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Silk programme

Silk programme

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham, England (printed)

  • Date:

    1899 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Upton, James (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Credit Line:

    Antony Hippisley Coxe Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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This programme with its decorative panels and lithographic images of the interior and exterior of the building, was made to be folded in three like a paper programme, but is of silk to commemorate the opening night of the Tower of Varieties and Circus in Hurst Street, Birmingham, on 9th October 1899. This was a music hall with a circus ring which could be flooded for aquatic spectacle. It had a tall Moorish tower which can be seen in the images of the theatre on the programme cover.

Designed by the prolific theatre architect F.W. Lloyd, the interior of the theatre was completely reconstructed in 1900 as the Tivoli Theatre of Varieties, with a neo-classical interior and seating for over 2000. In 1963 the foyer and main fa├žade were completely refurbished and the tower demolished. With later improvements, the theatre is now known as the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Physical description

Silk programme on cream silk printed in blue ink with minimal integral fringe on top and bottom edges, printed on both sides. Divided into three sections recto and verso along the lines of a folding printed programme, with images on the front of the circus ring, a chariot driven by a winged driver, the facade of the building, the manager Harry Calver, the cupola of the theatre, musician cherubs, a rearing horse, and internal views of the theatre. Produced for the 'Grand Opening Night' of The Tower of Varieties & Circus, Hurst Street, Birmingham. A note on the programme mentions that: 'The electric light is introduced in a novel and effective manner.'

The list of acts is printed verso: 1.Overture 'Masaniello', Auber; 2. Alfred Clark, Juggling Act; 3. Martinettes, 'The Music Master'; 4. Valdo, Entree; 5. Yesokichi, Perpendicular Rope; 6. Atlas and Vulcana, Modern Athletes; 7. George Leglere Troupe; 8. Cliffe Berzao, Wrestling and Boxing Pony, also his Wonderful Leaping Boarhound 'Pasha'; 9. Bros. Leonard, Horizontal Bar; 10. Edgar and Eugene, Banjoists; John Frederick Clark, Somersault Act; 12. Celest, The Wire King; 13. Escaladors, Double Ladder Balancers; 14. Bros. Noel, Entree; 15. The Zoes, Flying Trapeze; 16. Bros. Clark, Double Jockey Act; Madlle Tamamoto, Sword Walker; 18. The Mayos, Funny Skaters; 19, Willie Richards,. alias 'Rabbit', will make himself generally useful during the evening; 20. God Save the Queen. The name of the Equestrian Director and Ring Master is credited as Mr. R. Roberts, and the Musical Director, Mr. E. Davis.

Place of Origin

Birmingham, England (printed)


1899 (printed)


Upton, James (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Height: 28.5 cm, Width: 43.0 cm

Descriptive line

Silk programme printed in blue typography on cream silk, for the 'Grand Opening Night of the Tower of Varieties & Circus', 9 October 1899. Featuring images of the Birmingham Tower of Varieties on the front, and its manager, Harry Calver. Antony Hippisley Coxe Collection.


Ink; Silk

Subjects depicted

Theatre; Horses; Cherubs; Circus ring; Birmingham; Calver, Harry


Entertainment & Leisure

Collection code


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