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Wilsons Group Services (Established c1860)



  • Existence: Established c1860 - 1861


Wilsons is a family printing company. The business started in the furniture making sector, however, Wilson soon started to make printing blocks for the advertising industry. The company established itself within the lucrative world of music hall and cinema and by the early twentieth century they had become one of the leading advertising printers in the country for this sector. Wilsons' complimented the busines by running their own billboard posting business, until legislation on billboard advertising changed in the 1950s.

In the early 1960s, the business was split into Willsons Printers Leicester, which continued printing posters and Willsons Printers Nottingham, which moved into the commercial market. The Nottingham business expanded, acquiring several other print firms and creating two new locations: Willsons Printers (Newark) and Willsons Printers (Grimsby). In the early 1980's production at Nottingham was consolidated into Newark.

The company continues operating today.

Found in 21 Collections and/or Records:

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Cyril Critchlow Collection

Reference code: NFA0089
Scope and Contents The Cyril Critchlow collection contains programmes, posters, handbills, books and magic journals, many of which relate to shows in Blackpool where Cyril resided and includes material on entertainment venues such as Blackpool’s North Pier, Central Pier, South Pier, Tower Circus and a small collection of programmes from other national venues. Additionally, it contains circus photographs and postcards mainly of the Ohmy Circus and Sanger Circus including individual circus troupes and performers...
Dates: c1837 - 2008

David Braithwaite Collection

Reference code: NFA0053
Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs taken by David Braithwaite from the 1950s and used towards his publications alongside older images collected from other sources as well as business records, monographs, articles, correspondence, newspaper cuttings, advertising material, bibliographies, catalogues, programmes, films and some other miscellaneous items.

Dates: c1880 - 1989

De La Warr Pavilion Poster, c1930 - 1949

Reference code: 178R27.17
Scope and Contents

Bexhill. Tissington and Craig Productions present Edgar Sawyer in the scintillating Summer Show ‘Moonshine’, Edgar Sawyer comedian, Linda Love soprano comedienne, Bobby Bent Comedian, Yvonne Ford Speciality dancer, Jean Ward Acrobatic dancer, Robert King Baritone, Leo Conriche at the grand piano, Marjorie Yardley piano, Derek Pilcher drums, Doreen Brebner speciality dancer, The Izna Roselli Dancers. Black type on yellow background. Printed by Willsons, Printers, Leicester.

Dates: c1930 - 1949

Empire, Southend-on-Sea Programme, 9 May 1905 - 14 May 1905

 File — Box Fred Holmes Box 2: Series 178K38; Series 178T31; Series 178Z31
Reference code: 178K38.50
Scope and Contents

Jasper Redferns World Renowned Animated Pictures - Various films. Testo Bros - comedy, musical and acrobatic act. Mr and Mrs Edward H. Lucas - society entertainers. J.E. Linstead - Yorkshire Baritone. Salmon - trick and musical cyclist. Printed by Willsons', New Walk Printing Works, Leicester. 5 copies.

Dates: 9 May 1905 - 14 May 1905

Fred Holmes Collection

Reference code: NFA0065
Scope and Contents

A collection of material including posters, programmes, handbills, newspaper cuttings and photographs relating to the shows of Jasper Redfern mainly in the Sheffield and surrounding areas. The collection was created by Fred Holmes who was a manager for Jasper Redfern of Sheffield, a pioneer of early film and exhibition. Jasper Redfern was the first man to show films in Sheffield. Also included in the collection is correspondence between Fred Holmes and Jasper Redfern.

Dates: c1895 - 1925

Grand Theatre Programme, c1950 - 1959

Reference code: 178R27.218
Scope and Contents

Bernard M. Woolley Presents stars from Welsh Rarebit, Stan Stennett, Llew Thomas comedian, Frank James Compare, Jones Sisters dancing stars, Will Norman cyclist, Margaret Luke mimic, Leslie Lewis impressionist, Gudzows Welsh Collie Dogs-acrobatic collies. Red, blue and yellow type on white background. Radio Talent Contest. Printed by Wilsons, Printers, Leicester.

Dates: c1950 - 1959

Handbills, c1900 - 1999

Reference code: 178T27
Scope and Contents

Hanbills for variety, magic and illusion shows mainly in locations in Blackpool in cluding the North Pier, the Hippodrome and various theatres.

