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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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Cadman [Kidman], Robert (1711/12–1740), ropeslider, was born between 3 February 1711 and 2 February 1712, perhaps at or near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. A Robertus Cadman, son of Thomas Cadman, was baptized at Cannock, Staffordshire, on 9 September 1711. Nothing is known of his life until the 1730s, when ...

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Coan, John (1727/8–1764), sideshow performer, was born at Tivetshall, Norfolk. Although he has been known as the Norfolk Dwarf, both accounts of his development and pictorial representations of him reveal that he was not a dwarf but a midget. Coan appeared to grow normally in his early years but by the time he was exhibited at the ...

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Cody [formerly Cowdery], Samuel Franklin (1861–1913), showman and aeronautical designer, was born on 6 March 1861 in Davenport, Iowa, USA, the fourth of five children of Samuel Franklin Cowdery (1833–1902), a former Union soldier and jobbing carpenter, and his wife, Phoebe Jane (1834–1900)...

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Samuel Franklin Cody (1861–1913) by unknown photographer, 1912 [at the controls of his aeroplane Cathedral] Getty Images

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Collins, Patrick (1859–1943), showman and politician, was born on 12 May 1859 at 58 Broughton, Chester, the son of John Collins, agricultural labourer (later, general dealer), and his wife, Annoia McDermott. One of five children, he attended St Wedburgh's School in Chester, but left at the age of ten and travelled ...

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Patrick Collins (1859–1943) by unknown photographer with the permission of the National Fairground Archive, the University of Sheffield

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Haggar, (Arthur) William (1851–1925), travelling showman and film-maker, was born in Stratford Road, Dedham, Essex, on 10 March 1851, the son of an unknown father and Mary Elizabeth Hagger (b. 1830). He had a hard childhood, despised for his illegitimacy, and brought up by various distant and uncaring relatives. He gained skills in carpentry through his employment in a sawmill, then when aged twenty he joined a touring theatrical troupe, encouraged by ...

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(Arthur) William Haggar (1851–1925) by unknown photographer by permission of Rhondda Cynon Taf Libraries

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Hall, Jacob (fl. 1662–1681), rope dancer and acrobat, became fashionable in London during the 1660s for his daring displays of agility on a tightrope. He performed at Bartholomew fair in Smithfield and other similar meeting places in the city where people from all walks of life would come to see varied and often spectacular entertainments. According to one source, on 22 February 1662 ...