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The Old Showmen and Old London Fairs

by Thomas Frost
#2 Biographies & History author
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The Old Showmen and Old London Fairs by Thomas Frost
A detailed chronology of places, dates and performers of fairs in and around London. We learn mostly of theatrical productions of various kinds including pantomime and dances, and menageries exhibiting exotic animals, and less so of tumbling and acrobats, juggling, balancing and the like. It includes some coverage of conjurers including Fawkes, Pinchbeck, Breslaw and others. There is some overlap of stories from Circus Life and Circus Celebrities because some performers and operators were active in both venues.
  • PREFACE
  • CHAPTER I: Origin of Fairs - Charter Fairs at Winchester and Chester - Croydon Fairs - Fairs in the Metropolis - Origin of Bartholomew Fair - Disputes between the Priors and the Corporation - The Westminster Fairs - Southwark Fair - Stepney Fair - Ceremonies observed in opening Fairs - Walking the Fair at Wolverhampton - The Key of the Fair at Croydon - Proclamation of Bartholomew Fair.
  • CHAPTER II: Amusements of the Fairs in the Middle Ages - Shows and Showmen of the Sixteenth Century - Banks and his Learned Horse - Bartholomew Fair in the time of Charles I. - Punch and Judy - Office of the Revels - Origin of Hocus Pocus - Suppression of Bartholomew Fair - London Shows during the Protectorate - A Turkish Rope-Dancer - Barbara Vanbeck, the Bearded Woman.
  • CHAPTER III: Strolling Players in the Seventeenth Century - Southwark Fair - Bartholomew Fair - Pepys and the Monkeys - Polichinello - Jacob Hall, the Rope-Dancer - Another Bearded Woman - Richardson, the Fire-Eater - The Cheshire Dwarf - Killigrew and the Strollers - Fair on the Thames - The Irish Giant - A Dutch Rope-Dancer - Music Booths - Joseph Clark, the Posturer - William Philips, the Zany - William Stokes, the Vaulter - A Show in Threadneedle Street.
  • CHAPTER IV: Attempts to Suppress the Shows at Bartholomew Fair - A remarkable Dutch Boy - Theatrical Booths at the London Fairs - Penkethman, the Comedian - May Fair - Barnes and Finley - Lady Mary - Doggett, the Comedian - Simpson, the Vaulter - Clench, the Whistler - A Show at Charing Cross - Another Performing Horse - Powell and Crawley, the Puppet-Showmen - Miles's Music-Booth - Settle and Mrs. Mynn - Southwark Fair - Mrs. Horton, the Actress - Bullock and Leigh - Penkethman and Pack - Boheme, the Actor - Suppression of May Fair - Woodward, the Comedian - A Female Hercules - Tiddy-dol, the Gingerbread Vendor.
  • CHAPTER V: Bartholomew Fair Theatricals - Lee, the Theatrical Printer - Harper, the Comedian - Rayner and Pullen - Fielding, the Novelist, a Showman - Cibber's Booth - Hippisley, the Actor - Fire in Bartholomew Fair - Fawkes, the Conjuror - Royal Visit to Fielding's Booth - Yeates, the Showman - Mrs. Pritchard, the Actress - Southwark Fair - Tottenham Court Fair - Ryan, the Actor - Hallam's Booth - Griffin, the Actor - Visit of the Prince of Wales to Bartholomew Fair - Laguerre's Booth - Heidegger - More Theatrical Booths - Their Suppression at Bartholomew Fair - Hogarth at Southwark Fair - Violante, the Rope-Dancer - Cadman, the Flying Man.
  • CHAPTER VI: A new Race of Showmen - Yeates, the Conjuror - The Turkish Rope-Walker - Pan and the Oronutu Savage - The Corsican Fairy - Perry's Menagerie - The Riobiscay and the Double Cow - A Mermaid at the Fairs - Garrick at Bartholomew Fair - Yates's Theatrical Booth - Dwarfs and Giants - The Female Samson - Riots at Bartholomew Fair - Ballard's Animal Comedians - Evans, the Wire-Walker - Southwark Fair - Wax-work Show - Shuter, the Comedian - Bisset, the Animal Trainer - Powell, the FireEater - Roger Smith, the Bell-Player - Suppression of Southwark Fair.
  • CHAPTER VII: Yates and Shuter - Cat Harris - Mechanical Singing Birds - Lecture on Heads - Pidcock's Menagerie - Breslaw, the Conjuror - Reappearance of the Corsican Fairy - Gaetano, the Bird Imitator - Rossignol's Performing Birds - Ambroise, the Showman - Brunn, the Juggler, on the Wire - Riot at Bartholomew Fair - Dancing Serpents - Flockton, the Puppet-Showman - Royal Visit to Bartholomew Fair - Lane, the Conjuror - Hall's Museum - O'Brien, the Irish Giant - Baker's Theatre - Joel Tarvey and Lewis Owen, the popular Clowns.
  • CHAPTER VIII: Lady Holland's Mob - Kelham Whiteland, the Dwarf - Flockton, the Conjuror and Puppet-Showman - Wonderful Rams - Miss Morgan, the Dwarf - Flockton's Will - Gyngell, the Conjuror - Jobson, the Puppet-Showman - Abraham Saunders - Menageries of Miles and Polito - Miss Biffin - Philip Astley.
  • CHAPTER IX: Edmund Kean - Mystery of his Parentage - Saunders's Circus - Scowton's Theatre - Belzoni - The Nondescript - Richardson's Theatre - The Carey Family - Kean, a Circus Performer - Oxherry, the Comedian - James Wallack - Last Appearance of the Irish Giant - Miss Biffin and the Earl of Morton - Bartholomew Fair Incidents - Josephine Girardelli, the Female Salamander - James England, the Flying Pieman - Elliston as a Showman - Simon Paap, the Dutch Dwarf - Ballard's Menagerie - A Learned Pig - Madame Gobert, the Athlete - Cartlich, the Original Mazeppa - Barnes, the Pantaloon - Nelson Lee - Cooke's Circus - The Gyngell Family
  • CHAPTER X: Saker and the Lees - Richardson's Theatre - Wombwell, the Menagerist - The Lion Fights at Warwick - Maughan, the Showman - Miss Hipson, the Fat Girl - Lydia Walpole, the Dwarf - The Persian Giant and the Fair Circassian - Ball's Theatre - Atkins's Menagerie - A Mare with Seven Feet - Hone's Visit to Richardson's Theatre - Samwell's Theatre - Clarke's Circus - Brown's Theatre of Arts - Ballard's Menagerie - Toby, the Learned Pig - William Whitehead, the Fat Boy - Elizabeth Stock, the Giantess - Chappell and Pike's Theatre - The Spotted Boy - Wombwell's "Bonassus" - Gouffe, the Man-Monkey - De Berar's Phantasmagoria - Scowton's Theatre - Death of Richardson.
  • CHAPTER XI: Successors of Scowton and Richardson - Nelson Lee - Crowther, the Actor - Paul Herring - Newman and Allen's Theatre - Fair in Hyde Park - Hilton's Menagerie - Bartholomew Fair again threatened - Wombwell's Menagerie - Charles Freer - Fox Cooper and the Bosjesmans - Destruction of Johnson and Lee's Theatre - Reed's Theatre - Hales, the Norfolk Giant - Affray at Greenwich - Death of Wombwell - Lion Queens - Catastrophe in a Menagerie - World's Fair at Bayswater - Abbott's Theatre - Charlie Keith, the Clown - Robson, the Comedian - Manders's Menagerie - Macomo, the Lion-Tamer - Macarthy and the Lions - Fairgrieve's Menagerie - Lorenzo and the Tigress - Sale of a Menagerie - Extinction of the London Fairs - Decline of Fairs near the Metropolis - Conclusion.
2nd edition 1875, 388 pages; PDF 152 pages.
word count: 81182 which is equivalent to 324 standard pages of text

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