Saturday, July 28, 2018

TRIAL BY JURY: and that jury is a trial!,

Part two. The gentlemen. A mixture of the to-be-famous, the eternal choristers and bit-part players, and the veritable amateurs … with, it seems, a dash of nepotism thrown in.

 I said in part one that I wasn’t going to deal with such well-known and already covered (by me) players as Fred Sullivan and Walter Fisher, nor with Charley Campbell who started on the juror’s bench and rose to be Soldene’s leading tenor. Nor, indeed, with an even more to-be-famous gentleman of the jury: W S Penley. I have also written comprehensive articles on two of the principal take-overs, William Courtney (Defendant) and Edward Connell (Foreman) which are too consequent to include here. If you are interested, I will blog ‘em later.

So that leaves Mr Hollingsworth (Counsel), B R Pepper (Usher), Charles Kelleher (Foreman), J B Husk (Foreman), and Messrs T Healey and Cairns (Associate) plus choristers Messrs T Cheen[e]y, Bradshaw, West, Grundy, Fraser, Marshall, Walsh, Nolan, Plating, Blackworth and G Paris. And I will tell you right away, that – although the first four present no problems, few of the others mean anything to me. So here I go. I’ll see what I can find. This may take a day or two.

Let’s start with HOLLINGSWORTH. He’s not ‘J Hollingsworth’ as I mistakenly recorded (in the days when I believed other folk!) in British Musical Theatre. If anything, it’s C for Charles Hollingsworth. But he wasn’t Hollingsworth either. He was born in Wokingham and christened plain Charles Hewett. Hollingsworth was his father’s middle name. As far as I’m aware, this was the only time that Charles worked in a name part in the musical theatre. He began in life as a miller in Berkshire (Marcham near Abingdon), where 28 October 1861 he married Sarah Reading. And the registration for that marriage holds a curious item. Most of the witnesses are members of the spreading Chesham family of Reading or Hewetts. But one is the teenaged Richard D’Oyly Carte. Why? Is he a connection of the Carte side or the Reading side? There is a suggestion that the two men were cousins. Well, I have yet to discover that evidence: Carte’s mother was Eliza née Jones, Hewett’s was Mary Ann née Shepherd, Sarah’s mother was Elizabeth née Humphrey …

Charles, as a young man, sang and played the flute in the Reading penny readings (‘Why are you wandering here I pray’, ‘The Plough Boy’, ‘Flow on thou shining river’), he underlined his affection for music and the stage by naming his first child Adelina Patti Hewett … and then suddenly he turns up at the Royalty Theatre, playing – perfectly soundly, it seems – in a ‘dramatic cantata’. How? Well, the theory of consanguinuity is as good as any, especially as Carte later employed two of Charles’s sister’s children.
Anyway, by the 1881 census Charles was back in Berks, a ‘bleacher and dyer employing nine men’. But he must have got the theatrelust, for by 1891, while his wife and children are plaiting straw in Luton, he is in Amwell, insisting he was a ‘vocalist’. I don’t know where. He began calling himself Hollingsworth, went into the millinery manufacturing trade, married a second wife, Fanny Meller, after Sarah’s death, and continued making hats up to his death at Islington’s Gibson Square 2 August 1911. He left 12 pounds 10 shillings and 6d.

In contrast, Belville Robert PEPPER (b Marylebone ?October 1850; d Manchester September 1888) was a thorough professional. He was born into a family of wood-carvers, the son of Montague Pepper and his wife Sarah (née Carden). Orphaned in his teens, he seems to have made his first theatrical appearances at Great Yarmouth in a 2-month summer season of potboilers stage by one George Ashton. I see him the following year in concert in a Mlle Forckell’s concert and then in 1872 I spot an advertisement for the 44th week of Messrs B Booth and R B Pepper’s London Comedy and Burlesque Company. Oddly, I can’t spot any of the other forty-three. 

Mr Pepper then changed tack. And name. As ‘Mr Belville’ he joined up with the Soldene company. Originally a chorister, he rose to playing the Burgomaster in Geneviève de Brabant and Cadet in La Fille de Madame Angot. After which, he decided to become Pepper again. He played at the Royalty, then on tour with Kate Santley, rejoined Soldene in the little part of Bonaventura in Madame l’Archiduc.After that I lose him for a bit (perhaps he swapped names again? Or is that he in rep at Gravesend in 1877-8?) until 1879 when he surfaces in Glasgow in concert, Paul Pry and Trial by Jury with J A Shaw and Lucy Franklein. Unfortunately, the theatre burned down.
That Christmas he was King Rat in Dick Whittingtonwith Alice May and the Lupinos, played the Usher in yet another Trial by Jury, this time with George Mudie and Alice Burville, and joined the company for a tour of Cellier’s The Sultan of Mocha. The company includes, also, ‘Miss Pepper’: Robert’s dancer wife, née Elizabeth Mary Wilkinson (m 11 September 1877). He toured with Wyndham and D’Oyly Carte’s Olivette company, with a little piece called Innocents Abroad, then joined up with a Fille de Madame Angot/Geneviève de Brabantcompany led by Duglas Gordon. He was 31 years old. What happened? I see him again only at Christmas 1883 in pantomime in Todmorden. And five years later, he was dead.

Charles [Joseph] KELLEHER (b St James’s London c 1851; d October 1878) survived Trial by Jury only a short time. Three of the sons of Irish tailor Francis Keller, Kellard or Kelleher (b Macroom, Cork, 1815) and his wife Jane (?1816-1899) became vocalists, and while the eldest, Alfred, married Susie Galton, niece of Louisa Pyne, and disappeared off to America, Charles and Louis made promising careers in the British musical theatre before early deaths.
By the 1871 census, Charles is already claiming the surname Kelleher, and describing himself as a singer. My first sighting of him on the stage is in 1874, as a minor member of Fred Sullivan’s operetta company touring The Contrabandista, Schöne GalatheeCox and Box et al in the midlands. He followed up in the good role of Fernando in Kate Santley’s Cattarina company, then rejoined Sullivan at Royalty for Le Périchole (Pedro) and Trial by Jury. He played Nicolo when Miss Santley brought Cattarinato town, toured again with her, and ended up at the Criterion Theatre with Walter Fisher and then at the Royalty with Carte once more in The Duke’s Daughter. He repeated La Périchole with Dolaro, joined Soldene in La Fille de Madame Angot and Trial by Jury, toured with more Angot(as Larivaudière), La Grande-Duchesse (Boum) and Happy Hampstead, and ended up back at the Royalty playing John Styx in Kate Santley’s very approximate Orphée aux enfers. All that between 1874 and 1877. But there wasn’t much more. I see him at the Aquarium, giving once more his Usher in Trial by Jury … and the next sighting is in a littler written by D’Oyly Carte to the Era newspaper. Kelleher had gone ‘for some time’ insane and around the end of September 1878 he died, ‘aged 27’. Carte was arranging a subscription for his wife, Emma Mary née Anderson, and children. 
Opéra-bouffe was, it seemed, bad for the health. Already that original Royalty company had lost the flamboyant 25 year-old Charles Wilton Norton (d 60 Osney Crescent, Camden Rd, Kentish Town, 17 February 1875) to insanity and delirium tremens …

But some of the chorus were a little more stable and durable. And the most stable of all was Mr Husk. James [Baker] HUSK (b Somerset 7 March 1811; d London 18 May 1879) was a basso profondo vocalist who plied his trade from the Isle of Wight to Edinburgh, from the concert platform to the music halls to the theatre. And he did it (when not teaching music, bricklaying like his father, and/or producing eight children) for more than three decades. When he joined the Royalty company, he was 64 years of age. 
I have spied Mr Husk – still officially a bricklayer -- singing in minor, suburban and provincial concerts in the 1840s and 1850s, and in 1855 (3 April) he sang second bass to Tom Lawler in the London Sacred Harmonic Society’s Elijah. The soprano was the great Charlott Anne Birch and, when the oratorio was repeated the next year, the ‘Queen of Northern Song’, Susan Sunderland. However, that kind of shop was not Mr Husk’s usual. In 1857, I see him singing at Stirling, in 1858 down a bill with Sam Cowell at Edinburgh, in the 1860s at Ryde, Southampton and Dover .. and all the time he was a bass chorister and sometimes soloist in the music-halls of the capital. At some – including the loftiest of the all, he acted as chairman. It seems to have been only later in life that Husk too to the stage. His wife, Mary Ann Charlotte (née Taplay) and one of his five sons, William, were in the chorus of Little Faustin 1870, but often the chorus were not listed, so this probably wasn’t the first or an isolated case. James joined Augusta Thomson’s Chilpéric tour, doubtless playing the Druid, and, after Trial by Jury, moved to the Alhambra where he was in the cast for Lord Batemanand for Soldene’s La Fille de Madame Angot. He seems to have been ‘in the saddle’ right up to his death at the age of 68. 
Several of the Husk children followed their parents into vocalism. William as we’ve seen, and
daughter Rosa Alexandra (d 28 January 1913) who sang some time with Carte’s companies and married singer Alec Ewing.

And on to Mr T HEALEY. Disappointment. He’s a rather boring character. And the Royalty job seems to have been his only engagement of interest in a ‘career’ of small parts in stock companies from Newcastle to Southampton but mostly in the smaller venues of Liverpool. I see an occasion in 1878 when, cast to play a bit in Hamlet with Charles Dillon, he didn’t come on, wasn’t to be found … well, we’ll forget about Mr Healey.

So. Messrs T Cheen[e]y, Bradshaw, West, Grundy, Fraser, Marshall, Walsh, Nolan, Plating, Blackworth (or is it Hackworth, see Soldene troupe) and G[eorge] Paris.

Well, I know G S Bradshaw, Joseph West, Tom Grundy … and that perennial chorus singer Mr Paris. Is it they? I had hoped to unwind some of these … but the sun’s dipping over the delicately pink yardarm … maybe I’ll have another go tomorrow. Or when I get back to my books and programmes and sheet music and pictures in New Zealand in October.

Likewise, the fellows didn’t get photographed as the girls did … so if you can help? 

Pop dat cork! 

PS Well, it isn't G S Bradshaw, as he's elsewhere doing other things, and it seems it is Tom Grundy, unless it's his father who was also called Tom Grundy when he wasn't being Mr Badzey ...  There are several other 'Mr Bradshaws' .. George Paris isn't to be found in the censi unless he had a day job as a theatrical printer .. we press on. 'West', I think must be Joseph, because 'Miss [Annie] St George' joins the cast too. She was his wife. Later, they toured for years with Soldene ...

PPS Feedback on Mr 'Hollingsworth' tells me that there is illegitimacy involved in the Carte and Hewett families, and that  we have to go back to one grandmotherly Sarah Bartlett (later Shepherd) to find the link between them -- which apparently is one. Also that Charles did make another appearance: in Carte's produc tion of The Broken Branch at the Opera Comique  'as Prince Isidore'. Isidor[e] was played by tenorino Johnnie Chatterson. The other male principals were J H Jarvis, Thomas B Appleby and Mr Clifford. Understudy maybe? Ah! There he is! Replacement ... He played for the last five performances of the run. Well spotted great-grandaughter .. who as I write this is playing the Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury at Bournemouth!

And here is documentary proof!

No comments: