Wednesday, 18 June 2014

New British circus history book - coming soon

I've been asked to give the following a quick plug:

BENEATH THE BIG TOP: A Social History of the Circus in Britain
by Steve Ward
Published 30th September 2014
Pen & Sword Books Ltd £12.99

‘Exhaustively researched yet so very accessible, Steve Ward gives us a front row seat in in the greatest show of all’ (Kevin O’Keefe; Circus Minimus and AYCO)

2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Phillip Astley, the founding father of the circus; a very British institution.

Steve Ward reveals the stories beneath the big top during the golden age of the circus and the lives of circus folk, which were equally colourful outside the ring.

* In the centenary year, read about the impact of the First World War and how circus performers used their skills in the trenches
* Learn about Pablo Fanque, the first black circus owner in Britain
* Discover why circuses became taxed almost to extinction during the early 1900s
* Uncover the secrets of strongwoman Sandwina and how circus allowed women to work on equal terms with men
* Learn about the infamous murder of a well- known circus owner

NB: Copies are already available for pre-order on the Amazon website and will also shortly be available for pre-order through Pen & Sword (

(With thanks to Steve Ward)


Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

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