Demnächst werden im Auktionshaus Tennants die Hosen des englischen Riesen Frederick Kempster versteigert, der 1889 geboren wurde und mit 22 Jahren zu einem Zirkus stieß, mit dem er durch die Lande zog. Beim Ausbruch des ersten Weltkrieg wurde er in Berlin unter Arrest gestellt, zusammen mit einem Zwerg ohne Beine. So ist das.
In 1911, he marched in the “Parade of Giants” at the Crystal Palace in London as part of the celebrations leading up to the coronation of King George V. That’s what gave him the idea that he might actually be able to make a living just by being his tall self.
A few months later, he got a job as a giant at Astley & Co.’s American Circus in Essex. For the next three years he toured Europe and America with the circus, staying near his sister in Essex during his downtime. Articles about him from 1913 describe him as 7’9″ by now and over 300 pounds. Each hand reputedly had a 16-note reach on a piano.
He was in Germany with his troupe when World War I broke out in August 1914. Frederick and four other members of the company including a legless dwarf were stranded in Berlin and kept under house arrest in a room they’d rented. Some news stories report that he was mistreated and malnourished, but in interviews Frederick seemed downright sanguine about his time as a POW. They played a lot of cards and dominoes, he said, and the local police chief would bring his kids around to see them.