December 2013: Flossy the flea is missing

'Flossy the flea is missing' - so says a poster on display in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. The poster dates from 1890 and it is PRONI's document of the month.

Flossy the Flea Poster Maggie Smith, Director of PRONI said:

"PRONI's collection is a treasure trove of over three million items. Each item has its own stories and human interest, and together these gems help form our collective memory.

By showcasing documents like this poster about Barron’s flea circus we can demonstrate the rich diversity of our collection. Our online catalogue includes over 200 items relating to circuses, including Scott’s, Duffy’s and Hannaford’s. These include photographs from the collection of H F Cooper whose studio was in Railway St, Strabane from 1913 until 1960.”

Flossy belonged to the Barron’s Flea Circus in Olympia and a reward was offered for the return of Flossy but only if she was returned alive. Although the poster dates from the nineteenth century, it was deposited in PRONI in 1962.

John Rea from PRONI’s Public Services team who picked the document of the month said:

“While I was helping a member of the public by researching through our documents, I was bitten by the mysterious disappearance of poor Flossy. Did Barron’s perform a rigorous search to find her? Alas, the reward was never claimed.”

  • In the PRONI catalogue, the Flossy the flea poster is PRONI ref D1394 and the H F Cooper circus photographs are PRONI ref D1422.

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