‘The Great Blondin’ Tightrope Walking Across Niagara Falls on 30 June 1859 – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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‘The Great Blondin’ Tightrope Walking Across Niagara Falls on 30 June 1859

We love the old days when acrobats and circus performers had prefixes like ‘The Great’ and ‘The Amazing’ in front of their surnames. Truly, it was a golden age (sic transit gloria mundi).

One such artiste was the tightrope walker, Charles Blondin (his real name was Jean Francois Gravelet-Blondin), who was known as ‘the Great Blondin’.

We were thinking about Blondin just the other day when reading newspaper stories about ‘aerialist’, Nik Wallenda, who tightrope-walked across Niagara last week.

‘The Great Blondin’ also walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope, back on 30 June 1859.

We’ve been reading stories in the Archive about Blondin’s amazing feat. Indeed, the first few news reports in the UK said that it was a hoax. It was not until eye-witness accounts flooded in that the newspapers of the day confirmed Blondin’s rope-dancing achievement.

We also love the phrase, ‘rope-dancing’! We think it should be an Olympic event – or one of the routines in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’…

the Great Blondin tightrope walking Niagara Falls

Salisbury and Winchester Journal – Saturday 17 September 1859

Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000361/18590917/002/0002

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