I first heard of Pinder Circus family in relation to Dumfries from an old historical photograph on display in Dock Park which depicted Doonhamers gaping at a performing elephant brought to the town by these fabulous entertainers.
Pinder circus, founded in 1854, became famous for its Arabian horses and Shetland ponies and animal/zoo acts, as well as for being Britain’s greatest equestrian troupe. They delivered three command performances for Queen Victoria at Balmoral castle in 1877, 1892 and 1898.
Pinders were a household name and a staple attraction in Dumfries. The circus used to come to the town at least twice a year, to take part in the Spring and the Rood Fairs at Whitesands. Pinder circus had an elephant, performing dogs, lions, bears, monkeys and snakes delighting the Fair attendees.
William Ord Pinder (1862-1941), equestrian and circus proprieter, was born in Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, and died in Greensands, Thornhill, Dumfries. He was buried at St Michael’s cemetery. His wife and children erected a unusual monument in honour of his circus links and performing carrier – a sculpture of a pony carrying a fallen curtain. The epitaph at the bottom of the pedestal read, “The End of the Road, R.I.P.”
John and I were once took the path through St Michael’s cemetery on the way to his GP, and we became fascinated by this striking Pinder circus family memorial and wanted to learn more about the Pinders.