So, do you fancy seeing what you can find about the jugglers or other performers in your area? I’ve used three main sources to find the material on this site, maybe they’ll help you too:
If you live outside the UK you’ll need to use your intitiative and find the local equivalent to the first two items on the list. Go on, you’re bright enough, I’m sure you can work it out!
If you’re a member of a library in the UK, then ask them if they have a subscription to the 19th Century Newspapers Online service. Most libraries have an account with them, and you can log in with your library card number and search some of your local newspapers from the comfort of your sofa.
Your library will also have copies of the newspapers on their premises, either actual paper or on microfilm. Many of my local papers aren’t included in the online service, and if you’re in the same boat you’ll need to get out and about to see them.
Your county archive
All counties in the UK have a county archive. Go Google for them now, and give them a ring to see what they can offer you. In my experience the staff love the chance to try to answer an interesting question, and they’re the pros for finding this kind of material. Throw yourself on their mercy and you’ll probably come up trumps.
Sometimes you just need some general information to give background to a local search. I’ve found Karl-Heinz Ziethen’s classics “Juggling: The Art and its Artists” (with Andrew Allen, 1985, Werner, Rausch and Werner Luft Inc) and “4000 Years of Juggling” (1981, Michel Poignant PLV) invaluable to my life, never mind this project! Ricky Jay’s “Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women” (1986, Robert Hale Ltd) is fantastic too. For more specific information about the British Music Hall you can’t go wrong with Michael Kilgarriff’s “Grace, Beauty and Banjos” (1998 Oberon Books), though he does clump jugglers togther somewhat.
Some of those are out of print and tricky to find. Keep your eye on the used hand section of www.amazon.com, www.abebooks.com, or your favourite source of second hand books.