IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
3rd April 1985 Vic Elliot pocketed 15,780 pool balls in 24 hours in London
3rd April 1981 Race riots in London's Brixton area
3rd April 1976 The Sex Pistols open for Joe Strummer's 101's at the Nashville Rooms.
3rd April 1957 Samuel Beckett's Endgame, premieres in London
3rd April 1934 Born today: Jane Goodall, London England, ethologist (studied African chimps)
3rd April 1932 Born today: Janet Bately, Prof of English Language (King's College London)
3rd April 1893 Born today: Leslie Howard, [Stainer], London, actor (Gone With the Wind)
3rd April 1888 Key Whitechapel prostitute murder prior to Jack the Ripper.
3rd April 1764 Born today: John Abernethy, London, surgeon
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Lectures soon were superceded by other musical hall and variety shows, and a zoo in part entertained the crowds.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.