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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
22nd September 1924 Illustrator and author Charles Keeping was born in Lambeth.
22nd September 1891 Footballer and writer Charlie Buchan was born in Plumstead.
22nd September 1870 5-time British Wimbledon tennis champion Charlotte Cooper was born in Ealing.
22nd September 1788 Author, practical joker and inventor of the postcard, Theodore Hook, was born in London.
22nd September 1761 The Coronation of George III in Westminster Abbey.
22nd September 1735 Robert Walpole the first British Prime Minister to live at 10 Downing Street.
22nd September 1694 Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, creator of Gregorian calendar, was born in London.
Stuntman Blondins Niagara Villa
This is where the famous stuntman Blondin lived and died.
Location: Northfield Avenue, Northfields, London
Description: Charles Blondin, originally named Jean Francois Gravelet (d. 1897), is remembered all round the world for achieving, in 1859, the first crossing of the Niagara Falls on a rope (he amazed onlookers when he stopped half way to cook and eat an omelette, he also crossed with a wheelbarrow, blindfolded and carrying a brave passenger).
Blondin attracted large audiences in many countries. He settled in England, where he found a wife, Charlotte who is buried with him in a large memorial with both their busts engraved.
Blondin retired here in South Ealing, a rich man. He settled his family in a house he named Niagara Villa - now long gone - but he did not remain there long.
In 1861, at the request of the Prince of Wales, he appeared in London at the Crystal Palace, reenacting all his Niagara Falls stunts before a backdrop of the falls. His young daughter Adele accompanied him on high-wire acts during this engagement and it caused great controversy. In spite of this, he received many more requests to perform and at the age of 64 he reappeared in the United States for a series of exhibitions on Staten Island, N.Y. His final performance was given in Belfast, Ireland, in 1896 at the age of 68.
The French daredevil lived to be 73 years old and died peacefully in his bed in Ealing on February 22, 1897 of diabetes. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London next to his first and second wives: Charlotte (died 1888) and Katherine (died 1901).
Two roads in Ealing, London, are named in his honour: Blondin Avenue and Niagara Avenue.