Monday, October 11, 2021

The Montevideo Countrywomen's Institute Crochet Circle ...

 

These photos (all from the same ebay bunch) are from an era, a century ago, when the Scottish and English were a force in Uruguay. Enough of them are wholly or partly identified sufficiently to tell us that they are ladies of a certain standing ...


Mary [Maria Carmen] MacEachen Stirling (b 1856) wife of Eduardo Guimerá. Mother of five. Sister to Eduardo MacEachen y Alarcón presidential candidate in 1903 




Agustina Segundo di Antuña

Maria ?Maratoris de ****

Justina Cortez sister of Don Jose Cortez


Mrs [?Thomas] Jefferies



Fancy dress, or for real?


1910

Isabel Figares

?Gayán

?Guimaré

Well, they may be nothing but the Montevideo Countrywomen's Institute Crochet Circle ... but someone kept these photos together for a century and more ...

Be nice to know why. Uruguyans ...?

Friday, October 8, 2021

This (would-be?) actor left his photo folio to posterity ..

 

But not his name ...

Should I know who he is ...

Or is he an aspiring amateur?




Here you are laddie ... I've helped you into the internet era!


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Lettie Keyes: piano roller!

 

The other day, friend Robert was going to Ballina so, since I had never been there, I went along for the ride ...

And on the way into the sprawl that is the rather odd 'town', I noticed an antiques barn. You don't see many of those wonderful institutions these days. Ebay and delivery charges have wiped away those glorious Saturdays spent dabbling in all levels of 'old merchandise' shops. And 'antiques' now are things I grew up with! Ex-cuse me.

Anyway, on the way back from dropping Louis off at the airport we stopped in for a peek. Robert had been to Summerland Antiques before and, indeed, bought a delightful Victorian hall-stand which now graces their home on topmost Yamba Hill. So we visited. They had beautiful things ... one C18th century chest of drawers which aroused my lust like nothing since (censored) .. a row of grandfather clocks, including one from Chester with a painting of Kirkham Abbey, Leeds .. alas, not signed by Turner.  Sadly, I am selling furniture, at 75, not buying it ... and hopefully that beautiful chest of drawers is sold to someone else by now!

More practically, I searched for my usual old photos, old documents, old theatre programes .. with which to aliment my blog ... but no luck. A box of pianola reels ... oh, look! There's one of the Pirates of Penzance! What fun.


Adjunct/adjacent to the Antiques Barn there is a nursery. A large and glorious nursery. So, if we didn't buy anything at the Barn .. we came away with a 2-metre flame tree instead!!!!

We brought the flame tree back to Yamba, and ... I didn't sleep too well that night. That chest of drawers was preying on my wakeful mind. But also the piano roll. I went on a G&S website and asked and ... bingo! It hadn't come in a container from Britain, like the furniture. It was fair dinkum Aussie ...

So when Robert went to fetch Louis on his homeward flight, he popped in and bought it for me. $2. The chest was still there ... gnnnnnn ... 

I am told that a friend of a friend has a pianola ... so I hope to be able to listen to this soon! But in the meantime, the mighty Michael Magnusson of Melbourne came up with the story of the piano reel and its pianist. 'Lettie Keyes, piano'. I'd suspected one of those early recording pseudonyms, but no ..



And there's my Pirates! Obviously, by the numeration, one of her early recordings. Yes, same number ...

Awww. That's worth $2 of anyone's money.

Now. That chest of drawers ...

PS I finally weakend and wrote about the chest of drawers. Sold, the previous day. Just as well, I suppose ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

People of the Past: Cordelia and Horace

 

Too hot!  Can't work on the book. Do the eight year-old swimming-togs still fit? Just. Ice-cold pool just outside my door .. dare I? 

I dared. In 32 degrees it is quite a shock to the system. But it woke me up. So I'll just sail the rest of the day away, playing a little history ...

Just two folk today. These two, full of character, picked themselves.




Well, I've done it again. Back amongst the vaguely aristocratic or gentry, the Reverends and the armed forces ... but not wholly.


The lady is [Cordelia] Ellen HOLDING.  Born in Broad Street, Walworth 27 October 1833, daughter of corn-dealer Richard Holding and his wife Elizabeth. That's what her baptism entry says ..



Well, I know nothing of Mr Holding. But one turns up in Windsor a few months later. And then nothing. 1841, 1851 ... where are they? Then in 1861, Cordelia turns up in the census. A 'visitor' 'fundholder' in the home (46 Baker Street) of Miss Mary A Browne, who runs to a cook, a housemaid, a ladies maid and a footman. The housemaid is named Ellen Hannaford (41) from Strutt in Devon. 

So who is Mary Ann Browne? Ah! 1838. Maria Browne of 46 Baker Street, daughter of the late James Browne Esq ... Sarah Elizabeth Browne 46 Baker Street (1856) .. Henry Nibbs Browne 46 Baker St. Sugar Refiner (1788-1858) 'of Friern Barnet'. Henry left L35,000, so Mary Anne would have been 'all right'.  Connection? Relative? Friend? Young lady companion to elderly, wealthy lady. Hmmmm. Blank drawn.

