I was invited by Bristol Festival of Ideas to create a short graphic story, exploring how the people of Bristol went to war in 1914. I became fascinated with White City: an enormous complex of historical reconstructions, exhibitions and entertainments alongside Bristol's docks. Lion tamers, costume parades and 'Shakespeare's England' featured among the attractions, no sign of which can be seen today. Many of the elaborate but temporary structures would have been built by local men, who would perhaps have returned as visitors on a day out, and again on enlisting in 1914, when the entire complex was commandeered as training grounds and accommodation for recruits. The story and characters are entirely from my imagination, but I would like to thank Clive Burlton for providing me with so much great information on White City, that hopefully some of it rings true.
Today I realised that I hadn’t put any lions into my story, so I drew lots of lions! Did you know that a whole troupe of lions lived at Bostock’s Jungle in White City? I wonder what happened to them after the soldiers moved in?