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16th Jun, 2021

Showstopping surprise found in Stratford attic

Maisie Jeynes 16th May, 2017 Updated: 16th May, 2017

A RARE archive documenting a 1920’s showgirl’s rise to fame has been uncovered in a Stratford attic.

Experts from Hansons Auctioneers were shocked to discover the unique collection of memorabilia at a recent valuation day at Alveston Village Hall.

The archive centres around Enid Lilian Parsons, who was swept away from Sparkhill in Birmingham to the United States of America in 1925.

Enid had taken part in a competition to join Mr Florenz Ziegfeld’s world-famous ‘Ziegfeld Follies’, which saw hundreds of girls auditioning to join his troupe of ‘beauties’.

After wowing him at an interview at the Ritz Hotel in London, Enid and just one other girl were selected to join Mr Ziegfled on his return voyage to America.

Enid became a familiar face on the international showgirl circuit and worked alongside superstars of the day, including famous actress and radio personality Sophie Tucker.

The collection, which languished for many years in a Stratford attic, includes a scrapbook charting Enid’s rise to fame, theatre programmes, letters and telegrams, and a signed photograph from Sophie Tucker herself.

Adrian Rathbone, Hanson’s associate director who discovered the archive, said: “This unique and fascinating find gives an extraordinary insight into one 18 year-old’s rise from middle-class Birmingham to the bright lights of the USA. Here we have a girl plucked from hundreds of applicants to be whisked off to America to become a star. It’s a bit like something out of the X-Factor but 90 years before that was even conceived.

“It really is an enchanting tale and I hope a new home can be found for Enid’s unique slice of theatrical history.”

The collection is being auctioned in Hanson’s Summer Fine Art Auction on June 30 and is expected to fetch more than £1,000.

Free valuation days in Stratford are held once a month at Alveston Village Hall, from 1pm to 4pm. The next are on May 26 and 30th June.

Email arathbone@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk for further details.

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