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The Circus Link

Michael came to me in late Summer 2019, wanting a Family Tree done his wife as a surprise gift. She'd heard her family belonged to the Circus and wanted to know more.


I found out that both sets of her grandparents had been born into working class families, got married and then joined the fairground life in and around Leeds. At the turn of the Century they were at a Fair on 'Feast Ground' Holbeck Lane which later became Holbeck Festival. One grandad was a Caterer and the other owned a steam-powered carousel.


A Great Uncle of Michael's Wife was somewhat famous! He owned the 'Royal Biosphere' - an enormous piece of equipment powered by steam that showed moving pictures. It was where many people saw moving pictures for the first time and was one of the main attractions at the Fair. I even managed to find a picture of John's Biosphere - and in the foreground, John himself.


I found a book ('Biography of a pioneer of the Cinema' by William Haggar) which referenced: "....the old fairground showmen who were a race unto themselves. There were many fine, if quaint, characters among them, John Proctor, George Green....."


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Bradford, West Yorkshire, England