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James Newsome

1842 – 1912

The Late Frank Newsome’s Obituary, 1937 cutting in Fenwick’s scrapbookJames Newsome, or genius of the Ring, was born in 1824 in Newcastle upon Tyne and then raised in Astley’s Amphitheatre in London. His brother Timothy was a famous lion tamer who worked with many menageries. When he was 12 his father apprenticed him to William Batty to become an equestrian because he had always been good with horses since a very young age (There are Batty Circus posters in the Fenwick Collection). He became a horse-breaker and trainer and soon ran his own circus with is wife Pauline Hinne (a ballerina at Astley’s). They performed all over Europe and were in Paris during the 1848 revolution where they were forbidden to show the Union Jack! He was inspired by his brother who, despite the scratches and cuts of lion training, continued to do it well. His obituary is to be found in Fenwick’s scrapbook, 3 Jan 1912, as is his descendant’s, Frank Newsome. Frank, realised his wish, in 1937, to die in his own bed in his caravan, while all around enjoyed the height of the fun at his 50th Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, Morpeth. In showman’s tradition the fair went on.

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