Monday, November 23, 2020

A Naughty Gaiety Girl ...


When you 'live' in a certain 'world' -- in my case, that of the C19th musical theatre -- when you become imbued with its atmosphere, it facts, its alliances and its people -- sometime the dots join up in the most unexpected and surprising way. That's what happened today.

Once upon a year .. a 20th century one, round about 1979-80, I think, when I was spending all my wages on any music, programmes, ephemera that I could lay hands on to go into the making of my The British Musical Theatre, I scooped up a few autographs. Now, I don't usually bother with autographs. Apart from the fact that I know how many star signatures I have signed 'on behalf of', they don't actually tell you anything. Unless, of course, they are attached to a letter or other document of some interest. But in 1979, I was young, eager, foolish, had 135L a week to splash about ... bought quite a bit of nonsense, but fluked a few nice things....

So. I was glancing through an old folder of letters ... some wonderful stuff! Pradeau, Julia Baron, Levassor, John Hollingshead, George Sims, T P Cooke ... and a pencilled scribble from Ivan Caryll on Gaiety Theatre headed paper and in a Gaiety envelope. Remember envelopes? And lovely headed paper from Smythsons ..

So I read the scribble. What fun! A missive to a chorus girl, chiding her for chatting up what seems to have been a fellow in a stage box, or maybe a pal next to her on stage, while the jeune premier was singing his solo!

No doubt as to any of the folk involved, I think. Ivan Caryll alias Felix Tilken, the grand composer for so many musical plays which made their way around the world -- America, Europe, Australasia -- in the turn-of-the-century decades. Walter Louis Bradfield (1866-1919) the handsome baritonic light comedian who played leading roles all around London for many years. And Miss Frazer (recte: Fraser)? 99% surely the beauteous dancing showgirl Margaret [Campbell] Fraser, longtime Gaiety chorine. I say 99% because her sister also trod the boards briefly, but this is pretty surely Margaret. And the show?

Annoyingly, Ivan didn't date his note. And Bradfield and Miss Fraser appeared together at the Gaiety (and elsewhere) in more than one show. Both sisters played in In Town at some stage, as front-row dancers, they travelled to America with the Gaiety Girl troupe in 1894, and between 1895 and 1900 Margaret was seen in slightly featured parts in An Artist's Model (Geraldine, solo dance; and then in the second London edition in an added 'role'), The Geisha (Louie Plumpton), My Girl (Miss Veriner), The Circus Girl (Rose Gompson), A Runaway Girl (Agatha) and The Messenger Boy (Lady Winifred). All she was required to do was to look beautiful (which was evidently no problem at all), dance and high kick as required, and wear clothes magnificently ...

After some eight years under the Edwardes management, during which she spawned a thousand postcard pictures, she moved on to a little part in Bluebell in Fairyland (the juvenile Dorothy Frostick go the feaured dance), before, all of 26 years of age, she gave up show-ponying for the dramatic stage. And she seems to have found a fan in the female-proof J M Barrie. She was cast in the little role of Fisher in The Admirable Crichton, understudying the lead juvenile role of Lady Mary. 

Apparently, she went on, and must have done well enough, for the following year she was cast as Eleanor Gray in Barrie's Little Mary. And a few years later, after a few odd jobs (2nd Lobster in Alice in Wonderland), she was cast as Tiger Lily in the 1909 production of Peter Pan. Finis, I think.

But who was this lovely young lady? Where did she come from and what became of her?

The second question is answered in the press. Margaret lived to the age of 96, and died 1 September 1972, at 21 West Heath Drive, London NW11. And no, she was no longer 'Miss Fraser', she was the widow of a good and honoured man, with two daughters. But let's start at the beginning.

Margaret was born, not in Scotland, as is said on the web, but in Paddington 14 August 1876. She was the daughter of the former Kate Brutton Ray, who had been foolish enough to wed a real rotter of a divorcé by the name of William Thomas Fraser, an officer in the 42nd Highlanders. To whom we shall return. Anyway, Kate too divorced him, and he went on to a third wife and a number of concubines ... yes, well, Margaret first.

