Maudie Edwards Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This archive consists of chiefly unbound professional papers such as scripts, lyrics and music. These documents range in size and quality from complete scripts to unidentified fragments of lyrics. Much of this material is annotated, indicating the processes of drafting and performance. The rest of the collection covers contracts and business papers, correspondence, photographs, press cuttings and promotional material. The collection does also contain a few personal papers, such as copies of her birth, marriage and death certificates, and an identity card for her employment to entertain the troops.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elizabeth Maud Edwards (1906-1991), known throughout her career as Maudie Edwards, was born in Neath, Wales. A popular principal boy in pantomime, she was a versatile comedy performer with a career spanning theatre, radio, television and film. She first performed at the age of 4 with her father and older sister, May, in a show entitled ' Ned Edwards and His Two Little Queenies' at Vints Palace Theatre, Neath. She later established her own repertory company, the Maudie Edwards Players, based at the Palace Theatre, Swansea.

Known as 'the voice of Wales', she became a popular radio personality on programmes including " Welsh Rarebit ", " Variety Bandbox " and " Worker's Playtime ". Her performances were often in the music hall style, making use of her talent for regional dialects and her singing voice. As well as performing material written and adapted for her by writers such as Lew Jacobson, she also wrote some of her own material, most notably the words and music for the song " Barmitzwah Boy ". Her skill for entertaining was made use of during the Second World War, when she was employed by the Entertainments National Service Association ( E.N.S.A.) to entertain the troops.

She made her film debut in " Flying Doctors " in 1936, and appeared in several films after this such as " The Shipbuilders " (1943) and " Girdle of Gold " (1952). In the 1940s she also provided a singing voice for film stars such as Margaret Lockwood in " I'll Be Your Sweetheart " (1945) and Diana Dors in " Diamond City " (1949). Her popularity was demonstrated by her appearance with Frank Sinatra at the London Palladium in 1950.

In 1960 she appeared as the character Elsie Lappin in the first two episodes of long-running television soap opera," Coronation Street ", speaking the first words in the show's history. It was after the release of the films " Under Milk Wood " and " Burke & Hare " in 1972 that she retired to Putney, London, where she lived until her death in 1991.

Arrangement

The original working order of this archive had largely been lost. It has therefore been divided into 9 series:

  • THM/108/1: Performance Papers
  • THM/108/2: Sound Recordings
  • THM/108/3: Contracts and Business Papers
  • THM/108/4: Papers Relating to Professional Career
  • THM/108/5: Promotional Material
  • THM/108/6: Photographs
  • THM/108/7: Press Cuttings and Magazines
  • THM/108/8: Correspondence
  • THM/108/9: Personal Papers

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

The Maudie Edwards Archive was deposited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1993, as a gift from Geoffrey Fooks, brother-in-law of Maudie Edwards.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History

These papers were in the custody of Maudie Edwards until her death in 1991, after which time they remained with her husband, William Fooks.

Accruals

No further accruals to this collection are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material may be found in several collections, including the biographical and photograph files. Please ask for details.

Information on access to material in the Theatre and Performance collections is available on the research pages.

Geographical Names