Strongman of Fillis Circus

Started by Private User on Tuesday, June 14, 2011


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Private User
6/14/2011 at 4:03 AM

Michael George Doubell, a grandson of the Michael George to settle the family in South Africa, performed as a Strongman.

"Michael George joined Filis' circus as a 'Strong Man' and performed at Earls Court in 1899. While in London, he married Sarah Ann Tant age 22 of 22 Pembroke Mews, London. This marriage took place on 25 Feb 1900 at St Philips, Kensington. Her father was Charles Tant," according to Millicent Emslie -

While there are numerous grandsons of the SV/PROG named Michael George, I suspect that the Strongman was a son of Thomas Henry Doubell (1837 - 1909) and Caroline Elizabeth Magdalena Myburgh (1837 - 1920). has the marriage record for a Michael George Doubell and Sarah Ann Tant that gives his father's name as Thomas.

Frank Fillis came to South Africa in 1880 to join the circus of W.H. Bell, eventually taking over when Bell died; has a good summary of Fillis attractions in Cape Town and Johannesburg -

In 1899 - 1900 Fillis "took an extraordinary show entitled "Savage South Africa" to England, but despite the attraction of an authentic South African stagecoach, black warriors and other novelties, it failed and he was again bankrupt." This was presumably the show at which Michael George performed as a Strongman. has video of the troupe's arrival in Southampton - . "From Southampton, ‘the natives and animals’ travelled on ‘three special trains’ to Earls Court, where they performed twice daily at the Empress Theatre as part of the Greater Britain Exhibition"

However, I have not yet found any references to Michael George Doubell, or a Strongman, in connection with Fillis' circus.

Private User
12/26/2012 at 1:31 PM

See Marriage Record of Michael George Doubell and Sarah Ann Tant -

12/27/2012 at 2:49 AM

Fantastic stuff, Craig. Can you update the 'theories' on the project page?

12/27/2012 at 2:51 AM

W H Bell is a tantalisingly co incident connection?

Private User
2/23/2013 at 3:01 PM

According to this tree - - Michael George Doubell, son of Thomas Henry Doubell and Caroline Myburgh, was described as being "very powerful" which ties in to the possibility of him having been a Strongman.

2/24/2013 at 12:03 AM

Just watched the film clip. How did you find it? Flippin' fantastic :-)

I wonder what the primary source for the "very powerful" descriptor is? Seems a a very valid possibility.

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