Clowns International is the oldest established organisation for Clowns in the World. It was founded in 1946 as the "International Circus Clowns' Club" in England.
The Founders were Stan Bult (a Victorian gentleman with a great love of Clowns), Edward Graves, (Editor of Motley Columns in "World's Fair") and Co co the Clown. Most of the I.C.C.C. members came from the Olympia Christmas Circus of Bertram Mills. Early enthusiasts of the organisation include Clowns: Chester Field, Harold "Rainbow" Whiteley, Trevor "Tommy" Bale, Tony Gerbola, Albert "Bandbox" Austin, Carlo Kasen, Butch Reynolds, Percy Huxter, Smokey, Albertino, "Nicko" Mayne and long-serving Organiser - Jack "Jago" Gough.
In 1978, member Tommy Keele successfully proposed the name to be modified to "Clowns International", indicating the wider spheres of life inhabited by Clowns. The steadily increasing membership is truly international, and currently embraces most of Europe. Affiliations have been established with other organisations connected with Clowning. Countries world wide that currently boast either affiliation with, or members of Clowns International include; the U.S.A., Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and most European countries. Membership of Clowns International is open to Clowns in every field of entertainment. Reflecting the wider interest in Clowns and Clowning, a "Friends of Clowns" section has been added; this may be joined by anyone.
A quarterly magazine, "The Joey", is sent to all members of Clowns International. It provides a link, and gives up-to-date information and news of Clownish interest.
Clowns International is run by a Committee of professional and semi-professional Clowns, whose Life President is Ron Moody. The aims of Clowns International are to further the Art of Clowning, to promote Clowns throughout the World, and provide contact between Clowns and Clown aficionados. The organisation is Non Political, Non profit, Non Sectarian and Non Sexist.
A highlight of Clowns International's calendar is the .Joseph Grimaldi Memorial Service; annually held on the first Sunday of February at Holy Trinity, the Clowns Church at Beechwood Road, Dalston, East London, England. Other activities include charitable fund raising events and Clown Festivals in the United Kingdom.
Clowns International also maintains a Benevolent fund to assist and support Clown members who have fallen on hard times. Interestingly, it has an Archive of material relating to the history of clowning and Clowns International. This is kept in London. For many years the club has possessed its own Clowns Museum containing photographs, costumes, comedy props and the famous Egg Collection which depicts the facial make-up of clown members of the club. This extensive museum is now on exhibition at Gerry Cottle's Wookey Hole entertainment centre near Wells in Somerset, England. It is open to the public 364 days of the year and its viewing is recommended. Additionally, the organisation wishes to further encourage young Clowns with training, information and incentives, thus enabling Clowning traditions to be preserved and developed.
An exhibition from the Clowns International Archive will be on display in and around the Grimaldi Memorial Corner at Holy Trinity Church and open to the public from 12-5pm on the first Friday of the month.