I guess Mary Ann died before the next census. Because in 1871 Ellen is living at 2 Queen's Terrace, Windsor, still a fundholder, still single, with two servants. One of them is Ellen Hannaford. And in 1881 the two Ellens are still at Queen's Terrace. But there is an extra member in the family. Cordelia Ellen, aged 40, has taken to herself a husband (3 September 1873). Commander Annesley Turner Denham, RN (retired) FRAS. He was a couple of years younger (b 4 May 1835) than her spritely self, so Ellen hereafter lost a few years. I don't know what he had commanded, but anyway he was clearly home from the sea and looking for a comfy wife for his pensioned days. The size of that cross around Ellen neck worries me ...

Anyway, they had a 'honeymoon' at Southsea's Tillington House, and a quarter of a century of married life together ... Sailorboy became a gent round the Windsor area ... at some stage it seems they lost the faithful Ellen H ... and they seem to have little defrayed the chronicle until his death, 27 June 1899.  He left L824.  Sailing on half-pay evidently don't pay. Even when you get invited to the Queen's levée!

Ellen died in Windsor 5 December 1926. She left nearly L8,000. 


The gent is Horace [Edward] HAMOND. Born in Great Massingham, Norfolk 2 January 1808, a son of the Reverend Horace Hamond, chaplain to the Prince of Wales regiment of Light Dragoons, rector of Great Massingham, 'of Charlotte Street, London', scion of a race of DDs, distantly related to the Earl of Ordford, Robert Walopole etc etc, and Frances Clifton of Prestwold, Leics, of titled descent. His sisters Fanny and Jane (later the Marchea Bocella, d 20 May 1888) got themselves painted by Thomas Lawrence


Horace apparently started his working life in the 1st Life Guards. He married Alicia Maria [Corisande] Bedford (1834), fathered a son, Ernest Augustus William  (5 September 1835) and a daughter, Frances Louisa (16 January 1837) and then headed for central Europe where his two following daughters, Alicia Mary (27 September 1838) and Frederica Louise Mathilde (17 October 1841) were born. In Germany, in 1838, he became Flügel-Adjudant 'Rittmeister extraordinair' to Ernest, King of Hannover. When the King of Hannover got into difficulties, and was deposed, Horace ('Knight of the Hannoverian Order of Guelph) returned to Britain in 1852 where he was named British Consul to Cherbourg, a job which seemed to entail largely keeping a watch on 'enemy' shipping and representing the Empire at dinners and other public functions. I notice that he came to the defence of the unthroned King Ernest in the British press.

Son Ernest didn't go back to England. He headed for the goldfields of Australia in 1852 and married, bred (2 daughters), deserted his family, and died (16 February 1883) in Melbourne. Daughter Alicia married Dr William Stewart Falls, who settled in Bournemouth, and had three children, Frederica ('Frida') married one Paul Carl Wilhelm Petersen, had four children, and died at Ülzen 22 May 1882. Frances also returned to Bournemouth, where she died 11 July 1877. 

Horace also retrenched to the family nest at Bournemouth where he died at Marden Ash 8 February 1876.  His widow apparently returned to Germany, where she died 27 March 1882.

Horace's will was probated at L100. Alicia's at L134.



 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

My best meal in Yonks!


A decade and more ago, I --who had become a flaming foodie in my years living in France -- was asked to be the restaurant critic, for a month, for a newspaper in Britain. I'm not one of those 'critics' who wants to tell you 'put five milligrams more turmeric in your taramasalata'. I'm here to tell you 'did I have a nice/great meal' and why. And bugger your bought and paid for Michelin star. And I did. Full frontal.

We had a (not Michelin) star restaurant here, in li'l old Yamba. And boy, was it worthy of its star. I ate there at least once weekly .. sometimes nights in a row. But, alas, the call of the surf and the sirens lured Charlie and Merindah away ... the resto closed, I wept .. and almost started to learn to cook. No. I may be adept at some things, but cooking ... it's too late. You need to know tastes, smells etc etc ... 

I won't sink to getting into what in the western world is called "pizza" or "burger", the only classy, me-type restaurant in my area is a drive distant, at Angourie. Barbaresco. But I have no car, and the wine is a bit beyond my means, so even though their food is grand, I don't get to visit often. And, anyway, you can't when you are locked down. So I fell back onto my limited repertoire of home-made soups and lamb fillets ..

 But ..! When times are darkest ...

Robert. Robert Lee and I became friends a few years ago under the auspices of the celebrated Sevatp Yuce of Beachwood Cafe. We've been good mates since, and in lockdown time he started delivering me "wheels on meals". Two wheels. Electric bike. Oh, la! Such meals ... steak and dorper lamb kidney ragout!

Well, we ar'n't locked down or up anymore, and last night I visited Robert chez lui for dinner. Quite simply my best meal in yonks. 



I know nothing about Japanese (as opposed to Chinese, Viet, Thai et al) food. I thought a wombok was a kind of African antelope. But I sat with my glass of chilled white wine and watched as Robert prepared the Hokkaido Salmon Chanchan  ... miso? what's that? ...  and? it's ready already?



What a deliciously stunning meal. Light, bright and oh! so tasty ...

