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THM/392 - Larry Turnbull Circus Scrapbooks and Audio Recordings
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Larry Turnbull Circus Scrapbooks and Audio Recordings

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Language of Material English
Physical Description 27 items

Scope and Content

These scrapbooks and sound recordings were collected and compiled by Larry Turnbull, who was an employee of Bertram Mills' Circus. Spanning over 50 years, the scrapbooks are divided into two groups; the first group being dedicated exclusively to coverage of the Bertram Mills' Circus, the second group covering circus and variety acts in general from Great Britain, Western Europe and Northern America. The sound recordings are Parts 1 and 2 of a BBC Radio programme on the circus.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born c.1910/11, Larry Turnbull lived in Durham. He was employed as a foreman and electrician at Bertram Mills' Circus, which operated from 1920 until 1968.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre & Perfomance's reading room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The reading room is open Tuesday to Friday's 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

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

Acquisition Information

The collection was bought by the V&A Theatre and Performance department at auction in November 2010.

Accruals

No accruals expected.

Archivist's Note

All scrapbooks in original bindings and in good condition.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to the Bertram Mills' Circus, as well as the fields of circus and variety performance in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Subjects

Circus

Personal Names

Mills, Bertram Wagstaff. ( 1873-1938)
Mills, Bernard Notley. ( 1905-1985)
Turnbull, Larry
Mills, Cyril Bertram. ( 1902-1991)

Cataloguing Info

Title Larry Turnbull Circus Scrapbooks and Audio Recordings
Creation Created by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-02-25

Scrapbooks

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 25 scrapbooks

Scope and Content

Spanning over 50 years, the scrapbooks are divided into two groups; the first group being dedicated exclusively to coverage of Bertram Mills' Circus, the second group covering circus and variety acts in general from Great Britain, Western Europe and Northern America.

Personal Names

Turnbull, Larry
Mills, Bertram Wagstaff

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbooks

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 9 scrapbooks

Scope and Content

9 scrapbooks containing material relating primarily to Bertram Mills' Circus and its performers, as well as the occasional mention of other circuses and performers. Cuttings typically consist of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, act advertisements and death notices from magazines as well as clippings from London, Scottish and regional UK newspapers. As such most images are black and white, however some scrapbooks have some full colour images. Some also include ticket stubs and promotional material.


Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 1

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/1
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labeled on front cover with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert. Contains articles and images of Bertram Mills' Circus taken from various photography periodicals as well as a number of articles written by Cyril Mills.

Subjects

Circus

Personal Names

Turnbull, Larry
Mills, Cyril Bertram

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 2

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/2
Dates of Creation c.1950s-1970s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labeled on spine with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert and features colour promotional leaflets pasted onto the inside front and back covers. Also contains playbills, colour as well as black and white images and includes the following:

  • Royal visits in 1953, 55, 60 and 65-66
  • Cabinet visit in 1958
  • Listings for Bernard Mills' Circus television outings
  • Coco the Clown (Nikolai Poliakoff) collects an OBE, 1963
  • BMC giving up touring in 1964 and evenually closing in 1968

Subjects

circus

Personal Names

Poliakoff, Nikolai
Turnbull, Larry

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 3

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/3
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labeled on front cover with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert and features ticket stubs pasted onto the inside front and back covers. Scrapbook contains colour as well as black and white images, and also includes the following:

  • Article entitled The Secret Life of the Circus, written by Bertram W Mills from 1934
  • Articles on the closure of the Bertram Mills Circus and the subequent auctions of goods.

