Circus 250 is a UK wide celebration of 250 years of circus in 2018. West Yorkshire Archive Service are celebrating the anniversary at West Yorkshire History Centre with an exhibition of documents from across their five offices showing circus in West Yorkshire. One of the acts who performed in the region was circus strongman Alexander Zass known as Samson or the Great Samson. Alexander joined a travelling circus after fighting in World War One. His act showed off his strength performing feats such as bending bars of iron and lifting a piano with his teeth with a lady playing upon it. In 1928 he performed at the Alexandra Theatre in Pontefract for 6 nights where he was described as ‘The strongest man in the world’. The strong men of Pontefract were set a challenge to try and lift one of Samson’s iron girders with prizes on offer. Samson is one of many fascinating acts who have performed as part of circuses across West Yorkshire in the last 250 years and many more are explored in our exhibition.
The exhibition is free and runs until July 2018. On Tuesday 29th and Thursday 31st May WYAS will be running free, family friendly make and take craft activities inspired by circus at West Yorkshire History Centre. 10.30am – 3pm booking advised.