The origins of Clowns International stretches back to 1946/7 as the International Circus Clowns Club when  the majority of clowns were to be found in the various circuses of the time. Troupes of sometimes a dozen were employed in the larger shows.  In February of each year there were clowns who were negotiating contracts for the coming season and so it was at this time of year in 1947 that Billy Smart, proprietor of a circus of that name created some publicity for his Show by arranging for some of his clowns to attend Joseph Grimaldi’s grave in the churchyard of St. James’s church in Pentonville Road, London.  There they laid a wreath on the gravestone and afterwards decided to meet again the following year. 

A circus and clown enthusiast by the name of Stan Bult got to hear of this and as a result the gathering of clowns became the International Circus Clown Club with Stan Bult as its first Secretary/Organiser.  From the initial meeting arose the annual service of remembrance for Joseph Grimaldi which was initially and for many years after held at St. James’s church in Pentonville Road. In 1959 it moved to Holy Trinity Church in Beechwood Road, Haggerston, London and our annual service continues to be held there.

 By 1978 the survival of the International Circus Clown Club was in jeopardy owing to the diminishing number of clowns inside circuses and a growing number elsewhere.  So a decision was made to widen the membership of the club to include all clowns of every type and so the name of the club was changed to “Clowns International”.

 Originally membership was for professional circus clowns but nowadays membership is made up of clowns from all walks of life. 

Members come from around the world including USA, Portugal, Denmark and France to name but a few.


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