Brand new: A bumper batch of books now in stock!

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New releases: Brand new this week
Father of the Modern Circus ‘Billy Buttons’ The Murder that Defeated Whitechapel’s Sherlock Holmes Bay of Pigs British Widows of the First World War

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Tracing Your Ancestors: Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk The Battle of the Lys 1918: South The Welsh at War First Through The Clouds

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Locomotive Builders of Leeds Cecily Neville Collectable Names and Designs in Women’s Shoes The Battle of the Lys 1918: North

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21 April 2018: World Circus Day

21 April 2018 marks World Circus Day. Held on the third Saturday each April, World Circus Day is a special day to celebrate Circus Arts and Culture.

Recommended reading: The newly published Father of the Modern Circus ‘Billy Buttons’ – The Life & Times of Philip Astley by Steve Ward investigates the life and times of a veritable giant of the circus world. The circus has a long and colourful history but it was with a man named Philip Astley that the ‘modern’ circus was founded. It was 250 years ago, in April 1768, that Astley pegged out a circular ride on the banks of the River Thames and gave performances of trick riding to a paying audience. Trick riding was nothing new, so what made Astley so popular? He was an accomplished horseman, a military hero and an instinctive showman. Above all, he was an entrepreneur who realised that people would pay good money to be entertained – and to be entertained well. He created the comic character of ‘Billy Buttons’, and other acts were added to his performances: clowns, rope dancers, tumblers and strongmen. The circus, as we might recognise it today, was born.

Book launch – 1 May 2018: All are welcome at a launch event for Father of the Modern Circus ‘Billy Buttons’ on the evening of Tuesday, 1 May at Waterstone’s Leeds. Find out more and register your interest here.

Beneath the Big Top – A History of the Circus in Britain; a social history of the circus, from its ancient roots to the rise of the ‘modern’ tented travelling shows. A performer and founder of a circus group, author Steve Ward draws on eye-witness accounts and contemporary interviews to explore the triumphs and disasters of the circus world. He reveals the stories beneath the big top and the lives of circus folk during the golden age of the circus.

Father of the Modern Circus ‘Billy Buttons’ Beneath the Big Top

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Buy both circus titles by Steve Ward together for only £19.59

Latest releases: Second World War
Falaise: The Flawed Victory Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1944–1945: Warsaw to Berlin Normandy 1944: The Battle for Caen Weapons of Desperation

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SS Panzer Divisions on the Eastern Front SS Einsatzgruppen Hampshire at War 1939–45 Dunkirk Nine Days That Saved An Army

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