1846 May 27 - CRAGG, J.W. Acrobat born in Manchester. 1862 March First performed, at the Casino, Manchester, for £2 a week in a doubles trapeze act as the Brothers Williams, having left a Manchester printing office, where he was working as a "printer's devil", with a mate to create the act.

1864 Became the De Castro Brothers, acrobats and trapeze artists.

1865 joined Sanger's circus, remaining with them three years.

1868 Early in year, whilst performing at Cremorne Gardens, fell from the trapeze and was out of action for some months. Noted with Pinder's circus, touring from Bolton to Cromer, in 1868, then joining Henry and Adams circus, Scarborough. Noted with them at Bradford, for the 1868-9 season.

1869, the partners introduced their wives into the act, becoming the De Castro Troupe, with two children.

1871 were four men, on the flying trapeze.

1872 the partners split up and J.W. Cragg and five of his sons formed the De Castro Family, which first appeared, with a new flying act, at the Winchester Music_Hall, London.

1873 The partnership was dissolved and the Craggs went to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and India, returning to Britain in 1876. Went to Blackpool and became the proprietor of a theatre there, but this venture was not a success.

1874 to China.

1882 Visited Egypt.

1883, in Berlin, Alf Cragg performed the roundo flip-flap double somersault.

1885 the troupe changed its name to The Craggs.

1886 the Seven Craggs appeared for six weeks in New York, where they earned $100 a night, then Paris

1887 01 10 craggs london pavilion piccadilly
1887 04 11 (or 1898) Craggs canterbury evanion
1887 08 08 (or 1898) Craggs canterbury theatre evanion
1887 Oct 16 and Oct 25 Les Craggs, Gentlemen Acrobates, at Folies Bergere Paris – Programmes in Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris.
1887 12 07 craggs royal victoria hall lambeth evanion


1888 04 02 Craggs canterbury evanion
1888 05 12 MATRIMONIAL BLISS at The Metropolitan from Week ending Saturday, May 12th 1888 - Bodleian Library
1888 Programme for ALHAMBRA THEATRE OF VARIETIES at Alhambra Theatre from [1888] www.backstage.ac.uk Cragg [acrobat] acrobatic troupe [performer]; in John Johnson Collection - Bodleian Library, University of Oxford - 20010508/08:38 :55 f
1888 07 Craggs Alhambra Programme for ALHAMBRA THEATRE OF VARIETIES at Alhambra Theatre from [14 July 1888] | www.backstage.ac.uk Cragg [acrobat] acrobatic troupe [performer]; In John Johnson Collection - Bodleian Library, University of Oxford - 20010508/09:23 :25 f
1888 Programme for ALHAMBRA THEATRE OF VARIETIES at Alhambra Theatre from [1888] www.backstage.ac.uk Cragg [acrobat] acrobatic troupe [performer]; In John Johnson Collection - Bodleian Library, University of Oxford - 20010508/09:33 :03 f
1888 Programme for ALHAMBRA THEATRE OF VARIETIES at Alhambra Theatre from [1888] www.backstage.ac.uk Cragg [acrobat] acrobatic troupe [performer]; In John Johnson Collection - Bodleian Library, University of Oxford - 20010508/10:22 :15 f

1889 July 4 - Souvenir of the SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT given to the SHAH OF PERSIA by ALBERT SASSOON at the EMPIRE PALACE July 4th 1889 Included: CLEOPATRA starring Maria Giuri and Malvina Cavallazzi and Craggs and Cinquevalli.
1889 11 21 Craggs and Hanlons at Canterbury Evanion

1890 several pages (reproduced on adjoining page here) in Le Roux and Garniers book ‘Acrobats and Mountebanks’ p300-305
1890 February 17 - The Empire, London's Theatre of Varieties
1890 March 20 Papa Cragg married Amanda Marie Francoise Noël (born
Rouen, France 1867 - 10/02/1909)"Papa Cragg (or 'JW' - real name John Williams) is my great grandfather. He married my great grandmother, on 20/03/1890." Amanda Bain
1890 April 5 – The Royal, Holborn www.rhul.ac.uk/drama/music-hall/more.asp?actnum=10517
1890 May 3 – The Royal, Holborn www.rhul.ac.uk/drama/music-hall/more.asp?actnum=10788
1890 06 24 craggs Canterbury evanion
1890 August 29 New York Times - Acrobatic Craggs with Cleveland's New Consolidated Minstrels at the 14th Street Theatre from next week

