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When the circus came to town
Barnum & Bailey’s famous circus travelling through Thornton-le-Dale on its way from Scarborough to Pickering
MORE wonderful old photographs of the village once described as the “most beautiful in Yorkshire” this week, courtesy of local historian Alan Whitworth’s marvellous book Thornton-le-Dale Through Time.
Our favourite photo this week, taken in the early part of the 20th century, shows Barnum & Bailey’s famous circus travelling through the village on its way from Scarborough to Pickering.
A camel and an elephant pull a large wagon, while a company of enthralled children keep step with them.
“One wagon pulled by six white horses got stuck on Pickering Hill and had to gain assistance from the elephant,” Mr Whitworth notes in the caption.
Children feature in our second photograph too, which shows girls from Thornton-le-Dale School playing around a big elm tree on the main road to Scarborough.
There is no date to the photograph, but from the girls’ costumes, it looks as though it, too, was taken some time in the early part of the 20th century.
The tree beneath which the girls are playing was cut down in 1984, Mr Whitworth writes, after succumbing to Dutch Elm disease.
Organised days out were a feature of life in the early 20th century – and the pretty village of Thornton-le-Dale was a popular destination.
We have two photographs of day-trippers, both taken from Mr Whitworth’s book.
One shows a group from Normanby Hill on an outing to Thornton-le-dale in a horse-drawn cart.
“The actual event and date are unknown, but the driver of the wagon and horses is known to be Albert Burton, who died in 1963,” Mr Whitworth writes.
In 1906, meanwhile, a group of visitors travelled from Scarborough for a pleasant day out, in what looks like a motorised charabanc.
The Scout Association was hugely popular both before and after the First World War after being formed by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1908.
Our last photo shows boy scouts taking part in a military parade. The photograph was actually taken in Malton, but forms part of the section on scouts in Mr Whitworth’s book.
• Thornton-le-Dale Through Time by Alan Whitworth is published by Amberley priced £14.99.
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