My thanks to Mr. M. Cooter for this African Blondin postcard, it was part of his late father’s collection of local items collected                  over the years.


A Legend      " A person whose fame makes him or her seem exceptional." As described in the Collins English Dictionary.    

                       I believe  that Carlos Trower is a legend and his contribution to the enjoyment of thousands of spectators should be                           admired and respected .  My quest is to promote and advertise his fascinating story with the help and  enthusiasm of                                   past, present and future contributors. My thanks to them all. I have noted a few recent examples below that you may find                            interesting and added a Publications and Connections paragraph at the bottom of this page.

Sept 2014   A re-enactment of the African Blondin’s 1878 Rudyard Lake performance. Ron Howard met tightrope  walker  Chris Bull                      "The Great Bullzini" at the Oxfordshire Museum Woodstock to discuss the proposed project under the direction of  Paul                          Green who is creating an African Blondin documentary.

                                 Mark Leake on camera recorded this excellent video of a comprehensive days filming that captured the spirit of an                                  exciting  venture. Our thanks to David Howells and his Team at the museum for their help in making this occasion                                  such  a pleasant Project launch.

November 2014  Chris Bull made a visit to Rudyard Lake to discuss the project with Ray Perry ( Chairman of the Rudyard Lake Trust)                                and  a BBC Radio Stoke reporter. It was agreed that if the plan is supported and approved it will be performed in 2016.                                An edited version of the meeting can be seen on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-5GY8Wl54s).

14/12/2015        The Team engaged in a partnership with Wild Rumpus, a Social Enterprise based in Cheshire. Wild Rumpus  Directors                              Sarah Bird, Rowan Hoban and Gemma Gibb their Communications colleague published a press release                                                             www.dayatthelake.org.uk offering a detailed account of dates, events and a history of Rudyard. Chris Bull, Ray Perry                                     and Wild Rumpus announced the three day, Day At The Lake spectacular.

30/04/2016       A Day At The Lake spectacular. Over the next three days visitors were not disappointed with the entertainment                                     including a symphony orchestra ensemble, Victorian bathing jugglers, Gabby Young a talented singer and Chris Bull                              The Great Bullzini who made a tightrope walk twice a day over the three day event. Local press and Radio Stoke were                              there to record the event. Chris The Great Bulzini, gave an outstanding display of skill and showmanship with  a                                             re-  enactment of the Lake crossing by Carlos Trower many years before. A mesmerized crowd of spectators watched                                    Chris perform his  many brilliant skills with a round of applause after every gymnastic movement. Chris                                                  completed   each walk with a kiss from his wife Phoebe, the crowd enjoyed this tender moment with a loud cheer.  A                                      resounding success was completed when the Woodstock team were reunited in the evening. Paul Green presented Ron                                 Howard with Stanley’s Summer Visit by Constance Cross published in 1882 that has a chapter headed,                                                         The African  Blondin.  Dr. Paul Green distributed a printed excerpt from his biographical poem, ‘High Rope’ : A Poem                                   of  the African Blondin. Contact poet.blondin@gmail.com to order a copy of ‘High Rope: See a spectacular performance                               by  Chris Bull on You Tube. A tight rope walk across Rudyard Lake    (AMAZING)!!!   

                           Google :-  Wild Rumpus / A Day at the Lake from tripledotmaker   and enjoy  a short You Tube video.  

08/11/2014    A Shoreditch and Hoxton ( City of London) walk with Carlos.

                         Steve Martin historian and author who specialises in the fields of Black British history and literature and Charlie                          Folorunsho a  black British actor kindly invited me to join them on the Missing Chapter history walk, bringing to life                                     notable black individuals living around the area of Shoreditch and Hoxton in the nineteenth century.  We met at                         Autograph - APB Rivington Place Shoreditch, a charity that works Internationally in photography and Cultural identity                                where we were joined by Adelaide Bannerman the Autograph -APB Archive Project coordinator . Visit Autograph ABP on                            Facebook to see Charlie as Carlos Trower in his splendid Nineteenth Century attire.