1891 Apr 29, Metropolitan Theatre, Sacramento

1892 July 25 ZAMPA: OVERTURE at Canterbury Theatre of Varieties from Monday, July 25th, 1892 - Bodleian Library
1892 November 7th (Monday) OPENING NIGHT of the Empire Palace Theatre Edinburgh. There were 13 items on the bill which began with "Grand Scotch Fantasia" presented by the Combined Regimental Bands. They were followed by Miss Katie Cohen, Contralto Vocalist; Mr Ben Nathan, Comedian; Professor Marvelle and his Wonderful Troupe of Canine Wonders; Miss Giulia Warwick, late of the Carl Rosa Opera Company; Mr Harry Atkinson, the Australian Orpheus; The Craggs, Absolutely the Greatest Show on Earth; a Selection from "Friendly Greetings"; Miss Cora Stuart in the celerated musical sketch "The Fair Equestrienne; Evans and Luxmore, Musical Eccentrics; Mr Albert Christian, Baritone Vocalist; and The Bros. Poluski, Grotesque Comedians. The show was rounded off by a Troupe of Wonderful Performing Cockatoos.

1893 Craggs at Canterbury (evanion collection)

1894 08 06 Cinquevalli and Craggs (evanion collection)
1894 Dec 3rd - Craggs ("Marvellous Acrobats") at the London Pavilion

1895 May 5 - Craggs at Koster & Bial's in New York for 6 weeks, having come direct to America from the Empire Theatre in London. They were paid $800 a week and were Papa Cragg, five sons and one daughter. (Article in New York Times May 5 1895)
1895 Oct 28 - Craggs at Folies Bergere
1895 Dec 14 The Wonderful Craggs to New York, listed in New York Times on Wed 22 Dec as being at Koster & Bials
1895 JW Cragg King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats
1897 June 7 - London, Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Sq.
1897 Sept 13 - Bristol: Bristol Times And Mirror, The (Newspaper) - September 11, 1897 ... 13th, The First Appearance at the Palace of The MARVELLOUS CRAGGS. The Gentlemen Acrobats. MONS. HENRI CAZMAN, Herrofct Magiciea, in Fantaisies SISTERS www.newspaperarchive.com/newspapers1/na0003/60486/635468.html - 55k - Supplemental

1897-1898 Windsor Magazine article Dec 1897 – May 1898 ‘The Greatest of Acrobats – The “Marvellous Craggs”,

1898 March 5 - A series of reviews published in 'The Era' on THE CRAGGS IN EDINBURGH included: The Craggs are the outstanding feature in a very attractive programme at the Empire Theatre this week, and the popularity of this place of entertainment as a music hall is well maintained by the talent which is embraced in this week's company. It is all over good, and in the eleven 'turns' there are few that can be called weak. With one exception they are all fresh, but the Craggs came in last night for most recognition and most appreciation. They form a combination of acrobats whom it would be difficult to excel. They have been seen frequently in Edinburgh in another guise, but on this occasion they appeared in a new phase. Amid picturesque Alpine scenery the six members of the troupe, wearing costumes in keeping with their surroundings, went through acrobatic feats which justified their title to the 'Crags' for, from shoulder to shoulder, from pinnacle to peak, each member was thrown after the other in the most dexterous manner, and was landed safely. The performance was alike skilful and graceful: it was carried through with much agility, and was warmly applauded - Scotsman Feb 23rd 1898

Had it been arranged that the Craggs' visit to the Empire Palace should extend over a fortnight or more, instead of the brief period of the present week, no one would have been sorry - certaiinly no habitue of the variety house. There is an assocation between this renowned troupe and the Palace Theatre; they were foremost among the select and talented compnay who opened this place of amusement some years ago. Since that auspicious occasion they have never failed to meet with a cordial reception whenever they have returned to Edinburgh, and it must be confessed that they are thoroughly deserving of being prime favourites with theatre-goers. Acrobatic feats generally are regarded by a great many people with mixed feelings, but there is an ease and smartness about the performance of the Craggs which cannot but entertain the onlooker. Their new act entitled "The Alpine Monarchs" comprises a series of marvellous evolutions, and is presented in a picturesque and appropriate setting which greatly enhances the beauty of the exhibition. The eye follows the six or seven figures on the stage with the utmost interest and delight, as they go tumbling, vaulting, and leaping, on to each other's backs, heads, and shoulders, and every now and then flinging themselves to and from dizzy heights; and the beholder wonders at the celerity, agility and precision with which all is accomplished. In this act the acroabts are dressed as Aplpine climbers; it would not have been less fitting to their performance and their surrounding had they disguised themselves as chamois, for the mind of the spectator could easily have been led then to regard them as so many of these animals capering about amongst the rocks and crags of their mountain home - Weekly Scotsman, Feb 26th 1898
1898 May 09 THE RACE at Empire Theatre from Monday, May 9th, 1898 - Bodleian Library
1898 June 20 THE RACE at Empire Theatre from Monday, June 20th, 1898 - Bodleian Library

