Michael Harding Bequest

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials relating to the theatrical career of Michael Harding, including scrapbooks and notebooks containing cuttings, programmes, photographs, correspondence and personal records and notes. There are also a small number of additional materials (publicity photographs, professional CVs and a brief biography), added to the bequest by the executor of Harding's will.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Leslie 'Michael ' Harding (1919-2011) first appeared on stage at the age of nineteen as part of the Royal Arsenal Co-Operative Greenwich Players. He gained a scholarship to the Webber Douglas Drama School where he adopted the name 'Michael', however his studies were interrupted by his call-up for service during the Second World War. During his time in the Royal Air Force he produced and performed in a number of shows.

Upon leaving the Royal Air Force in 1946, he took up a job at the Perth Repertory Theatre Company, where he worked for two years. Following this he moved to London and continued his stage work, working steadily in the theatre and on radio. In 1959 he was asked to take over the lead role during a performance of Chrisanthemum. This performance garnered favourable reviews, and performances in the West End followed. He worked seasons at the National and the Old Vic, under such luminaries as Joan Plowright, Jonathan Miller and John Gielgud.

His later career saw his venture into film, television and pantomime. In 1982 he toured the Middle East in a production of the musical The Boy Friend.

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 of the estate of Michael Harding, 2011.

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.

Custodial History

A small number of additional materials (publicity photographs, professional CVs and a brief biography), were added to the bequest by the executor of Harding's will.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

The following materials have been removed, and may now be found in the V&A Theatre and Performance library collections:

  • Prompt book for Chrysanthemum: a Musical, typescript/book and lyrics by Neville Phillips and Robin Chancellor, 1959. Marked for Harding’s part of John Blessington-Briggs in this production. PLAYS PHI PROMPT
  • Prompt book for Cinderella, typescript by Dudley Stevens, 1984. Marked for Harding’s part of Baron Hardup in this 1984/5 production at the Grand Theatre, Swansea. PLAYS CIN PROMPT
  • Prompt book for Cinderella, typescript by John Moffat and Tudor Davies, 1989. Marked for Harding’s part of the King in this production. PLAYS CIN PROMPT

Materials relating to specific productions may also be found in the production and production photographs collections. Material may also be found via the V&A's National Art Library catalogue.Please ask for details.