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Circus Knie (Established 1803)



  • Existence: Established 1803


Circus Knie is the largest circus in Switzerland. Knie was founded in 1803 by the Knie family and it soon became renowned for its wild animal acts. As well as the circus Knie has operated Knie’s Zoo for many years. In 1999 Franco Knie was named Best Animal Tamer at the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo.

Today the circus is an enterprise with about 200 employees, operated by Frédy and Franco Knie in partnership with insurance company Swiss Life.

In 1992 Knie co-produced a show with Cirque du Soleil and in 1999 it toured with the Swiss National Circus.

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco travelled with the circus between 2001 and 2002 while in a relationship with Franco Knie.

Circus Knie continues to operate in the twenty first century.

Found in 21 Collections and/or Records:

Blackpool Tower Circus Fantastic Programme, 1977

Reference code: 178K41.14
Scope and Contents

Charlie Cairoli and his company clowns, Bronley’s Space Rocket, Rogana balance act, Circus Knie’s Horses and Ponies presented by Franz R. Althoff, Tommy Chipperfield and his lions, Bratuchin Cossack Troupe, Gina, Orlando and Celinas, Los Hermans, Inge Lise, Tommy de-Vel Trio jugglers, Normans and his udgerigars, Professor Grimble clown. Contains illustration on the cover with photos, 12p.p.

Dates: 1977

Blackpool Tower Circus Fantastic Programme, 1975

Reference code: 178K41.3
Scope and Contents

Charlie Cairoli and his Company, Mary Chipperfield and her animals, The Flying Marilees Flyers Aerialists, Circus Knie’s Horses, Franz R. Althoff elephants, Kris Kremo juggler, Fattini blancing act, Skating Rolwoods, Chy Bao Guy Troupe, The Six Bertinis trick cyclists and balancing act, Desmond and Marks clown, Helen Piderman. Notes of times handwritten on programme. Contains photos, 12p.p.

Dates: 1975

Blackpool Tower Circus Poster, 1960

Reference code: 178R47.141
Scope and Contents Charlie Cairoli and his Company clown, The Bob Gerry Troupe, 5amandis, Knie's Chimpanzees by Dudi Smith, The Myrons, Fattini, Schaller Bros, 2 Balcombes, 3 Houcs, The Cycling Therons, King King, Our Sammy, Little Jimmy, Gerb Siemoneit's animals from Benneweis, Sacha Houke presents Knie's Horses, Rupert Bemmerl presents Knie's Elephants, Colour illustrations of a clown and clothed chimpanzees at the top, a lion and a tiger at the bottom, acts listed in multicoloured fonts against...
Dates: 1960

Blackpool Tower Circus Posters, c1930 - 1990

Reference code: 178R47.141-212
Scope and Contents

Posters for Blackpool Tower Circus including shows by Knie's Circus, Circus Krone, Circus Schumann, Bertram Mills Circus, Robert Brothers Circus and performances by Charlie Cairoli, Doddles, Coco the Clown, The Rosaires, Lilly Yokoi, Alfred Court, Vojtek Trubka, The Great Wallendas and Mary Chipperfield among others.

Dates: c1930 - 1990

Christopher Palmer Collection

Reference code: NFA0105
Scope and Contents

Circus programmes and VHS tapes from Billy Smart’s Circus and Chipperfields’s Circus collected during the 1970s and early 1980s by the TV producer, Christopher John Palmer. There are also a number of promotional photographs of artistes and other ephemera related to the circus.

Dates: 1973 - 1983

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Circus Knie Advertising Material, 1953 - 1987

Reference code: 178I22.36
Scope and Contents

Advertising material for Circus Knie including their newspaper, containing extensive information on international performers and acts including Lilly Yokoi, Trubka, The Fratellis and the Flying Marilees, touring schedules and various souvenir brouchures for their zoo and menagerie, contain black and white and colour photographs with text and commercial advertising.