Personal Names

Mills, Bertram Wagstaff
Turnbull, Larry

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 4

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/4
Dates of Creation c.1940s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

The name Harry Turnbull handwritten on spine, and scrapbook labeled on front cover with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert. Scrapbook contains colour as well as black and white images, and also includes the following:

  • Playbill for the 1946/47 Olympia season
  • Colour programme for their Great Britain tour of 1947
  • Royal visit, 1947
  • Prime Minister Clement Attlee and members of the cabinet visit, 1947

Personal Names

Turnbull, Harry
Attlee, Clement

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 5

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/5
Dates of Creation c.1940s-1950s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on spine with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert and features colour promotional leaflets pasted onto the inside front and back covers. Scrapbook contains playbills and colour as well as black and white images, and also includes the following:

  • Image of Mills brothers entertaining John Ringling, of Ringling Brothers Circus fame, 1948
  • Prime Minister Clement Attlee and former PM Churchill visit, 1949
  • The Globe of Death fatality, 1951
  • Royal visits in 1952 and 1953
  • Article on Coco the Clown bankrupcy case, 1953

Personal Names

Poliakoff, Nikolai
Attlee, Clement
Turnbull, Larry

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 6

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/6
Dates of Creation c.1940s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled the Bertram Mills Circus on front cover. Scrapbook contains black and white images, and also includes the following:

  • Pages from the Knockout comic book, featuring a trip to Bertram Mills' Circus at Olympia
  • Interview with Larry Turnbull, including image of same
  • Profiles of the Mills brothers, written by themselves

Personal Names

Turnbull, Larry
Mills, Cyril Bertram
Mills, Bernard Notley

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 7

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/7
Dates of Creation c.1940s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert. Also contains the following:

  • Lighting Plot for show, signed by Cyril Mills, 1948
  • Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and family visit, 1948
  • Image of Princess Elizabeth with Cyril Mills, 1948
  • Prime Minister Clement Attlee visits with Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, 1948
  • Colour image of Cyril and Bernard Mills, 1948

Personal Names

Mills, Cyril Bertram
Mills, Bernard Notley
Attlee, Clement
Turnbull, Larry
Churchill, Winston

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 8

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/8
Dates of Creation c.1940s-1950s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover and spine with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert. Also contains the following:

  • Prime Minister Clement Attlee and former PM Winston Churchill visit, 1949
  • Royal visits, 1949 and 1950
  • Jean Simmons visits, 1950
  • La Tosca acrobat falls from tightrope during performance, 1950

Personal Names

Turnbull, Larry
Simmons, Jean
Attlee, Clement
Churchill, Winston

Bertram Mills' Circus Scrapbook 9

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/1/9
Dates of Creation c.1950s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover and spine with pasted Bertram Mills' Circus advert and features ticket stubs pasted onto the inside front and back covers. Also contains the following:

  • Coverage of circus performers' visits to hospital patients
  • Coverage of a murder at the Big Top, 1950

Personal Names

Turnbull, Larry

General Circus and Variety Scrapbooks

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/2
Dates of Creation c.1930s-1980s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 16 scrapbooks

Scope and Content

16 scrapbooks containing material relating to circus and variety shows, their performers and other characters made famous by an extraordinary characteristic or other from the UK, Western Europe and the United States. Materials consist of cuttings from magazines as well as clippings from London, UK regional and international newspapers. Cuttings typically news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, act advertisements and death notices. As such most images are black and white, however some scrapbooks do have some full colour images.


General Circus and Variety Scrapbook 1

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/2/1
Dates of Creation c.1930s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover with pasted label, which reads: 'Larry Turnbull / Vice President / Proudly Representing The British Circus Ring Association'. Also contains an index of 'Giants of the Past' as well as articles on Tom Thumb and Harry Houdini.

Personal Names

Houdini, Harry
Thumb, Tom
Turnbull, Harry

General Circus and Variety Scrapbook 2

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/392/1/2/2
Dates of Creation c.1930s
Name of Creator Larry Turnbull
Physical Description 1 scrapbook

Scope and Content

Scrapbook features a series of full-page images of radio stars such as Diana Miller and Larry Adler as well as a review of Bertram Mills' Circus tenting tour of 1938.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Middle pages have come away from binding.

Personal Names

Miller, Diana
Adler, Larry
Turnbull, Larry