Have a go. It says 'skill level: easy'. Here's the recipe: courtesy of Adam Liaw, TV cook ...

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/hokkaido-salmon-chanchan?fbclid=IwAR2wXzr-ivpIDfH2cxAhL9S88rHYnNxUY8-TMNuaEFT6UgHJW3d2GckKA8M

I do LOVE good food ....



Photos by the chef!







Thursday, September 23, 2021

Smith.

 

I'm not in the mood for my proper work this morning. It's hot and muggy and a mosquito with gluteal tastes somehow got into my bed during the night and had a meal.  So I itch. Well, I've got litre of fine, cold milk, and I'm going to spend the morning on the e-bay game.  Some nice ones today. And I picked this one ...





Outside my period -- it's clearly 20th century -- outside my area -- it's from Oak Bay, Victoria, Canada and -- maybe outside the realms of possibility. Two of the girls are named (the third is 'myself') and their surname is ... guess! ... SMITH.

Well, I couldn't do much about 'myself' (right) who looks delightful, but I got the other two. Yes, they were the sisters Smith.


Centre, we have Vaila E J Beatrice Simson SMITH (b Vancouver, Canada 27 December 1900; d St Albans, England 1950)

Left, is Eunice Margaret Monica Wilson Simson SMITH (b Kelowna, British Columbia 7 October 1902; d Sidmouth, Devon 4 September 1982).

I think it must have been mother who had the passion for multiple names (and even a hyphen on occasion), because father was the son of a simple John Smith, lately of Demerara, British Guiana. Father was born there, Colin Simson Smith, on a date in 1854 which may have been 12 December, or may not have been. He seems to be in two places at once in the 1901 census with different dates of birth. Colin was sent 'home' to Edinburgh to be educated, and emerged as a civil engineering student, working at the Burntisland Docks and later in London. I lose him for a bit there: he may have been civilly engineering somewhere in the Empire, but in 1893, he moved to Kelowna, British Columbia. By 1901, he is listed as a 'plantation manager'. Back home, he was still registered as a voter in Edinburgh, and he certainly visited for, in 1900 he married an Irish lady by name Louise Beatrice Pim at St George's.

Miss Pim (b Monkstown 14 April 1868; d 1 Carlton Mansions, Hampstead 28 July 1926) was from a prominent Quaker family, a good deal in view in public and financial affairs .. Thomas Pin Esq of Monkstown House ... Thomas Pim the railways speculator ... and, at 32, it was time that she was wed. Colin Smith was 46. Anyway, they scooted off back to Canada after the wedding and there, before the end of the year, Vaila was born. Later, her birthdate would be given as 1901, but there was a census in early 1901 and there are Mr and Mrs Smith with 3-months old Vaila, born December 1900. Maybe a touch too soon?

So Colin farmed his fruit, Louise brought up her daughters until ... did something happen? All four of them are together in 1911 ... but then they appears to be living apart .. in 1921, Colin is living alone at Okanagan ... and mother and two daughters can be seen travelling frequently between England and Canada, until mother died in 1926 at her home in Brondesbury ..

Colin lived to a fine old age, dying, aged 87, on 22 June 1941 at Kelowna.




After Mamma's death, Monica married (1 June 1933) the Reverend Leslie Francis Edward Wilkinson (b Madras 1 November 1904; d Barnet 13 December 1960). There was no issue, and Monica lived her last twenty years alone. For Vaila was also gone. Something must have happened, for in the 1939 quasi-census she can he seen in Napsbury Hospital 'patient, incapacitated'. Yet two years previously she had still been crossing the Atlantic ..  She died at St Alban's in 1950 ...

Oh, Mamma left a will, to be executed by her brother, the Rt Hon Jonathan Ernest Pim, who had risen to high rank and parliamentary honours. It won't have taken much of his time. She left less than 300 pounds. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Corporal Shorter: a short strut and fret ...



Fascinating photo

Amateur military dramatics



This is a picture of Corporal William Shorter bandsman of the 16th Lancers, stationed at York, in the role of Reuben Rags in the 2-act drama Ben Bolt ...

27 January 1864. York Theatre. Here's a review ...


Alas, the story doesn't have a happy ending. Little more than a year later ... 


He was buried at St Botolph's, Colchester ..


William Alexander Shorter, (b Meerut, Bengal, India 6 November 1830; d Colchester 6 April 1865) son of Alexander Shorter and his wife Amelia née McNeale. Married Jane Cartledge daughter of the foreman of the Little London Works, near Sheffield 9 October 1864 ...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fiddle-dee-diddley-dee .. Five Ladies

 

These ladies having been sitting in my in box for a bit, so I thought they should come out and undergo a moment under the blaze of the Gänzlscope...