01/02/2015   A special thanks to Alan Brennan of Congleton Staffordshire UK for his advice and valued contribution regarding the                         Carlos performances at Congleton .

29/05/2016  Ron Howard received an Email from Peter Vickers, a researcher for the ongoing Blackpool Museum Project who is                                        researching the Blackpool circus in the 1870’s. Peter Emailed two Blackpool Gazette articles published in 1873 . One                         article  gave an account of the Raikes Hall director Mr. Fish, presenting Carlos with a silver and gold medal in the form of a                         star embossed on one side, “ Presented to Carlos Trower Sept, 29th 1873 by the Directors”

24/10/2016  Author David Slattery-Christy has published a book on the history of Blackpool's lost Victorian pleasure gardens                                 titled: Royal Palace Gardens & History of Raikes Hall. David confirmed that the African Blondin performed at the                                  Gardens and has also compiled a short biography for all the artistes including The African Blondin.  My thanks to David                         and other Blackpool contacts who have taken an interest in The African Blondin. Visit Amazon UK to purchase David’s                                 book.

15/08/2017  In reply to a Kent Adult Education Centre proposal,  Ron Howard  will conduct a free of charge African Blondin                                              presentation  celebrating the Kent Black History Month.  This presentation is  scheduled for Saturday 14th  October 2017                           Gravesend.  My thanks to Michelle and the Kent Adult Education Centre for their kind invitation. 

 24/08/2017 Ron Howard met Michelle Bramble at the Gravesend Adult Education Centre  Darnley Road.  It was agreed                                                     that the presentation will be held at the Victoria Centre Darnley Road on Saturday 14th October 2017. 

14/10/2017  **** Ron Howard hosted the Kent Adult Education Carlos Trower presentation at the Gravesend Adult Education Centre to                         a mixed and varied audience. Ron talked about his early days in Islington London including visits to his grandmother,                                 Jynetta Caledonia Trower daughter of Carlos. He also mentioned his initial African Blondin research with reference to the                          Trower family tree before giving a detailed account of The African Blondin performances including an interesting Fact and                          Fiction explanation of unsupported theories that have not been proven.

                         Ron thanked the audience for sharing his story of Carlos and wished the Kent Black History Month every success.

                       Publications and Connections                     

                      America and British Theatrical Biography by J.P. Waring                                                                                                                                  Ancestry.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Anglo African Newspapers Vol1 No.18                                                                                                                                                                        Autograph - APB                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Black and Asian Studies association BASA No.62 publication                                                                                                                          Brooklyn  Daily Eagle                                                                                                                                                                                                         Circus data base (John Turner) via the National Fairground Archive Sheffield                                                                                                    Discover Gravesham, an article by Lynda  Smith                                                                                                                                                        Fellow Family Tree researchers                                                                                                                                                                                    Gravesend in old photographs.  Collected by Robert H. Hiscock                                                                                                                             Irish Newspaper Archive                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kent Adult Education Centre                                                                                                                                                                                                  London Calling by Sukhdev Sardhu                                                                                                                                                                                 National Fairground Archive Sheffield                                                                                                                                                                             New York Clipper                                                                                                                                                                                                                    New York Times Archive                                                                                                                                                                                                       Royal Palace Gardens & History of Raikes Hall by David Slattery - Christy                                                                                                             Rudyard Lake website                                                                                                                                                                                                       Rudyard Reflections by Basil Jeuda                                                                                                                                                                               Stanley's Summer Visit by Constance Cross.  Includes a chapter on The African Blondin                                                                                         The British Library Evanion catalogue                                                                                                                                                                               The  East of London Family History Society (Cockney Ancestor No. 139).                                                                                                                  The Era Almanac 1868,1869,1871 and 1899                                                                                                                                                                 The Library of Congress                                                                                                                                                                                                      To prove I'm not forgot by Sylvia M. Barnard                                                                                                                                                                UK British Newspaper archive                                                                                                                                                                                         V&A National Art Library