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

Maskelyne and Cooke's Entertainment Bureau

Martin Chapender brochure

Martin Chapender brochure

Chapender (1879-1905) was, by all accounts, a very accomplished magician. This brochure directs bookers to the Maskelyne and Cooke’s Entertainment Bureau. J.N. Maskelyne thought sufficiently highly of him to put him in charge of the last Egyptian Hall season, at the time when J.N. was absorbed with the move of Maskelynes to St. George’s Hall. The seven images around the central image on page 3 all have the same background. Item N3292 confirms that the photographer was Richard Brown of 35 Bold Street, Liverpool.

Louis Nikola booking through the Maskelynes’ Entertainment Agency, 1933

Louis Nikola booking through the Maskelynes’ Entertainment Agency, 1933

The letters illustrated here record that Maskelynes’ Entertainment Agency booked Nikola for a show at Holborn Hall, Gray’s Inn Road, London on 25 January 1933. The event was a New Year’s Party and Dance for Sanders Sports and Social Club. The fee was 5 guineas (£5. 5. 0. in pre-decimal money). The Agency took 15% commission on the booking. Note that the fee was paid to the Agency prior to the date of the show.

Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau: 1899 Partnership Agreement – summary of main points

Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau: 1899 Partnership Agreement – summary of main points

To our knowledge the contents of this partnership agreement have remained confidential until now. The parties to the agreement were J.N. and Nevil Maskelyne (the Maskelynes) and David Devant. Devant was managing partner. The Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company made annual tours of Great Britain from 1899 to 1905. The Entertainment Bureau supplied high class entertainments for many years. There is much of interest in the partnership agreement and Anne’s article is a useful summary.

1899 partnership agreement for the Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau

1899 partnership agreement for the Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau

The two parties to this partnership agreement were J.N. and Nevil Maskelyne (the Maskelynes) and David Devant. Devant was the managing partner. The Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company carried out annual tours around Great Britain from 1899 to 1905. The Entertainment Bureau operated for many years supplying high class entertainments. There is much of interest in the agreement, including the agreement on profit sharing. Anne Goulden has produced a useful summary of the main points covered by the agreement in an Article on this website which can be found here.

Advertisement for Mr. Walter Booth: entertainer and magician with a career in early cinema

Advertisement for Mr. Walter Booth: entertainer and magician with a career in early cinema

This is one page from a Maskelyne and Cooke’s Entertainment Bureau brochure, the cover of which is also illustrated. This item on Booth contains a clear photograph of him, which is significant because, as at 2020, it is one of only two known photographs of him which allows early cinema historians to identify Booth when he appears in early films. It had long been suspected that a magician in the films was Booth, but there was no firm evidence. For the other photograph, click on Walter Booth below. For still more information on Booth visit his Wikipedia page.