Eliza



Harriet


Constance


Norah (aged 5 1/2)



and Jessie


Most of them, give or take some execrable handwriting, confessed their identity pretty finely.  Eliza was well inscribed




So, was it 'little Lydia' who re-inscribed the picture, many years later? Eliza Esther COOPER was the daughter of George Cooper, and she was born at Milton-near-Gravesend in 1847, soon after his marriage to Miss Sarah Snoswell. Father was a steward on a steam-packet, later 'second waiter', and finally he came home from the sea and settled at Orsett as a 'carriage cleaner'.
In the meanwhile, he had given Eliza two sisters and two brothers, and the family had moved to another maritime town, Southampton. In the 1871 census, Eliza can be seen working as a cook at the Lodge, Jervis Street, Bournemouth, but she soon became the wife (24 July 1871) of one John Charles Powell, carpenter, and gave birth rather too quickly to 'little Lydia' -- Lydia Sarah Powell. There were to be six more children before Powell's death in 1888.
Oddly, it seems that while John and Eliza brought up their other children, Little Lydia was brought up by her Cooper grandparents, and she lived with the widowed Lydia Ann Louisa Cooper for some twenty years. In 1906 she married Glasgow art master, Donald Wilkie who survived her when she died 31 October 1960.
Eliza remained in Southampton, where she died, at 7 Forest View, 1 January 1939.

Oh 'love to Aunt Fanny'. Fanny Sugden Cooper (1853-1947) was indeed Eliza's sister. A lifelong spinster.


Next up: Harriet.

Harriet Mary WARREN (b Cambridge 17 March 1836; d Surrey 10 February 1914) was born in Cambridge, the daughter and first child of John Warren, liquor merchant' and his wife Harriet Elizabeth née Wettenhall. Mr Warren can be seen in the town's Downing Street in 1841, selling wine, and having added twice to his stock of children. By 1851, he has become a commercial traveller, the children count has risen to seven, but the population of their home in Maid's Causeway also includes two house servants, so I guess he was travelling hopefully. In 1861, papa is a 'commission agent'. Hmmm. Still seven children (no mean feat in the era), but down to one servant. Two of the boys are now merchant's clerks, but Harriet is not working. And in 1867 she married. By which time papa was billed as 'esquire'.
Her husband was Jacob Stanley (b Torrington 1840; d 30 Crescent Grove, Clapham 7 July 1920) , son of a decidedly active Wesleyan minister, and born while father was stationed in Devon. Intended to follow the paternal profession, he was sent to St John's, Cambridge, where he duly gained his MA, married Harriet, and went to work as ... a brickmaker in Nuneaton, with brother Reginald. But Jacob's heart was not solely in bricks and tiles. He became a prominent member of the Nuneaton Amateur Dramatic Society, and the painter of their scenery. He also painted in oils, and eventually he retired from business as described himself solely as an historical painter in oils. 



The family moved to Nightingale Lane, Streatham, where three of the four daughters also went in for painting. The fourth was named Mabel Stanley, a name dear to all followers of The Pirates of Penzance.
Harriet seems to have been an invalid latterly, and died in 1914; Jacob in 1920. His story can be read at http://www.reginaldstanley.com/jacob-stanley.php


Jacob Stanley


Constance and child ..

Constance BACCHUS (b Edgbaston 15 July 1853; d 33 Longridge Rd, Earl's Court 9 October 1914) came from a substantially well-off family. Her father, William Bacchus (1812-1857), was a manufacturer of iron and a pillar of the Birmingham Hospital, and her mother, Emma née Saunders (1817-1884), left a widow with five children a few years after Constance's birth, kept up an establishment at Eastwick House, Great Malvern, with her four daughters (Maria, Catherine, Annie & Constance), one son, a governess, a nurse, a lady's maid, a cook, three house servants ... They subsequently removed to Hastings, where Constance married Dr Douglas Duke (b Chichester 1850; d Villa Albert, Cannes, France 22 February 1900)), and gave birth to the baby above, Douglas St John Duke (b St Leonards 24 June 1877; d Guildford 8 May 1942),  and thereafter a Dorothy Constance (1879-d Villa Albert, Cannes, France 4 March 1900) and a Neville Oswald (b St Leonards 21August 1880; d 16 June 1933), ans a second daughter (23 October 1884) who did not survive.
Douglas became a solicitor, Neville a dentist. After the deaths of her husband and daughter, Constance sold up their home, Winstowe, on the Pevensey Rd, and left Hastings for Earl's Court, and subsequently a residential hotel, with her sister Annie, up to her death in 1914.

Norah aged 5 1/2

Norah Madeline BATTYE (b 66 Queens Gardens Paddington 15 June 1873; d 84 Cadogan Square 13 February 1957)
Looks a little madame in the making, yes? I was sure there would be a story behind this one. But ... it seems, just a comfortable life, largely in the salubrious confines of London's 84 Cadogan Square, with lots of money, lots of servants, the occasional reported appearance at court or at someone else's fashionable wedding.  
Norah came from a family of landed gentry and legal gentlemen .. on both sides. An article I came upon describes thus: 'In 1866, Richard Battye, of Skelton Hall and Crosland Hall,Yorkshire, married Frances Bibby, the daughter of James Jenkinson Bibby, the High Sheriff of Shropshire and an enormously wealthy man who had founded the Bibby Shipping Line. In 1867, Richard and Frances had their first child and only son, Lionel Richard James Scholefield Battye, who went on to an Eton education and a career in the 13th Hussars where he rose to the rank of Captain. He thus became well known as Captain Battye.
Captain Battye's father and grandparents died between 1869 and 1873, leaving 331 acres of West Riding land and property to his widowed mother, Frances. This included land in Ossett, including Sowood Farm, and in Horbury including Hallcroft, Nether Hall (subsequently the Shepherd's Arms), and Horbury Hall. Many of the Horbury land and property ownerships had once belonged to John Scholefield who was, of course, Captain Battye's great grandfather.
Captain Battye's mother, Frances, died in 1921 and Captain Lionel Richard James Scholefield Battye of 64, Cadogan Square London died on 15th May 1947 and the huge estate which he inherited was subsequently sold.
Part of the Bibby Estate was Hardwick Grange where the Battyes hung out.

84 Cadogan Square


Anyway, Lionel Battye was Norah's only brother. But there were several surviving sisters Millicent Audrey (1871-1966), Hilda Frances Marion (1869-1953, Mrs Alfred Bibby), Marjory Cecil Rachel (1874-1899, Mrs George Percy Brasier-Creagh) .. and more than enough of everything to go round ten times. 

But the family had its tragedies.  Father Richard died 'of an accident' (no one says what kind!) at Hardwick Hall aged 39. Marjorie married a capatin in the Bengal Lancers, went out to India and died in Rawalpindi bringing a little Brian Richmond Brasier-Creagh (12 September 1899) into the world. The widower left India for South Africa and a command with Roberts' Horse. Within four months of his wife's death, he too was dead. Little Brian was sent back to Britain, grandmother Frances and aunties Muriel and Norah. And so it goes on ...

In 1939 the three unmarried siblings -- Lionel, Muriel and Norah -- are living together ..

Well, if Norah herself didn't have a story, her family certainly did.  


Jessie

Jessie Fernley BRUNDRIT (b Runcorn 18 February 1856; d 37 Croxteth Rd 29 November 1907). Yes, it was Brundrit. Daughter of William Wright Brundrit (1828; d The Mount, Runcorn 29 July 1873), stonemerchant and shipbuilder, director of the local waterworks, and of his wife Mary Anne née Hazelhurst (1831-1912), also from Runcorn (m  31 March 1853). What a beautiful young girl.

She, too, lost her father (latterly a quarry owner, magistrate, JP) at a too-early age, just 45, after he had fathered a brood of chicks -- Dennis (1854) xx (1855), Jessie (1856), Mary Anne Hazelhurst (1857-1883), Helen Ada Louisa (1860), William Hazelhurst Wight (1862), Fanny Eliza Octavia (1863), Arthur Fernley (1866) -- but there were plenty of Brundrits in town to help out ...
Well, I don't know if they did .. but Mary Anne obvioiusly helped out herself.  In 1881 sjhe is visiting the very well-off family of a Heaton Norris cotton-merchant. Surname: Fernley. Oyoy! In 1891, I see her as the wife (?) of an elderly Scots retired chemical manufacturer named Neil Mathieson, at Beechfield 9 Croxteth Rd, Toxteth Park.  Jessie, aged 45, is with them and .. a cook, two housemaids, a kitchenmaid, a waitress ...  Oh! Look! 1893. Cabin class to New York! Jessie Brundrit, no profession, transient passenger from Liverpool along with Mrs L? J Mathieson, children May and Nora, a nurse ... going to Saltville ..

So who are these Mathiesons? There is Neil (b Scotland 1823; d New Brighton 18 September 1906), all right, living in Runcorn already in 1871. A widower, with 3 daughters, 2 sons .. 'manufacturing chemist and copper extraction ..' .. and Yes! 1880. Married Mary Anne Brundrit! 
Neil left over 100,000L ... but I think children of the first Mathieson marriage saw more than the widow. Still, when Mary Anne died at Croxteth Rd, 26 November 1912, she left a comfy 7880L. 

PS Well! Mathieson was born in Campelltown, Scotland and came to work for J&T Johnson, soap and alkali makers in Runcorn, where he became works manager. Around 1860 he joined two other Johnson's workers, in setting up the Old Quay Works in Runcorn to make soap and to extract copper by the Henderson wet process. In 1865, when John & Thomas Johnson became registered under the Companies Act as the Runcorn Soap and Alkali Company, Mathieson invested in the company, buying 175 shares. He left the Old Quay Works to set up his own business, Matheison and Company in Widnes in 1870. Matheison and Company became one of the most important companies in Widnes. Its main business was producing alkali by the Leblanc process and they also produced glycerine from soap waste from Gossage's. Later Mathieson's third son, Thomas Train Mathieson, became a partner in the business.
Neil's eldest son, Douglas Dugald (1861–86), an assistant manager at the works, was killed after being struck by a falling derrick. In 1892 Mathieson obtained a charter in Saltville, Virginia (yes!) to open an alkali plant, buying out the Holston Salt and Plaster Company. His son Thomas Train Mathieson went to USA to supervise this business, the Mathieson Alkali Company, which was later to develop into the Mathieson Chemical Corporation.

Well, Jessie, you turned out to be quite a can of Runcorn beans!



So that's my five ladies identified. Quite a bunch!

I think I deserve a slightly early apéritif!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

VICTORIAN VOCALISTS: THE PAPERBACK

 Thursday, 02 September 2021

Victorian Vocalists: Book Review

Written by 

BOOK REVIEW: Victorian Vocalists, Routledge, New York, 2020 (paperback)

Victorian Vocalists coverVictorian VocalistsMemory does not fade, it sinks slowly to the bottom of the cultural seabed where the more leisurely historian may pick up a forgotten item or two for later display, but a good historian works his oars upon the surface of the water, rowing all those he can from ship to shore so that their reputation, influence and admiration may continue.

Kurt Gänzl is such a master-oarsman. His Victorian Vocalists—now in its paperback incarnation—is another desirable work: a compilation of 100 singers, many of whom have not been celebrated in solid sources, or who have been hurriedly celebrated with that unjust brevity that editors—with one eye on page real estate—must reduce to a few lines.

At first glance Victorian Vocalists looks comprehensive in its choice of subjects but Kurt himself will tell you that for every one that was included, many were packed, readied and perfumed, but no stately barge came to collect them. The entries themselves though, are as comprehensive as Gänzl could make them (juicy stories held back for reasons of space and gravity, of course) and in what appears to be a Gänzl hallmark, many accurate items appear here that do not appear anywhere else. As I said, he is a master oarsman.

The Gänzl accuracy of included matter, and well-ordered entries leads to another Gänzl hallmark: the impression of a finer class of gossip. Part of the charm of his writing is the affection that he has for those who were born blessed or cursed; strived in vain or to profit; failed completely or succeeded unexpectedly; fell from grace or soared to heights; married into the aristocracy or married the confectioner; divorced in public or lived defiantly in sin; retired with majesty or died in poverty; lived after in books or lay buried unknown. There is an injustice to being forgotten if one has dared to strive in life, and here in Victorian Vocalists, there is some redress. Gänzl has a happy knack of knowing how to bring an engaging lilt to the cold language of dates and places, and so softens the ’necessaries‘ (births, deaths, marriages, concert highlights, and so forth) with just the right amount of seasoning and style. Gänzl was in the course of his career a singer with a fine basso voice, and so, I suppose, the instinct of the performing voice to hit not only the notes in pitch and length, but also to sell the song’s story by sentiment and subtlety has its twin in his voice upon the page. Would I be abusing metaphor to say that his writing entertains?

Another important feature is his choice of abstracts from various sources when he wishes to echo a printed sentiment or observation; many authors choose quotes or abstracted matter with little care, but Gänzl chooses his material as an manager might choose the vocal cast for a stage work—with great care—and this lends an ease of prose colour to the blocks of text; he is easy to read, and doesn’t make you regret the effort.

It is fruitless to name and number the persons Gänzl has rowed to shore with their slippers still dry, but among those upper hundred that he and Routledge have presented, one will find people like the slightly batty and wistful Ilma di Murska; the booming Agostino Susini who met his end by carriage accident; that sweet workhorse of the concert platform, Annie Tonnellier; and Priscilla Horton, who was blessed by the Muses with the twin gifts of singing and acting. Some of my personal favourites are the Vitellis, Giovanni and Annie, whose influence in Australia’s wild early days was long but at the time, barely noticed; the polarising Pasquale Brignoli who found fame in America; and the still neglected Caradori Allan of whom Gänzl says ’…was one of the greatest of all Victorian vocalists’.

As to the production of the book itself, I find it thrice valued: a thorough reference work and desirable addition to any historian’s shelf; a charming conversational exemplar of style from whose selection one may reacquaint oneself with any significant life and its highlights; and a good looking production by Routledge with a bold red cover similar to Gänzl’s two-volume master work on Emily Soldene (this last observation is appealing to me as a designer by career, as the bold red of the cover with its sans-serifed face sitting in happy contrast to the loose and vibrant style of the illustration of Maria Palmieri, speaks to the content’s style, where the facts are bold and without trim, but the illustrative nature of his writing is easy, subdued and genial. The designers are to commended for that level of book design). One element of the book’s design is to be lamented—not for itself, but in the book trade generally, where fashion and budget relegate portraits to small inclusions on the type-set page, drowning the photograph’s range of tones like a poor Ophelia in the river weeds (the type-friendly stock required to display the printed letter always plays havoc with the sharpness of printed images). I do miss the ‘gallery’ style of many years ago when portraits were given separate varnished paper to highlight the range of tones and it made for stronger photographs—they were also happily, larger. Perhaps one day we might see a Gänzl gallery in large format, and on good printing stock. I feel sure that the entrants in Gänzl’s work would be none too pleased and ruby faced at the dull tonal range given to their likenesses.

It almost goes without saying that it is a ’must have‘ for anyone interested in Victoriana in general, and in opera specifically, for the glittering world of the stage, and in particular opera, was an intersection between classes and a kind of unspoken estate that has not yet had a decent appreciation outside the musical world.

Kurt Gänzl is still out there, in blog and on keyboard, rowing away for the glory of the forgotten, and the benefit of us all.

Read 5 timesLast modified on Monday, 13 September 2021
Allister Hardiman

Allister Hardiman is based in Melbourne, and has been in the design industry since 1983, working in portraiture, film & television, publishing, advertising, cartography and set design. In the 1990s he started reading about early theatrical life in Melbourne, and began researching on his own shortly after, focussing on the life of Robert Sparrow Smythe. His experience in the visual arts prompted the collecting of portraits and other photographs from the 1850–1900 period, many of whom are rare singers, actors, musicians, and platform speakers. He also writes short stories for kicks, giggles and whisical colour.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Welsh soldier who wasn't ...

 

I have just enough time before Sunday lunch, to assuage my curiosity as to the "who was" of this fine young Welsh soldier .... 5-foot-eight, eyes of brown ...



If you are clever, you can decipher his signature on the back ... and then .... begin. In Wales? No. In India.

Henry Arthur Mant WORSLEY (b Juanpore, Bengal 9 December 1860; d Wokingham 19 March 1953) was one of the many children of Colonel Henry Robert Brown Worsley of HM Staff Corps and his wife Alicia Emily née Mant.

He was destined for the Military, and sent to Britain to attend military college, which explains the uniform, and I see he was gazetted a second lieutenant in 1879 which explains the Wales.



He didn't stick it long. In March 1883, he resigned his commission. He was going on the stage. 'He had private means and had joined the profession for the love of it'. 'Light and eccentric comedy'. Pantomime in Cardiff (1883), the Duc des Ifs in Olivette (1885), panto at Bath (1886), stage manager for Vivienne Dallas, Nelson Theatre (1887). Then in was 'business manager' for Pitt Hardacre (1888-9) 'Captain H Mant-Worsley'. Lieutenant, surely.

The theatre occupied him for a good half-dozen years, but by 1893 he has become Secretary to the Corunna Waterworks Co Ltd of Austinfriars. He also married (17 September 1893), Edith Augusta Showler, the daughter of a Lincolnshire gentleman, but she died the next year in what I'm guessing was childbirth. In 1895 he is Secretary of the Westralian Gold Properties (Ltd). But that didn't work either.

Finally, he remarried (1899) Miss Annie Arbuckle Hannay, settled in Bristol, started a family, and became -- an antiquarian and antiques dealer.

His family consisted of three daughters:

Anne Joyce Miller Davidson Worsley (b Elliston Rd, Bristol 3 May 1900; d St Albans 3 December 1989)
Ursula Mary Worsley (b Elliston Rd, Bristol 1901; d Malacca, Malaysia 3 May 1953)
Margaret Cecily Anne Worsley (b Bristol 15 April 1905; d Wantage 2 February 1988)

Margaret became a schoolteacher and never married.

Joyce married a young man from Leicestershire, John Arthur Bennett in 1921. His father worked in the yearn trade in Wigston Magna, but in the 1911 census, little John is with his aunt, a grocer in Nottingham. The marriage was of short duration: John died at the age of 26, in 1925, and Joyce married (very quickly) William Walter Allen Mason (1894-1960)  electrical engineer, airman and aircraft engineer/inspector. 
I see them together in the 1939 listings, with three blacked out lines following their entry. Children?

There is something odd here, though. I find it hard to believe that there were two William Walter Allen Masons born in India within twelve months. One on 8 April 1894, the other on 8 March 1895. By Walter William Mason out of Lizzie Allen. So who is the 'Willie W A Mason' who married Irene F L Fish in 1914, had a son and, according to the family historians, died aged 37. I don't think so. This looks faintly like a little touch of ...bigamy!

If Joyce's story is a bit obfuscated, what then of Ursula's? Ursula married, in 1945, aged 44. She married a man twenty years older, Timothy Arthur O'Keeffe (b 12 November 1880), who if he hadn't 'been married seven times before' certainly had a track record. From his last brief marriage, the sometime clerk from Cork had achieved entry into Debrett. Annie Evelyn Ireland Kay of Cowper House, Dover, had been a baronet's daughter, knocking fifty when she married Mr O'Keeffe. Anyway, after a couple of years, Tim got caught screwing around, and Annie divorced him loudly. I'm sure there were other wives before and after Annie, but anyway, Tim declared himself 'independent' ... and in 1945 he wed Ursula. She had seven years of him. Then on 14 February 1953 she boarded a ship to the Orient .. with or without husband, I know not.  Three weeks later she was dead, in hospital at Malacca.
Did Tim re-re-marry?  Lord knows, but when he died in Dublin, 30 July 1966, he left a very tidy 64,000L ... I wonder where that had come from.

Father in law 'Mant' Worsley left just a few hundred. 'Independent means' don't last forever ...

CC GAY / LESBIAN INT. DRAG QUEEN & BUTCH DRAG 1880-90s CABINET PHOTOGRAPH

 

Thats what it said on e-bay ...





So I looked. Cross-dressing? Looks as if it could be. But maybe not.

BEATRICE MAY ('Bertie') TRUCKLE b New Cross 16 February 1875; d Tiverton 13 May 1943
married Edward Ernest GANE (traveller for timber importer). One son, one daughter.

PERCY LIONEL TRUCKLE b Brixton 3 April 1879; d 39 Hatton Gardens, Mitcham 14 July 1947
married Marie Valentina COWARD. 

The youngest of the five surviving children of George Truckle (1842-1907), photographer. Who probably took the photo. When? Around 1890? 

