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’…
Salisbury and Winchester Journal – Saturday 17 September 1859
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