The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

Maskelyne and Cooke

My Reminiscences

My Reminiscences

All those interested in J.N. Maskelyne’s life and his views on the world will find much of interest in his reminiscences. They were published in the January 1910 issue of the popular Strand Magazine. The article has been reproduced here with comments by Anne Goulden at the end.

Programme for Hercat at the Egyptian Hall, 1888

Programme for Hercat at the Egyptian Hall, 1888

This run opened on 29 September 1888. Hercat (real name R.D. Chater) performed at the Egyptian Hall while Maskelyne and Cooke were away. The show included his successful illusion “The Mystery of She”. Miss Fay Rivington is listed as his assistant.

Advertisement for Maskelyne and Cooke and Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall, 1880

Advertisement for Maskelyne and Cooke and Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall, 1880

This advertisement in ‘The Graphic’ for Maskelyne and Cooke and Herr Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall is dated 12 June 1880. Little Louie, the Clairvoyant, is also mentioned as performing with Herr Adalbert Frikell. The advertisement is small, as was typical at the time. The second illustration here shows half of the newspaper page, providing examples of competing entertainments in London.

Advertisement for Maskelyne and Cooke and Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall, 1880

Advertisement for Maskelyne and Cooke and Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall, 1880

This advertisement in ‘The Graphic’ for Maskelyne and Cooke and Herr Adalbert Frikell at the Egyptian Hall is dated 19 June 1880. Little Louie, the Clairvoyant, is also mentioned as performing with Herr Adalbert Frikell. The advertisement is small, as was typical at the time. The second illustration here shows half of the newspaper page, providing examples of competing entertainments in London.

George Cooke of Maskelyne and Cooke

George Cooke of Maskelyne and Cooke

Maskelyne and Cooke’s entertainments at the Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly were a feature of the London scene for over thirty years. During that time a great deal was written about them in newspapers and magazines. The publicity invariably focused on J.N. Maskelyne, who was sole proprietor of Maskelyne and Cooke’s. Virtually nothing was written about his stage partner, George Cooke. This was an injustice because Maskelyne’s success would have been impossible without Cooke’s talent, loyalty and hard work. Peter Brunning’s article brings George Cooke into the spotlight by telling the story of his life.

Over the years Maskelyne went to great lengths to protect his magic secrets. Cooke also went out of his way to protect secrets but, in his case, they were family secrets. Peter has unravelled Cooke’s unconventional private life as well as identifying his important contribution to the popularity of the Maskelyne and Cooke entertainments.

It is 120 years since Cooke’s final appearances at the Egyptian Hall, but at last his story is being told.

Davenport Collection website e-news #10, June 2021

Davenport Collection website e-news #10, June 2021

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The June 2021 issue included:
– a card trick with a canary.
– a box for changing a lily into a rose.
– information on Will Goldston (1877-1948).
– John Salisse and the Maskelynes.
– a levitating light bulb.
– a box of Egyptian Hall ephemera.
– Peter Lane’s talk on magicians’ programmes.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

Davenport Collection website e-news #9, March 2021

Davenport Collection website e-news #9, March 2021

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The March 2021 issue included:
Gems from The Magic Circle Collection: Mr Maskelyne’s famous play by Anne Goulden.
Gus Davenport – the man and the magician by John Davenport.
– Roy Field on Magic at the Seaside.
– Honouring Oswald Williams.
– Paul Freeman on Adalbert Frikell.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

Davenport Collection website e-news #1, September 2018

Davenport Collection website e-news #1, September 2018

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.

E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The September 2018 issue included:
Chevalier Ernest Thorn – “King of Illusionists”, a talk by Paul Freeman.
– 19th century Egyptian Hall programmes.
– Chung Ling Soo’s dove pan.
– Magic apparatus.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

31st consecutive year in London, 1903-1904. Hand dated 7 November 1904. This date could well be correct, because the programme is probably August 1904 or later. This is because it includes Walter Graham and Martin Chapender who appeared in the show after 1 August 1904, according to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness. It also includes on page three ‘In the course of a few months, the Egyptian Hall, the oldest place of entertainment in London, will be demolished’. It mentions ‘At Christmas’ for the transfer to St. George’s Hall. This confirms the date as 1904. This programme, unlike some, does not include the part of Lady Kitty Greensward in the cast of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’.

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

31st consecutive year in London, 1903-1904. Hand dated 9 August 1904. This date could well be correct, because the programme is probably August 1904 or later. This is because it includes Walter Graham and Martin Chapender who appeared in the show after 1 August 1904, according to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness. It also includes on page three ‘In the course of a few months, the Egyptian Hall, the oldest place of entertainment in London, will be demolished’. It mentions ‘Next Autumn’ for the transfer to St. George’s Hall. This confirms the date as 1904. This programme, unlike some, does not include the part of Lady Kitty Greensward in the cast of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’.

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke Egyptian Hall programme, 31st consecutive year

31st consecutive year in London, 1903-1904. This programme is probably August 1904 or later because it includes Walter Graham and Martin Chapender who appeared in the show after 1 August 1904, according to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness. It also includes on page three ‘In the course of a few months, the Egyptian Hall, the oldest place of entertainment in London, will be demolished’. It mentions ‘Next Autumn’ for the transfer to St. George’s Hall. This confirms the date as 1904. This programme, unlike some, does not include the part of Lady Kitty Greensward in the cast of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’.