Bernard Miles, Lord Miles of Blackfriars, actor, manager, director, dramatist, designer, stage-manager, recalls in his introduction how this book began 'on the road', while he was touring the provinces in the 1950s. His greatest pleasure in those days, once 'band call' was over on Monday mornings, was to head for the local antiquarian bookshop and spent a happy afternoon among the books. Over the years he built up a considerable library of 18th and 19th century memoirs, and although in the end he sold them all, and much more besides, to fund the Mermaid Theatre, he kept copies of his favourite passages and stories, and from them has created this splendid book. After preliminary ventures in St John's Wood and at the Royal Exchange, the Mermaid opened in Shakespeare's Blackfriars in 1959. Founded by Bernard Miles and his wife, the actress Josephine Wilson, it was the first theatre built in the City of London for 300 years. Bernard Miles was knighted in 1969, and was made a life peer ten years later, for services to the theatre. J.C. Trewin, theatre historian and London drama critic for over forty years, has written fifty books, and edited as many more. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a former literary editor of The Observer, he has lectured frequently both at home and abroad - particularly in central Europe. A Cornishman, he now lives in Hampstead. He and his wife, the writer Wendy Trewin, have two sons, one in publishing (for some years literary editor of The Times), and one working in the theatre.
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