Howard & Wyndham Ltd Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains scrapbooks, bound scripts, bound volumes of daily bills and business records relating to Howard & Wyndham Ltd.

Administrative / Biographical History

Howard & Wyndham Ltd. operated for over 90 years as a theatre-owning, management and production company, running a number of key theatres, especially in Scotland. They were particularly noted for their pantomimes which were carefully tailored to the tastes and interests of local audiences.

The company was founded in 1895 to extend an existing 1883 partnership between Irish-born John B. Howard (1841-1895) and Edinburgh born Frederick WP Wyndham (1853-1930) which had first formed in order to run the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. The company also owned the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, Theatre Royal, Glasgow and leased the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow. Howard died of a stroke only weeks after the company was formed but it continued to bear his name until it was dissolved in the 1960s.

In 1904 the company built and opened the King's Theatre, Glasgow, and in 1912 took over the Robert Arthur group of six theatres (four in England - the Theatre Royal, Newcastle in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Royal Court in Liverpool, and the Royal Court in Nottingham - and two in Scotland), in Dundee and Aberdeen. Wyndham continued to run the company productions until 1928, when he retired. Howard & Wyndham Ltd bought the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, appointing its builder, A. Stewart Cruikshank, as managing director of the group, and also making C.B. Cochran a director. The company became based at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh. Howard & Wyndham also held shares and directorships in Moss Empires, London West End theatres, and were the major shareholders in H.M. Tennent & Company. They later expanded into television production.On his father's death in 1949, Stewart Cruikshank junior succeeded as managing director, and concentrated the offices and wardrobe in London while continuing the production facilities and stores in Edinburgh.

In the 1960s Howard & Wyndham Ltd. sold its theatres in England and Scotland to the city councils, with one exception, their British flagship out of over 20 theatres, the Alhambra Theatre Glasgow which Glasgow Corporation declined. It closed in 1969 to meet company debts in film and television production.The collection does not constitute a formal, comprehensive archive of the business but does include a wide variety of unique business records and other material reflecting the company’s activities during the twentieth century.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift, 2003

Separated Material

This collection contained 114 scripts, which were separated and integrated to the library collection of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to Howard & Wyndham Ltd productions, as well as 20th century theatre in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.