Margaret made her beauteous career, survived the perils of the Gaiety backstage, and, in 1914, married Captain Francis Jenkins of the Coldstream Guards. They had two daughters: Margaret (31 January 1916; d 1974, Mrs Geo L Evans) and Elizabeth Anne (1918-2009). Captain Jenkins had a fine career as a soldier and an administrator, in Nigeria and in Barbados (and Margaret went too) but died, too young, in 1927. An honourable life, career ... 

After her husband's death, Margaret seems to have shared a home with her widowed sister, Helen (d 1966) with whom she can be seen in the 1939 census.

Okay. The scandalous bit. According to the family historians (never to be totally trusted) father Fraser had nine children. Maybe. By Kate? Undoubtedly not all of them. Because I have encounted little Willie Fraser before. In my D'Oyly Carte delvings ...

Rita Presano (née Tacagni):

"In her D'Oyly Carte days she had got mixed up with a 'swell' -- a heavily married father of several -- named William Thomas Fraser. This is he. Looks a wimp, I reckon.

The result was a small Rita (7 November 1884). The baby was taken on by a couple named Robbins, Fraser's wife (Kate) divorced him, he went on to other ladies, and Rita sr remained single. Officially. I see in the 1901 census she is the 'wife' of Scots violinist and conductor Alfred Ernest Print. They officially wed in 1924. Maybe he was previously 'spoken for'. There were no children.

What a wally. Can the Black Watch not do better?

Well, lovely Margaret did better. Nearly two decades as a stage glamour girl and an almost-actress. And I reckon she kept that little note from her Gaiety days and Ivan Caryll ...  until 1972 ...  soon after which it fell into the hands of Gänzl, K. Who has preserved it for forty plus years before handing it on to the next generation ... 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Once, there were two pretty, musical girlies ...


BADIA, Carlotta [b Italy, c 1857; d unknown]

BADIA, Antonietta Francesca M [b ?Milan, ?13 June 1859; d Cernobbio after 1936]


A photograph of two youthfully-pretty teenaged girls, dark-eyed, dark-haired, taken in Paris in the year 1875, survives to this day. There’s a copy in the Bibliothèque Française. And a very scruffy one on an Italian website. The French one is wrongly labelled. The cataloguer has marked it as being Spanish soprano, Conchita Badia, decades before her birth. The Italian one is stuck on to a bit of semi-fictional writing which half-heartedly passes for truth. But the photo was featured on the cover of  Paris-Théâtre, and blow me down, a copy has turned up on e-bay this week chez the esteemed dealer 'blaurent' and another, amid his usual trove of delights, chez the even more esteemed 'photodiscovery'.

Well, the photograph is of the two daughters of songwriter-cum-singing teacher Luigi Badia (b Ternano, 16 February 1819; d 17 via di Monte Pietà, Milan 30 October, 1899) ‘pupil of Rossini’ (and Zingarelli and Donizetti and...), and his wife, singer Teresa née Martinetti. And the season of 1874-5 – when the girls were about eighteen and sixteen – was just about the peak of their career, and their popularity. Which is why the mass-produced picture.



 Badia has been written about a lot, and found his way into all sorts of reference books. He even has a street named after him in Ternano. I’m a bit surprised, but his achievement in the music world was and remains his production of hundreds of ‘Neapolitan’ songs, some of which were sung by the great and the grand and some of which proved quite durable. He started off, like most Italian musicians of the period, writing operas. Four of them got produced between 1846 and 1854, without success. The prima donna for the last, Il Cavaliere Nero (Teatro Comunale, Bologna 28 October 1854), was the young soprano Teresina Martinetti, who, soon after, became Mrs Badia. 

The Badias left Italy, allegedly, because of the political situation, in 1856. Which is odd, because both the daughters are supposed to have been born there. But it must be at least kind of right, because Teresa is singing in Brescia and Firenze in 1855, and by October 1856 they’re in Paris. And in 1857 she is engaged in Brussels. In 1857, too, they visited England for the first time and Teresa sang alongside Belletti, Nantier-Didiée and Graziani, at Mrs Petre’s soiree (28 May), giving a duet from her husband’s 1853 opera Flavio Rachis with Neri-Baraldi, the Rigoletto quartet with Nantier-Didiée and Ronconi, the Lucia septet, a Donizetti romanza, and one of Luigi's Neapolitan songs ('Stornello'), and again at Madame Puzzi’s concert (8 June).


