"Your never to old or young to visit the circus"
A Circus was a major feature at Chessington Zoo for many decades, with the first Circus at Chessington believed to have opened in 1933…
For many years the circus was run by Gilberts Circus and contained performers, clowns and animals such as elephants, camels, horses, ponies, dogs and monkeys in dresses and frilly outfits. From the early eighties it changed to an all human circus show after being persuaded by the Zoo Federation to drop the long standing use of animals in the circus, the human circus was performed in a big top for the summer seasons billed as Circus Hassani. The shows were a permanent feature from March to November.
In 1983 the show’s title at Chessington was changed to Tamara Coco’s Circus however a few years later Chessington’s management decided to stage its own modernistic circus presentations (Ali and Tamara Hassani/Coco were retained however to supply the big top, seating and other circus facilities)
A Circus remained at Chessington until 1991 when the area which was then called Circus World was closed and removed to make way for a new themed land…
Below are some examples of the numerous circus guides, that were produced and a link to some original video footage of the Circus at Chessington Zoo:
Left- Cutting from US Entertainment weekly: The Billboard dated February 1947. The article reports the death of European circus men Carl Petoletti and Reginald Goddard...
Below are two vintage videos of the circus at Chessington.