top of page

The EXTRA page

The December King Pole carried my article

revealing a fake Blondin, Hero of Niagara.

 

The Spring Call Boy has my article

"The Scandal of the Beni Zoug Zoug Troupe" about a group of acrobatic children “apprenticed” to a cruel master and their salvation.

 

There is also a review of my February

Man-Monkeys talk. This is reproduced underneath the article below.

APRIL

THIS MONTH A FREE GIVE AWAY!

A collection of plays by Shakespeare

featuring famous actors on 12” records.

The plays are condensed versions and

each play has an A4 booklet that contains

both the condensed version and the full

text, together with notes and glossary.

These discs have only been played once

 or twice so are in excellent condition.

There are  24 records and 24 booklets

that weigh quite heavy so I am asking £20

to cover p&p. If you are interested

email info@vesperhawk.com

                   William Wallett's early experience as a man-monkey

William Frederick Wallett (1806–1892) was a popular circus clown in Victorian England. After once performing before Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, he dubbed himself ‘The Queen’s Jester’. He was a friend, colleague, sometime partner, and regular performer in Pablo Fanque’s circus.  

          In his retirement Wallett wrote two books of autobiography. In one he recounts his early experience of playing as a man-monkey. I have only just discovered this anecdote so unfortunately there is no mention of Wallett in my book Man-Monkeys. The following is an extract from The Public Life of W F Wallett The Queen’s Jester (1870). It is an early experience in Bradford when Wallett was learning the trade with Old Wild’s, a portable theatre that played a circuit of fairgrounds in Yorkshire.

       

  My second appearance in Old Wild’s as a man-monkey had an unfortunate conclusion. Just at the close of the drama, the property man, Jem Farrar, was charging a horse pistol, when it exploded in his mouth, shattering his jaws frightfully. I saw him fall, and instantly rushed to his assistance.

           Seeing his state I took him on my back, and though a heavy man, I carried him to the Dispensary in Darley Street. It was then past eleven o’clock, and the place was closed. I rang at the door, which was opened by a woman with a candle in her hand. Her fright may be imagined when she saw the apparition of a man-monkey with his tail trailing on the ground, and a half-dead man on his back, with the blood streaming down. One glance sufficed. She fell senseless to the ground, and the candle was extinguished.

             I strode over her in the dark, with my heavy load. Knowing the building well, I ascended the grand staircase, and perceiving a light issuing beneath a door, with one knock I brought out the house surgeon. As he opened the door, and the blaze of gaslight from inside revealed the horrible figures, he too nearly fainted away. A few words convinced him I was of earthly mould, and he promptly summoned several surgeons. Surrounding the bed of poor Farrar, they had but one opinion, that his case was hopeless.

              One of them remarked, “we can do nothing for him.” Farrar shook his fist at him, being unable to speak. A fine old surgeon, Dr McTurk, seeing this action, said, “Come, boys, the man has pluck to live through anything. Off coats, boys, and let us do the best we can to save him.” They did so. His life was preserved, and I believe he survives to this day.”

William Frederick Wallett (1806–1892)

Review of MAN-MONKEY talk below

bottom of page