Today I walked down Ber Street in Norwich, childhood home of Britain’s first black circus proprietor, Pablo Fanque.
Born William Darby in 1810 (or possibly 1796; accounts vary) Fanque made his name as a horseman and appeared at Astley’s Amphitheatre in London. He later established his own circus which toured as far as Ireland and Scotland but mainly worked in the north of England.
Almost a hundred years after his death, John Lennon chanced upon a circus poster for a benefit show Fanque arranged for one of his performers. The result was the Beatles song Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!, which mentioned Fanque in the lyric.
|Pablo's plaque on the wall of|
John Lewis department store
“In the great brotherhood of the equestrian world there is no colour line. The camaraderie of the ring has but one test - ability.”
To read about more great characters from the circus of yesteryear and today, read Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book for Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus.
Click here to read the 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Click here to watch Circus Mania author Douglas McPherson talking about Pablo Fanque on TV!