Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


First Class Show at the Circus


President Sheila Sinclair treated Society members to an evening at the "Circus" for her Presidential display.


Sheila used various philatelic means from stamps, miniature sheets, maxicards, postcards, matchbox covers and even programmes to illustrate her theme. The circus has been around for over 2,000 years. Ancient Greece had bald clowns dressed in padded clothing who imitated actors. The Romans built arenas, such as Circus maximus, housing 200,000 spectators to see the lions being released on the Christians. Circus is actually derived from the Latin word for circle, or ring. Jesters were the medieval equivalent of today's clowns and animals were involved in the 14th Century Circus.. Many of Shakespeare's plays utilised clowns.


Famous circuses included Buffalo Bill's Wild West Circus, Bertram Mills, Chipperfield's, and Gerry Cottle's. The Big Circuses were also famous for their Big Tops, but most ended up using buildings such as Madison Square Garden, New York or Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. Despite the size of these circuses the ring remained the same size.


Various animals used to be a major part of the circus. Liberty horses performed to oral commands, whilst Roman horses had a standing rider. Jumbo, the elephant, will be a never to be forgotten name. Nowadays, though the circus has very few, if any, animals, with the performers being mostly human with tight rope or slack wire acrobats, neat, grotesque, tramp or white-faced clowns with their slapstick comedy routine, and other entertainers.. Dan Rice was a famous clown in the United States who was said to be the inspiration for Uncle Sam with long beard and striped trousers. Tiny Tim was said to have been 12 inches shorter than Colonel Tom Thumb.


Sheila completed her display with a board of American and Canadian stamps celebrating the Chinese New Year.


Immediate past president David Haig proposed a hearty vote of thanks.


Next meeting will be on Friday 19th September when Derek Wiltshire will display "Zanzibar"