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Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Final Destination of Boney, Molly and Waddy

The above archive photographs were sourced via Wade Burk's "Circus No Spin Zone" blog. My gratitude to Wade for finding them. They illustrate the final destination of George Lockhart Jnr's original trio of elephants, Boney, Molly and Waddy - or at least it shows Molly and Waddy. This is the accompanying text to the pictures: 

"Kiddies' Elephants on their way to their new home in Franklin Park Zoo.   Molly, Waddy, and Tony perform for the Red Cross and children on Boston Common. 1914" and "Kiddies' elephants on their way to their new home in Franklin Park zoo. Bought by the children for $6,000. 1914".

I am not sure who Tony was. My father thinks that it might be Boney (pronounced Bonny) who you can just about make out in the background. Boney was considered to be an undersized elephant and this has been attributed to the lack of nutritional information George Lockhart had when he and his wife raised her. However, it is also suggested that this probably has more to do with her subspecies.

Boney, who did the majority of the work, was bought first by George and was his first trained elephant. Molly and Waddy were bought together and, according to George's son, were inseparable. They performed at music halls in the UK as well as in front of Queen Victoria and the future Edward VII (who famously stopped his royal procession to enable George's elephants to cross). They also toured Europe and Russia, performing in front of the Tzar. We have archive material on their highly successful tour of New York in 1895 as well as anecdotes supplied by George Lockhart Jnr of some near miss accidents. These three elephants made George Lockhart and his charges the toast of Victorian society on an international scale and George Lockhart Jnr, who went on to become "The Doyen of Ringmasters", dined off the many exciting and amusing anecdotes the trio provided.

The elephants were sold in 1901 to circus proprietor William Orford. These pictures depict their sale to Franklin Park Zoo, USA, in 1914. For the full story of these elephants and the career of their first elephant trainer, George Lockhart Snr, please read my book "The Legend of Salt and Sauce".

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Cynthia Bean said...

Mr. Clubb,
Thank you for the rest of the story. The children referred to Boney (Bonny) as Tony, my grandmother even called him Tony..funny name for an elephant. I so enjoyed your book about Salt and Sauce. Most of the Pennies for Elephant story is on I find the story an amazing story about the love of children for animals, and that my grandparents were a part of before our circus days. Thank you.

Jamie Clubb said...

Hi Cynthia,

Thank you for clearing up the Boney/Tony confusion and for the helpful link. I will get it up on here. I wish I had read it during my research.

I am glad you enjoyed my book. It was a fascinating project and the great thing about circus is that it links up and branches off into many other interesting stories.

Stay in touch.

Best wishes,