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An Elephant at the Bridge Inn Lydney.

Elephant at the Bridge Inn

George Potter, landlord of the Bridge Inn, Lydney serving a pint to the circus elephant.

The traveling circus that visited Lydney entered the show field along the side of the Bridge Inn. The elephant was partial to a pint of beer and is being served a pint by Bridge Inn landlord, George Potter. The pony in the background also liked a pint, but he was actually served in the bar!.

The elephant has been immortalised by Coleford barber and poet Keith Morgan who tells the story of the Bream man who encountered the elephant while cycling to work at Lydney Tinworks. The elephant was making his way unaccompanied towards Bream early one misty morning. The man rode his bike around the Leechpool corners and was amazed to be confronted by the elephant in the middle of the road.

Geoff Davis added (May 2008): " I was told another story about the elephant ... in those days the circus would parade through Lydney, animals and all. A cobbler who was working outside his shop for some reason pricked the elephant's trunk with his needle. The next year the cobbler was in the same place - but this time the elephant was ready! and as the elephant passed, it soaked the cobbler with gallons of water that it had stored in it's trunk".

Thanks also to John Bunker (brjobu) who added (June 2008): "When I was a child the circus used to come to town end of August beginning of September (I lived in Lydney 1952 - 1962). I remember it well because it coincided with my brother's birthday who was born when we lived in Lydney (Richard James) Jimmy Bunker 1952 - 2007. I used to be so jealous as every year the circus kids would come to his bithday on 5th September - there was some consolation in that we had free tickets to the circus every year - we lived at 13 Regent Street so we were always close to where the marquee was erected - happy days - John Bunker" .

Jane Sterry added (Oct 2008): "I well remember the circus coming to Lydney.The actual animals were coming up and down Lydfield road and were stationed where the BT Office now stands at the back of the football stand. I can remember the elephants, horses and a zebra going up and down the road. My nan Ruby Sterry used to wash the ruffs that went around the dogs neck that used to 'dance' in the ring. I can remember crying to have a ride on the elephant, the trainer was quite willing but my nan said 'not on your life'. I loved all the animals and stood at the gate all day long just watching, even having my dinner there so that I wouldn't miss a thing. This would have been about 1956/57."

Peter Essex added (July 2011: "... I recently learned that George Potter later lived at 16 Bathurst Park Lydney. This was formerly owned by the Essex family. As far as I know no elephants visited that address at any stage".

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