The scene: Brighton, the 1820s. Men, women and children jostle for space, pushing one another out of the way as they attempt to shuffle forward, closer to what they’re all desperately trying to see. The noise of the crowd is deafening, the excitement in the air palpable. The creatures – elephants, monkeys, lions – sit in the cages lined against the far wall, animals which are fierce in their natural habitats, but are now cowering in corners one moment, throwing themselves against the bars the next – enraged, terrified, lost. Welcome to one of the many traveling menageries that toured the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, attractions which were transfixing the entire country, introducing the population to the type of ‘exotic creatures’ they had only read about and dreamt of meeting face-to-face. The species of animals that toured the country – stopping off at all major cities, including Brighton – are now the subject of an exhibition at The Royal Pavilion’s Prince Regent Gallery.
To read more download the January 2016 Issue of Sussex Style for Tablet: