Over the years I have collected an enormous amount of pantomime programmes, posters and handbills. I keep my collection in two separate filing cabinets- "Ancient"- from Victorian up to the 1960's and "Modern"- from the 1970's onwards. In January 2003 my collection was featured in the magazine 'Collect It!'

"Cinderella" seems to take up quite a bit of space in my collection (after all - Peter and I have over twenty-five years of our own in there!).

 My oldest "Cinderella" programme dates from 1893. Other favourites in the files are the 1910 Lyceum production, the 1908 "Cinderella" at the Adelphi Theatre with Phyllis Dare and Dan Rolyat in the cast, and from the1930's the Drury Lane "Revnell & West" pantomime. From the 1940's the Arthur Askey pantomime produced by Emile Littler in 1947, and the George Formby (and Dick Emery) production at Liverpool Empire in 1949.

Other "treasures" include Danny La Rue and his stage partner "Alan Haynes" as The Ugly Sisters in 1964 at the New Oxford, and several scripts from  1906,1926 and 1931 productions of the pantomime.

I've collected unusual objects relating to pantomime such as Biscuit tins and snow globes, stamps and figures in ceramic, miniature coaches, crystal slippers and even the world's tiniest panto programme- "Humpty Dumpty" at Leeds Grand- created for a doll's house, and (using a very strong magnifier) completely readable, even if it measures 1 cm by 1.5 cm!

I have Russian wooden nesting dolls shaped like "Puss in Boots", Beer mats commemorating Morecambe & Wise in "Sleeping Beauty" at the Bristol Hippodrome, Victorian prints of Harlequin and Pantaloon, posters of Joseph Grimaldi at Sadlers Wells, playing cards, toy theatres, magic lantern slides, costume designs and postcards of Pantomime stars of the 1900's..a collection that increases all the time, and space that decreases!

This is my collection- and, modest as it is, it just reinforces the importance that an institution like "The Theatre Museum" has in the centre of London. The V&A Theatre Museum will hopefully soon reveal plans to remain in London -possibly sharing it's enormous collection with the Royal Opera House's own- let's hope so- otherwise who else am I going to donate this little lot to!

Of all the "treasures" that have briefly passed through my hands the most exciting was the hundred or so original designs by Wilhelm- now housed safely at the Theatre Museum. (See our article on Wilhelm). When we opened them in a terraced house in Newbury Park, and later spread them out on the carpet of my spare room to catalogue them all, it was amazing to see how clear and bright they were, despite having vanished for over a hundred years. The Theatre Museum has my support, and I'm sure it has the support of all dedicated fans of pantomime- visit it next time you are in Covent Garden and lend it your best support- your time!


The Nigel Ellacott Collection! (A small part of it!)

A tiny Cinderella coach from a charm bracelet, an enamelled jointed "ugly Sister" miniature, a miniature "pumpkin" tea pot and a candlestick with Cinderella fleeing the Palace.

Click on image to enlarge


Gerald Scarfe Cartoon

Presented by Rolf Harris - 1986 and 1987

Large cut-out given to Peter & Nigel after they did the Post Office Christmas promotion. One of these stood in every Post Office in the UK. Nigel was particularly upset to pass by in February and see his legs sticking out of a rubbish skip!

Miniature coach & Ponies: From the film "The Slipper and the Rose".
Presented to Peter and Nigel by Les Dennis- Hull pantomime 1989

Small Coach Jewel Box

A ceramic "Buttons" bell-boy with a programme from the Lyceum Theatre's "Cinderella" circa 1921

A Coach Christmas Decoration

Poster from 1898 Theatre Royal Nottingham presented to Peter and Nigel by Peter Baldwin. Peter (who owns "Pollocks" in Covent Garden) found two of these which he presented to us on the last night of our run in 1997 at the Theatre Royal Nottingham.

Ceramic Slipper, Glass Slipper and Cushion

A "Mackeson" beermat advertising Eric Morecambe & Ernie Wise (presidents of the British Beermat Collectors Society!) in "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Hippodrome, Bristol 1964

A Panto Cine boxed set- with viewer. Circa 1930's/'40's "complete with cine viewer and 3 LONG films!" The very short film reels are cartoons of pantomimes- scenes from "Cinderella", "Jack & The Beanstalk" and "Dick Whittington"- the original owner has written her name on the box: so if Christine Winters of Heamoor wonders what happened to it- it's in my collection!

A set of "Pantomime" Snap Playing Cards, circa 1930

The world's smallest pantomime programme?
Printed for a doll's house- it is from Emile Littler's "Humpty Dumpty" at the Grand Theatre Leeds, and, with the aid of a magnifying glass is completely readable from cover to cover! (possibly 1 12th scale?)

A collection of miniature pantomime objects- The doll's house programme, an enamelled "Puss In Boots" decoration from Germany, A badge of Mona Vivian sold during one of her pantomimes in the 1920's and a replica miniature cake tin by Macfarlane for a "Dick Whittington Cake". Also a cigarette card of the celebrated "Peter Pan" Jean Forbes-Robinson printed by Hignett Bros & Co as part of their "Actors Natural & Character Studies" set

The Children's Book of Pantomimes" published by Collins 1930

David Samuelson, the son of G.B (Bertie) Samuelson, and nephew of Julian Wylie informed us that the "Children's Book of Pantomimes" published by Collins in 1930 was in fact the creation and invention (Patent no: 357, 148 of 1930) of G.B. (Bertie Samuelson. This remarkable Pantomime book converts into a Toy Theatre, together with Proscenium arch, stage floor and scenery, along with characters and a script by "Uncle Bertie!" See our article on the impresarios Wylie-Tate .

Jack- as in “Jack & Jill” was produced by the Merrythought Toy Company in the 1930’s exclusively for the Pantomime Impresario Emile Littler. It says so on the tag sewn to his left foot! Jack was one of the early forms of what we know call “off-sales” or Merchandising for pantomimes. Littler’s company sold this hand made toy doll, along with “Jill” at the pantomime.

This page was last updated 14th December 2006

Free JavaScripts provided by The JavaScript Source