Dates: 1953 - 1987

Circus Knie, Chinese Circus, Rivalen der Manege,23 Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, Magie, Melo et Music-Hall 'What a Wonderful World' and Cirque de Soleil Films, 1987 - 2002

Reference code: 178D13.17
Scope and Contents School TV, Corona Filmproduktion, ARTE, Cirque de Soleil Images inc and Serpents Film Production. Colour, sound and background music. DVD1 Franco Knie documentary contains interviews, behind the scenes footage, circus build up and show, narrated in German tv broadcast, Rivalen der Manege circus film in German, 02:05:28 mins. DVD2 23 Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, Magie, Melo et Music-Hall 'What a Wonderful World' tv broadcast with Cirque d'Hiver narrated in German 2002-2003, Cirque...
Dates: 1987 - 2002

Circus Knie Film, c1930 - 2000

Reference code: 178D4.20
Scope and Contents

Documentary on VHS cassette format about Circus Knie.

Dates: c1930 - 2000

Circus Knie Programmes, 1953 - 1988

Reference code: 178K43.614
Scope and Contents

Knie Circus programmes containing black and white and colour photographs of performers and acts with information, illustrations, programme and commercial advertising.

Dates: 1953 - 1988

Circus Krone, Circus Knie, 7th Massy Festival and 24th Monte Carlo Circus Festival Films, 1999 - 2002

Reference code: 178D13.9
Scope and Contents SAT1 TV, 3SAT TV, MDR TV. Colour, sound and background music. DVD1 documentary about Circus Krone showing behind the scenes footage, interviews, performers and acts, build up and take down of the circus and circus children in school, narrated in German, Knie Circus documentary narrated in German, showing behind the scenes footage of animal act rehersals, performers and general workers, taking down the circus and on the road, commercial advertising, American TV sitcom, 03:04:24 mins. DVD2 7th...
Dates: 1999 - 2002

Circus Photographic Album, c1970 - 1989

Reference code: 178C108.5136
Scope and Contents

Photograpic album containing colour photographs of a selection of British and European circuses including; Circus Barum, Hoffman, Moscow State Circus, Circo Medrano, Knie and Fossett's Circus and performers, 18p.p

Dates: c1970 - 1989

Film, c1930 - 2002

Reference code: 178D4
Scope and Contents

Circus films on VHS cassette tape format of British and European circus, including the Monte Carlo Circus Festival and some films from television programmes.

Dates: c1930 - 2002

Films, 1927 - 2007

Reference code: 178D13
Scope and Contents

Compilation of circus films showing acts on the ring as well as interviews with performers and proprietors, mainly produced by tv companies in the UK and Europe. Many of them narrated in German.

Dates: 1927 - 2007

Geoff Stevens Collection

Reference code: NFA0130
Scope and Contents

Collection of circus books, journals and films.

Dates: 1930 - 2002

Newspaper Cuttings and Scapbooks, 1838 - 2007

Reference code: 178G21
Scope and Contents

A collection of newspaper cuttings on circus, circus proprietors and performers and scrapbooks containing newspaper cuttings, posters, programmes and other items of ephemera, covering mainly British circuses and venues such as Belle Vue and also some international circuses.

Dates: 1838 - 2007

Posters, c1800 - 2011

Reference code: 178R47
Scope and Contents

A wide range of British and international circus and menagerie posters ranging from the 19th to the 21st century including Astley's Amphitheatre, Pablo Fanque, Polito, Bostock and Wombwell, Ducrow, Cooke, Hengler, Sanger, Smart, Gerry Cottle, Bertram Mills, Chipperfield's, Robert Brothers, Fossett, Blackpool Tower, Billy Russell, Belle Vue, Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, Austen Brothers and many more.

Dates: c1800 - 2011

Programmes, 1970 - 1981

Reference code: 178K41
Scope and Contents

Programmes for various British and international circuses including Billy Russell's, Blackpool Tower, Fossett's, Chipperfield's and the Toni Boltini's Circus.

Dates: 1970 - 1981

Programmes, c1800 - 2019

Reference code: 178K43
Scope and Contents

A collection of mainly British and international circus programmes and some variety and music hall programmes containing circus acts.

Dates: c1800 - 2019

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, c1900 - 1999

Reference code: 178G21.32
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of black and white photographs and newspaper cuttings, relating to multiple circuses and acts including Bertram Mills, Billy Smarts, Knie and Chipperfields, 52p.p.

Dates: c1900 - 1999