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Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 18:46 UK
Great Yarmouth's circus history at Time and Tide Museum

Peter Jay, who bought the Hippodrome Circus in 1979, still runs it today

Great Yarmouth's long connection with the circus is being relived in an exhibition at the town's Time and Tide Museum.

Recalling 165 years of shows, the museum is showing archive film footage, photographs and rare memorabilia from venues such as the Hippodrome.

"I hope it will inspire people to visit a circus," said Don Stacey, collector of circus memorabilia.

Great Yarmouth's Circus Story runs at the museum until 31 October 2010.

Don has donated objects including a leotard once worn by Miguel Vazquez, the first trapeze artist to successfully complete the quadruple somersault.

Peter Jay, the current owner of the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth, has also loaned a wealth of items and animal props including a chimp bicycle from the 1950s, a swan float from the water-shows and an elephant razor.

"It's a pleasure to have this opportunity to share my collections with a different audience," said Peter.

"The Hippodrome is a national treasure and it's great to introduce it to a new crowd," he added.

Alison Hall, the curator of the event, put on the exhibition because she feels that the Hippodrome circus has been and remains central to the town's entertainment.

"The Yarmouth Hippodrome is the only circus left in Britain that is still used for its original purpose," she said.

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome (Photo: Great Yarmouth Hippodrome)
The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome is central to the town's entertainment

"It's first circus was in 1845 and apart from being closed for a while during the war years, it remains to be something different and something for everybody to enjoy a nice time together," she added.

Alison also feels that the lifespan of the circus in Norfolk and its continuing popularity has been helped by its ability to change.

"Animals, of course, are not used anymore but the circus continues to provide a showcase of diverse skills from around the world," she said.

"There is also somewhat of a renaissance because artists such as Britney Spears and Take That have gone on circus tours," she added.

Alongside the exhibits, the museum is a hosting programme of events with talks by Don Stacey and circus skills sessions every Monday during the school summer holidays.

Great Yarmouth's Circus Story at the Time and Tide Museum runs until 31 October 2010.

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is £4.50 adults, £3.80 concessions and £3.30 young persons (4-16).

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