Nostalgia: Say hello to the circus

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IF you want to catch the circus before it packs up its trunk and leaves town, you’d better crack your whip and hurry on down to Ocean Terminal.

The Moscow State Circus rolls out of Leith tomorrow at the end of a near four-week run, wowing crowds with spectacular performances for all the family from inside the big top.

Circus elephants on Princes Street in 1956

Circus elephants on Princes Street in 1956

But if you missed it this time, don’t fret – as these pictures show, the circus and all that comes with it regularly rolls in to the Capital, so you shouldn’t have too long to wait to catch it again.

Princes Street is the home to many parades these days, but few will have stopped crowds the way a group of visiting elephants did in June 1956.

Animals have always been the star attraction of the 
circus, and in 1958 it was a procession of camels which had families lining the pavements of the Capital’s most famous thoroughfare when Chipperfield’s Circus set up camp.

Its entertainers were at their dazzling best inside the big top, too, with a daring unicycling duo putting smiles on faces.

Chipperfield's Circus arrives in Edinburgh in 1958 with a camel procession

Chipperfield's Circus arrives in Edinburgh in 1958 with a camel procession

Others who provided a balancing act were the acrobats of the Circus Oz, who scaled heights at the Assembly Rooms during the Festival in 1987, while more than 30 years earlier, it was a tightrope walker who was full of focus while attempting to avoid wobbling on a wire at Waverley Market.

A young man also had lofty ambition when he attempted to buy a programme from a clown on stilts when the Bertram Mills Circus rocked up at Murrayfield in 1956.

A unicyclist from Chipperfield's at Murrayfield in 1958

A unicyclist from Chipperfield's at Murrayfield in 1958