R.A.F. Theatre Pageant Unit; Royal Air Force; Air Ministry, London; John Pudney (1909-77), author; Ralph Reader (1903-82), theatrical impressario; W. J. Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre historian ]
All items from 1947. From various locations in England, including the following in London: The Air Ministry, Adastral House. W. J. Macqueen-Pope, 359 Strand. Ralph Reader Limited, Astoria House, Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
It seems curious that so little information should have survived regarding this 'mammoth show', one of Ralph Reader's 'gigantic pageants', 'sponsored by the Air Council' in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and in the provinces, and in which Tony Hancock played an early and prominent part (in four roles, see Item Nine below).
T. D. Clarke [ Tom Clarke ], Licensee and Manager, The Argyle Theatre, Birkenhead [ the Wirral; Merseyside; music hall; W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre historian ]
On illustrated letterhead of the Argyle Theatre, Birkenhead. 28 July 1945.
The Clarke family ran the Argyle for fifty years from 1890 to 1940, during which period it was one of the best-known provincial theatres. It opened as the Argyle Music Hall in 1868, and between 1876 and 1890 was named the Prince Of Wales Theatre, being used mainly to stage plays. In 1890 the focus returned to music hall and variety and it was renamed the Argyle Theatre. Its archives are in the University of Sheffield. 2pp., 12mo. In fair condition, on lightly-aged paper, somehwhat grubby and creased at foot of leaf.
Michael Martin Harvey (1897-1975), British actor, son of Sir John Martin-Harvey (1863-1944) [ W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
Both letter and typescript from Rowstock Cottage, Rowstock, Didcot, Berkshire. Both undated.
ONE: Letter. 1p., 8vo. In fair condition, on aged paper. Smudged signature. He is sending the play, which he thinks has 'originality and charm and would be very funny. Who could play "Chapeau"? - I could, but I expect I'm too old!!!!' TWO: Typescript of play. 91pp., 4to. With autograph emendations. In good condition, on aged paper, in worn card covers.
[ W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
'The property of W. Macqueen Pope. | 33, Etheldene Avenue. | Muswell Hill. | N.'
 + 15pp., 4to. In good condition, lightly aged. Nicely presented, attached by brass studs in grey covers, with paper labels on front. Unpublished. 'Who's Who in the Theatre' records this title among 4 plays by Macqueen-Pope.
Basil Francis [ W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
Letter on Francis's letterhead of 115 Kenilworth Court, S.W.15. 14 November 1950. Both typescript with same address; neither dated.
ONE: Letter. 1p., landscape 12mo. Aged and creased. Addressed to 'My dear Popie'. He is sending the revised version of the play, 'which has been tightened up considerably from the earlier draft', asking whether it has 'commercial possibilities', or 'stinks'. He feels that five minutes with Pope gives him 'more practical dope on the theatre than 5 years at the RADA!' TWO: Early typescript of 'Death in Act IV'. The letter ends with a reference to 'Fanny K', Francis's 1950 biography 'Fanny Kelly of Drury Lane'. 68pp., 8vo. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper.
'Dick M. Adelar' (pseudonym of J. B. Platnauer) [ W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
Letter from the Ministry of Works Press Office, on government letterhead of Lambeth Bridge House, London. 7 May 1946. Typescript undated, to be returned to Platnauer at 43 Arlington Lodge, Baytree Rd, London SW2.
ONE: Letter: 1p., 12mo. In good condition. Pope's 'stimulating verve' over 'an excellent lunch', at which 'Stoll' (a member of the family of Sir Oswald Stoll) was present, emboldens Platnauer to hope that his play might be 'a commercial success, despite the admittedly rational principles upon which theatrical choice is based today? Tastes change - usually before the pundits are aware of it.
Allan Aynesworth [ born Edward Abbot-Anderson ] (1864-1959), English actor whose career spanned six decades [ Cyril Maude; W. Macqueen-Pope ]
Both from Larkwood, off Chobham Road, Camberley, Surrey. Letter to Maude dated 14 February 1942; letter to MacQueen-Pope dated 9 April 1942.
BThe five items in fair condition, lightly-aged, with slight rust staining from paperclip. In a difficult hand. ONE: ALS to Macqueen-Pope, 20 March 1941. On his Larkwood letterhead, with 'From Allan Aynesworth' at head. Undated. 3pp., landscape 12mo. Providing a deal of information about his association with Maude, the last page beginning: 'Friendship about 50 years. We joined the Garrick & Beefsteak Clubs where we dined together with so many of our Theatre Friends Inc. Wyndham Irving Alexander Hare & Kendal to name a few.
Jonathan Routh (1927-2008), television presenter who brought 'Candid Camera' to Britain [ W. Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre historian; Lily Brayton (1876-1963), actress and singer ]
On 'Everybody's' letterhead, 114 Fleet Street, London. 20 December [ no year ].
1p., 8vo. On aged and creased paper. Lily Braytonis is a 'vague relative' of his, and she sends her 'good wishes [...] a propos the Chu Chin Chow article'. She would like to 'read through the relevant proofs' and Routh sends on her address. Brayton appeared in more than 2000 performances of 'Chu Chin Chow'. For more on Routh, see his obituary in the Independent, 8 June 2008.
Paschoal Carlos Magno (1906-1980), Brazilian author [ Evelyn Dagnall [ Mrs T. C. Dagnall ], English dramatic agent; Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
The play without place or date. Evelyn Dagnall's letter on her letterhead as 'Mrs. T. C. Dagnall | Dramatic Agent | in association with | A. M. Heath & Company Ltd.', London. 13 May 1946.
Both items in good condition, on lightly-aged paper. ONE: Typed playscript. 85pp., 4to. Typed in black and red on rectos only. Typed by May Hemery of London. Bound into black card covers, with label on front. TWO: Typed Note Signed to theatre historian W. J. Macqueen-Pope from 'Evelyn Dagnall', i.e. the dramatic critic Mrs T. C. Dagnall.
Edward Fitzball (1792-1873), English playwright [ Charles Kean (1811-1868), English actor, born in Ireland; Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
9 Upper Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square [ London ]. 18 May 1858.
1p., 16mo. In fair condition, on aged paper, laid down on damaged leaf from album. At head, in another hand: 'for Saturday'. Reads: 'My dear Sir: | I shd. feel greatly obliged if you could without inconvenience to yr interest, give me a box, any night this week, to see King Lear.' At head is note in another hand (see below): 'for Saturday'. From the collection of Macqueen-Pope, who has written at the foot of the leaf on which the letter is mounted: 'To Chas Kean Princess's Theatre | Note at top, either by CK or Massingham the boxoffice m[ana]g[e]r.'
H. Hugh Harvey, English musicologist and broadcaster [ The Gaiety Theatre, Aldwych, London; Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
Both on his letterhead, 24 Wessex Gardens, Golder Green, NW11 [ London ]. 12 and 16 January 1950.
Both in good condition, on aged paper. ONE: 2pp., 4to. He reminds Macqueen-Pope that two years previously he was 'kind enough to receive me at your Office and, after a long and most interesting chat on things theatrical (over an hour, as I recall!) you wrote into my copies of your "Drury Lane" and "Carriages at Eleven" two very greatly appreciated inscriptions, by way of friendship'. He now has his 'delightful "Gaiety" and splendid 'Haymarket", and asks for 'another pow-wow' at 359 Strand.
C. B. Cochran [ Sir Charles Blake Cochran ] (1872-1951), English theatre impressario [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre historian; Edward John Henley (1864-1921), actor ]
On his Old Bond Street letterhead. 30 November 1949.
1p., 8vo. In fair condition, lightly aged. He begins by thanking Macqueen-Pope for a 'kindly reference' to him in his 'admirable book about The Gaiety'. He has noted a reference to 'Henly' in the index, and identifies this figure as Edward John Henley, brother of William Ernest Henley, whose poem 'Ballade of Dead Actors' he transcribes. He explains that Henley stayed some time in America after going there with a production of 'Deacon Brodie', a play by his brother and R. L. Stevenson, 'and, in 1897, I made my first production, "John Gabriel Borkman," in New York, with E. J.
