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

Maskelynes

Poster from the Royalty Theatre of Magic, London. Christmas Season 1935-1936

Poster from the Royalty Theatre of Magic, London. Christmas Season 1935-1936

The Maskelynes produced their last Christmas Season shows in London for the season 1934-1935. Sadly, the business went into receivership in 1935. Chris Charlton decided to have a go at creating a new Theatre of Magic at the Royalty Theatre for the Christmas Season 1935-1936. Chris Charlton topped the bill which also included Fred Culpitt. This poster is full of press opinions.

The Lord Chamberlain’s certificate for the staging of Maskelyne’s sketch ‘Will, the Witch and the Watchman’. 1905

The Lord Chamberlain’s certificate for the staging of Maskelyne’s sketch ‘Will, the Witch and the Watchman’. 1905

In Great Britain it was necessary for dramatic plays to obtain approval from The Lord Chamberlain’s Office before they could be staged. This document dated 29 August 1905 grants permission for ‘Will, the Witch and the Watchman’, a dramatic sketch in one act, to be presented at St. George’s Hall, London. No changes to the submitted script were requested. J.N. Maskelyne had not long moved from the Egyptian Hall to St. George’s Hall. It may be that changes had been made to the script, so that it required new approval, or perhaps the change of venue from the Egyptian Hall made reapproval necessary.

Magicians’ programmes

Magicians’ programmes

Peter’s talk traces the development of magicians’ programmes from the 19th century into the 20th century. He illustrates this with a wide range of Maskelyne programmes, as well as those of numerous other performers, from Signor Blitz to Carmo – around 50 programmes in all. On the way Peter highlights intriguing facts that can be discovered about the performers by careful study of the programmes.

Smilestones: Recollections of Herbert J. Collings in his own words: 1898-1946

Smilestones: Recollections of Herbert J. Collings in his own words: 1898-1946

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.

What’s where in Devant’s My Magic Life

What’s where in Devant’s My Magic Life

Anyone who has tried to read Devant’s ‘My Magic Life’ knows that it can be frustrating and confusing because of the way it is organised – or not organised! Anne Goulden has produced a useful guided tour that tells you where aspects of Devant’s life can be found. Equally importantly, it tells you what can be ignored if you wish to concentrate only on Devant’s life.

A Mine of Maskelyne Information

A Mine of Maskelyne Information

Many of the Maskelyne items in the Davenport Collection were made for public consumption: programmes, publicity material, printed books, and so on. One of our shelves is occupied by books which were always intended to be private. They are the surviving business records of the Maskelynes at St George’s Hall.
The purpose of this article is to record the scope of these business records and provide examples of their content.

Wyn Davenport’s autograph albums

Wyn Davenport’s autograph albums

Anne Goulden gave this talk at the IBM British Ring Convention, Bournemouth on 25 September 2014.
While Wyn toured with her parents in the 1920s, she collected autographs from many magicians and variety acts. Anne Goulden brings these characters to life in a well illustrated talk.

St. George’s Hall, printer’s date 8 November 1917

St. George’s Hall, printer’s date 8 November 1917

The bill includes Lewis Davenport. Programmes of this type have the printer’s date at the bottom right of the front page. Also given is the fact that 2000 were printed. The date when this programme was presented to the public is not given. The pages illustrated are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8.

St. George’s Hall, London

St. George’s Hall, London

There is no date, but the bill implies Easter 1905 for a short time. This was the first magic show at St. George’s Hall after the failure of ‘The Coming Race’.