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Treasure 56: Cooke's Royal Circus Programme, 1880s

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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A world-famous equestrian establishment, the Cooke's Royal Circus provided family entertainment in Aberdeen for 125 years. One of the stars of the show, John Henry Cooke, was born in New York 180 years ago this month.

Part of the fifth generation of the family, John Henry Cooke began acting at the age of four and was an expert tightrope walker by the time he was five years old. At 18, he was known as the "champion equestrian of the universe". When he was young, John Henry Cooke moved with his family to Aberdeen, where he would grow up to entertain and amuse the public with his equestrian and gymnastic skills.

To mark the anniversary of his birth, this month's treasures include our collection of Cooke's Royal Circus programmes, which advertised equestrian acts and performances in Aberdeen from around 1880.

Read more about the circus and the many stars of the show - including Little Pickles and the Leotard Family - in the Treasures from our Collections interactive exhibition on the touchscreens in Central, Airyhall, Tillydrone and Mastrick libraries.
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