Ginnett's have a long history in circus, variety and theatre performance dating back to the early 1800s, making them one of the oldest circus and variety families in Europe. They are also closely linked with many othere traditional circus family’s such as Sanger’s, Cooke’s, Yelding’s and Austin’s.
Show business started for the Ginnett's in Briton in the early 1800s when they were captured in the Napoleonic wars. At this time Ginnett's were big horse people and thought to be high ranks in the French cavalry. They were brought to England on prison ships. When the wars were over and prisoners released some of the Ginnett's stayed in England. It was Jean Pier Ginnett who started in show business with his Pony and Budgerigar show in Ludgate circus, London. Ginnett's grew to become one of the UK’s largest circuses between the years of 1890 and 1930, closing down for a period, like many of the shows at the time, during world war one (owing to the war office confiscating their 200+ horses for the war effort).
In the 1930s Ginnett's gave most of their properties including The Levels and two theatres in Brighton one being the Theatre Royal, to the local councils on the understanding that circus and variety shows would always be able to perform at them.
Soon after they closed their last show. It was Gubby Ginnett in the 1940s who last ran a circus show in almost 150 years of Ginnett's circus.
Michael Austin, (grandson of Addie Ginnett) and his wife Jounita reopened Ginnett's circus in 1989 along with their son and daughter Patrick and Nina. (After a season running as “Mike Austin’s circus” and a lifetime of touring with a variety of other circuses and shows worldwide). Mike had Ginnett's based in Flamingoland theme park between 1989 and 2000 then toured the UK for three years before his return to Flamingoland in 2004. (During this time Mike and Jounita had a second circus in Pleasure Island theme park. Running for six years between 1994 and 2000. Circus Hergotti was named after Jounita’s family circus.) After this season, Mike and Juanita decided to close the show for a short break.
Patrick Austin and his son Luke are now running Ginnett's circus touring the country. Patrick has been touring with shows across Europe and Asia for the past 15+ years including the Yunokuni variety show in Japan, Zavatta’s circus in Spain and Fiabylandia theam park in Rimany Italy, circus Krone in Demark and many more. Looking forward to the 2011 season Patrick and Luke hope to continue the Ginnett tradition of bringing happiness and joy to all ages for many years to come.