Circus News

The Leeds Tragedy which Killed Wife of Britain’s First Black Circus Owner

The mixed race showman of African heritage was the first non-white man to run his own circus, and he often brought his performers to Leeds.

Yet it was in the city – where he was eventually buried – that he was to encounter family tragedy.

Born William Darby in Norwich, it is thought that Fanque’s father may have been brought to the country from Africa as a household servant – although it is also rumoured that he was born in a workhouse. He later adopted the stage name Pablo Fanque after being apprenticed to a travelling circus.

The 19th-century trailblazer is even mentioned in one of The Beatles’ best-known hits. Fanque was a noted equestrian and his circus became the most popular in Britain during the Victorian ‘golden age’ of travelling entertainment….

 

 

Link to Full Article on Yorkshire Evening Post.

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