Saturday, 18 March 2017

Two elephants, a farmer’s son and a travelling circus ......... Part two

Yesterday I re ran the story of my old friend Oliver Bailey’s association with two elephants. *

To be more accurate it was Oliver’s father who was connected with the two elephants, but that was yesterday’s posting.

Today I thought I would share the remarkable account which Oliver has dug out from the introduction by the publishers to the book about the two elephants* and provide a link to the author's excellent blog on the story,

Here you can read not only about the elephants but much more about the history of the circus.

'Salt and Sauce were owned and presented by some of the most famous show business people of their era. Their owners included Carl Hagenbeck, George William Lockhart, Herbet "Captain Joe" Taylor, John "Broncho Bill" Swallow, Dudley Zoo, Tom Fossett, Dennis Fossett, Harry Coady and Billy Butlin. Their presenters included Ivor Rosaire and Emily Paulo. Formerly members and believed to be the longest suriviving members of George William Lockhart's "Cruet", they were featured in various books, newspapers and magazines in their day, and are the focus of a new book "The Legend of Salt and Sauce".

The elephants were famed for their vast array of tricks, but also feared for their temperamental moods. Sauce (known as "Saucy" most of the time) killed George William Lockhart (her owner and trainer) in an accident at Walthamstow Station and Salt killed William Aslett (an elephant groom) when she attacked him in 1957 on Rosaire's Circus.

Despite both Salt suffering dropsy symptoms that had already killed two other members of "The Cruet" she went on to live for five decades. Her death was well documented in the Cambridge local press (source: The Legend of Salt and Sauce) when she accidentally got stuck in Vauxhall lake whilst touring with Ringland's Circus in 1952. 

After seven hours and with the aid of a crane she was freed from the lake, but suffered from pneumonia and died after a week. According to the local press over one hundred wreathes were left for her at the circus. It was predicted that her lifelong companion, Sauce, would die soon afterwards (source: Salt and Sauce were Separated by John D. Swallow), but she lived until 1960, dying from "natural causes".

The book tells the true story of Salt and Sauce, two Indian elephants, who arrived in Britain in 1902 and became involved in the live entertainment industry from the Music Hall scene to circus and finally Butlin's Holiday camp. This is the story of how the elephants became both feared and loved by some of the most famous people of their era, and how their story became mythical among the circus community."

* The Legend of Salt & Sauce: The Amazing Story of Britain's Most Famous Elephants
by Jamie Clubb with Jim Clubb  ISBN Number: 187290436X Publisher: Aardvark Publishing

Pictures; from the covers of the book courtesy of Jamie Clubb

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