Category Archives: Show Tents

Bristol Creative Common Big Top

Albion Wood’s Big Top at Bristol’s Creative Common

We were very delighted to work with Invisible Circus on this amazing project in Bristol.

Here is a link to the Creative Common Website


The new show ‘Under The Dark Moon’ from The Invisible Circus

Albion Woods provided a Big Top for Bristol’s Creative Common
Creative Common Big Top Bristol Temple Meads
Creative Common Big Top Bristol Temple Meads

This show played to sold out audiences each night, met with phenomenal reactions and some great press coverage. This April (2014) the show comes to Bristol Old Vic for a limited 3 night run!

Big Top Legacy

“Once people book us they’ve got us, heart and soul. We don’t turn up, put the tent up and go away. We’re there with them offering back up and help throughout. Its that personal point our clients say they come back for. Its not the tents they hire, its the company.”

Albion Woods director Hazel was interviewed for the March issue of Festival Magazine.The magazine featured an article with all the major players in the UK’s 10,000 capacity ShowTents.

History of the Show Tent

Albion Woods have a background in the British circus industry and we began making our first tents in the 1980’s.  We now focus solely on making large’ Show Tents’ and ‘Big Tops’ .

First attested in English 14th century, the word circus derives from Latin circus, which is the romanization of the Greek κίρκος(kirkos), meaning “circle” or “ring”. The origin of the modern circus has been attributed to Philip Astley, a cavalry officer from England who set up the first modern amphitheatre for the display of horse riding tricks in Lambeth, London on 4 April 1768. More info on Wikipedia




Albion Woods Tent at the Elephant Fayre, St Germans , Cornwall – 1980’s
Albion Woods Circus had been providing tents and canopies for its own and other shows for a number of years, but this fine tent marks the beginning of Albion Wood’s serious entry into the tenting business. Constructed entirely in their own workshops this tent made its first outing at the Elephant Fayre, an annual festival that used to run at the Port Eliot estate in Cornwall.

Back To The Future
Albion Woods Tent at the Port Eliot Festival , St Germans , Cornwall – 2012

And here we are at the Elephant Fayre (now Port Eliot Festival) in the exact same spot!



Albion Woods Circus poster – 1980’s
Before Albion Woods focused completely on tents they were a touring circus (among other things). This photo shows Michael Hirst as ringmaster, while Hazel Hirst cheekily appears twice in the picture. Once on Horseback and again in the band in the background.

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Michael Hirst 15th July 1933 – 11th March 2008
Sadly, the founder and visionary behind Albion Woods lost his fight with cancer early in 2008. Michael is survived by his partner, Hazel and his sons and daughters. Michael was a unique and irreplaceable character. He will be missed by all that knew or worked with him. Albion Woods is to continue operating to the same work ethos as it did with Michael at the helm under the management of Hazel Hirst.

Michael with his daughter Hula at Shrewsbury in 2006 standing in front of a 30m x 66m Goalpost tent.


From the Albion Woods collection
This charming painting captures the magic of just being a tent.