Traditional Drama Research Group
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Eddie Cass Collection


Eddie Cass (1937-2014) came to traditional drama research later in life. He was born, grew up and lived in Manchester all his life. After briefly working in a pharmacy and then as a coal miner, he went into banking, studying part time and becoming a branch manager. He was awarded an MA by Manchester Polytechnic in 1992, and then a PhD by Lancaster University in 1996 for his thesis on ‘The Cotton Factory Times, 1885-1937: A Family Newspaper and the Lancashire Cotton Community’. He was a bibliophile. Eddie was immersed in the cultural life of Manchester. He was a trustee of the National Museum of Labour History (now the People’s History Museum), president of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, chairman of the Portico Library and a supporter of many more arts, academic and cultural bodies.

Eddie Cass’s interest in traditional drama came after he was a warded his doctorate. In 1997, he saw again the Midgley Pace-egg play, and quickly assimilated previous scholarship in folk drama and contacted other researchers in the field. He concentrated at first on the pace-egg plays and published The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play: A Social History in 2001. His interest in chapbooks complemented his earlier work on nineteenth-century printed literature. A further book, The Pace-Egg Plays of the Calder Valley followed in 2004. With Steve Roud, he wrote Room, Room, Ladies and Gentlemen …: An Introduction to the English Mummers’ Play (2002). He was president of The Folklore Society, 2008 to 2011, and his presidential addresses dealt with the three folk play scholars, T. Fairman Ordish, Alex Helm and James Madison Carpenter. He was also a president of the Society for Folk Life Studies. Eddie edited the Carpenter collection of folk drama, and his work awaits publication.     

Scope of the collection

The collection is held by Special Collections at the library of the University of Sheffield. The collection has not yet been catalogued, and further work needs to be carried out before details of the scope of the collection can be provided. One focus of the collection is the pace-egg plays of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Where the collection is located

Special Collections, Western Bank Library, University of Sheffield, S10 2TN.

Access to the collection

Access to the collection will be freely available to all researchers once the collection has been processed and catalogued.

Catalogue details

Not yet available.