Hodson Family Collection

Ref: NFA0098

Title: The Hodson Family Collection

Scope: This collection contains material relating to the Hodson family who owned and ran a travelling theatre, sometimes called a 'Portable' or 'Fit-up'. Items include photographs, newspaper cuttings, programmes, memoirs and other items relating to theatrical life. There are also research notes from Sue Graves into her family history.

Dates: Late 19 Century
Level: Fonds
Extent: 1 box and photographs
Name of creator: Hodson Family

Administrative / biographical history: The Hodson Family Collection tells the story of the Hodson Portable Theatre Company, founded by Joseph "Joe" Charles Hodson and his wife Emma, which travelled around Yorkshire and was based in Sheffield from the late nineteenth century. These two enterprising actors founded a family dynasty of variety and entertainment which continued for three generations.

The Hodson Portable Theatre Company was comprised of extended family including Emma's brother Alf Taylor, son Joe Randal, and daughters Henrietta, Emma and Gertrude. They presented melodramas, dramatic sketches, variety turns and pantomime sketches for nearly a century. Items in the collection include their gag book, scripts from their touring days and photographs of family members on the stage.

Documents and costumes which had been dispersed to individual family members after the sale of the main bulk of the collection in the 1970s were gathered together by great-granddaughter Sue Graves who had been researching the family's history. There are a number of stories about the shows that have been recorded in Sue Graves' research which tell tales of fires and marionette shows and bring the collection alive.
The NFA holds a number of posters from the Hodson family within the Cyril Critchlow collection and this allows the story of this important Sheffield-based portable theatre troupe and their lives as entertainers to be rediscovered.

Related Collections: Cyril Critchlow Collection
Source: Donated by Sue Graves
System of arrangement: Catalogued according to type
Subjects: Travelling Entertainment, Variety and Music Hall, Speciality Acts, Performers, Family Collections, Showpeople
Conditions of access: ephemera items have been catalogued. Photographic material is currently being catalogued and is not available to view at present
Restrictions: None
Copyright: Copies may be supplied or produced at the discretion of National Fairground Archive, subject to copyright law and condition of the material
Finding aids: Online finding aids available here