Some time after, they went back to Brussels (I spot her giving a concert there in April 1859), and to wherever the girls were born, but they ultimately settled in Britain, where Luigi pursued a career as a modest singing teacher and conductor and a successful songwriter. Teresa sang. I spot them at a do, staged by Giacinto Marras, for ‘Neapolitan exiles’ in May 1859, and on, 27 August, she is billed as making her first appearance in England at the Crystal Palace. She sang ‘O luce di quest’ anima’ and ‘Ah! non giunge’ and two of Luigi’s songs, ‘Viva la patria terra’ and ‘Nennelle’. Her songs were liked better than her arias: ‘Her voice is not of the finest quality but it is powerful, of considerable extent and extremely sweet and pure in the upper register.  Her style is energetic and fearless…’, ‘some merit and numerous faults’, ‘a tolerable voice’. 


In 1860, she went on tour with Amalia Corbari and Claudina Fiorentini (‘a young Neapolitan whose songs ‘font furore’ in London’) in a Willert Beale concert party. Her songs went down well: ‘petite in figure with a remarkably expressive face she introduces us to a new character of song, full of life, and poured. with a clear ringing voice and naïve manner ... she will become a popular singer in this country’. The other two prime donne outdid her in the arias.


For the next seven years, Teresa was seen episodically in concert, still making her best success with her husband’s lively songs, visiting Brighton and Lymington, and each year giving a concert in a fashionable London private house. And then she vanishes. He doesn’t, but she does. She isn’t listed in the UK death records, but in the 1871 census he lists himself as ‘widower’. And the girls as 14 and 11. Born Italy.

The next year, he would bring the girls out. But for Carlotta – named Carlottina – it wouldn’t be a veritable debut. In December of 1860, ‘aged four’, she had made an appearance at Brighton. She sang ‘La donna è mobile’ and ‘Di quell’ amor’ ‘correctly and even somewhat artistically’, and, as the local press related at length, caused quite a hit. But she doesn’t seem to have made another childish appearance. Not in public. Later, it would be said that she had sung ‘Qui la voce’ before Queen Victoria. Well, maybe she did. And it was recounted that Rossini had told Badia that she shouldn’t be doing it, and to wait till she was twelve. So he did.


Carlottina and Antonietta, presumably 15 and 12, appeared at the Pavilion in March 1872 at Wilhelm Kuhe’s 12-day Brighton Festival. The press hadn’t forgotten (‘it is some years since that one of the girls when scarce emerged from infanthood was heard singing at a matinee in Brunswick Square…’), and their duet singing, alongside the adult work of Jose Sherrington, Alice Fairman and Monari Rocca, was judged charming. Kuhe brought them out at his London concert, on 10 June, in extremely lofty company – from Titiens and Marimon to Trebelli and Mme Conneau – but then they were withdrawn from the public eye again. Though I suspect that invitations to sing privately before the aristocratic and wealthy were accepted, and, indeed, I spot the pair with their father giving ‘their annual private matinée’ chez the Butlers of Connaught Place in 1873 (30 June).


In February 1875, a scathingly funny piece of occasional journalism in the Daily News, taking an open-eyed look at the Parisian Lenten ‘fashionable concert’ scene, cast an eye over the best of the new performers: ‘two Neapolitan girls named Badia have had the luck to be taken up by the Baroness Nathan de Rothschild. They are exquisite drawing room singers and, in warbling duets together, make a tableau vivant pretty enough to carry off a prize at the ‘Salon’. But, not being gifted with dramatic power, they would have met with less favour elsewhere…’. A reporter who heard them at a private soirée devoted a full column to them. The story about the Queen and Rossini surfaced. They were photographed. They sang the Mercadante Guiramento duet (‘avait l’inconvenient de sortir du cadre qui convient si bien a ces deux voix enfantines ..’) at the Opéra for Mons Delannoy’s Benefit (28 March), Il Flauto magico and La Vestale at the Salle Herz  for Mons Ferrari (‘deux bien jolies voix’) and mounted their own concert at the same rooms, with Lefort and delle Sedie as guests. They sang ‘Giorno d’orrore’ and ‘I pescatori’ and were voted ‘cristallines, vibrantes, sympathétiques, merveilleuses de justesse et expresssion’. They varied their duets by, each, singing in tandem with Lefort.

They sang at Alphonse Rendano’s concert, and then they were taken to sing at the President’s home (‘Per valli per boschi’, ‘Giorno d’orrore’, ‘Biondina’), before the Queen of Spain and Marshall MacMahon. Madame de Rothschild had done her job well. Her protégées were the darlings of the day.

Baroness de Rothschild

Paris having been taken, the Badias headed back to London and their annual ’private matinée’ chez Selina, Countess Milton, and another ’debut’ at the Crystal Palace (23 October). They gave their Blangini and a Maria Padilla duet and won splendid notices for their ‘pure expressive style’, their sound technique and their sisterly togetherness. And the critic did not forget to mention that they had been singing at private parties for some years.

In November they took part in the Covent Garden proms, made a first appearance at the Monday pops (‘Dolce conforto’, ‘Nel giardino’), and returned to the Crystal Palace. In January 1876 they visited Dublin and began a series of performances at the Boosey Ballad Concerts where their ‘chaste unaffected duet singing’ in pieces such as Balfe’s ‘I know a maiden fair to see’ and ‘Trust her not’, Mendelssohn’s ‘Greeting’, ‘Kelvin Grove’ and some of father Badia’s works won great favour. 

The Monday pops, the Alexandra Palace, concerts for Campana, Alice Fairman, Arditi ... and then the London season was over, and the family headed for Enghien (‘Giorno d’orrore’, Traventi waltz) where they teamed up with the baritone Faure, pianist Ketten and violinist Ovide Musin for a two- month Henry Jarrett tour from Nancy (23 September) and Reims round France, Belgium and Holland. And then winter in Paris.


Of course, there could never be another season like that famous first one, but the girls shared their year between the London season and the Paris one, appearing in their own concerts and in a variety of other often high society events. In 1877 they sang alongside Christine Nilsson and Sims Reeves (‘Un gentile e vago fior’) and at the French Embassy for variegated royalty. Carlotta sang solo on this occasion, and it was increasingly evident that the younger sister had not the ambition of the elder. Over the next few years, Antonietta would adopt an increasingly supportive role.

In 1879, they visited the Casino at Monte Carlo where it was averred that they ‘have won all hearts by their exquisite singing’, and although it was paragraphed that they were to 'debut' operatically in Linda di Chamonix in Boulogne, they seemingly visited the Ostend Kursaal, Enghien and Aix-les-Bains, Milan, Brussels, Paris, without a theatre performance, before they headed back London again. In 1881, it was stated in the press that they were now performing individually, and Carlotta ‘aspires to the more elaborate form of vocalism’. She did indeed, for her cheval de bataille was now ‘Bel raggio’ which one critic felt ‘she has hardly the physical power’ to perform. But she did, for many years, to mostly more satisfied notices.

Carlotta? I notice the photo is labelled 'Mlles'

In 1882, Antonietta married. Her husband was Angelo [Maria] Alberto Carminati (b Brignano Gera d’Adda, Bergamo 17 August 1856; d Milan 16 November 1934), who was to become a senator in Italy and make it to the Italian Dictionary of Biography. She retired from performing, returned to Italy, bore a daughter, Luigia (Signora Vizzardelli), and seemingly lived out much of her life in Cernobbio. She survived her husband.


Carlotta carried on, as she had already begun to, as a solo artist, through the 1800s and into the 1890s. She centred her activity, now, on England where her father had become a staff member at Henry Wylde’s London Academy of Music. She appeared at the Crystal Palace, the Covent Garden proms, the Albert Hall, the Saturday Pops, at Liverpool’s Halle concerts, the Glasgow Saturday Evenings, giving the eternal ’Bel raggio’, ‘Deh vieni’, ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘Une nuit sur le lac’, ‘Qui la voce’ or Gounod’s ‘Printemps’. The critic of the Saturday concerts found that she was ‘more at home in Gounod than in ‘Dove sono’.’ When she ventured to Paris in 1880, she was reported to have 'enlevé la salle' at Urio's concert in the confines of the Grand Hotel ('Le nid d'amour', 'Bel raggio'), and in 1887 she was well-plugged by a journo who didn't know his 'Bel Raggio' from his 'Bel reggia', However, the Princess B[u]onaparte was not as adept as Madame de Rothschild, Carlotta was no longer a pretty teenager (in duplicate), and  ..

By 1888 the response was altogether more negative: ‘Carlotta Badia may be acceptable in a drawing-room, but she is not fit to sing in a large concert-room like that at the Crystal Palace ..’ Carlotta, who had been for many years a feature of Mrs Wylde’s frequent charity concerts, became, therefter, less seen as a performer and joined her father on the staff of the LAM.


In 1893 (27 May) the Badias took part in a Crystal Palace concert devoted wholly to Luigi’s work. Ben Davies, Eugene Oudin and Delphine Le Brun joined Carlotta to perform the vocal music, which the press averred was by far Badia’s best. Soon after, Luigi Badia returned to Italy, where he was to die in 1899. I assume Carlotta went too. But I don’t know. The father actually made it into the Italian Dictionary of National Biography. But there’s no mention of what happened to the daughters. So their precise details are, for the moment, lost. A French publication named Le Grand Encyclopédie muddles its Carlotta with its Antonietta


But they had had that one wonderful season, when they were the hottest thing in town, on both sides of the English Channel, and had their photograph taken …


Carlotta Badia wrote and translated the lyrics for a number of songs, including one composed by Gilda Ruta, grand-daughter to one of the (if not the) very earliest American prime donne…

Friday, November 20, 2020

Ada Binning: dance little lady!


I didn't really expect, ever, to come upon a photo of Ada Binning. I mean, she was a thoroughly professional Victorian performer -- first and foremost a dancer, but also a pantomime players and an actress -- but ... well, there were thousands of those!

I recognised her name from the touring companies of the Gaiety burlesques, where she featured in the famous Pas de quatre, but particularly from her stint as principal danseuse in the vastly popular The Lady Slavey. Anyway, since she had seen fit to pay me a wee visit, I thought she should have a brief blog.

I quickly found out that, insofar as concerned her career, The Era had long ago done the job ..

I guess that's all correct, although she isn't listed among the Vicar of Bray cast in my programme, and The Fay o'Fire didn't list its chorus. Anyway, I see Ada regularly on the British stage and music-hall platform between 1884, when she was, indeed, a member of the Wilson Barrett troupe, until 1903 ...

So, who was she? Scots descent? Er ... Ada Leonora Binning was born in Vincent Street, Westminster 9 December 1870. Her father, William Binning, was a horsekeeper, mother was Caroline née Holland (m 1862) and they can be seen in the 1871 census with the fruits of their conjugality: Kate, William Antony, Thomas, Henry and very tiny Ada ... the household also included Caroline's sister, Marie, her husband and two children, a spare cousin ... and there were more to come!

Ada's engagement with the Faust-up-to-date company won her both praise and a husband. Harry Richard Yardley was a character player (Old Faust, Lord Chancellor) in the piece, and in 1894 the two were married. They kept working through the births of Marie Ada (13 June 1895) and Harry Albert Lloyd (27 June 1900), but it seems that by the arrival of Edna Dorothy Gatcombe (6 March 1905, Mrs Donald Payne Storey) Ada had withdrawn from the stage. The couple shifted to the south coast where Harry later became the manager of the Southampton Hippodrome.

Harry died in 1924, and I see Ada, in the 1939 census, living alone in a flat at Hove's 19 First Avenue. Other than that she died in Hove in 1958, I have not found anything more. Except this little picture.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Lees of West Hill, Brampton or, Saving a Cumberland family's archive.

It's happened again. I was going quietly along, tidying up my story about the lovely Saxtons of Matlock Bath, and just very vaguely thinking about starting on work the next book, when I some how made an écart into e-bay and saw another family album in the process of being torn apart ... what's a day in the life of an old hayfeverish man, locked in his dark study ... I have to save the Lees of Brampton from the depredations of Mr/Ms legitlibrum!

Here is the photo that first caught my eye

If only they hadn't been labelled! But they are. In pencil, and seemingly later than the date of taking of the photograph, which is apparently late 1860s. We have two lasses, Alice and Annie, surnamed Shield, and two named Lee. I like the look of the Shield girls, so I chased them first. But no confirmable luck, so far. So, on to the Lees. Yes, the two lasses who look as though Julie Andrews has made their frocks out of the curtain material. That's Mabel Jane seated, and 'Lillie' stading. And it is their family which is the heart and soul of this collection.

