süd-Afrika zu gehen.

Er arbeitet dort im Natal Lion Park zwischen Durban und Pietermaritzburg als Tierlehrer und verleiht Tiere an Film und Fernsehen zum Beispiel waren seine Tiere in dem Film > Im Dschungel ist der Teufel los< zu sehen.



Die Begleit-Texte der Einzelnen Bilder habe ich bewusst nicht übersetzt.


James William Chipperfield 1803 - 1866

1841 Census June 6th and 7th 1841
James Chipperfield,Rayleigh Essex age 37 Traveller; N
[among "names of persons who kept & sleep in their stalls at the fair held on Trinity Monday"]
Harriet Chipperfield , age 39 Traveller; [wife of James]
James Chipperfield, age 18 Traveller;
Mary Chipperfield, age 16 Traveller;

Married 5 Nov 1821 Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
By Banns James William Chipperfield and Harriet Amy Coan, Witness: Susanna Brown, John Coan (bride's father)


"The Red Headed Old Pig Of a Woman" ...........

I am so grateful to Jill Duff for this wedding certificate as it represents years of detective work and research.

James William Chipperfield (1803/1866) married Harriet Amy Coan and was very happy. According to Pamela Macgregor-Morris' book "Chipperfields Circus" (which she wrote in 1957 after interviews with my Uncles and grandparents) Harriet Amy Coan ........ "a better woman never lived and they were ideally happy together".

According to anecdote and family legend, Harriet was said to have died at Falmouth and James William married a woman described by a relative as "'a red headed old pig of a woman" !

It was said that James William was 'unable to get a living in an atmosphere of constant domestic strife' and went to live in Cheltenham, where he died in 1866.

We started the search for 'La Porca Rosa' but couldn't isolate a time period because we couldn't confirm Harriet's death.

Then we had a huge breakthrough when we found Harriet's death had been mis-filed as 'Chefferfield' and dying in Falmouth (as per the anecdote) in Sept.1853.

This narrowed the search time-frame to 1853/1866 and Jill Duff finally identified the Red-Headed Pig as Elizabeth Kilbrion and was able to locate this marriage certificate for 27 October 1857.


James William Chipperfield Born in a caravan, 1824, at St. Martin at Oak, Norfolk. Son of James William Chipperfield and Harriet Amy (nee Coan).

Commenced clowning for his father being then engaged in a "Liliputian Circus". Reputedly entered a den of animals at Wombwells when only 14-years-old. First ventured on his own when he acquired an "educated" pony.

He married Elizabeth Jones (she died at Hull Fair in Oct 1856). His daughter appeared as the youngest tight-rope dancer in the country. Introduced to Britain Zulus from Africa and the Aztecs from Mexico. Also entered the marrionette business. Gradually worked his way to the front rank of showland with his menagerie, establishing his winter quarters in Norwich.

Exhibited Robert Tipney, the "living skeleton". On the road all his life and claimed to be England's oldest showman. Died at his home, Schwanfelder Place, Beeston, Leeds, in 1913, aged 88 years. Son James Francis, and daughters Sophie (who married Harry Wesley), Harriet and Rachel (Mrs Cartwright). Grandchildren James Henry, Elizabeth, Pauline and Carrie Chipperfield, Alf and Emily Testo.

[some info adapted from John Turner]

"James Chipperfield, travelling showman, at Llangefni for passing through a turnpike gate without paying a toll. Ordered to pay £1 plus 14/- costs forthwith or be imprisoned at H.M.P. Carnarvon for one month hard labour (Summary Conviction: May 28, 1888: Anglesey Quarter Sessions)"


My Great Grandfather - James Francis Chipperfield 1849/1917

Animal trainer and menagerie proprietor. Son of James William Chipperfield. Born in 1846 in Tottenham Court Road, London. A member of the third generation of the show family he performed in every village and town in the country and was a noted trainer of animals. "I can train anything from a rabbit to an elephant", was one of his favourite expressions. Aged over 68 when he died. Source: John Turner,

James Frances Chipperfield (1849 - 1917)

By the time James Francis Chipperfield opened his Cinematograph, his father, James William Chipperfield, was still lecturing on the front of his own animal show at the age of eighty, claiming to be "England's Oldest Showman."

