A Unique Donation from a Founder Patron

A Unique Donation from a Founder Patron

One of The Atkinson’s Founder Patrons has donated a special item to the museum that really brings to life the role Southport played for artists within the arts and entertainment industry and their appearances in the town.


Arthur Pedlar, Southport’s iconic clown and well known Sefton resident is himself an international performing star. He recently presented The Atkinson team with a unique autograph album featuring the many theatre stars of the 1920s.


The autograph book contains photographs and inscriptions from some of the great stars of the stage. All collected by Mr George Jackson, an electrician at Southport Opera House from 1913 to 1929, when it burnt down.


The singer Gracie Fields, male impersonator Vesta Tilley and comedy star Arthur Lucan (Old Mother Riley) are just some of the many major acts to appear at the Opera House in the 1920s and ‘30s and to have left their calling cards.


Following his father spotting an advert for a clown in World’s Fair magazine, Arthur applied and was successful in becoming a member of Spider Austin’s six-clown troupe, working at Cirque Medrano in Paris and appearing alongside Buster Keaton. During his career Arthur has performed around the globe – in Australia, Israel, Singapore, Japan, Russia, and throughout Europe and Scandinavia.


He is also a known personality throughout the business community, having managed Wayfarers Arts, the department store in Wayfarers Shopping Arcade, until his retirement in 1997. Arthur was given the autograph album by George Jackson’s son who worked at the Arcade.


Remarkably Arthur Pedlar’s donation complements another recent gift of actors’ photo cards collected by Jack Henderson, the doorman at the Opera House in the 1920s. Both albums are on show at The Atkinson  in a display called ‘The Stylish Resort’ which looks at Southport’s glamorous heyday between the wars, featuring costume and accessories, theatre programmes and fixtures and fittings from the Garrick Theatre which replaced the Opera House in 1934.


The Atkinson has received a huge number of fascinating gifts and donations in recent weeks following the opening of the new museum Sefton Between Land & Sea – 10,000 years of Sefton’s Coast. The museum has seen 46,272 visitors since it opened in October 2014.


The museum will continue to develop and grow with new stories and artefacts on display as more people come forward with their special objects and artefacts. If you think you have something that helps tell the story of Sefton and you would like to donate it to The Atkinson, please call 0151 934 2024 or email stephen.whittle@sefton.gov.uk


Interviews and press: Arthur Pedlar is available for interview and photographs by arrangement – please contact Emma Lloyd on 0151 934 2129 or via email: emma.lloyd@sefton.gov.uk



Posted on 3 June 2015 under General news

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