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Collection Description: Cyril Critchlow

Overview of the collection

Title: Cyril Critchlow Collection, Collection Dates: 1860-1990

Extent and Forms of Material: ephemera - 8.65 linear metres (173 boxes), large format - 1 plan chest (9 drawers)

Creator: Cyril Critchlow

Abstract: Cyril Critchlow moved to Blackpool with his parents as a teenager. Starting his career as an assistant to Dr Walford Bodie in Blackpool Olympia, he spent his life in the entertainment industry in Blackpool or preserving it. He was an active performer and magician throughout his life and he played an important role in the Fylde Mystics and Blackpool Magic Club as well as writing a number of books on Blackpool’s history and becoming a Blackpool Councillor.

He campaigned to preserve Blackpool's heritage and became an avid collector on the topic. He opened a museum and theatre on Coronation Street which was much loved.

Repository: Blackpool History Centre, first floor, Blackpool Central Library, Blackpool, FY1 1PX., 01253 478090,

Processing Note: Processed by volunteers 2009; supervised by Tony Sharkey, Librarian.

Information for users

Conditions Governing Access: The History Centre is currently closed due to a leak in the roof making the space unsuitable to store our collections. See for further updates.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright is complex and much of the content is not available for reproduction. Some collection items are available for reproduction, but the History Centre makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. All reproduction and duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by staff on request.

Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Cyril Critchlow collection, 1860-1990, History Centre, Blackpool.

For additional information, please contact the History Centre at 01253 478090 or

In-depth information about the collection

Administrative/Biographical History:

Note: Lawrence Wright used a variety of pseudonyms in the songs he composed and published. Horatio Nicholls is the best known of his pseudonyms, but he also used at times at least the following others: Gene Williams, Betsy O’Hogan, Irma Barron. According to he also used the name Everett Lynton.

Scope and Content: The Cyril Critchlow Collection is an extensive collection of ephemera and printed material relating to the entertainment industry in historic Blackpool. Material consists of printed ephemera including programmes, handbills, posters and flyers; photographic material including postcards, glass negatives, photographs and commercially produced tourist views; archival material relating to Lawrence Wright’s On With the Show on North Pier including song sheets, notes, photographic material, programmes and autographs; programmes from major and minor entertainment venues including North Pier, Central Pier, South Pier, Tower, Winter Gardens, Grand, Palace, Queens etc.; Blackpool history with files, notes and manuscripts relating to each individual venue or aspect of Blackpool’s entertainment.

The collection contains around 11,000 items and is housed in 179 volumes of original archival material and 52 volumes of research notes. A catalogue of the collection follows.

System of Arrangement:

Series 1, Lawrence Wright collection, 1911-1969

Series 2, Piers

Series 3, Combined Theatre Programmes

Series 4, Winter Gardens

Series 5, Blackpool Tower

Series 6, Prince of Wales Theatre and site

Series 7, Grand Theatre

Series 8, other theatre venues

Series 9, Pleasure Beach

Series 10, other Blackpool venues

Series 11, Entertainers

Series 12, Promenade, sideshows and attractions

Series 13, General Blackpool

Acquisition Information: This collection was donated by Pat Johnson in 2009.

Related Archival Materials: NFA0089 The Cyril Critchlow Collection, 1860-1990; National Fairground and Circus Archive, University of Sheffield.

The Cyril Critchlow Collection

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