Hancock's Half Century Celebrated At Gunnersbury Park Museum

By Nicola Tann | 15 May 2006
a photograph showing several pieces of printed ephemera and a small statuette of a man in a trilby

Courtesy Gunnersbury Park Museum

Gunnersbury Park Museum in Hounslow, London is celebrating one of British comedy’s classic actors, Tony Hancock, with an exhibition and a series of talks.

Hancock’s Half Century runs at the museum until March 31 2007 and features an impressive collection of memorabilia, scripts and even a set from the television series, Hancock’s Half Hour.

The exhibition was officially opened by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the writers of the show, on May 14 2006 at a private view. It was their outstanding scripts, along with Tony Hancock’s genius, that made for a remarkable combination.

a photograph of a museum dummy sat on a chair before a range of radio equipment

The Radio Ham: the exhibtion inlcudes sets from Hancock's Half Hour. Picture courtesy Gunnersbury Park Museum

Even after his death in 1968 Hancock continued to have enormous appeal – something that continues today.

The Tony Hancock Appreciation Society (THAS) has provided many of the items for the exhibition, which marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Hancock’s Half Hour, the show for which Hancock - who also starred in one or two movies - is probably most well known.

“We are so glad to be able to host this exhibition about an icon of British comedy”, said Vanda Foster, deputy curator at the Gunnersbury Park Museum. “It has been fascinating working with the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society who are such experts and enthusiasts.”

As part of the celebrations, the museum will be hosting “Hancock in Half an Hour”, a series of half hour talks given by Malcolm Chapman on the last Sunday of the month throughout the duration of the show.

a photograph of a Primetime vintage magazine with a man in a cardigan on the cover

The exhibtion includes a vast collection of magazines and books from Tony Hancock's hey-day. Courtesy Gunnersbury Park Museum

Mr Chapman, the archivist of THAS, will talk about the life and career of Tony Hancock and attendees will be able to ask questions.

It’s a life that certainly deserves some discussion. Following a massive output of work over two decades he tragically committed suicide in Sydney, following a battle with alcoholism and depression.

“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to celebrate Tony’s life and career”, said Dan Peat, President of THAS. “It’s an ideal location as many of his shows were written and made in this area, and Sid James, (his co star in Hancock’s Half Hour), lived nearby – in Gunnersbury Avenue.”

a museum display case with a coat and hat in it together with a spitting image puppet of Tony Hancock

Hancock devotees - of which there are many - will be impressed with the range of exhibtits on show. Courtesy Gunnersbury Park Museum

Admission to the talks are free and places will be available on a first-come first-served basis on Sunday May 28, June 25, July 30, August 27 and September 24 2006 from 2pm to 2.45pm. For more information call 020 8992 1612 or visit www.hounslow.info/whatson

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