Curious tale of the elephant in a Totnes garden
Local history has a reputation for being quirky and unpredictable.
But, when an Irishman asked for information on an elephant he remembered being kept in a garden in Totnes, it was by far the most unusual request that the Totnes Image Bank had received.
Used to dealing more with family trees than zoology, the Image Bank took on the challenge and discovered a fascinating photo. An image from 1931 of a magnificent elephant waving her trunk in the air while simultaneously lifting a front leg.
These acrobatics hint at a circus theme and the image bank's historians discovered that the elephant had been kept in the back garden of Seymour Lodge, while a circus took a break between trips on the road.
With the garden looking rather worst for wear, you cannot help but ponder how the circus managed to persuade someone to take on such a large animal.
Chapman's Circus stopped in Totnes in June 1931. Their brief visit clearly made a lasting impression on the Irishman who was amazed to see the image.
Image Bank manager Barrington Weekes said: "He was delighted that we could come up with the answer.
"We get this sort of puzzle all the time and quite often can find a clue in our archives."