George Lockhart

George Lockhart

Ringmasters were key personalities within the circus and in the period in which Doodles was the resident clown at the Blackpool Tower Circus, George Lockhart was the Ringmaster.

George Claude Lockhart was born in 1883 in Deptford and was the son of the famous elephant trainer, George William Lockhart (1849-1904) who was killed during an elephant stampede. At the age of six, George Lockhart first entered the circus ring and in his youth he travelled abroad, visiting different countries. Similarly to his father, George Lockhart also engaged in working with elephants and continued to do so throughout his career.

His work at the Blackpool Tower Circus began in 1914 where he was the Stage and Equestrian director until 1945. Originally, the title of Stage Director, Stage Manager and Equestrian Director was employed until 1933 when the term Ringmaster was introduced.

Throughout his career at the Blackpool Tower Circus, George Lockhart only missed a couple of seasons, when he was serving in the military during the First World War. To cover for Lockhart in this period, Fred Connor took over the role temporarily.

As a character, George Lockhart was strict and did not have any patience for nonsense. His appearance was notable with a tailcoat and a top hat, an appearance which is now often replicated by many ringmasters around the world. He was also unique for being a successful Ringmaster who had never worked in a tenting circus, which was a common practice, despite having a long career and international fame.

In his later life, George Lockhart worked as the Ringmaster at Belle Vue Circus in Manchester where he also gained fame and recognition before finally retiring in 1970. He had been in retirement for nearly ten years before his death at age 96 on the 8th October 1979.