Thursday, 2 August 2012
Two elephants, a farmer's son and a travelling circus, another old story for August
Now, not a lot of people know about the elephant in Chorlton. In fact there were two, they spent time at a local farm, slept in a field by St Werburg’s Road and are still remembered with affection.
The elephants belonged to a local travelling circus which camped on the field. The fields by the way is still there and once stretched all the way back to Chorlton Station.
Not that the elephants were the only animals which spent time on the farm. Robert Jackson who was a local naturalist would often leave animals in the care of the farmer Leonard Bailey. Most proved no problem but the porcupines were a different matter. When they escaped one morning a young Oliver Bailey was detailed to find, collect and pen them all before he went off to school.
It seems as soon as you mention the elephant people without a hesitation say “ah yes the elephant”, as if it was as much a part of the place as the Horse and Jockey and the Lych Gate. Faith Waldren for instance stopped in mid sentence and just smiled saying “why of course”. Likewise Tony Walker who was a builder and worked on the farm from time to time was equally matter of fact about it.
The elephants might even have visited the Clough.
Picture from Rita Bishop's collection