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Whimsical Walker, 1851 - 1934



  • Existence: 21 July 1851 - 10 November 1934


Whimsical Walker was a British circus performer, actor and clown, born on 21 July 1851 in Hull as Thomas Henry Walker. His mother was a landlady and his father an advance foreman for Cook’s Circus.

Whimsical Walker started his performing career at an early age and by the time he was eight years old he was already performing with Pablo Fanque’s Circus. He was a multitalented performer, trained in equestrianism, tumbling, ropewalking and clowning, but became most famous for his clowning and as a pantomime actor.

Over the course of his career, Whimsical Walker became one of the most famous clowns of his time both in the UK and internationally. He travelled around the world several times with some of the most successful circuses of the time including Henglers and Barnum & Bailey. He also performed by Royal command on several occasions during his career.

Whimsical Walker died on 10 November 1934, aged 83 years old.

Found in 11 Collections and/or Records:

Bertram Mills Circus Drawing, 22 December 1929

Reference code: 178V11.23
Scope and Contents Ink on board drawing by Arthur Ferrier (1891-1973). Black and white illustration of circus acts coming out of a paper hoop including a lady on an elephant's trunk, Whimsical Walker clown, trapeze act, equestrian rider, a roller skating act, clowns and floor acrobat, also a small scene of performer in the tube with text on bottom left corner, signed Arthur Ferrier on bottom right corner in ink, on reverse 'Comic Artists impression of the Circus at Olympia', on mount board 'Reproduced in the...
Dates: 22 December 1929

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 Photographs, 1910 - 1964

Reference code: 178C108.5141-5337
Scope and Contents Black and white and some colour photographs of circus scenes, animals, people and personalities including; Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Dame Laura Knight, Bertram Mills, Cyril Mills, Winston Churchill, Coco, Whimsical Walker, A. Pearson equestrian director at Bertram Mills Circus, Percy Huxter, Lulu Adams, Cissie Rosaire, Aubry Rosaire and Zena Rosaire, also Rosaire Circus, Bertam Mills Circus, Tom Arnold's Circus, Ginnett's and Fossett's Circus and a large Barnum shows...
Dates: 1910 - 1964

Circus Research Material, 1891 - 1935

Reference code: 178B30.37
Scope and Contents A large volume of typed and handwritten material referring to information published in newspapers and journals including the Strand Magazine, The Royal Magazine, McClure's Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Bookman, The World Magazine, Cassells's Magazine, American Magazine, The Toronto Star Weekly, Everybody's Magazine, Collier's Illustrated Weekly, St. Nicholas Magazine, Popular Science Monthly, Pearson's Magazine and Saturday Evening Post on animal training and other aspects of wild...
Dates: 1891 - 1935

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

Newspaper Cuttings and Scrapbooks, 1904 - 1973

Reference code: 178G65
Scope and Contents

Newspaper cuttings and scrapbooks related to Showmen's transport, trade related bye-laws and general Showmen's news from various newspapers and publications.

Dates: 1904 - 1973

Newspaper Cuttings on Circus, c1900 - 1999

Reference code: 178G21.39
Scope and Contents

Three newspaper cuttings relating to circuses, one part of an article by the clown Whimsical Walker, one about a luxury showman's van built for C.J. Birkmyre of Billy Smart's Circus and one about the animal trainer Alexander Kerr.

Dates: c1900 - 1999

Original Artwork, c1800 - 2000

Reference code: 178V11
Scope and Contents

Original works of art including artists' prints, drawings, watercolours and paintings, and designs for circus posters.

Dates: c1800 - 2000

Scrapbook of Multiple Circuses, 1925 - 1936

Reference code: 178G21.4
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, advertisments and black and white photographs relating to multiple circuses and acts including Belle Vue Circus, Hengler's Circus, Blackpool Tower, and Sir Robert Fossetts, includes deaths of Buff Bill Kayes, Whimsical Walker the clown and Mary Ann Bevan 'the world's ugliest woman', 61p.p.

Dates: 1925 - 1936

Showmen's Guild Scrapbook, 1926 - 1929

 Item — Box Showmen's Guild Box 20: Series 178G65
Reference code: 178G65.7
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook containing news on taxation, roads, gaming and gambling, women working at the fair, Mitcham Fair, Nottingham Goose Fair, legislation, transport, circus, charitable donations, accidents and safety at the fair, coconut shies and Whimsical Walker's retirement from various newspapers.

Dates: 1926 - 1929

The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain Collection

Reference code: NFA0054
Scope and Contents

The main extent of the collection contains yearbooks, meetings and minutes, correspondence and a record of day to day activities within The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain.

Dates: 1904 - 2023