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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
21st January 1996 Late 80's pop-dance duo The London Boys were both killed in a car crash in Austria.
21st January 1976 Born today: Emma Lee Bunton, Baby Spice, Finchley London, vocalist (Spice Girls)
21st January 1974 Gold hits record $161.31/silver hits record $3.97 an ounce in London
21st January 1970 Panama Boeing 747 1st flight NY-London
21st January 1950 George Orwell, author (Animal Farm, 1984), dies in London at 46
21st January 1944 447 German bombers attack London
21st January 1929 Robert Sherriff's Journey's End, premieres in London
21st January 1878 Cleopatra's Needle arrives in England at Gravesend, after a journey of 4 months.
21st January 1670 Claude Duval, the Gentleman Highwayman, was hanged at Tyburn.
The First Human Cannonball
The amusement park where the Great Farini performed his acts.
Location: The Royal Aquarium, Tothill Street, Westminster, SW1H 9NH
Description: This is where the first ever human cannonball act was performed. The showman and tightrope walker The Great Farini (real name William Leonard Hunt) performed his various daring acts here from 1877.
The 14-year-old human cannonball, a young girl called Zazel (real name Rossa Matilda Richter), who was launched by Farini-designed contraption. The perceived danger of these acts caused protests and put the venue's licence in doubt but continued to drew crowds. Zazel later toured by PT Barnum's infamous circus.
Lectures soon were superceded by other musical hall and variety shows, and a zoo in part entertained the crowds.
The aquarium itself suffered from plumbing difficulties and did display a dead whale at one point but very few fish, much to the ridicule of visitors!
The Royal Aquarium and Winter Garden was a grand amusement place opened in 1876, and later demolished in 1903. The building was designed by Alfred Bedborough in a highly ornamental style faced with Portland stone. At the west end of the building was the Aquarium Theatre in 1879 named the Imperial Theatre.
It's now the location of Westminster Central Hall.