1900 Nov 19 [OVERTURE] at Alhambra Theatre from Monday, November 19th, 1900 - Bodleian Library
1900 Dec 1 [OVERTURE] at Alhambra Theatre from Saturday, December 1st [1900] - Bodleian Library
1900 Dec 19 SONS OF THE BRAVE: OVERTURE at Alhambra Theatre from Wednesday, December 19th, 1900 - Bodleian Library
1900 Craggs in San Francisco

1901 May 18 New York, Keith's - Cragg Family retained
query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9506E7DB1F38E733A2575AC1A9639C946097D6CF
1901 Aug 18 - Orpheum San Francisco. Direct from London – the great and original Cragg Family, six in number, world-famous acrobats. Presenting the new and startling sensation ‘Scene in the Alps”.
1901 film: The Cragg Family A spirited film, showing the entire act performed by this most famous troupe of English acrobats, father and five sons. The Cragg family are famous throughout the world for their sensational acrobatic work and command the highest salary of any acrobatic family in the world, having received $3,000 per week on their last visit to America. The startling feats of hand and foot work accomplished by triple somersaults and marvelous hand and foot work accomplished by these premier gymnasts make one of the most wonderful motion pictures every produced. Summary written by Edison Catalog www.imdb.com

1902 February - New Zealand, Dunedin, Princess Theatre from Thursday for 8 nights having arrived on SS Westralia
paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=OW19020205.2.187&e=-------10--1----0-all
1902 July 20 Paragon,Mile End Road, East Londond Jun 20th described as 'Wonders of the World'
www.elta-project.org/browse.html?recordId=757


1903 Strehly's book: L'Acrobatie et les Acrobates. P38 Les sauts acrobatiques combines avec le travail des pyramides ont donne le numero des acrobats de tapis, dont les Craggs sont la plus brillante incarnation. Grace a une specialisations plus intelligente et plus precoce des aptitudes physiques, on attenit un degree de virtuosite qu’on eut cru inaccessible. P118 Je ne l’ai guere vu executer sur place, et l’on peut citer comme une merveille un des sauteurs de la troupe Cragg, dont il sera question dans la suite, qui, sans aucun flip-flap prealable, executait au temps quatre a cinq sauts cambers en arriere. P143 Le Colonne Brisee – Apres les Stebbing, les Craggs et dernierement les Yuliam’s l’ont executee. P148 Pour les sauts sur les epaules ils sont sans rivaux, et quand on les voit dans le travail icarien, qu’ils pratiquent, mais non exclusivement, on se demande si, en se specilaisant dans ce dermnier genre, ils n’eussent pas eclipse peut-etre les rois de l’icarisme, les Scheffer, les Bonhair, les Dremo. Tel qui’il est, leur numeroest unde des grandes attractions acrobatiques de l’epoque. Ce dut etre certes un jour memorable pour les passagers du transatlantique qui les amenait de Sydney en Europe, que celui our, profitant d’une mer calme et d’un beau temps, ils esecuterent sur le pont du naivre, entre le ciel et la mer, le plus verveilleux repertoire don’t l’ocean pacifique ait jamais ete le theatre. P255 icarian / carpet acro – notably the Craggs P267 Il sera injuste de ne pas rappeler ici les incomparables Craggs…

1903 Craggs in panto. Tour with ‘Laughterland’ to follow. (Era Almanack and Annual)
1903 July, York, Opening of the Opera House and Empire wih Laughter Land by JW Cragg's Congress of Comedians
1904, 1905, 1906 Craggs on tour with ‘Laughterland’(Era Almanack and Annual)

1904 December 29th - New Theatre Royal and Opera House in Leigh programme states: proprietor J W Cragg

1907 Craggs in acro comedy sketch ‘Billy’ – the new steward of the ‘Channel Queen’ (Era Almanack and Annual)

1907 01 07 Craggs in Billy at Portsmouth

1908 ‘Billy’ – no vacant dates 1908; part booking 1909 (Era Almanack and Annual)

1909 ‘Billy’ – no vacant dates 1909; booking 1910, 1911 (Era Almanack and Annual)

1910 ‘Billy’ – no vacant dates 1910, 1911, or 1912 (Era Almanack and Annual)

1913-14 His sketch 'The Territorials, was his last public entertainment. At the start of the Great War his sons enlisted and J.W. Cragg was forced into retirement.

1914 08 17 craggs derby hippodrome

1921 Mr Cragg had been married four times, with 24 children of whom 13 were living in 1921. The eldest, Edward, was then 58, the youngest, Grace, 3 years old. He was one of the 'Noble Six Hundred' who contributed to the setting-up of the Brinsworth Home.

1931 Oct 24, Mr JW Cragg was killed, by a motor cycle, at Harmondsworth, aged 85 years

Papa Cragg is buried at Lambeth Cemetery, Blackshaw Road, Tooting, SW17 0BY Grave No: 399 D1 Cons (thanks to Celia Smith, Memorials Supervisor at Lambeth Cemetery. email: clsmith@lambeth.gov.uk)