The likes of Charlie Chaplin and Ellen Terry will take centre stage once again in a new exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives.
Photographs, prints and documents will go on display to give an insight into the lives of London's past stars, including Shakespeare actor Edmund Kean and singer Eliza (Madam) Vestris.
The exhibition ranges from Elizabethan theatre stars to the 20th century, and even features stories of William Shakespeare's forgotten brother, Edmund Shakespeare, who had a tragic life.
Those interested in more recent board-treaders can see Sir Laurence Olivier’s orders for bespoke boots, made by one of London’s most prestigious firms; and letters written by Carry On actor Kenneth Williams to a young fan.
Graham Packham, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:
Some surprising finds and extraordinary stories have come to light during the LMA’s research for Life On The London Stage, including how Edmund Shakespeare, of whom many of us know nothing, followed his older brother to London to work as an actor. Visitors will also learn about the houses owned by Nell Gwyn, one of London’s greatest rags-to-riches stories; how music hall star, Marie Lloyd, alarmed the authorities with her routines; and Kenneth Williams’ advice about how he dealt with school bullies.
Life on the London Stage runs from 10 July to 6 December at London Metropolitan Archives, EC1. Admission is free.