James William Francis Chipperfield was born in 1849 and disinherited by his father when he married MaryAnn Jones. Setting out on his own, he travelled a circus. He was one of a number of circus proprietors who took advantage of the interest in moving films and in 1899 showed moving films inside the circus tent, with the screen fixed to the king pole. These were images of the Boer War, which also included a live re-enactment of scenes from the hostilities in South Africa.

His two-wagon show later travelled as "Chipperfield's Electric Theatre", operated by sons, James, born in 1872 and Henry, born in 1881. A trumpet barrel organ stood on the left of the show-front. At a benefit for the local hospital at Redditch, one evening's takings were donated. This amounted to £4.14s.7d.

By 1903 it was opening regularly with Tom Clarke of Redditch, when it was billed as Chipperfield's "Imperial Cinematograph."

In 1907 a Burrell engine[No: 2281] "Queen of the Midlands" was acquired from Smith Brothers, haulage contractors in Walsall, for the show. At this time the show featured both pictures and variety acts, with James Chipperfield himself being an expert cornet and trombone player, on which he accompanied the organ on the front of the show. The show altered in later years, with the barrel organ positioned in the centre between the two wagons.

Two sets of steps led up to the two payboxes and entrances. It has been recorded that the show wintered for a number of years at Bridgend. To advertise the evening performances the organ was drawn through the streets on a horse dray.

By 1912 it would appear that the show was travelling as a combined menagerie and cinematograph, and later in its touring life the paraders included the "Three Graces", female impersonators who were also speciality dancers.

When the show ceased travelling the Burrell was used by Henry with his Switchback. James Chipperfield died, aged 68, in January 1917 at Ludgershall, where he had resided for a number of yea

Grandfather Richard Chipperfield retired in 1939 and moved his wagon to the field behind the Royal Oak at Great Wishford near Salisbury. He was based here until his death in 1959 and he, and most of the rest of our family, are buried in the little cemetery about 200m from where this picture was taken.

From the "WORLDs FAIR" :

WF13.1.17: "We regret to have to record the death of Mr James William Chipperfield, who passed away on Thursday last, January 4th, at the age of 68. The deceased was a popular midlands traveller, but for some time has been located at Ludgershall, Wilts., where he was laid to rest.

WF 27.1.17: "The funeral of the late Mr James W. Frances Chipperfield, who passed away after a long and painful illness on January 9th 1917 at the age of 68 at Ludgershall, Wilts., The deceased was an old and respected showman, being laid to rest with signs of the greatest love and sorrow.

The following relatives and friends were present at the last sad journey (the widow not being able to attend through excessive grief): Mr John Chipperfield (son); Mrs James Chittock (daughter); Mrs A. Tiller (daughter); Mr Richard Chipperfield (son); Mr Henry Chipperfield (son); Mrs R. Cartwright (daughter); Mr Thomas Clark and Mrs John Chipperfield.

The service was conducted by the vicar (Mr Bird) the service being of a very impressive nature.

Thomas ''Martini Bartlett" Day ...... The Lion King

Thomas was brother to James 'Wild Beast' Day

Thomas Day married Pauline 'Kit' Chipperfield. They had two daughters: Pauline and Daisy

Daisy married "Sailor Joe" White , they had children Billy and Joe.
Pauline married John Codona they had children June and Jimmy Alf .

Thomas Day (a.k.a. Captain Martini Bartlett) Thomas Day performed under the name "Captain Martini Bartlett". Captain Bartlett's menagerie was noted in 1897 as being open at Hunslet Feast, Holbeck Feast and Hull Fair. The show at this time incorporated a cinema projector and screen.

Bartlett also liked to call himself the "Lion King" and his combined show was noted as open at Birmingham Onion Fair in 1899. In 1900 it was noted at Macclesfield and Salford. The show travelled until the outbreak of war in 1914.

