View Full Version : Poole's Myriorama, Variety Acts and Trick Cyclists

14-08-2007, 11:28 PM
My great grandfather's brother (b1882) was a trick cyclist who at some point supposedly performed in front of the King/Queen. According to the 1901 census, he was already a 'cyclist rider - variety stage' by this time. He is boarding with a family in Middlesbrough but what I didn't notice before is the profession of another boarder in the same house: an American - Mr Cornstock - is manager of Poole's Myriorama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_panorama#Poole.27s_Myriorama). Most of their neighbours are labourers at iron or steel works but there is a musician and also an 'electrician at theatre' on the same page.

Poole's Myriorama was a travelling panorama show (almost like an early cinema) featuring variety acts. This newspaper advert (http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/apps/eLearning/medium_image.jsp?imageid=771) from 1897 shows examples of some of the acts and this advertising brochure (http://www.ingenious.org.uk/See/?s=S2&target=ctx&DCID=126630) from 1901 might have some more information (held by the National Media Museum in Bradford). There's also a book (http://www.joylandbooks.com/books_new/poolesmyriorama.htm) about it by Hudson John Powell.

I was wondering if anyone remembers anything about it or has an ancestor who worked for the myriorama (not anything from the internet, I've got plenty of that). Also, does anyone know of records for this type of thing (e.g. old theatre bills) in particular for Royal Variety Performances?

The first performance, on July 1, 1912, was called the Royal Command Performance, and this name has persisted informally for the event. This was held in the Palace Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue, London, in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary. The king said he would attend a once-yearly variety show, provided the profits went to the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund, as the EABF was then known. This first staging was a lavish occasion, and the theatre was decorated with 3 million roses draped around the auditorium and over the boxes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Variety_Performance)