Monica Collingwood Collection

The Monica Collingwood Collection contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, photographic prints, and programmes. The content predominantly dates from the 1930s to the 1960s and focuses on the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn. The collection includes material related to the film The Red Shoes (1948) and programmes of opera, music, theatre, and musicals, in addition to ballet.

The collection’s catalogue can be downloaded at the link. The catalogue will be available to search online by the end of the year.

This collection can be accessed by appointment only. Email:

Arrangement of the Collection

  • MC1: Scrapbooks of the American tours of Sadler’s Wells Ballet (1949, 1950, 1953), of the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn (c.1949–c.1956), and of ballet companies, especially Sadler’s Wells Ballet (1935–c.1954). All scrapbooks include reports, performance reviews and news from various, often unnamed magazine and newspapers. The American tours include many US American sources. In addition, there is a folder of press cuttings related to The Red Shoes film production (c.1948) and two volumes of handwritten transcripts (1944) from ballet periodicals.
  • MC2: Inscribed albums of photographs and magazine/newspaper images of ballets and divertissements, as well as albums and photographs of dancers. Most albums and photographs relate to Sadler’s Wells Ballet, although other ballet companies are included. In addition, there is a folder with production photograph prints of The Red Shoes film (c.1948).
  • MC3: Season programmes and individual performance programmes and playbills of predominantly London venues. The programmes cover predominantly performances of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, and later the Royal Ballet (1940–1978), the majority of which relate to performances at the Royal Opera House (1946–1978). In addition, there are programmes of various national and international ballet companies (1944–1991), as well as gala and state performances (1929–1974). Programmes of opera (1936–1971), music (including orchestra and recitals, 1932–1985), and theatre and musicals (1930–1984) are also within this series.

About Monica Collingwood

Kathleen Monica Collingwood (1913-2003) was born in Burma, the eldest of the four children of Stanley Collingwood, a sales representative for Nestland then Pascall’s, and his wife, Muriel, nee Smalley. By 1916, the family had returned to England and settled in Upper Norwood, South London. In 1933, they moved to Coulsdon, Surrey, where Monica continued to live in the same family house until her death.

During the Second World War, she worked as a driver for the Ministry of Defence. Thereafter she became a carer for various members of her family, including, latterly, her parents.

Monica was an avid ballet lover from the age of seven and frequently attended performances until the late 1970s. She was a keen follower of the lives of many ballet dancers, especially those of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Margot Fonteyn in particular. Over the years, Monica Collingwood collected many press cuttings and photographs, which she compiled in scrapbooks and albums, some of which she gave away to members of the wider family. In addition, from the 1950s onwards, she built up her own considerable ballet library of books and journals.