Sally Chipperfield’s Circus came to Spiceball Park in Banbury April 1978 and was met with a demonstration.

50 protestors – most of them members of the Society Against Elephant Exploitation – came from across the country to try and turn people away.

Maria Hennessey, the founder of the society, said: “We want the public to understand the agony of a caged animal who lives in cramped conditions.”

Ringmaster Edwin Buick said: “I have no qualms about what I am doing – I sincerely believe these people are wrong.”

Other protests took place in the West Midlands, Bristol and Essex.