I see George operated at some stage from New Bond Street ...



Then he became 'and sons'. Well, he only had two ... so that's George Edwin and Percy ...

Does this card look as if an 's' has been squeezed in after 'son'



 

I see from the 1911 census that George Edwin didnt stick with photograph ('cashier for a cigar merchant'), but Percy did .... until he went to the war as a sapper in the Royal Engineers ...


Anyway, it looks as if this picture is a couple of young teenagers larking about in dad's studio. Nothing very gay or lesbian about it ... just a bit of fun with the fancy-dress box ... with a photo, of course, thrown in.  Chuckle, I wonder what they'd have thought had they known that over a century later ...

Friday, September 3, 2021

Holworthy: a jigsaw with missing pieces

 

This morning's dabble in the ebay shop of 'One Moment in Time' brought its usual bundle of edible-looking puzzles .. so I went for a little group which clearly belonged together ....   The last owner had labelled them 'Holdsworthy'. So that person can't have been closely related!

The HOLWORTHY family 'lords of the manor of Elsworth, Cambridgeshire' were a typical English gentry family. Army officers, endless Reverends, Esqs and Gents, Jamaican planters (and lots of Matthews and Desboroughs), but a generation further on they had become big in the non-sinecureless and moreprofitable world of buying and selling, trading and export/import. The two sons of the sometime British Chaplain to the Hague, the Reverend William Holworthy (d 27 December 1838) and his wife Sarah Churchill née Turner (m 1818), after their return to Blickling and Erpingham in 1836, both got involved in American, South American and Antipodean trading (and doubtlesss the oriental and African tours as well). And prospered mightily.

Here is son number one, William Turner Holworthy (n Hague 15 August 1820; d 28 July 1902)



He carried on business, in the 1850s, from New York, in partnership with a succession of others, married American, [Lydia] Alice Sprague, and father his first seven children there before returning to Britain, in April 1862, to take up residence at Toxteth Park's 5 Belvidere Road, with his family (now five children) and seven servants. 

Well, I see his two eldest surviving sons in our bundle. Here is Matthew William (b New York 21 December 1849; d 12 September 1889)



and here Charles Joseph (1856-1910)


Both were brought up to the world of commerce and international trading, but didn't really last the course. Matthew died aged 39, unmarried ... Charles married Alice Fitzherbert 'only daughter of the late Sir William Fitzherbert' 'formerly Lady Buckley' (d Eastbourne, NZ 1 November 1910), and they latterly lived in New Zealand where they died in 1910 within less than a fortnight of each other.

The eldest daughter is here, too: Alice Victoria (1852-1929)


Alice married architect Arthur Parry Fry, 25 October 1883, but their only child died in infancy. Aerhur must have been a good architect. When he died at Cheltenham 3 April 1919, he left his widow nearly 15,000L.



So, who else do we have? Seemingly no more of W T's children.

We have a sweet-looking Sarah of 1884



...We have a Lizzie (Mrs Girling), photographed in Berlin ..


Can't place those two yet.

Then we have Charles Matthew and Frederick William ..



Evidently brothers, though one was photographed in Göttingen and the other in Bromley. Its the cousins. Son number two's sons ...  children of Joseph Matthew Holworthy (b The Hague 16 April 1822; d Bromley, Kent 21 December 1894) and his wife Jemima O'Brien Jones from Jamaica (m 16 December 1852)  (d Bromley 27 December 1911), who settled in Kent.

Charles Matthew (b Bromley 29 January 1861; d Bromley 15 March 1909) and Frederick William (b Bromley 24 January 1860; d Kent 1922). There was a sister, too: Annie Josephine (b Epsom 19 March 1855; d Bromley 12 November 1937), but her photo isn't here. This Holworthy family spent many years plying their trade in Australia; Joseph M Holworthy & Co, of London, Australian Merchants ...

I see Mrs Fred (Sarah Lalla née Hawkes) giving birth to a son 28 May 1885, at St Kilda, where Fred is referred to as 'of Elworth, Bromley, Kent and late of Dunedin, NZ'. Sarah Lalla died in Dunedin in 1948 (5 August). Could she be our Sarah photographed in Bury St Edmunds? Her son from Australia, Frederick William Richard, 'archivist of rne English Speaking Union, London', 'county council record keeper' died in Kent in 1961.

And Lizzie? I have no idea. Of William's seven daughters only two, Alice and Amy Rose, married, and only Amy (Mts Charles Ledward) had children ... of his five sons, one died young, one went missing, one never married, Charles is credited with a dubious daughter and only Herbert (son Herbert Desborough) seems to have had a child. So where does 'Lizzie' fit in?  But who knows,? this lovely photo shows us that Florence was known as 'Polly' ...


Was there a son no3? There was a daughter, Sarah, who became (22 January 1851) Mrs George A Partridge, but bred not ... ah yes, son no3 was actually the eldest. Born in the Hague 28 December 1818. But he died in Calcutta, of the fever, 23 April 1845, at the age of 27 ... 

There's heaps more family history in this one, but enough. Let's just hope these photos find their way back to what remnants of the Holworthy and Ledward families are still around  ...