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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
19th June 1975 Missing Lord Lucan murdered the 29-year-old nanny of his three young children, an inquest jury in Westminster decided.
19th June 1973 Rocky Horror Picture Show, stage production opens in London
19th June 1966 RW Hardy photographs staircase at Queen's House, Greenwich, later finds ghostly figures on pics.
19th June 1964 Mayor of London Boris Johnson born in New York City.
19th June 1942 Born today: Neil Chalmers, director (National History Museum, London)
19th June 1925 Comedian Charlie Drake was born in Elephant and Castle, London.
19th June 1921 Born today: Allan Davis, Mayor of London
19th June 1890 Born today: Barbara Everest, London England, actress (Fatal Witness, Inquest)
19th June 1829 Sir Robert Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police (Bobbies).
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Lectures soon were superceded by other musical hall and variety shows, and a zoo in part entertained the crowds.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.