For the Benefit of Master Kite
In February of the
year 1839 there was what is still referred to in Ireland by
local historians as the "Night of the Big Storm". On that
night and for a few weeks before the Royal Circus was performing
in Newry County Down. Shortly after that the circus moved to
Dundalk in county Louth. Not too far from Newry.
For the record I am
from Dundalk and have done a lot of research in the local
library which is why I can pass on this info to you.
One of the
equestrian acts was a Master Kite.
I have somewhere in
the house a copy of their newspaper ads. One of them advertised
A Benefit for Master Kite. Being a one time big Beatles fan I
knew the significance of the ad. I phoned my brother who had the
album and got him to sing a little bit of the lyrics from
the album to me.
As I did not know
then the exact date of Pablo Fanque's Fair I thought I had found
a copy of the ad that inspired John Lennon. Believe it or not,
that night I was watching a French/German arts channel on
satellite TV when they played a clip from the Bee Gees Film
Sergeant Pepper. The clip they showed featured the few lines my
brother had sung on the phone.
The coincidence of
this amused me so much actually wrote to the station and told
them the story. To my surprise they wrote back to me. Something
not many Irish Presenters would do.
There were other
posters which did not include Master Kite by name.
They changed their
acts around every week . For example The Polish Acrobats were
replaced by The Swiss Acrobats!!
The Night of the
Big Wind was on the night of Sunday 6th and the morning of
Monday 7th of January 1839. Not only did it cause havoc in
Ireland it caused havoc in England as well.
Not only does it
give a sense of time and place it means that anyone looking for
the Night of the Big Wind could be linked into your page on
Mister Kite. The story of Master Kite in Newry on the Night of
the Big Wind is something that very few know about.
It is possible that Master Kite was
not Mister Kite but there are no references to Mister Kite in
the ads. They also did benefits for some of the other
performers. It was their way of making sure the performers got
They moved to
Dundalk at the beginning of February but the advertisement is
very bland compared to these.
Anthony O' Hagan
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