The Schmettans and The Riogoku Family at Tynemouth Palace and www.circusmuseum.nl
I’ve really enjoyed my time in dusty archives and libraries looking for material for this blog, but I’ve also been amazed by how much stuff there is online which you can stumble across. I’ve got two newspaper clippings for you this week, but they’re really brought to life by photos from the Jaap Best collection – all the work of Japp Best, a Dutch circus fan and collector, whose archive is now photographed and on the web at www.circusmuseum.nl.
On 3 July 1909 The Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant reported on The Schmettans “posing, juggling and hand-balancing performance” at the Tynemouth Palace:
In Jaap Best’s collection you can see a poster of the Schmettans from 1906 (complete with greengrocer’s apostrophe) showing a really impressive 8-ball juggle while in a head-to-head balance.
Two weeks later the Riogoku Family where also at the Tynemouth Place, and the same publication described says that this Japanese troupe gave “a marvellous exhibition of hand-balancing, acrobatic and juggling work” and “nothing to approach it has been seen at the Palace in recent years”:
There are four items in the Jaap Best collection relating to the Riogokus and the poster from their 1901 performance with the Grand Cirque National Suisse shows that they included ball spinning and mouthstick work and a foot juggling act amongst their acrobatic feats. There’s also a general promotional poster and two photos of them, one against a decorated wall, and one with an outdoor scene in the background.
The juggling material in Jaap’s collection is fantastic to trawl through – try starting at this link to the juggling section, or have a play with the search facility.