The 19th Century accelerated the culture of exhibition to dizzying heights. Showmen were capable of exhibiting almost anything in any conceivable place or context. Alongside this the Great Exhibition of 1851 cemented a national tradition that soon spread throughout the world. Exhibition culture has persisted to the present day, and permeates much of our lives through new media such as the internet. Using the Sheffield Jungle, and specific exhibits within, as a starting point, this section of the website explores exhibition culture and will provide summaries of and links to resources residing in the National Fairground Archive.
- The NFA has extensive resources on exhibition culture - this page provides an overview of resources with further links to reading lists.
- The arrival of the Joy Wheel in the Sheffield Jungle sees a bizarre fairground style ride allowing riders to make an exhibition of themselves. Ian Trowell charts the history of this device and its use in the Jungle.
- Ian Trowell examines the press and publicity skills of Frank Bostock and his Sheffield Jungle as he tries to maintain interest in the attraction in the city.
- Bordering on the surreal, the arrival of a Mice Colliery must have been a strange sight. We explore the twin traditions of model exhibition and mice on the fairground, with a brief but disturbing look at the tradition of anthropomorphic taxidermy.
- The visit of Anita the Living Doll was a unique chance for Sheffield people. The tradition of exhibiting people of difference is discussed here. In addition we find some archive treasures here at the NFA to present an Anita encore.
- The smallest show on earth - even smaller than the mice colliery - was the Flea Circus - although not part of the Sheffield Jungle, the Flea Circus was a popular travelling attraction for well over 100 years.
- Jim Johnson boxed in the first Sheffield Jungle for the final week - but he was really looking for a match with Iron Hague - read the histories of these 1911 Boxing Legends through fame and poverty.
- Victor Beaute underwent a 28 day fast in the final month of the first Sheffield Jungle - read about the history of Hunger Artists and Fasting in this article.
- Professor Toulmin provides a history of the Side Show Concept in this historical essay.
- Local researcher and author Ann Beadham kindly supplies a history of the Sheffield escapologist Randini and discusses how he was an avid visitor to the Sheffield Jungle.
- Alex Jackson contributes a history of the Ashantee Village that visited Sheffield on the Edmund Road Drill Hall site.
- Feedback from the grand-son of Tom Lally gives us a unique insight into this very brave stunt.