LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Monday, 2 April 2018

New plaque marks site of the first circus

2018 is the 250th anniversary of the very first circus, and to mark the occasion, Lambeth Residents Association have installed a blue plaque as close as possible to the site of the very first ring, which was established by Philip Astley, the Father of the Circus, in 1768.

Chris Barltrop as Philp Astley
The plaque was unveiled on Easter Monday by ringmaster and circus historian Chris Barltrop, who was dressed as Astley and added to the celebrations by performing his one man play The Audacious Mr Astley.

Astley, of course, was a horseman, famed for brandishing his sword while standing atop of a galloping horse, and so there were naturally horses on hand, too, ridden by the Khadikov Riders from Zippos circus, which is currently resident in Blackheath.

The plaque, which also commemorates Astley's wife Patty, herself a horsewoman who performed in his shows, is located at Cornwall Road, in Waterloo. The unveiling was followed by a residents' street party.

For 15 Facts about Philip Astley, the Father of the Circus, click here.

The Khadikov Riders

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