Guests Midnight Society

Wednesday, April 22nd – Guest: Dr. John Woolf

Dr. John Woolfe – The True History of Victorian Freak Shows

Dr. John Woolf shares his research about the fascinating world of the Victorian freak shows and their performers. He will discuss many stories of the extraordinary lives of people including Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man), Chang and Eng, Julia Pastrana a.k.a The Bearded Lady and also “The Greatest Showman” himself, P.T. Barnum.


Dr. John Woolf is a historian from London. Having read history at the University of Cambridge, John went on to obtain a Ph.D. on 19th-century freak shows. Since then John has developed the BBC4 series The Real Tom Thumb: History’s Smallest Superstar, has been featured in the BBC4 documentary Dwarfs in Art and was Assistant Producer for Queen Victoria’s Letters: A Monarch Unveiled. He has also co-written the bestselling audiobook Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets and his latest book, The Wonders, was awarded the Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize. He is a professor at Hult International Business School and a local Councilor in Islington, London.


The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age




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