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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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Chipperfield, James Seaton Methuen (1912–1990), circus proprietor and inventor of the safari park, was born on 17 July 1912 in a mahogany wagon on land belonging to Paul, third Baron Methuen, near Corsham, Wiltshire, the second son in the family of three sons and two daughters of ...

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Fanque, Pablo [real name William Darby] (1796–1871), equestrian performer and circus proprietor, was born in Norwich on 28 February 1796, the third son of John Darby, a butler of African descent, and his wife, Mary, née Stamps. He was baptized on the same day because he was not expected to live. Orphaned at an early age, he was apprenticed to ...

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Hengler, (Frederick) Charles (1820–1887), circus proprietor, was the second of the four sons of Henry Michael Hengler (1784–1861), a circus rope-dancer, and his wife, Jane, née Pilsworth (c.1790–1869). He came from an established family of circus performers: his grandfather, (John) Michael Hengler (...

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Mills, Bertram Wagstaff (1873–1938), circus proprietor, was born on 11 August 1873 at 53 City Road, London, the eldest son of Lewis Halford Lupton Mills, secretary to a joint-stock company, and his wife, Mary Fenn Mills (née Wagstaff). He left school by the age of fifteen, and began to work with his father, who had since become a proprietor of a coach building works and owned two small farms in ...

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Mills, Cyril Bertram (1902–1991), circus proprietor, was born on 27 February 1902 at 56 Norfolk Square, London, the elder son of Bertram Wagstaff Mills (1873–1938), circus proprietor, and his wife, Ethel Kate, née Notley. Educated at Harrow School and Cambridge, where he studied engineering at master's level, ...