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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)
Pic: Burstow&Hewett/BNPS<br />
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An early 20th century circus performer balancing five sharp knives on his face. <br />
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These are the weird and wonderful performers who entertained Brits during the heyday of the travelling circus in the early 20th century.<br />
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Today some of the acts would be seen as highly insensitive, but back then parading people who were different to the norm on stage was seen as harmless fun.<br />
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One performer made a name for himself hanging a heavy case from his eyelids, while another caused wonderment by balancing five sharp knives on his face and a fearless showman smoked a cigarette through his eye ball. <br />
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Other acts which enchanted British audiences were the 7ft tall German sisters, the world's shortest man who was billed at a mere 2ft 6ins and the very politically incorrectly titled curvaceous French lady 'Reine de Colosses' (collosal queen).