Jack Hylton Archive

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 336 Jack Hylton Archive
  • Dates of Creation
      20th Century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Band Parts 930 cubic metres; Press Cuttings 120 volumes; Photo Albums 40; Programmes 3 500; Scripts 430; 78rpm Records 200

Scope and Content

Contains band arrangements of popular music from 1920-1940. There are volumes of press cuttings with details of Jack Hylton Band performances, theatre productions, personal cuttings and articles on stars that he represented. There are loose photographs of stars, productions and links to Jack Hylton's career. There are programmes of both Jack Hylton productions and those he may have attended. There are original 78rpm records of his band. The collection also includes miscellaneous items relating to Jack Hylton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jack Hylton was born in Great Lever, Bolton on 2nd July 1892. He came from a working class background and, as a boy, would accompany his father on the piano when he sang in clubs. He also performed at an early age as the 'Singing-Mill-Boy'

After the First World War, he went on to play witth the Queen's Dance Orchestra where he wrote arrangements of popular songs. The band started recording under Jack Hylton's name in 1923. Jack became a respected bandleader and was in great demand, so much so that he had to provide bands simultaneously in various locations under his own name. In the 1920s the band developed into an orchestra and had a busy schedule. It toured America and Europe and continuied until the 1940s when the orchestra disbanded due to members being called up for war service.

At this point Jack Hylton's career was already moving towards that of an impresario discovering new stars and managing radio, film and theatre productions from Ballets to Circuses. His productions dominated the London theatres with such productions as 'The Merry Widow', 'Kiss Me Kate' and 'Kismet'.

Some of the stars he managed, appeared in his productions or discovered were Shirley Bassey, Maurice Chevalier, Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe, Arthur Askey, The Crazy Gang, George Formby, Diana Dors, Thora Hird, Noele Gordon and Sid James.

Jack Later went on to work in TV as the Advisor of Light Entertainment for the new ITV channel. He worked in this role until 1959 and was producing stage productions at the same time. Here he was able to promote his stage discoveries on the television as TV stars. He was instrumental in organising various Royal Command Performances and continued supporting theatre productions until his final stage production 'Camelot' in 1965.


  • Band Parts - listed A-Z by title
  • Scripts - listed A-Z by title
  • 78rpm records - listed by track title
  • Theatre Programmes - A-Z by production title or cast member
  • Press Cuttings - by production title or year
  • Photos - by production title
  • Show Orchestral parts - by number title
  • Flyers - by production title

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Lady MacKay (widow of Jack Hylton) and his family.

Other Finding Aids

Listings available from Jack Hylton Web Page

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The whole archive is over 173 linear metres of shelving. We can therefore not give access to the whole archive but need to narrow down what part people are interested in.

Separated Material

Theatre Museum (part of the Victoria and Albert Museum) - Jack Hylton/Adelphi Museum Archive. Ref: THM/134. Blythe House 11b/4. Three boxes of items relating to:

  • Theatre management
  • Circus and funfair management
  • Salaries and wages
  • Theatre agencies

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, the library can supply, at charge, photocopies or digital copies.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact Special Collections in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

Appraisal Information

This is an extensive archive with ongoing projects on listing all the items. Any listings are therefore not comprehensive. To enquire about anything in the archive it is best to consult Special Collections who can advise further.

Custodial History

Prior to us having this archive, it was housed at the Adelphi Theatre London. There is a small amount of items that are deposited with the Theatre Museum, part of the Victoria and Albert Museum so we do not have everything from his career and works.

Personal Names