Rita Bernard Archive

Scope and Content

The archive consists of chiefly photographic promotional materials as well as unbound and hand-written running orders, lyrics and sketch scripts relating to Bernard and Brown performances. Files also contain a small amount of personal ephemera items.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1903/1904, Rita Bernard was a variety and comedy star for almost all of her life, and enjoyed success as one half of the Bernard and Brown comedy duo, having partnered with Lancastrian comedienne Lena Brown. Their popularity peaked during the 1940's and early 50's, when they would appear regularly at the London Palladium and other leading London music halls. Amongst their most popular acts was the Two Little Girls in Blue policewoman double-act, not to mention their outings as Buttercup and Daisy, the ugly sisters in Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, a role which they reprised for four years in a row (1942/3 - 1945/6). The duo split in the mid-50's and both took early retirement from showbusiness. Bernard was divorced from film producer Jack Hanbury and had no children, she died in 1988, aged 85.


The original working order of this archive has been lost, and items within it are largely undated, therefore composite series have been created.


  • THM/390/1 Promotional Items
  • THM/390/2 Photographs
  • THM/390/3 Scripts
  • THM/390/4 Lyrics
  • THM/390/5 Running Orders
  • THM/390/6 Costume Lists
  • THM/390/7 Personal Ephemera

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 Rita Bernard Archive was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in September 2009, as a gift.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Veronica Castro, Archive Assistant, V&A Theatre and Performance Collections, February 2011

Conditions Governing Use

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


No accruals expected.