Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS916
TitleTheatre playbills and newspaper cuttings relating to Birmingham
Extent1 volume
DescriptionVolume comprising over 200 Birmingham theatre playbills, mostly for the Theatre Royal and mostly pre-dating 1860. Comprises five playbills for The Theatre, Birmingham, 1801-1806; 196 for the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, 1838-1864; a small number relating to other Birmingham theatres; and some relating to theatres in London. Also comprises five broadsides including one concerning a woman selling her husband at Cradley. A large number of Birmingham newspaper cuttings, dated 1920s and 1950s, are interspersed with playbills throughout the volume. Many newspaper cuttings include manuscript dates of publication, possibly recorded by Edwin A. Dearn. The playbills are largely arranged chronologically.

Playbills attached to sheets of brown paper, tied together and enclosed in modern boards. The original nineteenth-century black leather label stamped in gold 'Birmingham Play Bills' is attached to the front cover and the bookplate of E. A. Dearn is attached to the front paste-down.
LocationOutsize volume on standrd shelves
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameDearn, Edwin Arthur (1892-1980), magician
Administrative HistoryEdwin Arthur Dearn was born in Birmingham in 1892, his birth being registered in the December quarter of that year. He lived in China for a number of years and performed magic, ventriloquism and impersonations in the Shanghai area. One Chinese item is included in the volume. He died in Sydney, Australia. It is likely these playbills were with Dearn in China and then Australia.

Sources: information supplied by the donor; Free Births, Marriages and Deaths website accessed 15 March 2017 via
Custodial HistoryDonor acquired the volume from an Australian bookseller.
AcquisitionPresented March 2017
Archival NoteDescription prepared by Mark Eccleston, March 2017, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997


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