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Remembering Pablo Fanque during Black History Month

‘He ruled the north with more than tent. As he went he built and he restored…’ – Extract from the poetry wall by Ira Lightman commissioned by Alumno.

Pablo Fanque, born William Derby, was born in Norwich, between 1796 and 1810, who grew up to become a master horseman and the first black circus owner in Great Britain. Pablo Fanque and his circus was the most successful and almost certainly the most loved fair in Victorian Britain. He made his way through a uniformly white society, and in doing it so successfully he performed to mostly capacity houses for the nearly 30 years.



Pablo’s legacy lives on within the cities of Norwich and Leeds (where he is buried with his first wife), in the Beatles song ‘Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite!’ and in the newly opened student development  ‘Pablo Fanque House’ by Alumno; which provides bespoke accommodation for 244 students studying in the local Norwich area.





Alumno are proud to keep the memory of this outstanding son of Norwich alive during Black History Month, recognizing the many extraordinary contributions, achievements and events that have shaped the history of the community.

You can find out more about Black History Month here.