Thomas Day was once a trainer for Daniel Day. He was the brother of James "Wild Beast" Day. He married Pauline Wesley Chipperfield.

Thomas Day also, apparently, wrote a book about his life. If anyone has a copy, please let us know!

Henry Chipperfield 1880/1954 (younger brother to my grandfather Richard Chipperfield 1875/1859) used Burrell 2281 "Queen of the Midlands" for his Switchbacks when his father, James Francis Chipperfield, ceased to travel.

James Chittock

James Chittock's father was an apprentice baker in Norwich, but at 18 left to become an animal trainer with George Wombwell's Menagerie, with whom he spent the next 20 years. When the show was dispersed he began on his own with performing canaries, hares and ponies. James was born in 1841 and brought up in the business. Father and son were animal trainers par excellence. When old enough, James left his family, married, and travelled his own show. In "TheShowman" he was described as being from one of the "oldest and most representative families of the aristocracy of the road." His first show featured his famous troupe of performing dogs and monkeys, considered the best travelling. It opened at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, each winter for over 30 years, and rarely travelled far from the London area. On seeing the success Randall Williams was having with his Cinematograph at the World's Fair in 1896, James Chittock invested £500 and began to show moving pictures using a projector acquired from R.W. Paul, his first show being at a fair in Birmingham in 1897. He claimed that so popular was the new enterprise that he netted, in coppers, £40 a day.

The films were offered as an additional draw to the live performances, and the show became known as the "Queen Cinematograph". Comprising two 12ft living wagons, with scenery making a show-front 36ft in total. A barrel organ stood on the stage,but he also had a bandwagon on which it could be transported. Inside was a 15ft back stage wagon, and the shuttered booth, containing galleries and seats,was 70ft in depth and seated about 500 people.The men's living van was fitted to carry shutters, gallery, seats, etc. Advertisements assured people that no indecent pictures were exhibited at this establishment, and that parents could safely take their children. As well as the films, which at the Agricultural Hall in January 1898 included popular scenes of the Jubilee Procession, there were still performances of trained dogs and monkeys.

The Era reported in 1899 that "Chittock's dogs and monkeys, admirably trained, very docile, active and obedient, add their performances to the main attraction to Chittock's tent - the excellent Cinematograph which the proprietor makes the strong point of his exhibition." The following year a report from the same source explained that the show relied "on the prevailing military feeling."

The Boer War was certainly sustaining interest in the cinematograph show. Later it was billed as the "Empire of Varieties" when magicians, jugglers, clowns, ventriloquists and singers interchanged with a cinematograph exhibition said to be of instructive and amusing pictures. By now it toured only the southern counties, paying an annual visit to the World's Fair in the Agricultural Hall at Christmas. "I never take big jumps, nowadays, like the old-time showmen," Mr. Chittock explained in an interview in 1902. Amongst the reasons for this were the competition and high ground rents charged for shows. Leicester, for example, wanted £20, whereas twenty years before they charged nothing. Members of the family paraded on the front stage, giving a clever display of buffoonery and artistic dancing, while Mr. Chittock, with his waxed and pointed moustache and his portly figure, beat a large drum loudly to entice the public.

"A typical specimen of a grand old school of British showmen is Mr. James Chittock," wrote The Showman in 1909, "still in active work and with no intention as yet of retiring from the field of his endeavours."

His second marriage was to Sophia, James Francis Chipperfield's daughter, who was 27 years younger than himself. She was an able equestrian and juggler. Tom Norman was instructed to sell the Bioscope Show, and originally the auction was due to take place at his premises in East Croydon on 26th July 1910, however it was withdrawn from the sale at the last moment and offered for sale by private treaty shortly afterwards, although presumably it was not sold as there is a reference to theshow loads being involvement in a road accident in June 1911.

When James died in February 1912 the family were left in distress and William Irvin launched an appeal for help from fellow showmen to help them continue with the show.

