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

1905

Letter to Lewis Davenport from the Norwood Palace and People’s Palace, dated 17 May 1905

Letter to Lewis Davenport from the Norwood Palace and People’s Palace, dated 17 May 1905

The letter reads: “At inconvenience we have, at your request, taken you out July 3rd. The dates you suggested are not suitable for transfer. Send others. Faithfully yours, Cissie Louie Lawson.” No doubt Ms Lawson was a busy lady, she certainly wasted no time on niceties in replying to Lewis Davenport. Lewis and Julia’s first child, George, was born on 22 April 1905. However, this had nothing to do with the reason for Lewis trying to alter booking dates. Lewis and Julia had landed bookings on the MacNaghten Theatre circuit. This circuit was a so-called Number 2 circuit, one below the Moss and Stoll Theatre circuits which were the Number 1s. These bookings were an important step in the advancement of The Davenports performing career.

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1904-1905, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1904-1905, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

These two items were stored together by Maskelynes, with a brass paper fastener attaching them by the top left corner. This explains the holes in the top left corners. The information gives the tour venues and confirms that the show usually spent a week at each venue. The financial summary gives a breakdown of costs for each venue and the average receipts and expenses for the whole tour. The images included here show both sides of the Tour List and the single-sided financial summary.

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.

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’.