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IN THE NEWS

Westfield Stratford City East
Westfield Stratford City East Retail Theme

TOUR OF THE MONTH

The Rolling Stones London Tour
The Rolling Stones London Tour

ON THIS DAY IN LONDON

20th March 1968 Arsenal footballer Paul Merson was born in Harlesden, North London.

20th March 1920 1st flight from London to South Africa lands (1 months)

20th March 1906 George B Shaws Captain Brassbound's Conversion, premieres in London

20th March 1727 Issac Newton, English physicist/astronomer, died in London aged 84.go to related location

20th March 1616 Walter Raleigh released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana

Finsbury Park Empire



Finsbury Park Empire

The first ever sawing of a woman in half was performed here.

Location: St Thomas/Prah Road, Finsbury Park, London

Description: The Finsbury Park Empire was built by Frank Matcham for Moss Empires Ltd at a cost of 45,000 and opened on the 5th of September 1910 with a capacity of around 2000. The Theatre closed on the 7th of May 1960 and was demolished in 1965.

It saw many top showbiz acts of the time like Max Miller and Arthur Askey, but is renowned for being the first theatre where the saw-the-woman-in-half magic act was performed.

It was performed by PT Selbit on January 17th 1921 causing an immediate sensation, reviews called it a 'bloodthirsty ... hair raising' spectacle. Selbit responded with several publicity stunts such as ambulances parked outside the theatre. Between performances stage hands would take buckets of red liquid through the audience and pour into the gutter outside.

The act shut an attractive woman in a wooden box, with ropes holding her down, and cut the box in two. The audience loved it. Magicians everywhere rushed to make their own, bloodier versions.

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