Day's Menagerie

Thomas Day (a.k.a. Captain Martini Bartlett) Thomas Day performed under the name "Captain Martini Bartlett". Captain Bartlett's menagerie was noted in 1897 as being open at Hunslet Feast, Holbeck Feast and Hull Fair. The show at this time incorporated a cinema projector and screen.

Bartlett also liked to call himself the "Lion King" and his combined show was noted as open at Birmingham Onion Fair in 1899. In 1900 it was noted at Macclesfield and Salford. The show travelled until the outbreak of war in 1914.

Thomas Day was once a trainer for Daniel Day. He was the brother of James "Wild Beast" Day. He married Pauline Wesley Chipperfield.

Source: John Turner, circusbiography.co.uk.

Tommy Day worked a 'bouncing lion' act which concluded with him jumping out of the wagon and leaving the door open. The lioness then stood and roared at the audience with the open door !!!

Hull Fair

My GGGrandmother, Elizabeth Jones (wife of James William Chipperfield 1824/1913) died here on 11 Oct 1856 and is buried in a cemetery somewhere near the site of the fair

Andrew PURCHASE (3rd). brother of Captain Tom Purchase - Of waxworks and menagerie fame. Was with his father's waxworks show. As a young man set up a side-show of a performing seal, then added a giant horse. After the death of his father, he inherited the waxworks and toured this for some time. Gradually he introduced wild animals, making a waxworks and menagerie. In the meantime he had married and his sons became animal trainers, under the names Capt. Beaumont and Prof. Williams. Died 28th February 1942, 74 years of age.

Tom Purchase Police News 1932

The Worlds Fair, 23 Apr 1932, p. 11, col 1


Returning a verdict of 'Accidental death' at the inquest on Friday, on Captain Thomas Purchase (54), the lion tamer, who received fatal injuries when mauled by a lion at a fairground on Good Friday, the Manchester City Coroner (Mr. C. W. W. Surridge) paid a tribute to the promptitude and gallantry displayed by Richard Chipperfield, assistant trainer, in going to his companion's rescue.

Mrs. Purchase said her husband lost his right leg when a boy, and all his life he had been training animals. He had had the lion that struck him just before Easter.
Richard Chipperfield, junr., showman, said at 2-50 p.m. on March 25th, there were two lions in a cage. When Miss Purchase left the cage after her dancing act Captain Purchase was stroking one of the animals, which was rubbing against his artificial leg. The animal seized him by his artificial leg , and as it pulled Captain Purchase fell forward underneath the lion, which then started to maul him. Witness said he picked up a feeding stick and dashed into the cage in an attempt to save him. The lion was about 4 years old, and a very quiet one.

Replying to the coroner, witness said apparently Captain Purchase thought the lion was playing at first.

The Coroner: You acted with great promptitude in dashing into the cage.

Miss Rosie Purchase said her father had been watching the lions while she danced. They had been very quiet, but when he started stroking one as she left the cage it went for his artificial leg. She told the coroner she was still going on with the performance. Every precaution was taken for their safety, and things were handy to keep the lions at bay if necessary.

The Coroner: There is a danger that these animals may be all right, but some little thing may happen to upset them. It is most important that every precaution should be taken and ready in case of emergency. I hope you will be very careful.

John William Briggs, who was watching the exhibition, said it appeared as if Captain Purchase caught the lion with artificial leg. It seized hold of it and dragged him to the floor, and then mauled him about the back of the neck. He assisted to lift Captain Purchase out of the cage.

Richard Chipperfield, senior, said the two lions belonged to Captain Purchase.

The Coroner: What has become of this lion?

Mr Chipperfield: We have sold it cheaply to a private zoo on condition no man goes into its cage.

The Coroner: What precautions are taken at these performances? There is every possibility of these animals being frightened by something.

Mr. Chipperfield: Everything is always done. No one on the firm drinks or smokes. There are sticks and bars. We were taken by surprise. This animal was like a trusted servant. Captain Purchase used to stroke it. They are sometimes like human beings.