Blanche Robey [ née Littler ] (b. 1899), wife of music hall comedian Sir George Robey [ born George Edward Wade ] (1869-1954) [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian ]
On letterhead of 'The Lawns', Arundel Road East [amended in autograph to Arundel Drive], Saltdean Essex. 26 August [no year, but between 1948 and 1954].
2pp., 4to. In fair condition, lightly aged and creased. After beginning 'Dear Popie / | How are you?' she asks what the 'immediate prospects' are for her to 'get a book and a series in the paper running', as she has 'scanned a tremendous amount of George's material' since moving to 'The Lawns'. In a postscript she describes the material as a 'wonderful story for T.V. too to say nothing about the films!', adding that she has 'got G. to record a lot of his old & recent material ready!' Macqueen-Pope was an admirer of Robey's, as his 'The Melodies Linger On: The Story of Music Hall' makes clear.
Paul Bugeja, Maltese author [ Malta; W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre historian ]
Play from 13 Caledonia Mansions, Qui S Sana, Sliema, Malta G.C. Undated [ containing reference to 1942 ]. Bugeja's covering letter from same address, 30 June 1952.
ONE: Typescript.  + 94pp., 4to. Stapled in green tyed wraps. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper; in aged and worn wraps. Stage directions underlined in red pencil, and a handful of minor manuscript changes. 'The action of this play takes place in Malta G.C.
W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre historian
Drafts without place or date. Covering letter to Poke dated 20 January 1951 [ without place ].
ONE: The earlier of the two drafts, titled 'It Was Top of the Bill | The Story of Music Hall. | by | W. Macqueen-Pope.' 14pp., 4to. Paginated 1-12, with two further pages carrying material to be inserted. With a few autograph emendations, including an addition to the ending. Macqueen-Pope writes knowledgeably and with a passion for his theme, which is that 'Music Hall reflected public taste even more accurately than did the "legitimate" Theatre because it was created by the people themselves. The basis of the Drama of the Theatre - was religion.
Naomi Jacob (1884-1964), English author and actress [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), authority on theatre; Teddy Knox of the Crazy Gang's 'Nervo and Knox'; Clarice Mayne, music hall star ]
Both from 'Casa Mickie [ the second spelled 'Casa Micki' ], Gardone Riviera, Lago di Garda, Italy. 16 July [ 1953 ] and 5 August 1953.
Two chatty and characteristic letters. ONE: 15 July . 2pp., 4to. On aged paper, with wear to edges and vertical closed tear at foot. She begins by praising his books 'Ladies First' (1952) and 'Shirtfronts and Sables' (1953), adding in an autograph note 'Yes I bought them when in London.' The first contains 'that wonderfully beautiful tribute to Ellen Terry. I don't know when I have read anything which moved me so deeply, you rose to great heights when you wrote that. You are beginning to run James Agate very close on my shelves'.
Phyllis Hartnoll (1906-1997), theatre historian [ Jack Hylton (1892-1965), impressario; Freda Jackson (1907-1990), actress; W. Macqueen-Pope ]
Correspondence dating from 1948, except for single items from 1947 and 1950. Hartnoll's letters either from Hobbits, Nether Westcote, Kingham, Oxon, or on Oxford University Press letterheads. Other correspondence from various London addresses.
An interesting collection, giving an insight into theatre practices in post-war Britain. Hartnoll is commissioned by the actress Freda Jackson, then at the height of her popularity, to produce an adaptation of the play, Jackson gets impressario Jack Hylton and producer Anthony Hawtrey on board, and there is the inevitable falling out between the actress and the author, with Macqueen-Pope, who is acting as Hartnoll's agent, playing the mediator, as matters become acrimonious.
