Funambulus (Tightrope Walker)
The famous “Blondin” on the tightrope
Blondin learnt to walk a tightrope from a very early age.
At the age of 35 on 30 June 1859, he first accomplished the feat of crossing the gorge below the Niagara Falls - a distance of around 1100 feet using a tightrope, thus creating his celebrity and fortune. The tightrope was 50 metres (160 feet) above the water, nearly half a kilometre (over quarter of a mile) long and just 7.5cm (three inches) in diameter. Blondin’s obsession with the Niagara Falls continued and he actually made a further 16 crossings, each one more daring than the last:
He crossed it blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow; once he carried a stove, stopped half way across and cooked himself an omelette and on another time he crossed on stilts. In August 1859 he crossed the gorge with his manager Harry Colcord on his back.
According to legend Colcord claimed that the trip was truly terrifying with broken guy ropes causing the rope to swing violently and Colcord had to dismount half way across. In 1860 the Prince of Wales watched Blondin cross Niagara Gorge. He was asked if he would like to be carried on Blondin’s back for the return journey. He refused.
In 1861 he first appeared in London at Crystal Palace and toured the United Kingdom and Europe, subsequently ending his performances with one in Belfast, Ireland in 1896
He died 22nd February 1897, having twice married and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England.
All who are interested are cordially invited to attend.
The trust seek to commemorate his life by
giving talks, lectures and tightrope events. Our aim is the renovation and
maintenance of Blondin’s grave and monument.
We seek funds in order to
renovate the tomb of Blondin, which is in dire need of repair.
February 2014, Date tba, 2.00 p.m. sharp
All are Welcome
Map of Kensal Green Cemetery: Nearest Tube Station: Kensal Green
Any person wishing to join our small group, or who are interested in booking a talk or lecture or tightrope event, please use our contact e-mail page
Places of interest:
Kensal Green Cemetery [Grave No 13198 Square 140 Row 1]
Niagara Falls & Public Library
Ladywood Middleway Birmingham - Statue erected 1992
Blondin on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102094985459#/group.php?gid=102094985459
Books of interest:
“The Tightrope Walker” by Hermine Demoriane
1989 Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
[160 pages about the art of tightrope-walking and a biography of the Author]
Website Created by Bluey Brattle February 2008