Chipperfield's Circus was the name of a famous British family circus, the name 'Chipperfield' dates back to James Chipperfield, who introduced performing animals to England at the Frost Fair on the Thames in 1684. The show toured Europe and the Far East. The Chipperfield dynasty goes back more than 300 years, making it one of the older family circuses.

James William Chipperfield, born in a caravan, 1824, at St. Martin at Oak, Norfolk. Son of James William Chipperfield and Harriet Amy (nee Coan), commenced clowning for his father being then engaged in a 'Liliputian Circus'. Reputedly entered a den of animals at Wombwells when only 14-years-old. First ventured on his own when he acquired an 'educated' pony.

He married Elizabeth Jones in 1846. His daughter appeared as the youngest tight-rope dancer in the country. Introduced to Britain Zulus and Kaffirs from Africa and the Aztecs from Mexico. Also entered the marrionette business. Gradually worked his way to the front rank of showland with his menagerie, establishing his winter quarters in Norwich.

Exhibited Robert Tippney, the 'living skeleton'. On the road all his life and claimed to be England's oldest showman. Died at his home, Schwanfelder Street, Beeston, Leeds, in 1913, aged 89 years.

Corgi Toys

During the 1960s circuses were extremely popular, so it was not surprising that during the period between 1960 and 1970 Corgi Toys should release ten Chipperfield's Circus models, plus four Gift Sets. All were produced with the co-operation of the circus itself.These models proved to be highly collectable, so in 1994 Corgi Classics launched a new series of twelve Chipperfield's Circus models. Again these proved extremely popular at the time, so futher additions were made.

Corgi Toys Chipperfield Circus

Corgi Chipperfield forum

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1 comment
Henrik - October 11, 2019
Seems I have to slightly different versions of the Corgi Bedford Chipperfields Tractor unit for giraffes. Difference is hard to see, but looking at the rear of the tractor it's constructed a little bit different. Which one is the first release?
Good question! Unfortunately I don't know. There are a few Corgi Toys Facebook groups for collectors, maybe you can try asking there as well.