Mr. Chipperfield said he knew of a case where four tame lions killed a strange lion which turned on their master. He added that they were always on their guard in cases of emergency.

The Coroner: I hope you will see the greatest possible precautions are taken.

Mr. Chipperfield: We always do so. This is the sort of thing that would not happen once in 1,000 years.

A police inspector said that when Captain Purchase was taken to the Infirmary, he had lacerated wounds on his head and leg, and other parts of his body.

The coroner, in returning a verdict of 'accidental death,' expressed sympathy with Mrs. Purchase and the family of the dead man, and said he was sure every precaution was taken at those performances. Mr Chipperfield was very quick in going to the rescue of Captain Purchase in a very brave manner.

The coroner added that there was not much time in cases like that. The damage was done quickly when a lion attacked anybody.
The Worlds Fair, 23 Apr 1932, p. 16, col 4


On Monday afternoon, from 10, Hardwick Road, Acton Green, London, the funeral took place of Capt. Thomas Purchase, whose death from injuries received through being mauled by a lion at Easter was reported in our columns last week. Mr. Purchase died at Manchester Royal Infirmary on Friday. The interment took place at Hounslow Cemetery, where a large crowd of showmen and travellers had gathered to pay their last respects.

Representatives of the Showman's Guild attended. The coffin was hidden by wreaths from all over the country.

The chief mourners were: - Mrs. Purchase (widow), Rose and Grace (daughters), Tommy (son), James and John (brothers), Mrs. Jane Abrahams (sister), Mrs. James Purchase and Mrs. John Purchase (sisters-in-law), Miss Tory Purchase (niece), Mrs. Josephine Purchase, Jimmy and Dolly Purchase (nephew and niece), Mr. L. Abrahams, brother-in-law (Forest Gate, E.), and Mrs. H. Barnett (niece); Mr. and Mrs. R. Chipperfield, Mr. R. Chipperfield, junr., Mr. J. Chipperfield, Miss M. Chipperfield, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. W. Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. Solly Jones, Mr. F. Jones, Mrs Netta Wilson, Mrs. and Miss Murphy, Mrs. F. Packer, Mr. W. Gurnett.

Wreaths and floral tributes were from : - Widow, Children, Mr. and Mrs James Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. John Purchase (Chiswick), Mr. and Mrs. L. Abrahams, Miss Rosie Purchase, Miss Tory Purchase, Andrew Purchase (brother), William Purchase brother (America), Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. R. Chipperfield and family, Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Thompson (London), Mr. and Mrs. J. Rowe (Yeovil), Mr. and Mrs. Pat Collins (Wrexham), Mrs. Thurston and family, Jack and Doris Harvey and children (Yeovil), Mrs. R. Shufflebottom, senr. and family, Mr. A. E. Abrahams (Forest Gate), Mr. David Abrahams (Forest Gate), Mr. and Mrs. H. Harvey (Stourport), Mr. and Mrs. Bert Carr and family (Wrexham), Mrs. J. W. Waddington, the Tenants of Denbigh Ground, Mr. and Mrs. F. Kimber and family (Petersfield), Mr. and Mrs. John Chipperfield (Stourport), Mr. and Mrs. F. White and George (Acton Green), Mr. and Mrs. Ted O'Brien, Mr. and Mrs. Pryce (Acton), Mr. W. Beach and daughter Sally, Mr. and Mrs C. Smith (Acton), Mr. and Mrs J. Beach (Hounslow), Mr. and Mrs. T. Irish (Acton), Mr. George Beach and Jessie (Kew), Mrs. R. Shufflebottom, junr. and family, Mr. and Mrs. Heatherton (Chiswick), Mr. and Mrs. John Thurston, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Stevens (Chiswick), Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Jones, Mrs. Netta Wilson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Solly Jones, Corrie and Tommy Wilson, Miss Alice Miller (Chiswick), Mr. and Mrs. Freddy Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Sedgewick and family (Liverpool), Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ashwell (Islington), Mr. C. Gurnett, Mr. and Mrs. Tommy O'Brien, Mr. and Mrs. A. Traylen and family (Staines), Mrs. F. Bowman, Mr. and Mrs. W. Stewart (Romford), Mr. and Mrs. Bolesworth (Romford), Mr. Tom Norman and Mrs. Norman, Mr. and Miss Jones, Miss Hilda Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Stewart and family, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wilson and family, London Section Showman's Guild, Mr. Jack Manning, Mr. and Mrs. C. Manning, Mr. and Mrs, J. Biddall and family (Reading), Mr. and Mrs. W Pelham, Mr. H. Chipperfield, Mr. and Mrs. A. Harvey, Mr and Mrs. J. Herbert, Mr. F. Herbert, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Smart, Mr. and Mrs. W. Symonds, Mr. and Mrs. W. Lennards, Mr. and Mrs. H. Studt, Tippler White and family, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Taylor, Mrs. Rowe, Mr. and Mrs. F. Harrison (Banstead), Mr. and Mrs. Jim Botton, junr., Mr. and Mrs. T. Strickland (Watford), Kate and Chris Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Jack E. Nail (London).


