Search records

Cast of Arthur Caley's hand, the 'Sulby Giant'

Date made: 19th century

Maker: unknown

Description: Iron cast of 'Caley the Giant's Hand'. Arthur Caley, the Manx/Sulby Giant.

Arthur Caley, the so-called Manx Giant, was born at Sulby. A popular myth has it that the doorways of the Sulby Glen Hotel were raised in order for him to pass through, but in fact the hotel post-dates Caley by some years! He was a true giant in the sense that his limbs were in proportion to his body, and he is reported to have reached a height of 7 foot 8 inches. He soon attracted attention because of his height, and found work in a circus where he would often appear alongside little people, in order to further emphasise his stature.

It was falsely reported that he died in Paris in 1853, and this may have been some sort of fraud on the part of his manager, because Caley later appeared in the United States under the pseudonym of Colonel Ruth Goshen, the Palestine Giant. He joined a circus there under the management of the celebrated impresario P.T. Barnum, and toured the country. He is believed to have died in 1889, and is buried in Middlebush, New Jersey.

The cast of the hand was probably made to cash in on Caley’s fame, or to publicise the circus, and several examples are known to exist. They are now highly sought after by collectors of circus memorabilia.

Measurements: overall: 33.5 x 23 x 10 cm

Materials: iron

Object name: cast

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1954-7289

Subject tags : #MM100COLLECTIONS


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy