It seemed as if the Enthoven collection had found a good home in the London Museum. Beerbohm Tree continued to call for the public to donate items of interest to the planned exhibition. Laking made enquiries about theatrical artefacts around London, and apparently bought a ‘number of articles of costume’ from a sale at Christie’s auction house in December of 1911. The Evening Mail describes one such piece:
The most curious of all (the lots) was a pair of jackboots with spurs, temp. William 111., which sold for 26 guineas; a bull coat, the sleeves embroidered with silk lace, English, early 17th century-6S guineas; another with silk tabs and laces down the front.
The sale also included pieces of regimental costume and weaponry that Laking, a specialist on historical armour, would no doubt have been very excited to purchase for the museum’s early collection.
A regimental sword and its hanger, and a silk net sash (this uniform and accoutrements were the property of Lieutenant-General Richard St. George, of King George II’s forces – 90 guineas) (…) and a helmet of yellow cloth, embroidered with a peacock and viscount's coronet, inscribed " Oxfordshire "—18 guineas. These were all purchased for the London Museum.
From all this activity, Enthoven and her associates evidently believed that the future of the national theatre collection was assured. A grassroots campaign by devoted theatre fans had found success with the new museum, and all seemed to be progressing well. The London Museum opened to the public on Easter Monday 1812 and had a popular and busy first day, despite a few challenges at the start as recounted by the Evening Mail:
After a fortnight’s delay, due to the recent disturbances by militant suffragists, the London Museum was opened to the public on Monday morning. Throughout the day Kensington Palace was besieged by a large crowd of visitors and it was estimated that at least 13,000 people passed through the various galleries and the annexe in which the exhibits are housed.
The writer for the Evening Mail tells us that “special interest was shown in the Royal relics, which were surrounded throughout the whole of the day. The “Scenes of Old London” and the Roman boats in the annexe also attracted a large number of visitors.” But what of the theatrical collection that Enthoven and others had worked so hard to advertise?
Crushingly for its advocates, the theatrical ‘exhibition’ had not come to fruition. One disgruntled member of the public wrote to the Pall Mall Gazette with this rather damning review:
SIR, - Will you allow me to express the disappointment which it is impossible for any one interested in such matters not to feel on seeing the “Theatrical Relics” at the London Museum in Kensington Palace? One has heard much talk of what was to be done in this direction, and, at least, some sort of small record of the English stage, both past and present, was looked for.
At a sharp turning on the top of a stair-case may be found a case with some few objects arranged inside; a print of the old Opera House, some china figures, and other oddments seem to complete the collection. Those looking for enlightenment must go away sadly baffled, and those who, having a regard for the sentiment and charm of what such a collection should be, must blush indeed as they see this scanty, mediocre, and careless assortment. To think of Paris and that wonderful collection in the little museum of the Opera House may be demanding too much; but, at least, one may demand a little interest and a little respect.