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Badham, Molly Winifred (1914–2007), zoo proprietor and conservationist, was born on 12 May 1914 at 3 Waterside, Evesham, Worcestershire, the daughter of Arthur James Badham (1889–1965), then a boot shop assistant and later a homeopath, and his wife, Edith Annie, née Sharp (1889–1980)...

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Batty, Thomas (c. 1832–1903), animal trainer and circus proprietor, was a nephew of William Batty, the lessee of Astley's Amphitheatre, London. Celebrated as a lion tamer, he is also said to have been the first to train an elephant to stand on its head. He had many life-threatening struggles with the lions he ‘tamed’: he had so many scars on one side of his body that, it was said, a half-crown could not be placed between them. He would enter the ring, clad in Lincoln green and long leather boots, with a short whip in his hand. The lions would spring at the bars of their cage with fierce snarls, and he would strike at their paws with his whip, provoking their fury. Someone in the audience would always entreat him not to enter the cage, but he would slip in and have a lively ten minutes or so. From about 1859 he performed on the continent. On one occasion, in ...

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Cooper, John (1833/4–1920), animal trainer, was born in Bread Street, Birmingham, the son of a well-known carrier. Orphaned at the age of ten, he ran away with Hilton's menagerie. After a spell with Manders's menagerie, he became apprenticed to the animal trainer Thomas Batty...

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Martini Maccomo (1835/18361836–1871) by Henry Greenwood private collection

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Maccomo, Martini (1835/1836–1871), lion tamer, was said to have been born in Angola, though it has also been suggested that he was a sailor born in Liverpool, or that he was Arthur Williams, a West Indian. He was recruited into British fairground life by ...

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Shirley, Sewallis Evelyn (1844–1904), politician and founder of the Kennel Club, was born at Ettington Park, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, on 15 July 1844, the only son (there were three daughters) of Evelyn Philip Shirley (1812–1882), landowner, politician, and antiquary, and his wife, ...

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Woodhouse [née Blackburn], Barbara Kathleen Vera (1910–1988), animal trainer and broadcaster, was born on 9 May 1910 at St Columba's College, Rathfarnham, co. Dublin, a boys' public school where her father, the Revd William Blackburn, was headmaster; her mother, Leilah Alice (...

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Barbara Kathleen Vera Woodhouse (1910–1988) by unknown photographer, 1980 Getty Images