Circus set to roll into Holmfirth for the first time in 18 years
by Nick Lavigueur, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Apr 7 2012
THE circus is set to roll into Holmfirth for the first time in almost two decades.
No, it’s not politicians heading out on the campaign trail, but the Netherlands National Circus arriving at the Cattle Market.
The last circus to visit the Holme Valley town was the now-defunct Chipperfields Circus in 1994.
Netherlands Circus spokesman, Chris Barltrop, said they were very excited to return to a town with such a rich performing heritage.
In the 1940s Holmfirth was home to circus family the Overends, otherwise known as The Ladringlos.
The family famously kept a tiger, which lived in the back garden of their house at Rotcher and was often seen walking the streets of the town on a string.
Fenella the tiger never attacked anyone and, after some initial trouble with the council, she remained in Holmfirth cared for by sisters Kassie and Meg until she died in 1950 aged 10.
Mr Barltrop, said: “It’s marvellous to be on tour here with such a special show.
“This circus is from Holland, but the idea of circus performance was a British invention and the circus is close to people’s hearts everywhere.”
The all human circus – one of Europe’s largest – will set up at the Cattle Market Field off Woodhead Road for three days from Monday, April 16.
THE circus did not begin, as the name implies, in ancient Rome.
The modern circus simply borrowed the title of a much gorier Roman spectacle.
The show we call a circus first took place in London in 1768 and has since been exported all over the world.
The inventor of the circus was an ex-Cavalryman called Philip Astley.
A war hero, Astley earned a living giving displays of trick riding in the open air on the south bank of the Thames.
He realised that if he rode in a circle it helped him keep his balance and also allowed spectators to see better.
His shows were so successful that he took on a clown – Mr Merryman – to fill in while he changed costume.
Then he added some acrobats and the circus was born! He went on to Paris and presented shows to Marie Antoinette.
Circuses have gone on to make legends, including Blondin, who crossed Niagara Falls on a tight-rope, the huge elephant Jumbo, and the man who invented the flying trapeze and also gave his name to the most famous piece of gym-wear ever, Frenchman Jules Leotard.
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