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Aguzzi, Elizabeth Clarice [Lizzie] (1856–1938), equestrian performer, was born at 3 Felix Street, Lambeth, London, on 4 February 1856, the daughter of Antoni Aguzzi, an equestrian performer, and his wife Helen, née Smith. Her circus performances, as a bareback and trick act rider, were first noted in the 1870s. Playbills for her performances at ...

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See Astley, Philip

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Astley, Philip (1742–1814), equestrian performer and circus proprietor, was born on 8 January 1742 at Newcastle under Lyme, one of three children of Edward Astley (fl. 1725–1772), cabinet-maker and veneer cutter. Apprenticed to the family trade at nine, the forthright Astley had a traumatic relationship with his father and when he was seventeen left to join the ...

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Philip Astley (1742–1814) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Banks, William [Richard] (fl. 1591–1637), showman, the exhibitor of a famous performing horse called Morocco or Marocco, is hard to identify precisely. This is perhaps because of the kind of cultural phenomenon the horse and his trainer represent. It is the horse's activities that are described in detail in the literature of ...

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Bannister, James (1758/9–1836), circus proprietor, is of unknown parentage and upbringing. He was one of the earliest circus owners to take his show, Bannister's Equestrian Troupe, on tour. In 1804 they were at Stamford in Lincolnshire for the mid-Lent fair and soon afterwards performed at ...

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See Bannister, James

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See Bannister, James

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Barnes [Barns], Arthur (1828–1908), acrobat, was born at Birchall Street, Birmingham, the son of Henry Barns, an iron-founder, and his wife, Jane, née Williams. He was first noted performing with Edwin Hughes's circus for the 1845–6 season, then with William Cooke's circus in 1846, and with ...

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Barry, Thomas (c. 1810–1857), clown, was born in Ireland about 1810. He was noted with Samwell's circus in Swansea in 1842, and as a white-faced ring clown at Astley's circus for long periods between 1843 and 1856. In 1844 he sailed the Thames...