Last Update: 31/08/2007
The E.F.Benson Museum
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The Riseholme Committee Welcomes You To The E.F.Benson Museum!

Our exhibits are few in number at present, but in time we hope to add items that may be appreciated by those with an interest in Mr Benson, 
his life and works.

Exhibit One King George V and Queen Mary Silver Jubillee Commemorative Mug (front) King George V and Queen Mary Silver Jubillee Commemorative Mug (back)
A Commemorative Mug, presented on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.  This mug was one of those presented by the Mayor of Rye, Mr E.F.Benson J.P. and the Mayoress, Mrs Jacomb-Hood to local schoolchildren on 9th May 1935.
The front depicts their late majesties; the back an inscription marking the donors of the gift.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibits Two and Three 'Make Way For Lucia' Churchill Theatre Flyer 'Make Way For Lucia' Richmond Theatre Programme.
In 1995 the John Van Druten adaptation of the "Mapp & Lucia" stories, "Make Way For Lucia" was revived in a version which toured the United Kingom, starting in the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Kent and finishing off at the Richmond Theatre, London.  These exhibits are from that tour; on the left is a 'flyer' promoting the show, from the Churchill Theatre (not shown; a list of the tour dates and venues, which was stapled to the back of the 'flyer'); on the right is the excellently presented Programme from the Richmond Theatre dates.
The production starred Angela Thorne as 'Lucia', the late John Wells as 'Georgie', Marcia Warren as 'Miss Mapp' and John Nettleton as 'Major Benjy', with Lavinia Bertram as 'Grosvenor', David Crosse as 'Mr Wyse', Jill Johnson as 'Mrs Wyse', Brian Hewlett as 'The Padre', Deddie Davies as 'Wee Wifie', Antonia Pemberton as 'Diva' and Dominic Borrelli as 'Signor Cortese'.
It was directed by Alan Strachan, designed by Paul Farnsworth, lighting was by Leonard Tucker and Musical Supervision was by Stuart Pedlar.  It was produced by The Touring Partnership, P.W.Productions and the Theatre of Comedy Company.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Four
A ticket from the 1997 Cannizaro Park production of "Mapp & Lucia", a musical produced by Peter Benedict.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Five
The cover of a brochure advertising wallpaper and textile designs from "The Tilling Collection" by Raintree Designs.
Kindly lent to the Museum by Mr Siriami.
Exhibit Six
An Invitation to the opening of an exhibition devoted to the artist Margaret Barnard at the Stormont Studio, Rye Art Gallery.  The Gallery also opened an exhibition of E.F.Benson, which features a number of items associated with the author.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Seven
A visitors ticket to Lamb House (otherwise known, in Tilling, as 'Mallards'), issued by The National Trust.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Eight E.F.Benson Signature (from The Male Impersonator)
(With Grateful Thanks to 'Blue Birdie')
A sample of E.F.Benson's signature, from a limited edition booklet of theTilling Short Story "The Male Impersonator"
The above reproduction was taken from an original copy of the booklet, currently in the possesion of a friend of the Museum.
(The cover of this booklet can be seen in the "Mapp & Lucia" section of "Benson's Book Covers" section
Exhibit Nine E.F.Benson Signature (on a plain sheet)
E.F.Benson signed sheet (dated June 17 '25)
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Ten Rejection letter from the Editor of 'The Windsor Magazine'
An unusual item - a letter from the Editor of "The Windsor Magazine" returning and rejecting a short story by E.F.Benson
- the text reads:

"Dear Mr Colles,
I am sorry to have to return to you another story by Mr. E. F. Benson after asking for his work, but we think this story anything but pleasing.  We may be wrong, but we do not care for a powerful story that is actually repellent.  We should still like to see any good stories of social life more of the class of the two stories of Mr. Benson's which we have previously published, or any stories of his that do not deal with the horrible.

Yours sincerely,
A. Hutchinson"

The letter is dated 21st October 1907 and, although the title of the story is not mentioned (and there has been much speculation as to exactly WHICH story it might be!), it may be assumed that the story in question was one of  the 'Spook Stories' for which Mr Benson became well known.

(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Eleven Make Way For Lucia Broadway programme
A Theatre programme for the original Broadway production of John Van Druten's "Make Way For Lucia"
The production starred Isabel Jeans as Lucia, Cyril Ritchard as Georgie, Catherine Willard as Mapp, Phillip Tonge as Major Benji, Viola Roache as Diva, Essex Dane as Mrs Wyse, Ivan Simpson as Mr Wyse, Guy Spaull as The Padre, Doreen Lang as Mrs Bartlett, Cherry Hardy as Grosvenor and Kurt Kasznar as Cortese. (Links go to the relevant actor pages on and will leave this page)
The show ran from December 22 1948 at the Cort Theatre.
Other pages from this item will be added in due course.
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Twelve
A Programme listing the activities and menus for the 20th Tilling Society Rye Gathering, held on 12th October 2002.  The programme has been autographed by three of the guests and the luhcneon - Mr Geoffrey Chater (who took the role of 'Mr. Wyse' in the LWT/Channel 4 television adaptation of "Mapp & Lucia"), Mr Charles Grant (who took the roles of 'Mr. Wyse' and 'The Padre' in different productions of "Mapp & Lucia The Musical" by Peter Benedict) and Miss Prunella Scales (who took the role of "Miss Mapp/Mrs. Mapp-Flint" in the aforementioned "Mapp & Lucia" television production, and who also read some of the books for Isis Audio Books)
(On loan to the Museum from a private collection)
Exhibit Thirteen
Empire Hotel Bath
A letter from E.F.Benson to an unnamed correspondent, on Empire Hotel, Bath notepaper, and dated September 19 (year unknown)
The letter reads;
"Dear Madam,
          I hope this will answer your (unreadable - possibly purpose)"

Donated by a generous admirer of The Museum. (The hotel still stands, though it is no longer a hotel but (apparently) has been converted to apartments; it is a Grade II listed building once considered 'a prime example of Edwardian bad taste'!* A picture of it can be seen here)

*"Bath" by Morriss and Hoverd, quoted in "The Image of Georgian Bath, 1700-2000: Towns, Heritage, and History" by Peter Borsay

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