Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Industrious Fleas in the news

News just in.... well from 1832 so I'm a little late.

Thanks to the British Library British Newspapers 1800-1900 archive, I've been chasing down those pesky Industrious Fleas. The great advantage of newspapers as a source is that they are dated and detail locations too. There is one drawback which is that the papers of the time liked to print snippets from other regional papers so there's a bit of duplication between the articles. I'm currently working through 40+ articles and will be updating the L.Bertolotto Flea Circus History page over the next few month.

A large range of newspapers have reported on L. Bertolotto's Industrious Fleas over the years, in locations such as:

Star Inn, Oxford,
No 4. Castle Street, Liverpool,
Exchange Ante-Room, Manchester,
Gallery of Arts Drawbridge, Bristol,
Assembly Room, Exchange, Belfast,
The Crown Hotel, High Street, Portsmouth,
The Subscription Rooms, Exeter,
11 Castle Square, Brighton,
6 Lune Street, Preston,
Somerset Gallery 151 Strand, London
Bordelese Gallery, London?

A couple of the adverts have an amusing poem.

The Fleas, the Fleas, the merry Fleas:
Let us flea to see the Fleas;
Over land and over seas,
The cry is, Have you seen the Fleas?

The Merry Fleas

The articles also report of Giuseppe Paris at 63 Prince Street Edinburgh in 1834 and Kitchingman with a performance on the corner of Maddox Street and Regent Street in 1869.

Some interesting tangents to investigate too such as a court report on "Mr Augustus Rynam, who previous to 1854 kept on exhibition called the Industrious Fleas" and a few red herrings such as a ship called "Bertolotto" from Odessa.