Edward Frederick Smyth Pigott (1824-1895), was a member of the Pigott family, long settled in north Somerset. He was a fellow student, with Wilkie Collins, at Lincoln's Inn, then a journalist with The Daily News and The Leader; in 1874, Pigott was appointed to the position of Deputy Licensership of Plays in the Lord Cahmberlain's Office, a position he held until his death in 1895. Pigott never married, but in the 1850s, his nephew Henry Drummond Smyth Pigott, resided with him and, it appears, assisted his uncle with his correspondence and work.
Scope and Content
This collection contains a small number of manuscripts, documents, photographs and ephemera; the majority of the collection consists of Pigott's personal and professional correspondence, both from his work as a journalist and as the Examiner of Plays. The majority of the correspondence is addressed to Pigott but there is also a significant group of letters addressed to his nephew, Henry Drummond Smyth Pigott. In 1873, Edward Pigott was put forward as a candidate for the position of Secretary for the Royal Academy; ultimately, he was not elected to the position but there are a large number of testimonial letters by people in the art, academic and political fields, supporting Pigott's candidacy. The personal letters include discussions of the leading topics, politicians, and celebrities of the day; the professional letters mainly deal with stories to be published in Pigott's newspapers and the workings and people of the Victorian theatre, including letters about plays which, for some reason, were not accepted for performance. Notable correspondents include: Wilkie Collins, Francis George Seymour (Marquess of Hertford), Richard Monckton Milnes (Baron Houghton), Henry Du Pré Labouchere, Theodore Martin, John Everett Millais, Spencer Cecil Brabazon Ponsonby-Fane, Goldwin Smith and Edmund Hodgson Yates.