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MS Thr 419

Brighton (England). Aquarium. Brighton (England) Aquarium records: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 419
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Brighton (England). Aquarium.
Title: Brighton (England) Aquarium records,
Date(s): 1873-1894.
Quantity: 1 collection (3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters to the Brighton (England) Aquarium managers and contracts concerning the booking of acts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Purchase from Dramatis Personae, Sheffield, Massachusetts; received: 1999.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Maggie Lehrman

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Brighton (England) Aquarium Records, 1873-1894 (MS Thr 419). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

The Brighton Aquarium, designed by noted pier architect Eugenius Birch, opened in August 1872. It contained not only marine exhibits, but also a reading room, restaurant and conservatory, and soon added a roof terrace garden, roller skating rink and music conservatory. Through the 1890s the site offered organ recitals, lectures, concerts and plays. It was demolished in 1927.


Arranged into two series:

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence to the Aquarium managers (George Reeves Smith, ca. 1873-1880; Isaac Wilkinson, ca. 1881-1894; also at various times George Watts and P.W. Taylor) and contracts concerning the booking of acts, including comedians, clowns, conjurers, vocalists, ventriloquists, animal acts, equilibrists, acrobats, living statuary, swimmers, skaters, puppeteers, and minstrels. There is a small number of letters concerning the purchase of live marine specimens for the Aquarium proper and one for transporting gorillas from Africa.

Container List