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After 250 years of circus the show must go on - in Great Yarmouth's shop windows

PUBLISHED: 19:36 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 20:02 02 May 2018

Peter Jay at the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth. Photo: James Bass

Peter Jay at the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth. Photo: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

Circus impresario Peter Jay has been rummaging around in his back-stage museum looking for artefacts for this year's town trail.

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth.
Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James BassArtefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass

So absorbed was he in his task that he developed a numbered system and a rule about only selecting items that would work together, preferably chiming with the theme of the shop.

And now after much deliberating the precious items have been packed up and despatched to their temporary homes to form a circus trail around Great Yarmouth as part of the town’s arts’ festival.

“If I had not been in showbiz or a drummer I would have liked to have been a window dresser,” he said.

“It has always appealed to me.

The Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus building in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James BassThe Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

“I am a bit of a perfectionist. In the museum I am moving stuff around all the time, although it looks random if something is moved, I know it.”

Some 20 shops in the town centre stretching as far as Harbour Radio in King Street are taking part.

The trail involves peering into windows that will be dressed with circus items loaned by Mr Jay and noting their corresponding number.

There is a prize for every child taking part and a weekly draw to win two tickets to one of the shows being staged during the ten day festival which runs from Friday June 8 to Sunday June 17.

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. 
Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James BassArtefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass

Mr Jay said he hoped people would be as fascinated as he was with the memorabilia spanning decades of circus activity in the town.

Items being displayed include costumes, posters, a unicycle, and in Boots some of the old lighting log books meticulously noted in a Boots own-brand diary.

“I spent a long, long time on this so hopefully it is going to look good,” he said.

All the windows will dressed and ready to be inspected by eagle-eyed shoppers from Friday (May 4).

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth.
 Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James BassArtefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass

Arts festival chairman Hugh Sturzaker said as well as being a fun thing to do he hoped it would improve footfall in the town.

Great Yarmouth and Norwich have jointly been named as one of six “circus cities” celebrating 250 years of the art form which in Yarmouth at the Hippodrome mixes daredevil acts with the highest production values.

Who’s taking part?

The shops taking part in the trail are:

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. 
Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James Bass

.Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass .

Anglia Copy & Print, 56 Deneside

Argos, 51-53 Market Place

Bizarre Bizarre, 10-11 Regent Street

Boots, 3 Market Gates Shopping Centre

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth.
 Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James BassArtefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass

Clarks, 13 King Street

Cobholm Miniatures, 14 Broad Row

Coleman Opticians, 35 Regent Street

Flirts, 20 King Street

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. 
Part of the Peter Jay collection. 

Picture: James BassArtefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass

Greggs, 182 King Street

H Samuel, 11 King Street

Harbour Radio, 137 King Street

Hayden & Grey, 163 King Street

Ijustwanna, 21 Market Gates Shopping Centre

Instant Furniture, 43 Market Row

Jany Pets, 57-58 Deneside

Market Gates shopping centre

Palmers Department Store, 37-39 Market Place

Peacocks, 57-65 Market Place

Royal Bank of Scotland, 14 Hall Quay

Unique Crafts, 23 Victoria Arcade

For further information and the full programme of events visit the festival website by clicking here.





































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