Once upon a time there was a lawyer by name John Lee (d 25 March 1880), who came from Denton, in Cumberland, and settled, not far away, in the village of Brampton (now gobbled up by the metropolis of Carlisle) where he plied his trade in partnership (eventually) with the established Mr John Carrick. Here he is, clerking, in 1834.

Mr Lee married Miss Mary Ann Blacklock 'of Cumwhitton' 15 October 1836. And I think that, among the huge collection of photographs, we may actually have pictures of them

This, I am sure, is Mary Ann

And this John? Playing soldiers with the Volunteers, or taking time off from practising law to kill someone?

I will follow that up another time, but in the 60s, John sr was in his 60s, and John jr only in his twenties, so I think we are safe saying this is John sr.

Right. Skip on. Facts. Not counting several episodes of infant mortality, John (d 1880) and Mary (d 1875) had for offspring (1) James Blacklock Lee (2) Mary Ann Lee (3) Elizabeth Lowther Lee (4) John Joseph Lee (5) Mabel Jane Lee (6) Emma Henrietta Lee (7) William Carrick Lee, and (8) Percy Thomas Lee.  So, I think we can safely say that our curtain-material girls are Elizabeth (1842-1927) and Mabel (1848-1916). Both remained spinsters, as did William (1856-1913) and Emma (1853-?1936). Mary Ann became Mrs Dickinson, and died at the age of 47. Percy became, fate of youngest brother, a Rev. I lose J J.

I see that Mabel could brush up with a bit of Gok-styling

This seems to be Emma, from two different points of view

This is Percy... future Vicar of Garrigil then Shilbottle

And this is John Joseph (b 1845), educated at Parkgate Road Technical College, Chester, who seems to have ended up in Scotland ... though he must have been in Brampton for this photo session.

Which leaves James B, and that is exactly where we want to be.

James became a solicitor (and coroner), like his father. 11 August 1863, he married a Miss Emily Clay (yayy! there are Clay photos in that jewel of a collection!) and ...

But! Pause for the Clays! The Clays of Nether Denton. Robert and his wife Sarah Ann née Laing. Daughters Emily (1842) ... Annie Elizabeth (1856), Laura Cecilia (1859) ..  here we are! Or are we?

Cecilia and Annie ... but, hang on, the age is way out! This looks like the Annie (1814-1879) and Cecilia [Margaret] (1827-1888) who can both be seen ('annuitant') in Newcastle .. daughters of Robert Clay, master mariner, and his wife, Elizabeth ...  Emily Lee's maiden aunts! 

And, why! Emily herself ...?

So, Emily married Mr J B Lee, and here we are ...

So. Then we have the next gen. Harry James, Arthur, Emily Ethel, Hubert John, Robert Clifton, Francis Blacklock, William Frederick, Laura Eliza .. Well, round about this time the labelling got sloppy: if it was Emily's collection she, obviously, didn't need to label her children, unless the photo was being sent to someone else. However, I can decipher some ..

Here's Hubert. Twice!

Hubert became a bank clerk, married, bred ...

Francis Blacklock Lee

Fred Lee ie William Frederick

Thats three of the nine children: no Harry, Arthur, Emily, Robert, Laura or Septimus Joseph. Yet.

Alas, many of the other photos are unlabelled, but we can tell they belong to the collection. So is this John (1) or John (2)? That hideous beard ...

Is this a younger version of the beard? The frogging on the sleeves ..

And well, we can be pretty certain about this one. Alice and Annie Shield. And Lillie Lee.

There are heaps more. They should all be enshrined in the Brampton Museum. But no. History has no chance against e-bay ...

Mr/Ms Legitlibrum. Before you break up another collection ... just think. You may sell a few of these photos, singly, for two or three quid. But if you keep them all together, a museum or a benefactor (such as I) will buy the whole lot for a hundred or two or even three. But the collection needs to be COMPLETE.

Oh dear, look! More ... he's fun. From the days when beards were a Male thing rather than a gay style ..

And dammit! Here's another photo of Alice Squire! Distant relation? Friend? Or have I missed something? Dated 1864 .. Well, I see and Alice (b 1836) and an Annie (b 1841) in Houghton, Stanwix. Father is a cotton weaver and mother (née Thornton) a bobbin-winder. The gowns look a bit rich ...

And these, unlabelled ..

Here are the curtains again..

Oh! Here's a later one 'Dorothy Lee and/or Daisy'. Dorothy? Daughter of Hubert John and born 2 November 1899 at Brampton? ... someone else has revived the photo album, thirty, forty years on? I see there was a Dorothy Lee in Brampton back in the early part of the century ... isn't it a nuisance when folk keep using the same forenames over and over ...

This one isn't named, but I'll bet it's the Lees ..

And this

Well, now that I've salvaged the best of the pictorial bunch, let's see what else I can discover...

And still they come! Here is little Emily Ethel Lee. 

And here is Emily Ethel Symington d 15 August 1959 .. in Brampton's churchyard ... along with three 18th century Lees ... Where are the rest, I wonder. They seem to have been a church-going family.

Enough. The Lee family honour is saved ... time to get back to work on that book. I'm sure that there is much more to be found, but ...

Hang on, who is this Laura C Clay ... 1880? Why! Its our Laura Cecilia (1859-1953) ...!  Married 1883. To William Henry Victor Vincent Bradley (ouf!), Bank of England clerk. Sons Cecil Vincent, Guy Laing ... Died 15 June 1953 at Hexham.

And sister Annie Elizabeth seems to have married an Arthur Hugh Sutherland ...

I know, I'm going on and on .. but so does this family!  And I'm still hoping to spot a Shield in there somewhere!

Goodness, Mr J B Lee even had the servants photographed! Annie Grisdale and Maggie Little. Annie is with them in the 1891 census, 'aged 39', born Castlesowerby, daughter of a shoemaker ... soon after this photo, she married (so it seems) a widowed railway porter, Robert Lamonby, with three children, had a legitimate daughter of her own, to add to what seems like a youthful illegitimate one, lost her husband ... she died aged 70 in 1920.

The next day: I don't know whether my blog started something (I did alert the local paper and historical societies at Brampton) or not, but someone has bid for a number of the photos. Mabel Jane in her hunting gear has 16 bids and is up to 26 quid. Little Dorothy is up to thirteen. But nobody has latched on to my favourite ...  and no-one seems interested in the Shields!

The day after: Rule of Thumb. ALWAYS revisit the scene of the crime!  Here is a little trove of Shields!

Annie Shield

Annie and ... Hugh!

Aunt Lizzie and Arthur

Got 'em!!!!!!!  1861 census. George Robertson Shield (49) woollen cloth merchant, 10 Claremont Place, St Andrew, Newcastle. Wife Elizabeth Alice (39). Children: Alice (13), Annie (11), George (9), Hugh Walter (7), Frederick (5), Arthur (2 months). I see Mrs Shield got a sabbatical year between children, but they nevertheless employed 2 nurses as well as the usual cook and housemaid. And guess what? Elizabeth Alice, Mrs Shield, was born ... Miss Clay! I knew there had to be a family connection! Alas, Elizabeth Alice died at Framlington Place 2 January 1864 ...

Oh, no sabbatical in 1850. Daughter, Kate, died 31 December 1854 aged 4 1/4 .... and oh, died 31 March 1858 Isabella, infant daughter ... No sabbatical at all ...

Oh dear. Here is papa's gravestone. Died 1894. Oh dear. A hecatomb among his sons: Hugh was lost at sea in the steamer Vanguard between London and Lisbon in 1882, aged 28  ...  Frederick died 22 January 1881 aged 24, George born 1 March 1852, died 7 January 1884 aged 31... and baby Arthur (b 27 February 1861) is on there, too. But Annie and Alice ... ? Alice, where art thou?

And, here are Alice Lee (Mrs Hubert J, née Alice Plues), Dorothy and Gordon and ... Daisy the dog!  Well, we've had Dorothy and Daisy the dog before, and 'Gordon' is Hubert Gordon Lee born 1901 ...

Watch this space!  I knew it! Days later up pops a bit more Clay .... Annie Clay, dated 1880.

William Clay 1862