Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1870 & 79

George Tudor Hall aka George Foottit (1838 - 1875)

 George Tudor Hall aka George Foottit was a circus clown who became a Victorian circus proprietor. Initially the circus travelled all over England and eventually he had a static circus in Peter Street, Manchester. His son, also known as George Tudor Hall jnr aka George Foottit (1864 – 1921) became a famous circus clown in Paris.

George was born in 1838 or 1835. (He died in 1875 and his gravestone records "in his 37th year," but the burial record says aged 40). It has not been possible to confirm the identity of his parents. However, he married Sarah Crocket in 1858 at St George's Church, Southwark, London. In 1864, their son George jnr was born in Manchester.

It was reported that he had "performed at Drury Lane Theatre in London as the clown Funny Foottit – a classic stage clown in the manner of Joseph Grimaldi." In 1867 he became partners with the equestrians Anthony Powell and Alfred Clarke and launched "Powell, Foottit and Clarke's Great Allied Circus." The Era news of 10th October  1869 reported, "Messrs Powell and Foottit's Circus visited Windsor on Wednesday 29th September and gained a crowded house at the evening entertainment." And the Cambridge Press of 6th November 1869 reported, "Messrs Clark and Foottit's Circus visited Cambridge on Monday and Tuesday evenings and met with a considerable amount of patronage as the superior character of the entertainments warranted." However George was becoming an alcoholic and the London Gazette records a dissolution of the partnership on 6th July 1871. He managed to retrieve his part of the investment in terms of horses and equipment and set up Foottit's Allied Circus. (Powell and Clarke continued with their partnership and travelled around Ireland).

The Liverpool Daily Post of 22nd April 1872 reported, "Foottit's Circus – Dr Mehay, the Hungarian illusionist, commenced a short engagement at Foottit's Circus on Saturday evening. A number of tricks and illusions were gone through with marvellous dexterity, and the entertainment was altogether of a highly interesting and diverting character. The only drawback to the success was the imperfect English of Dr Mehay, who had some difficulty making himself understood by the audience." The Era of 27th October 1872 reported Foottit's Circus at Castleford, Yorkshire: "During the evening  performance on Monday, a number of the seats gave way and precipitated a number of the spectators to the ground. After the accident a mob made a rush to the ring and began to destroy the property." In July 1873 the Circus was in Southampton giving two performances on both Friday and Saturday, and in June 1874 it was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, giving equestrian performances to large audiences.

On 2nd December 1874, an advert in Manchester Guardian proclaimed "Foottit's Great Circus," now based at Peter Street Manchester, performing every evening at 7 pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 pm and 7 pm, with a change of programme each evening. But on 2nd May 1875 the Era reported, "Mr George Foottit, Circus Proprietor departed this life on Wednesday 28th April at midnight, surrounded by his wife and children at his residence 14 Charles Street, Manchester." He died of liver cirrhosis and was buried at Weaste Cemetery on 3rd May, aged 36 (or was it 40 years)!