Millie Howes, actress, and "The Devil Bird", theatre sketch: papers

Scope and Content

This archive consists of music scores; manuscripts; legal documents of ownership; contracts of actors; photographs and other documents relating to the sketch The Devil Bird.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Devil Bird was a musical theatre sketch owned, adapted and performed by the actress and music hall performer Millie Howes. Millie Howes was the stage name of Jane Bartlett (neé Tiplow), who bought the sketch from its author, Frederick Bowyer, in September 1886 with her husband, John Bartlett. The sketch had music and songs composed by J. Baker for a 10 part orchestra.

The Devil Bird was a sketch that required three actors, for which Millie Howes employed Leo Harmont and Florrie Frederick. The Devil Bird Company toured musical halls, we have evidence of performances at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties; Varieties, Hoxton and The Metropolitan Music Hall.

There is also evidence that Millie Howes had some difficulty confirming her sole ownership of the sketch after buying the rights entirely from Frederick Bowyer after finding that the sketch was being performed by Lottie Collins in America. A note also shows that there were simlarities made between the sketch of The Devil Bird and another entitled The Country Squire.

There is no clear note as to when the production of The Devil Bird ended.

Jane Bartlett (Millie Howes) died February 3rd 1942.


  • THM/71/1 Personal papers of Millie Howes
  • THM/71/2 Photographs
  • THM/71/3 Scripts and other material relating to The Devil Bird
  • THM/71/4 Music Manuscripts for The Devil Bird
  • THM/71/5 Business and legal papers relating to The Devil Bird
  • THM/71/6 Publicity and Marketing relating to The Devil Bird

Access Information

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:

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

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs D. Salsbury-Potter in 1995.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:


No further accurals are expected

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Millie Howes, as well as The Devil Bird in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.