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image for Exhibition item typeDecades of Delight: 250 Years of Circus at Cartwright Hall Art Galleryadd to shortlist

Exhibition, Sat 25 Nov 2017 - Thu 7 Jun 2018, free entry

250 Years of the Circus

250 Years of the Circus


For 25 decades the wonderful amazing art and entertainment form known as circus has thrilled, delighted and enchanted audiences all over the world.

But what do we know about its history and development and the many stories of dare devilry that were found in the circus ring?

From the founder of Circus himself, Philip Astley, an equestrian from Newcastle under Lyme, to the real life daring young man on his flying trapeze who gave his name to the leotard, learn the secrets of the ring, the lifestyle and the stories of the circus, the identity of the original human cannonball act in 1877 and when the big top was invented.

Come and discover the part played by Berry's of Bradford, the designers of choice for the leading British Circus families whose posters proclaimed the coming of leading shows across the United Kingdom and see examples of their work across the years.

Social history objects from Bradford's museum collections will be included plus some items on loan by private lenders. Bringing us to the current day, view contemporary illustration by Emily Sutton.

Some works on loan from the National Fairground and Circus Archive.

Coach parties acceptedDisabled toiletsEducation/study areaGift shopPicnic siteAccepts groups

Event details

Dates Times
Sat 25 Nov 2017 - Thu 7 Jun 2018
Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4pm - please note: we are closed on Mondays

Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holiday Mondays 11am - 4pm

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27 December, New Years Day, Good Friday and Mondays except Bank Holidays.

***Due to essential maintenance, some parts of the gallery may be closed to the public until the end March, T: 01274 431212 for info.***


Free entry

Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 25 Nov - Thu 7 Jun Decades of Delight: 250 Years of Circus
Fri 29 Dec - Mon 8 Jul 100 Years of Bradford Painters
Fri 29 Dec - Sun 8 Apr Glisten and Shine: Glass
Fri 23 Feb - Mon 23 Apr Cupola: A Circus Installation



    Lister Park,
    BD9 4NS



    See location of Cartwright Hall Art Gallery on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

    Map reference: SE 151351  Lat: 53.81196 Long: -1.77215

    Cartwright Hall Art Gallery is in the middle of Lister Park, one and a half miles from the City Centre on the A650 Manningham Lane. There is limited parking in Lister Park, accessible from North Park Road (off Oak Lane). Lister Park is served by many city centre bus services including 23, 25, 26, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 622, 647, 662, w5. Cartwright Hall is about ten minutes' uphill walk from Frizinghall railway station.

    For help in planning your journey by public transport, please visit

    Parking: free

    Accessible by Public Transport: 0.8 miles from Frizinghall Train station


    • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
    • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
    • Education/study areaEducation/study area
    • Gift shopGift shop
    • Picnic sitePicnic site
    • Accepts groupsAccepts groups