It is very difficult to find reliable information on the salaries paid to variety acts. In this article Anne Goulden reports on Oswald Williams’ act at the Leicester Palace and compares his salary with the other acts on the bill. These are recorded in a salaries book which belongs to the British Music Hall Society Archive.

J N Maskelyne’s whist-playing automaton, Psycho, has been at the Museum of London for over eighty years. For much of that time he has been in store, but he has been on display in a special exhibition on Sherlock Holmes. The exhibition opened on 17 October 2014 and continued until 12 April 2015. Anne Goulden produced this note to celebrate Psycho’s reappearance in public.

Historians of Victorian entertainment will be familiar with the Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London. It served as an entertainment complex until it was demolished in 1905. Less well known is the fact that the Hall has been captured on wall tiles in the Hyde Park Corner pedestrian underpass.

Click below to download the PDF containing John Davenport’s photographs.

The Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London was probably the best-known example in England of a building in the pseudo ancient Egyptian style. Another was built around 1830 in Penzance in Cornwall. It was a mixture of styles, but the Egyptian influence was clear.

Click below to download the PDF with additional information and John Davenport’s photographs.

The much loved Herbert J. Collings, also known as Col Ling Soo, became a successful society entertainer and performer for royalty in the first half of the 20th century. He was awarded the Gold Medal of The Magic Circle and twice served as their President. The Magic Circle owns a typescript of Smilestones, his reminiscences covering 1898 to 1946. With the permission of David Hibberd, Archivist of The Magic Circle, his Smilestones are reproduced here. 35 illustrations have been added.