The Cyril Critchlow Collection

Scope and Content

The Cyril Critchlow collection contains programmes, posters, handbills, books and magic journals. Many of these relate to shows in Blackpool where Cyril resided and includes material on entertainment venues such as Blackpool's North Pier, Central Pier, South Pier, Tower Circus and a small collection of programmes from other national venues.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cyril Critchlow was born in Staffordshire in 1923 and moved with his family to Blackpool as a teenager where they ran a B&B. He became known as a magician during the Second World War.

Throughout his life in Blackpool, he became an avid collector of ephemera relating to Blackpool's entertainment heritage from the 1860s to the present day and is the author of a number of books on Blackpool's entertainment past.

In 1977 he opened the museum of entertainment on Coronation Street in Blackpool where he displayed many items of ephemera. He presented magic shows and gave talks on Blackpool history of entertainment at the Witches Cafe that he also ran.

He was a member of Equity, the Magic Circle, Blackpool Heritage Forum and former Councillor of Blackpool. He was a founder member of the Blackpool Magicians club, becoming at one time President and Honorary Life Member.

He was still entertaining with his magic act in his 80s performing as Wizardo, Harry Potter's grandfather and took part in Sheffield Universities Cabinet of Curiosities held at Blackpool in 2008.

Cyril Critchlow died after a short illness in 2008.


Catalogued according to type

Access Information

Items are currently being catalogued and are will become available via appointment in the NFA reading room as they are catalogued

Acquisition Information

Donations given by Cyril Critchlow during his lifetime. Further donations from his son after his death

Other Finding Aids

Finding aids are available through the NFA website

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jane Donaldson


No further accruals expected