Map Page
Page Index
What's New
Contact Us



in Merthyr Tydfil


The Circus in Merthyr Tydfil

The circus has a surprisingly long history.  The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian newspaper of November 1839 advertised the 'Royal Circus, Merthyr'. There was 'recreational gymnastics and equestrian entertainments' under the patronage of Sir J.J. Guest, MP. The cost of watching the show was quite expensive; since it was 2 shillings for the boxes, 1 shilling for the pit and 6 pence for the gallery.  For many of the workers in Merthyr Tydfil it would have cost them a whole days pay to attend. At one time there was an annual circus in Merthyr Tydfil and many a young boy or girl thought about running away to join the circus. One circus, advertised in the Merthyr Express a hundred years ago, had the legendary Colonel Tom Thumb and famous Buffalo Bill came with a circus here. The circus was all show-business and excitement. Inside the big top there was sharp-shooting, knife-throwing acts, the trapeze, as well as the live animals performing on stage. The circus performers would attract a crowd by parading up to Penydarren Park and the elephants would slowly wander up the High Street, followed by excited children. However, gradually the circus became more confined to Cyfarthfa Park and the elephants were kept well away from traffic in the football pitch by Cyfarthfa Castle. The arrival of the circus in Merthyr Tydfil was always popular with  young people but today it is no longer possible to view performing animals. 


Carolyn Jacob.


Robert Bros. Mammoth Circus at Cyfarthfa Park

6th June 1953

(From the Merthyr Express)


Lord John Sanger's Circus

(From the Merthyr Express)


Billy Smart's Circus - 1950's

BillySmartsCircus.JPG (80395 bytes)

Harry the Black Guards the Circus Carpark

Alan Took These Photographs of Billy Smart's Circus Sometime in the 1950s


Circus Elephants Just Arriving at Merthyr Station

(Courtesy the John Owen Collection)

Circus Parade Going Up High Street

(Photograph courtesy of the John Owen Collection)


Circus Parade at Pontmorlais

(Photograph Courtesy of Eira Pugh)


The Circus Elephants Generally Travelled to Merthyr By Train and Paraded Up Through Town and to Cyfarthfa Park.

Seen Below at Pontmorlais


Circus Parade - 1948/49

(Photograph Courtesy of Clive Arthur)


Do you have any photographs or information for this page?

If so, please email us, by clicking the 'Contact Us' page.


To Cyfarthfa