Borough logo  Philip Astley and the 850th anniversary of Newcastle-under-Lyme Philip AstleyOld picture of the Guildhall

In 2023 we will be celebrating the 850th anniversary of the founding of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1173. We would like your views on how we commemorate this momentous occasion. In particular we would like your views on how we can make the most of the links to circus and Philip Astley, the father of modern circus, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1742. It was Philip who first used the 42’ diameter ring, still the standard size for circuses today, and brought together clowns, jugglers and acrobats to make the performances we are familiar with today. NB: Although Astley’s original circus featured equestrian acts, he did not use wild animals – those came later and are now a thing of the past for modern circuses.
We have been celebrating the town’s connection to Philip Astley for several years with The Homecoming events in the town centre and in 2018, a year-long celebration of his life including events such as AstleyFest in Lyme Valley, a town centre trail, a visit by No Fit State Circus, exhibitions at the Brampton Museum and ‘Astley’s Astounding Adventures’ at the New Vic Theatre.

The activities associated with Astley have brought new people into town, and increased business for local shops and eateries. The association with Philip Astley has helped to raise the profile of Newcastle as a visitor destination locally, nationally and even internationally.
We are now asking for your opinions on how we can make more of this connection to circus and Philip Astley for the economic and cultural benefit of our town.
Like all the other Astley events, there is no intention to spend public money.
Q1Did you know that in 2023 Newcastle is celebrating its 850th anniversary of receiving Borough Status?
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