Dates: c1900 - 1999

Lord George Sanger's Circus Programme, 1949

Reference code: 178K43.575
Scope and Contents

Green and white illustration of laughing clown's face and paragraph by George Sanger on front cover, inside programme and Sanger circus facts and information on what happens before the circus comes to town on back cover. Printed by Willsons, Leicester, 2p.p.

Dates: 1949

Lord George Sanger's Circus Programme, 1954

Reference code: 178K43.581
Scope and Contents

Red and white illustration of laughing clown's face and paragraph by George Sanger on front cover, inside programme and Sanger circus facts. Printed by Willsons, Leicester, 2p.p.

Dates: 1954

Lord George Sanger's Grand Colosseum Circus Programme, c1908

Reference code: 178K43.552
Scope and Contents

Marron type on off white background with illustrations of circus performers along the right and left edges including, highwire walking, clowns, acrobats, animals and equestrian act, programme in the centre. Printed by Willson's Printers, Leicester, 2p.p.

Dates: c1908

Marine Theatre Poster, Week commencing Monday 12 January 1948

Reference code: 178R27.219
Scope and Contents

Lyme Regis. Wal Scott Present the Great Blackpool-Torbay Coast-to-Coast (Road Show) ‘Shine’, Sylvani continental illusionist, Sunya Musical comedy star, Paul Gray xylophonist, Isolde & Alexis music and dance, Shoe Shine Girls, Roys Instrumentalists Supreme, Beautiful Georgette dancing juggler, Vera Scott Pianist, Wal Scott & Christina. Red, blue and yellow type on white background and border. Printed by Wilsons, Printers, Leicester.

Dates: Week commencing Monday 12 January 1948

Odeon Theatre Handbill, c1990 - 1999

Reference code: 178T27.23
Scope and Contents

Southport. Grand Gala of Magic with International Stars Billy McComb, Harold Taylor comedy entertainer, Jeffery Atkins & Company, Fred Sherry Austrian Manipulator, Tommy Nightingale Orchestra, Duo Flamenco Espanol, The Pharos Mysteries of the Sphinx, Morine, The Roger Stevenson Marionettes, Mr Joe, King of Diablo, The Rosinis, Van Buren & Greta. Red, blue and yellow print. Printed by Wilsons (Printers) Ltd., King Street, Leicester.

Dates: c1990 - 1999

Posters, c1887 - 2010

Reference code: 178R27
Scope and Contents

Circus, variety, pantomime and magic posters including Argyle theatre, Liverpool Empire, Blackpool Tower Circus, Robert Brothers, Austen Brothers, Sorcar, Vesta Tilley, Ken Dodd, Dan Leno, Florrie Forde and others.

Dates: c1887 - 2010

Programmes, c1800 - 2019

Reference code: 178K43
Scope and Contents

A collection of mainly British and international circus programmes and some variety and music hall programmes containing circus acts.

Dates: c1800 - 2019

Programmes, 1899 - 1925

 Series — Box Fred Holmes Box 2: Series 178K38; Series 178T31; Series 178Z31
Reference code: 178K38
Scope and Contents

Collection of Programmes mainly relating to Jasper Redfern's Motion Pictures, as well as other entertainments and events.

Dates: 1899 - 1925

Sanger Circus Programmes, c1894 - 1999

Reference code: 178K43.549-585
Scope and Contents

Sanger Circus programmes including Lord George Sanger's Circus, Lord George Sanger and Pops Sanger Circus, Lord John Sanger's Circus and Sanger's Circus. Contain pantomime acts as well as circus performances in theatres venues.

Dates: c1894 - 1999

Trade and Advertising Material, c1890 - 2006

Reference code: 178I7
Scope and Contents

Fairground ride manufacturing companies' ride specification and trade sheets including Lang Wheels, Savage Brothers, Schippers-Vanderville and Supercar Amusements among others and Wilson's Printers' fairground related supplies.

Dates: c1890 - 2006

Willsons (Printers) Ltd. Poster, c1900 - 1959

Reference code: 178I7.35
Scope and Contents

Willsons (Printers) Ltd. advertising poster for fairground posters and advertising. Leicester, 1p. with illustrations.

Dates: c1900 - 1959

Wilson's Trade Sheet, 1957

Reference code: 178I7.3
Scope and Contents

Wilson’s Printers printed trade dart sheets. Leicester, 2p.p with illustrations.

Dates: 1957

Additional filters:

Archival Object 17
Collection 4
Acrobats 10
Aerialists 4
Amusement rides 5
Animal trainers 5
Animals 9