W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian [ Sydney Walton, publicist ]
[ London, 1941. ]
148pp., 4to. Bound with pink ribbon into grey card wraps with typed label on cover. In fair condition, on aged paper, in worn and aged binding. Pencil note on title page states '40000 words'. An interesting piece of social history during wartime. In a foreword Macqueen-Pope thanks a number of individuals for their assistance, adding that 'the leading characters in this real life story must perforce remain anonymous'.
Joe Corrie [ Joseph Corrie ] (1894-1968), Scottish miner and playwright [ W. Macqueen-Pope [ Walter James Macqueen-Pope ] (1888-1960), theatre manager and theatre historian ]
Hill's Hotel, 41 Princes Square, London W2. Undated. [ Performed at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre, Scotland, circa 1944. ]
For more about Corrie see his entry in the Oxford DNB, which states that 'His most effective mature work, A Master of Men, about the conflict between a mine manager, the mine owners, and the miners, was performed by the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre in 1944.' 111pp., 4to. On paper of various colours. Autograph title-page: 'English Version | A Master of Men | A Play | Joe Corrie | Hill's Hotel | 41 Princes Sq. | London W2 | Tel. Bay. 0118'. (Many of Corrie's plays were written in Lowland Scots.) In good condition, lightly-aged, in worn buff card wraps. With a few autograph emendations.
W. Macqueen-Pope [Walter James Macqueen-Pope] (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian [Elliott O'Donnell (1872-1965), Irish ghost hunter]
On his letterhead, 5-6 Coventry Street, W1. [London] 6 December 1951.
1p., landscape 12mo. In fair condition, on lightly aged and worn paper, with cropped margins. He begins by explaining that O'Donnell's letter has been sent to him 'from Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on the staff of which I am and whose whose [sic] historian I am too'. He continues: 'I fear a night vigil would be of little use so far as the Ghost is concerned. He is a day time visitant. Never yet has he been seen before 9 a.m. or after six p.m. Between those hours - frequently.' He refers O'Donnell to the 'full account' in his book 'Theatre Royal'.
Hannen Swaffer (1879-1962), doyen of English journalists, known as 'The Pope of Fleet Street'; Walter Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian [Odhams Press; Maurice Barbanell]
In very good condition, on aged paper, in a brown card folder. The material in this collection relates to a book that was never published, and included here are copies of two typed letters from WMP to HS, casting light on the nature of this doomed collaborative project. In WMP's first letter, dated 26 July 1955, he writes to 'Dear Swaff' to 'finalise the manner in which your book is to be written'. Presaging future problems he urges him: 'I do entreat you to remember the fact that a book is different to a series of paragraphs. It must have cohesion.
Sir Compton Mackenzie [Sir Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie] (1883-1972) [W. J. MacQueen-Pope [Walter James MacQueen-Pope] (1888-1960)]
Mackenzie's letter on letterhead of Denchworth Manor, by Wantage, Berkshire. 1 January 1951. Copy of MacQueen-Pope's reply dated 5 January 1951, with place not stated.
Mackenzie's letter is 1p., landscape 12mo. 16 lines. Good, on lightly-aged paper, with a crease to one corner. He thanks MP for his 'encouraging letter' and discusses his own 'silly slip about the Faery Queen's entrance' in a radio broadcast: 'I was so much concerned with giving listeners the difference between the O.P. and the Prompt side that it became a question of physician heal thyself.' He continues: 'I wasn't sure of the year Mille Le Garde [sic] sang that song. Probably '97. Rose Dering was the Aladdin. She was second boy. Ted Young was the Widow Twankey.
Hugh Cudlipp [Hubert Kinsman Cudlipp] (1913-1998), editor of the Daily Mirror, 1952-1973 [Walter James Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre manager and historian]
2 January 1952; on Fleet Street letterhead of the Sunday Express.
12mo, 1 p. Good, on lightly-aged paper. He had meant to write to him 'at the end of the series' (of articles by Macqueen-Pope?): 'We took a great deal of trouble in putting the series over well, and I am glad you liked the results.' The 'nonsense at the beginning' was caused by 'a series of misunderstandings'. Ends: 'No doubt we will knock into each other shortly.'