Andrew Ducrow Biography and Facts

Picture Of Andrew Ucrow Monument

Andrew Ducrow (1793–1842) was known as "the Colossus of equestrians" and was an important performer of early years of circus.

Ducrow was born on October 10, 1793 in Southwark, Surrey. His father, Peter Ducrow, was from Bruges in Belgium and was a “strong man” performer. They came to England in 1793, and his father performed at “Astley's Amphitheatre” as a “Flemish Hercules”. Andrew started training with his father since he was three and then continued to train vaulting, tumbling, dancing on the slack and tight rope, balancing, riding, fencing, and boxing under, among other teachers, famous harlequin and dancer – Richer. When he was even he performed before the king George III. When he was 15, he was already he was chief equestrian and rope-dancer at Astley's and when he was 20 he leaves the Ashley's and moves to the Royal Circus in St. George's Fields because his father took it. He there becomes famous as a pantomimist in his role o Florio, the dumb boy, in the “Forest of Bondy, or the Dog of Montargis”. When the Royal Circus bankrupted he returned to “Astley's Amphitheatre”, began trick-riding the horses and became very successful in that also. When his father died in 1814, he started taking care of his mother and the rest of the family. He moved to Blondell's “Cirque Olympique” and, with his brothers and sisters, he started touring the cities of France. Becoming more and more famous he joined Franconi's Circus at Paris and again starts touring France. Not all of his performances were successful. His Planché's drama “Cortez, or the Conquest of Mexico”, at Covent Garden Theatre in 1823 for instance, was not well received. He again appeared at Astley's in 1824, and soon became a proprietor of the theatre in conjunction with Mr. William West. Astley's flourished under him and had more than 150 employees. Ducrow produced the spectacle of “St. George and the Dragon” in 1833 and “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”. Some of his techniques of horeriding are still used today.

On 8 of June 1841 “Astley's Amphitheatre” completely burned in a fire. Andrew Ducrow suffered a nervous breakdown because of this and died a year later.