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Kirby’s Eccentric Museum

January 12, 2019
by the gentle author

I am very grateful to have met collector Mike Henbrey because among the wonders he introduced me to was Kirby’s Eccentric Museum

John Biggs was born in 1629 and lived in Denton in the county of Bucks in a cave

This wonderful boy, who in early age outstripped all former calculators, was born in Morton Hampstead on 14th June 1806

In Mme Lefort the sexes are so equally blended that it is impossible to say which has predominance

This gentleman was a bookseller in Upper Marylebone St, remembered today as Shelley’s bookseller

The parachute here represented was used by Monsieur Garnerin at his ascension in London

Thomas Cooke was born in 1726 at Clewer near Windsor as the son of an itinerant fiddler

Robert Coates Esq, commonly called ‘The Amateur of Fashion’

The giant Basilio Huaylas came in May 1792 from the town of Joa to Lima and publicly exhibited himself

Mr James Toller and Mr Simon Paap are presumed to be the tallest shortest men in the kingdom

Miss McAvoy, who distinguished colours by the touch, was born in Liverpool on 28th June 1800

Mr Hermans Bras, designated the gigantic Prussian Youth, was born at Tecklenbourg in 1801

Thomas Laugher, aged 111 years, and known by the name of Old Tommy

Petratsch Zortan in the 185th year of his age, he died on 5th January 1724

John Rovin in the 172nd & Sarah his wife in the 164th year of their respective ages

The turnip represented in the plate grew in 1628

The parsnip here represented grew in 1742

The radish here represented was  found in 1557 in Haarlem

You may also like to take a look at

Mike Henbrey, Collector of Books, Epherema & Tools

Vinegar Valentines

Vinegar Valentines for Bad Tradesmen

Mike Henbrey’s Collection of Dividers

Dicky Lumskull’s Ramble Through London

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 12, 2019

    Excellent stuff! I particularly love Mademoiselle Lefort and think the Signora Josephine looks a bit ‘trans’ too..

  2. January 12, 2019

    Fantastic, fabulkous collection. Thanks.

  3. January 12, 2019

    This reminds me of another collector of the ‘wonderful’:

  4. Steve Hanscomb permalink
    January 14, 2019

    Great article. I live a few miles from where the Hermit in the first picture lived (Dinton, rather than Denton) and there is a curious tale connected with why he was a hermit.
    His name was John Bigg and lived from 1629 to 1696. The story goes that he was possibly the executioner of King Charles the first. His friend, the MP Simon Mayne lived at Dinton Hall and was one of the MP’s who signed Charles’s death warrant. When the monarchy was restored, Mayne was sentenced to death for his part in the execution, but died in the Tower of London before his appeal was heard.
    John Bigg, fearing a similar fate, or feeling remorse at his part in the death of the king, became the hermit, living in a cave under Dinton Hall.
    He began to make his own clothes, mostly from leather. He would take donations of food, but only ever asked for scraps of leather, which he used to repair his hand made shoes. These shoes eventually made their way into the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford, where they remain to this day.

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