Victorian and Edwardian Playbills

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection covers the years 1786 to the 1950s, with an emphasis on the 19th century. Both London and provincial theatres are well represented. The collection is particularly rich in material from:

  • Britannia Theatre, Hoxton
  • Theatre Royal, Adelphi
  • Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Theatre Royal, Haymarket
  • Grand Theatre, Brighton
  • Theatre Royal, Brighton
  • Theatre Royal, Bristol
  • New Theatre, Bridgnorth
  • Theatre Royal, Birmingham
  • Theatre Royal, Hull

A small number of the playbills are illustrated, and there are also full-colour pictorial posters from the turn of the 20th century.

This section includes 42 photocopied playbills from Exeter, published in The Exeter Garland: facsimiles of early items in Devon libraries; &. Playbills and entertainments, 1756-1793, Devon Library Services, 1991.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact specialcollections@kent.ac.uk to make an appointment for viewing. You will need to give a list of files you would like to see. Please be aware that we need at least half a day's notice of a visit.

Note

Similar material can be found in the Bigwood Collection, in UKC/BIGWOOD/POSTERS. These playbills are largely from the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton.

Other Finding Aids

Item level catalogue of playbills available on the Special Collections website

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies permitted in accordance with copyright law and at the discretion of the Specialist Collections and Academic Archives team.

Appraisal Information

Permanent

Custodial History

The playbills in the collection come from various sources. Some came with the Melville collection, which was given to the University by Joan Melville, and the rest were mostly purchased by the University, some at auction.

Accruals

No further accruals expected

Bibliography

The Exeter Garland: facsimiles of early items in Devon libraries; &. Playbills and entertainments, 1756-1793, Devon Library Services, 1991.