Purchase Menagerie St Giles Oxford 1895

Burrell 2281 "Queen of the Midlands" on the road around 1909

Burrell 2281 "Queen of the Midlands" outside the my Great Grandfather James Francis Chipperfield's Electrograph ........ one of the first travelling cinemas.

Rose Chipperfield

Chipperfields before 1945 – mit Dick Chipperfield, Paige Coles, Grace Purchase, Rosie Chipperfield (nee Purchase), Marjorie Chipperfield und Richard Chipperfield Snr.

Same show in 1937, My Mum on the globe, Granddad has the trombone out, Rosie and Grace Purchase stood behind – mit Grace Purchase, Rosie Chipperfield (nee Purchase), Marjorie Chipperfield und Richard Chipperfield Snr.

Grandfather Richard Chipperfield out the front of the show, "Telling the tale" and trying to get their 6d off them. I just love the look on the face of the kid in front of him ..... Granddad could always tell a good tale

1937 Chipperfields

Far left man in uniform is Tommy Allen (husband of Sonia Allen ex-Chapman’s) Centre lady in costume is 'Lady of the Lions' Sonia Allen. Young lady next to her is Betty Allen, daughter (who did the trapeze that you can see, rigged)

Far right, holding the 6d sign is my Grandfather Richard Chipperfield (1875/1959).

1937 - My Mum, Marjorie Chipperfield (1916/1975) aged 20 in this picture. Her eldest brother, Dick Chipperfield (1905/19880 is behind her on the microphone. – mit Marjorie Chipperfield und Dick Chipperfield.

St Giles, Oxford ? – mit Marjorie Chipperfield.

Mum on the globe again, Granddad and Uncle Dick behind her. – mit Richard Chipperfield Snr, Marjorie Chipperfield und Dick Chipperfield.

Mum in 1938 – mit Marjorie Chipperfield.

Here is my Mum, Marjorie Chipperfield, again. From the tent, I think this may be around 1938 ? So that would mean that the boy on the horse is Jim (James William Chipperfield) - the ill-fated first son of Jimmy & Rosie Chipperfield who tragically died of tetanus in 1942.

Wartime picture of Mum and Aunty Rosie. Rose Purchase eloped with my Uncle Jimmy Chipperfield and got married in Plymouth in July 1934. Here Rosie is wearing Uncle Jim's pilot's uniform whilst Mum has my Dad's W/Officer jacket and cap on. Uncle Jim was the pilot, my Dad was his navigator on Mosquito aircraft in 85 squadron RAF.

Mum and Dad got married 15 December 1945. I'm guessing this picture may have been taken in the summer of 1945 before they got married.

Left is Mum, seated is Uncle Jimmy Chipperfield. My Dad, Jimmy Stockley, is looking over Uncle Jim's shoulder whilst Aunty Rosie (nee Purchase) is on the right.