'Juliette's Wonder Sealions', early 20th century

'Juliette's Wonder Sealions', early 20th century

'Juliette's Wonder Sealions'
Early 20th century
Black and white photograph

Many acts that we would nowadays associate with circus appeared in music hall, like this sealion act, photographed in the early 1900s. Sealions are intelligent animals, and learn tricks quickly, such as how to balance a ball on their nose. Their trainers reward them with fish. They can be fussy - some sealions like one kind of fish, some another. According to the circus manager Dick Chipperfield, they also have a taste for stones although this can be fatal. He discovered that coal did them no harm and could be given as an alternative. Sealions also require a lot of attention and one trainer even allowed his sealion to share his bed.