Tag Archives: Entertainment

Sam Lockhart, Elephant Trainer Extraordinaire

 The world’s foremost elephant trainer began his working life as a circus acrobat and when he died was described by the Leamington Courier newspaper as a ‘retired giant of the entertainment industry’. The dapper little man with the magnificent white moustache was one of Leamington’s most recognisable residents in the years between the two world […]

The “King of Clubs” William James Henri Lawton (1871-1964)

Born in Warwick in August 1871, small in stature (5ft 4½ in) and slender in build (9st 3lb), Henri Lawton nonetheless became a renowned gymnastic, boxing and fencing instructor, the author of 2 small books on exercise and fitness, and in 1895, World Champion Indian club swinger. To claim the title, which had almost always gone to an American before this, Henri […]

Snow and Trains: Fun and Games in the Early Sixties

In 1962 my family were packed off to 19 Waverley Road on the Rushmore Estate, a modern area built on the old Rushmore Farm land in the mid 1920s and early 30s. For us there was a new life to be made and a wealth of new discoveries to be made, starting with the Eagle […]

The Lights of Leamington

Following the Festival of Britain in 1951, for a whole decade, Royal Leamington Spa and Jephson Gardens became THE autumn venue for hundreds of people from all over Britain. Thousands of coloured electric lights transformed the Gardens into a wonderland for both children and adults. In August and September each year, the streets of the […]

Blondin: A High time in the Pump Room Gardens

  The fashionable town of Leamington Spa attracted a host of big-name performers from all branches of the Victorian entertainment industry. One of those who came here was the world renowned tightrope walker Charles Blondin. Exactly 150 years ago the great Blondin made a tour of Great Britain and gave a series of performances. Blondin […]

The Theatre Royal

The Leamington Theatre Company was formed in 1881 and it commissioned London architect C J Phipps to design a 1,200 seat theatre for its site adjoining Denby Buildings in Regent Grove. Charles John Phipps was the foremost theatre architect of his day and in a long career designed over thirty theatres including some of the […]

Palais de Danse/Assembly Hall

The Palais de Danse was opened on Spencer Street in 1926 and called the Bath Assembly Hall. It was designed by Birmingham architect Horace Bradley for a local entrepreneur, Edith Dowding, who was a partner in the Bath Hotel. The 1920s saw the beginning of a dance craze in Britain and many palaises were built […]