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THM/116 - Philip Gibbons collection of William Squire materials
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Philip Gibbons collection of William Squire materials

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116
Dates of Creation 1937-1989
Name of Creator Philip Gibbons
Language of Material English
Physical Description 41 files (3 boxes)

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a large number of letters and greetings cards sent to Gibbons from Squire (1937-1988) as well as sets of letters sent to Squire from various friends in the theatre and arts worlds (1946-1985) and his nieces (1955-1962), personal photographs of Squire (c.1942-1953), a copy of a print of Squire as Oberon in an RSC production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1949), excerpts from Gibbons's diaries (1937 and 1953), national press cuttings relating to Squire's career and death (1953-1989), a number of fringe venue theatre programmes (1937-1976) and a handwritten make-up list for Squire as Menenius Agrippa in Coriolanus (1954).

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1920 in Neath, Wales, William Squire began his working life in a bell foundry before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following graduation and a five-year spell in the Royal Navy during WW2, he joined the Old Vic Company and began his stage career, staying for two seasons and touring America with them.

Squire's first performance on stage was in 1937 with the Bedford Guild of Players in a production of Jerome K. Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1948 and played Laertes to Paul Scofield and Robert Helpmann's Hamlet in his first season. Performances in Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night's Dream followed. His Christmas performances as Ratty in Toad of Toad Hall proved popular, and he continued to play the role at both Stratford and West End theatres well into the 1950s.

Leaving the RSC, Squire worked seasons at both the Bristol Old Vic and London's Old Vic, where he played Horatio to Richard Burton's Hamlet (he was later to replace Burton as King Arthur in Camelot on Broadway in 1963). He played the role of Vladimir in the original London production of Waiting for Godot (1955) and appeared in a production of TS Eliot's final play, The Elder Statesman (1958).

During a varied career he also played Captain Cat in Under Milk Wood (1956), Teddy Lloyd in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1966), Headmaster Sunstroke in Spring Awakening (1974) and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (1976).

His television work included the BBC series Callan and film roles ranged from Aeschines in Alexander the Great (1956) and Roy Martin in The Battle of the River Plate (1957) to the voice of Gandalf in the animated version of The Lord of The Rings (1978).

Married twice, Squire died in 1989.

Arrangement

This collection has been organised into the following series:

  • THM/116/1 - Correspondence from William Squire to Philip Gibbons
  • THM/116/2 - Mixed correspondence to Philip Gibbons
  • THM/116/3 - Photographs and images of William Squire
  • THM/116/4 - Philip Gibbons diary excerpts
  • THM/116/5 - Press cuttings
  • THM/116/6 - Theatre programmes, flyers and newsletters
  • THM/116/7 - Make-up list for Coriolanus

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archival material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

A number of theatre programmes for West-End (London) and Stratford-upon-Avon theatres have been removed and added to the core collection of the V&A Theatre and Performance archives.

The following items have been separated from the collection:

  • Painting of Squire by Duncan Grant, date unknown. (V&A museum acquisition number S.847-1991)
  • Watercolour of Squire as Ratty in Toad of Toad Hall by Dennis James, date unknown.
  • Costume designs by Ralph Adron for Volpone, date unknown.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed by Philip Gibbons, 1989.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to William Squire may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Personal Names

Grant, Duncan. ( 1885-1978)
Jerome, Jerome K.. ( 1859-1927)
Scofield, Paul. ( 1922-2008)
Helpmann, Robert. ( 1909-1986)
Burton, Richard. ( 1925-1984)
Eliot, Thomas Stearns. ( 1888-1965)

Cataloguing Info

Title Philip Gibbons collection of William Squire materials
Creation Created by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2012-09-11
Revisions

Correspondence from William Squire to Philip Gibbons

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1
Dates of Creation 1937-1988
Physical Description 18 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain a number of handwritten letters, postcards and greetings cards written to Williams by Squire, dated 1937-1988. These cover major periods of Squire's career, including his early days at the Birmingham Rep, at Stratford in the 1940s and touring America in Camelot in the 1960s.

Arrangement

These files are arranged in chronological order. Gibbons had previously grouped these items together by year or a range of years. Some groups come with an accompanying envelope featuring a short note briefly describing the contents. Within folders items are also arranged chronologically.


Correspondence: 1937-1939

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/1
Dates of Creation 1937-1939
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1937-1939. Envelope reads: "When we were meeting frequently and there was little cause for correspondence."


Correspondence: 1940

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/2
Dates of Creation 1940
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1940.


Correspondence: 1941

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/3
Dates of Creation 1941
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1941.


Correspondence: 1942-1943

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/4
Dates of Creation 1942-1943
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1942-1943. Envelope reads: "Precious letters from exile." Many of these letters were posted from Sierra Leone, Africa.


Correspondence: 1944

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/5
Dates of Creation 1944
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1944.


Correspondence: 1945

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/6
Dates of Creation 1945
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1945.


Correspondence: 1946-1947

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/7
Dates of Creation 1946-1947
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1946-1947. Envelope reads: "When Bill was in London and there was little cause for correspondence."


Correspondence: 1948

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/8
Dates of Creation 1948
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1948. Envelope reads: "Stratford-on-Avon."


Correspondence: 1949

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/9
Dates of Creation 1949
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1949.


Correpondence: 1950

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/10
Dates of Creation 1950
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1950.


Correspondence: 1951

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/11
Dates of Creation 1951
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1951.


Correspondence: 1952

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/12
Dates of Creation 1952
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1952.


Correspondence: 1954-1961

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/13
Dates of Creation 1954-1961
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1954-1961.


Correspondence: 1955

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/14
Dates of Creation 1955
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1955. Envelope reads: "Spain." These were written whilst Squire was in Spain filming Robert Rossen's Alexander the Great.

Personal Names

Rossen, Robert. ( 1908-1966)

Correspondence: 1961-1963

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/15
Dates of Creation 1961-1963
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1961-1963. Envelope reads: "From New York where he (Squire) went in Aug 1961 to take over leading part in "Camelot"."

Squire replaced Richard Burton as King Arthur in Camelot at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway.

Personal Names

Burton, Richard. ( 1925-1984)

Correspondence: 1964-1972

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/16
Dates of Creation 1964-1972
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1964-1972.


Correspondence: 1973-1988

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/17
Dates of Creation 1973-1988
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence dated 1973-1988.


Correspondence: undated Christmas cards

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/1/18
Dates of Creation c. 1940s-1980s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Undated Christmas cards.


Mixed correspondence to Philip Gibbons

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/2
Dates of Creation 1937-1985
Physical Description 14 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain items of correspondence from a number of friends in the theatre and arts worlds (1946-1985), as well as his nieces (1955-1962).

Arrangement

The files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Within folders the items of correspondence are arranged chronologically where possible. Undated items follow sequences of dated items.


Correspondence from Ralph Adron

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/2/1
Dates of Creation 1960-1961
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Items of correspondence from the designer Ralph Adron, dated 1960-1961.


Correspondence from Harry Andrews

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/116/2/2
Dates of Creation 1949
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Item of correspondence from the actor Harry Andrews, dated 1949. A note attached written by Gibbons reads: "On gift of an engraving by Agnes Miller Parker of a Shakespeare character".

Personal Names

Andrews, Harry. ( 1911-1989)