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Accident at Aston Hall

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Wendy

Guest
An other story from Robert K Dents book.

A woman named Powell, who styled herself "The Female Blondin" was engaged to perform at Aston Park on the high rope in 1863. During the performance, the rope broke and the poor woman was killed instantaneously. Considerable excitement prevailed, and not a little indignation at the action of the hirers in this pandering to the taste for such demoralising exhibitions. This was highlighted by the receipt of a letter addressed to the Mayor by the command of the Queen expressed "her personal feelings of horror that one of her subjects a female should have been sacrificed to the gratification of hte demoralising taste for "such exhibitions". She hoped the Mayor would prevent in future the degradation of such exhibitions of the park which was gladly opened by Her Majesty and the Prince Consort. This unfortunate occurrence was partly instrumental in bringing about the acquisition of the hall and park by the Town Council.
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Must have been ghastly to have witnessed that event when this lady
suffered a tragic death from the rope breaking during her high wire act.
I can imagine the Queen and her Consort being appalled on hearing about this
happening at Aston Park. Thanks for posting Wendy.
 
W

Wendy

Guest
I love reading the stories from this book. I will try and post more when I have time.
 

Kenjeffries

New Member
An other story from Robert K Dents book.

A woman named Powell, who styled herself "The Female Blondin" was engaged to perform at Aston Park on the high rope in 1863. During the performance, the rope broke and the poor woman was killed instantaneously. Considerable excitement prevailed, and not a little indignation at the action of the hirers in this pandering to the taste for such demoralising exhibitions. This was highlighted by the receipt of a letter addressed to the Mayor by the command of the Queen expressed "her personal feelings of horror that one of her subjects a female should have been sacrificed to the gratification of hte demoralising taste for "such exhibitions". She hoped the Mayor would prevent in future the degradation of such exhibitions of the park which was gladly opened by Her Majesty and the Prince Consort. This unfortunate occurrence was partly instrumental in bringing about the acquisition of the hall and park by the Town Council.
Hi Wendy,

In reply to the above (I have submitted blog on this) Selina Powell nee Evens or Evans (not Hunt as in previous posts from others) was the mother of my great-aunt's husband Alfred Powell 1859-1929, my great-aunt and her husband had 8 children. The Powells and their descendants are my cousins (once, twice and three times removed.) The Powell's and I have the newspaper articles and the inquest papers.

Selina's husband Edward was a coach painter who when ever he fell on hard times would resort to using his wife's skill as a rope walker to gain income to feed his family. It seems that Selina had been a rope walker since a young child. She was born in Bermondsey, London and not as many assumed in Birmingham.

The Powell's did travel and perform in the Midlands. Edward also kept a troupe of performing dogs.

Here is an ad that Edward posted in the Era (which was a theatrical newspaper of the time)

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The Era
December 17th 1854

To proprietors and managers of theatres and saloons- the advertiser of considerable experience and
having the whole of the necessary properties for a splendid exhibition of poses plastiques will
take management of the above.

Also his family (a lady and 2 female children)as rope dancers, high stilt vaulters and character solo
dancers are open to engagement,altogether or separate in town or country.

Address to Edward Powell 61 Tower Street, Westminster Road London

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I hope this is of interest to you

Regards

Ken
 
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Wendy

Guest
Thank you for the update and extra info Ken. What a lovely piece of family history.
 
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