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.

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.

The date is probably late December 1904, because the season started on Boxing Day. J.N. Maskelyne was busy making arrangements for the opening of St. George’s Hall, so he arranged for Martin Chapender to take over the final weeks of the lease on the Egyptian Hall, prior to its demolition. The season ran from Boxing Day to Saturday 21 January 1905. The show was very well received by audiences and the press.

29th consecutive year, 1901-1902. The bill includes the sketch ‘The Entranced Fakir’, the first performance of which was on 6 April 1901, according to the book on the Maskelynes at the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness. The date must therefore be no earlier than this. It was in ‘The Entranced Fakir’ that Maskelyne first showed his latest, world beating, levitation. J.N. Maskelyne’s plate spinning and Valadon were also on the bill. Animated Photographs were presented by Mr. E.A. Maskelyne and accompanied by the Mechanical Orchestra.

Devant announces new animated photographs for his ‘Cinematographe’. He also explains that to ensure he is able to obtain good pictures of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897, he has 140 seats for disposal on Mr. Maskelyne’s Grand Stand. The fascinating story of Maskelyne’s Grand Stand can be found in ‘John Nevil Maskelyne’s Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee speculation‘ by Dr Edwin A Dawes on this website.

27th consecutive year, 1899-1900. The programme includes Herr Valadon who first appeared at the Egyptian Hall on 6 August 1900, according to the book by George Jenness. The programme date must therefore be after 6 August 1900. The animated photographs included the recent solar eclipse, taken in North Carolina by Mr. Nevil Maskelyne. Apart from the colour of the paper, the programme is the same as programme Ref. no. N2078.

27th consecutive year, 1899-1900. According to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness, the sketch ‘Will, the Witch, and the Watchmen’ was introduced on 23 December 1899. This programme is therefore probably in the period of end December 1899 to 14 April 1900, on which date the sketch ‘My Twin Spirit’ was first produced. This programme must have come apart into two sheets and a previous owner taped them together. This was apparently done incorrectly, because the Maskelyne and Cooke programmes have the bill on pages 2 and 3, whereas for this programme the bill appears to be on pages 2 and 4!

27th consecutive year, 1899-1900. The programme includes Herr Valadon who first appeared at the Egyptian Hall on 6 August 1900, according to the book by George Jenness. This is consistent with a handwritten note on page 1 saying that the programme was for 3.00pm on 2 November. The animated photographs included the recent solar eclipse, taken in North Carolina by Mr. Nevil Maskelyne. Apart from the colour of the paper, the programme is the same as programme Ref. no. N2081.