In the 19th century, as in the modern era, most circuses were travelling shows where the entertainment consisted of acrobats, clowns, illusionists and a small number of performing animals. F Ginnett’s Circus was unusual in that it had a permanent home at the Hippodrome in Brighton. Having a permanent home allowed such circuses to perform bigger and more spectacular acts: pageants of hundreds of horses, performing elephants, and recreated battle scenes from history and myth.
This advertisement is notable in suggesting that it includes ‘Cetewayo’, better known as Cetshwayo kaMpande, the last king of a unified Zulu nation, famous for his victory over British forces in the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana. Given that kaMpande had died three years before this advert was printed, this billing may be taken with a grain of salt.