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IN THE NEWS

Westfield Stratford City East
Westfield Stratford City East Retail Theme

TOUR OF THE MONTH

Carry On in London Tour
Carry On in London Tour

ON THIS DAY IN LONDON

7th December 1988 Peter Langan, Irish restaurateur (Langans London), dies in fire

7th December 1980 Chelsea footballer John Terry was born in Barking.

7th December 1889 Gilbert and Sullivans Gondoliers, premieres in London

7th December 1811 The first Ratcliff Murders occur; of Tim & Celia & Tim Jr Marr at 29 Ratcliff Highway.go to related location

7th December 1783 The Theatre Royal first opened in Covent Garden.go to related location

The First Human Cannonball



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Lectures soon were superceded by other musical hall and variety shows, and a zoo in part entertained the crowds.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.


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The First Human Cannonball

The amusement park where the Great Farini performed his acts.


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