Lester Bidston was a
well-respected glove puppeteer, based on the Wirral, who
performed mainly in the North of England from the 1950s
to the 1980s.
Lester first became interested in puppets
in 1949, when, as a student at Didsbury College,
he wrote and took part in a puppet play satirising life
in the College. A professional engagement followed, in
the form of a puppet play from Bulgaria, part of a
Bulgarian Exhibition in London.
During the 1950s, while teaching in
Germany, Lester spent a period of time with the
Hohnsteiner Puppet Theatre, founded by Max Jacob
and became greatly influenced by the Theatreís work.
He was particularly drawn to the
character of Kasper, Mr Punchís German
counterpart and after many months of hard work, building
a theatre, making and costuming a set of puppets,
writing scripts etc, Kasper made his English debut as
part of Lesterís ĎPeregrine Puppetsí in December
Bidston with Kasper & the Devil
Lester wrote all his own plays and built
up a large repertoire of productions. At first, he
worked on a part-time basis, until puppetry became his
full time profession from 1968 onwards. He was helped
at first by his wife, Edna, until her death in 1979.
All the puppetsí heads were made from a
type of paper pulp, which Lester invented himself.
Sadly, the method of making this unique modelling
material was never written down and is now lost.
All of Lester Bidstonís puppets, staging
and scenery were bequeathed to the Abbots Bromley
Puppet Museum upon his death in April 1988 and a
large selection of the figures now fill most of the
upper display cases at the Puppet Museumís new home, the
Douglas Hayward Collection at