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

Anne Davenport

Intermittently on the halls

Intermittently on the halls

On 9 February 2012 Anne Goulden gave this talk at the British Music Hall study group in London. It follows Lewis Davenport’s performing career from around 1900 to around 1930 and explains how he juggled his time between his magic business, music hall work, and other performances. On the way it provides an overview of the different types of variety entertainment during the period.

Maskelyne & Cooke: the early years

Maskelyne & Cooke: the early years

Anne has unearthed new information on the eight year journey that took Maskelyne and Cooke from Cheltenham to the Egyptian Hall in London. On the way she explains how Maskelyne and Cooke could call themselves Royal Illusionists, despite not having performed before royalty.

Gems from the John Salisse Archive

Gems from the John Salisse Archive

John Salisse’s archive was the result of over 40 years of collecting and research. His interests were the Maskelyne family and their theatres. In this talk Anne dips into the archive, which is now part of The Davenport Collection. Anne focuses on the early days of the Egyptian Hall, where JN Maskelyne’s entertainments first made him a household name in Victorian Britain.

The life and times of George Mozart

The life and times of George Mozart

George Mozart (1864-1947) was a musician and burlesque comedian. He wasn’t one of the top music hall stars, but he had a long, successful career as an entertainer. In the 1920s he worked for the Maskelynes at St George’s Hall. His road to success is a fascinating story which tells us much about life as an entertainer in late 19th and early 20th century Britain. Click below to enter his world.

The Davenports: lightning magicians & illusionists

The Davenports: lightning magicians & illusionists

Lewis Davenport and his first wife, Julia, had some success with this act in 1904-09. It was a fast-paced act and, unusually for the first decade of the 20th century, both Lewis and Julia performed the magic. Anne’s talk follows their progress and focuses on the tricks that made up the act. Click below to read how the act developed and what was in it.

Lewis Davenport’s travels in Europe

Lewis Davenport’s travels in Europe

In the 1920s and 1930s most of Lewis Davenport’s bookings were at theatres in Great Britain. However, he did tour South Africa in 1926 and South America in 1927, as well as accepting bookings in Germany and Belgium. In this talk Anne follows Lewis around Europe, pointing out the differences between UK and continental variety, as well as introducing some of the speciality acts with whom Lewis worked.

Click below to join Lewis on his travels.

Oswald Williams at the Leicester Palace in 1914

Oswald Williams at the Leicester Palace in 1914

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.

Psycho at the Museum of London

Psycho at the Museum of London

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.

Summer in Aberystwyth – seaside entertainment in 1922

Summer in Aberystwyth – seaside entertainment in 1922

Anne Goulden has used private letters from Charles Glenrose to Claude Chandler to paint a picture of the 1922 season in Aberystwyth. The letters provide an insight that would never be obtained from contemporary printed material. Despite Glenrose’s hope and optimism, it was a tough season.