Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.
This film is part of Free
Billy Smart’s Circus
Brighton's crowds thrill to the sight of Billy Smart's Circus parading through their town in this film from the 1950s
From the collection of:
This unique amateur film captures a circus parade passing through Brighton's town centre. It features many circus performers, both human and animal, including elephants, llamas, camels, clowns, dancers, cowboys on horseback, acrobats and trapeze artistes. Cigarette adverts adorn many of the wagons and one even appears on an elephant!
This film, made by Sydney Horton, captures a time when circuses that featured performing animals were much more popular with the public than they are today - as the crowds lining the streets of Brighton to watch the parade demonstrate. However, what was acceptable in the 1950s is very different from what would be tolerated today, particularly with regards to animal welfare and the environment. Even the final shots of the film show zebras confined in pens and polar bears locked in cages.