Sunday, 18 May 2008

Circus Elephants in Leamington Spa: this Saturday, May 24th 2008

Some months ago, I mentioned that I had been commissioned to write a poem on the history of circus elephants in Leamington Spa. The poem has been written and will be read aloud to the public this coming Saturday in Leamington's Jephson Gardens to celebrate the new site of the 'Elephant Circle' seat, as follows:

The Official Unveiling Of ‘Elephant Circle’ in Leamington Spa

Saturday 24 May, 12noon – 3pm

On Saturday 24 May at 12noon the seat sculpture, ‘Elephant Circle’ by Nicholas Dimbleby will be officially unveiled by Councillor Chris White at its new location in Jephson Gardens. The sculpture has been relocated from its former position outside the northern entrance to the Royal Priors shopping complex in Leamington Spa where it was first installed in 1988 and will include a newly recast bronze elephant made by the artist.

The unveiling will be celebrated with a series of events and activities for all ages:

* At 12noon in Jephson Gardens Councillor Chris White will officially unveil ‘Elephant Circle’.

* From 12noon to 2pm events in Jephson Gardens will include a poetry reading by the Warwick Poet Laureate, Jane Holland, readings from a written anthology by local writers which celebrates Leamington Spa’s connection with circus elephants and photography workshops lead by Anand Chhabra, Spencer Yard Artist in Residence.

* From 2 – 4pm at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum in the Royal Pump Rooms there will be elephant mask making workshops for families, and from 2 – 3pm outside the Royal Pump Rooms children can meet ‘Snowdrop’ the life size mechanical elephant who will offer rides around the Royal Pump Rooms Gardens.

All activities are free, just drop in and join in! All children must be accompanied by an adult. For further information about the events please call Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum on 01926 742700.


Norah said...

Jane, I am so sorry I didn't find this on the internet until today May 26th -- Sam Lockhart was my great great uncle. I wanted to reach you because his surname was Lockhart, not Lockhurst. I have done some research would be willing to share. Also Jamie Clubb would be a great resource. I would love to see your poem. Thanks

Norah said...

Hi Jane! Congratulations on your posting. I am only sorry I only read about it today May 26th. I am writing as my great great uncle Sam's surname was Lockhart not Lockhurst. Should you want further info please contact me. Jamie Clubb is an excellent resource as well.


Hi Norah

I know it was Lockhart. Where does it appear as Lockhurst? I checked quickly burt couldn't spot the error here.

I'm afraid I don't have much sway except on this site, so if it appears wrongly elsewhere you may have to contact other website owners yourself.

I will post up my poem soon - probably tomorrow. I'm in Oxford today so have no access to my own computer.

Thanks for the interest, and once it's up, please do let me know whether or not you enjoyed the poem!


Dan Koehl said...

Dear Jane, Im keeping a database about elephants, located at

Im trying to trace an elephant, being located in the 1890s at Warwick Castle menagerie (Countess of Warwick), and I found on the Internet: "The elephant had later to be given to an animal trainer in Leamington Spa." Do you possible have any insight as to which elephant trainer/circus/ this elephant was transfered in Leamington Spa?

best regards, Dan


Hi Dan, as the posts on this site suggest, all I know about are Sam & George Lockhart, elephant trainers of Ceylon elephants.

There's a very short book about them somewhere. On Amazon it's ELEPHANTS IN ROYAL LEAMINGTON SPA by Janet Storrie. Mostly out of print. But here's one:

Good luck!