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IN THE NEWS

Westfield Stratford City East
Westfield Stratford City East Retail Theme

TOUR OF THE MONTH

The Kate & William Wedding Tour
The Kate & William Wedding Tour

ON THIS DAY IN LONDON

20th April 1992 Comedian Benny Hill died from a heart attack in his home in Teddington, West London.go to related location

20th April 1945 Born today: Jimmy Winston, London, organist (Samll Facres-Itchycoo Park)

20th April 1906 Australian wombat, oldest known marsupial, dies in London Zoo at 26.

20th April 1904 George Bernard Shaw's Candida, premieres in London

20th April 1879 1st mobile home (horse drawn) used in a journey from London and Cyprus

20th April 1715 Nicholas Rowe's Tragedy of Lady Jane Gray, premieres in London

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Lectures soon were superceded by other musical hall and variety shows, and a zoo in part entertained the crowds.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