Rare photos of ‘Britain’s Greatest Showman’ go on sale

A fascinating archive of photographs and documents relating to Britain’s ‘Greatest Showman’ has emerged for sale.

Lord George Sanger established one of the very first circus shows in Victorian times and was the British equivalent of P.T Barnum, the subject of the hit musical movie The Greatest Showman.

Just like Hugh Jackman‘s character, the self-styled British lord enthralled audiences with his circus that included acrobats, wild and exotic animals and magic acts.

A fascinating archive featuring pioneering British circus showman 'Lord' George Sanger is set to go under the hammer 

A fascinating archive featuring pioneering British circus showman 'Lord' George Sanger is set to go under the hammer 

A fascinating archive featuring pioneering British circus showman ‘Lord’ George Sanger is set to go under the hammer 

The archive features photographs and memorabilia from the circus during several visits to the seaside in Margate, Kent

The archive features photographs and memorabilia from the circus during several visits to the seaside in Margate, Kent

The archive features photographs and memorabilia from the circus during several visits to the seaside in Margate, Kent

The photographs and archive are being sold at auction on behalf of a descendant of Arthur Reeve who ran a venue which hosted the Sanger circus in Margate, Kent

The photographs and archive are being sold at auction on behalf of a descendant of Arthur Reeve who ran a venue which hosted the Sanger circus in Margate, Kent

The photographs and archive are being sold at auction on behalf of a descendant of Arthur Reeve who ran a venue which hosted the Sanger circus in Margate, Kent

His show also performed for Queen Victoria, just like in the film.

But unlike Barnum who enjoyed a happy ending, Sanger was murdered in an axe attack by a disgruntled employee.

The archive now for sale belongs to a descendant of Arthur Reeve, who managed the Sanger circus the Hall by the Sea in Margate, Kent.

It includes black and white photos and crowds of people gathered outside a huge circus tent in Margate as well one of five elephants lined up outside the same venue.

There are several group shots showing Sanger with his troupe and white horses pulling an ornate-looking carriage.

Also included are original advertising posters and flyers for the circus and several copies of Sanger’s own auto-biography ‘The Life of Lord Geo. Sanger – The World’s Greatest Showman’.

Sanger's circus regularly visited the Hall by the Sea in Margate, Kent, before he retired from the business in 1905

Sanger's circus regularly visited the Hall by the Sea in Margate, Kent, before he retired from the business in 1905

Sanger’s circus regularly visited the Hall by the Sea in Margate, Kent, before he retired from the business in 1905

Sanger's circus brought exotic animals such as camels and elephants on tour around the country 

Sanger's circus brought exotic animals such as camels and elephants on tour around the country 

Sanger’s circus brought exotic animals such as camels and elephants on tour around the country 

Sanger's father - who had been at the Battle of Trafalgar - set up a peep show which was later expanded to a full circus

Sanger's father - who had been at the Battle of Trafalgar - set up a peep show which was later expanded to a full circus

Sanger’s father – who had been at the Battle of Trafalgar – set up a peep show which was later expanded to a full circus

And there is an auction catalogue from 1905 that lists the many animals and circus props and equipment that Sanger put up for sale in London upon his retirement.

Robin Denny, from Crediton, Devon, is selling the archive that he inherited from his late mother, Dorothy, who was married to a relative of Arthur Reeve.

Mr Denny, 71, said: ‘Sanger’s father had been a seaman at the Battle of Trafalgar and he had a pension which he used to set up a small peepshow that travelled the country.

‘Then he and his brother John travelled the country doing their own shows and it gradually built.’

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The first show was in February 1854 at the King’s Lynn Charter Fair in Norfolk and tickets were one penny.

The circus toured more than 200 towns and villages during its nine-month season performing twice a day apart from Sundays, arriving on incredibly ornate horse-drawn wagons to build up excitement ahead of the show

The circus toured more than 200 towns and villages during its nine-month season performing twice a day apart from Sundays, arriving on incredibly ornate horse-drawn wagons to build up excitement ahead of the show

The circus toured more than 200 towns and villages during its nine-month season performing twice a day apart from Sundays, arriving on incredibly ornate horse-drawn wagons to build up excitement ahead of the show

The first show was in February 1854 at the King's Lynn Charter Fair in Norfolk and tickets were one penny

The first show was in February 1854 at the King's Lynn Charter Fair in Norfolk and tickets were one penny

The first show was in February 1854 at the King’s Lynn Charter Fair in Norfolk and tickets were one penny

His circus visited over 200 towns in a nine month season, giving two shows a day, every day except Sunday.

Mr Denny added: ‘Sanger was a brilliant self-publicist and was huge in the 19th century. He had a big area in Margate with a circus tent where two shows a day were put on.

‘It is a fascinating archive that I don’t quite know what to do with. I am having a bit of a de-clutter and I thought that nobody is able to see it while it is in my house so it is best if it went to somebody who would appreciate it.’

The archive is being sold for an estimated £1,000 at auctioneers Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood of Exeter on September 12.

George Sanger lived in this house in Margate before his death at the hands of a disgruntled former employee 

George Sanger lived in this house in Margate before his death at the hands of a disgruntled former employee 

George Sanger lived in this house in Margate before his death at the hands of a disgruntled former employee 

Robin Denny, from Crediton, Devon, is selling the archive that he inherited from his late mother, Dorothy, who was married to a relative of Arthur Reeve

Robin Denny, from Crediton, Devon, is selling the archive that he inherited from his late mother, Dorothy, who was married to a relative of Arthur Reeve

Robin Denny, from Crediton, Devon, is selling the archive that he inherited from his late mother, Dorothy, who was married to a relative of Arthur Reeve

Mr Denny said he is prepared to sell the photographic archive as he is trying to de-clutter his home in Crediton, Devon

Mr Denny said he is prepared to sell the photographic archive as he is trying to de-clutter his home in Crediton, Devon

Mr Denny said he is prepared to sell the photographic archive as he is trying to de-clutter his home in Crediton, Devon

In this image, Sanger brought his troupe of entertainers over to Lyon, France as part of an international tour in 1879

In this image, Sanger brought his troupe of entertainers over to Lyon, France as part of an international tour in 1879

In this image, Sanger brought his troupe of entertainers over to Lyon, France as part of an international tour in 1879

Sanger sold off his circus - including all the animals - at a public auction following his retirement in 1905. People hoping to witness the sale at Park Farm, East Finchley, had to pay 6d

Sanger sold off his circus - including all the animals - at a public auction following his retirement in 1905. People hoping to witness the sale at Park Farm, East Finchley, had to pay 6d

Sanger sold off his circus – including all the animals – at a public auction following his retirement in 1905. People hoping to witness the sale at Park Farm, East Finchley, had to pay 6d

At the time of his retirement, Sanger posed for a photograph along with his former performers 

At the time of his retirement, Sanger posed for a photograph along with his former performers 

At the time of his retirement, Sanger posed for a photograph along with his former performers 

Sagner, pictured outside his Margate home following his retirement along with one of his former star attractions

Sagner, pictured outside his Margate home following his retirement along with one of his former star attractions

Sagner, pictured outside his Margate home following his retirement along with one of his former star attractions

The archive is being sold for an estimated £1,000 at auctioneers Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood of Exeter on September 12

The archive is being sold for an estimated £1,000 at auctioneers Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood of Exeter on September 12

The archive is being sold for an estimated £1,000 at auctioneers Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood of Exeter on September 12

 

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