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  Wild beasts and the Zulu War !  

The official records kept by Victorian schools always include many entries about reasons for children being absent from school.
Many of these are about illness or seasonal farm jobs, but some are about fairs, circuses and other exciting events which the children couldn't resist !
This entry was written in November 1879 in the school log book of Llanidloes National School :

29th November
School diary entry "A wild beast show and a panorama of the Zulu War have visited the town this week. Result - the children playing truant and spending their school fees to pay for admission to the shows - attendance much below last week".

Zulu war engravingThe Anglo-Zulu War was between the British Army in the colony of Natal, South Africa and the neighbouring kingdom of Zululand. The war began early in 1879 and the Zulus, who had around 60,000 warriors, were eventually defeated after six months.
There were large numbers killed on both sides, including many 24th Regiment soldiers from Brecon, mid Wales and the Marches. The Regiment was renamed as The South Wales Borderers in 1881.

The display about the Zulu War would have amazed the children, because the Zulu warriors looked very frightening with their spears and painted shields.
The "panorama" would probably have been a very wide curved picture showing the two sides in the battles facing each other in the African landscape.

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Visit the website of
the Royal Regiment
of Wales at
for more about the
24th Regiment and
the Anglo-Zulu War.

The Regimental
Museum at Brecon
has fascinating
displays and a
large collection of
items from the
Anglo-Zulu War.

Link to sources
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