Skip to main content

Woods, Charles M., 1894-1982 (collector)



  • Existence: 1894 - 1982


Charles M. Woods (1894-1982) was a systematic collector of theatre programmes and memorabilia, who began collecting in the early 1900s. At the age of eight he moved from Fulham to Cambridge and became a regular at the old New Theatre, then in St. Andrew's Street. He spent time in London and Paris during the First World War, and took every opportunity to see all the latest plays and add more programmes to his collection. After his return from the War his attendance at the various Cambridge theatres continued virtually uninterrupted until only a few months before his death. During this time he attended the New Theatre (1903-1906), the Festival Theatre (1926-1936), and the Arts Theatre (1936-1981) in Cambridge, as well as taking in occasional shows at the Princess and Pavilion Theatres, Torquay, and the Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne. The performances included repertory, opera, pantomine, ballet and variety. Woods, whose wife Nina, who shared his devotion to the theatre, worked at the Cambridge University Press and enjoyed a successful career as a local entertainer in his own right. He performed at concerts and dinner parties throughout the region under the stage name Horace Watson from 1912 until he retired from the stage in 1946.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Theatre Programme Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8544
Scope and Contents Theatre programmes, playbills, postcards of cast members, photographs, newspaper cuttings, magazines, letters, and personal record books, with accompanying explanatory notes, collected by Charles Woods, and including programmes and posters from his own shows as Horace Watson. The programmes are grouped into sets: New Theatre and Theatre Cinema (over 1,000 items), Festival Theatre (c. 100), Arts Theatre (over 2,000), London Theatres (c. 300), and Horace Watson items (c. 50). There is also a...
Dates: 1906-1981
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (