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Philip Astley
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Birth: Jan. 8, 1742
Staffordshire, England
Death: Jan. 27, 1814
City of Paris
Île-de-France, France

Philip Astley was an English equestrian, circus owner, and inventor, regarded as being the "father of the modern circus". The circus industry, as a presenter of an integrated entertainment experience that includes music, domesticated animals, acrobats, and clowns, traces its heritage to Astley's Amphitheatre, a riding school that Astley founded in London following the success of his invention of the circus ring in 1768. Philip Astley was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in England the son of a cabinetmaker. At the age of nine, he apprenticed with his father, but Astley's dream was to work with horses, so he joined Colonel Eliott's Fifteenth Light Dragoons when he was 17, later becoming a Sergeant Major. His service in the Seven Years' War brought him into contact with professional trainers and riders. Astley himself was a brilliant rider. Astley had a genius for trick riding. He saw that trick riders received more attention from the crowds in Islington. He had an idea for opening a riding school in London in which he could also conduct shows of acrobatic riding skill. Astley began to make a reputation and to grow wealthier. His invention of the circular arena was successful. Astley married around 1766. In 1769, his wife gave birth to a son, John Philip Conway Astley (1767-1821). Astley's circus was so popular that he was invited in 1772 to perform before Louis XV of France in Versailles. In 1782, Astley established the first purpose-built circus in France, the Amphitheatre Anglais in Paris. During the summers and other times when his London establishment was inactive, Astley established wooden amphitheaters throughout Great Britain; the first of these was erected in 1773 in Dublin, Ireland. He later established eighteen other circuses in European cities, was patronised by a great number of royals, and was famous, envied, and occasionally rich. He never used wild animals in the circus arena. They began to be displayed 14 years after his death in Paris. He was buried in Paris' Père Lachaise Cemetery, having expired from gout in the stomach.
Family links: 
  John Philip Conway Astley (1767 - 1821)*
*Calculated relationship
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
City of Paris
Île-de-France, France
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Debra Polly
Record added: Nov 11, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100531794
Philip Astley
Added by: Debra Polly
Philip Astley
Added by: Debra Polly
Philip Astley
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Paws ♥
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- Debra Polly
 Added: Nov. 11, 2012

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