Thursday, May 28, 2020

Cartesians: B for Back with a Bang ...

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I've dragged myself, with difficulty, out of that Victorian photo box, and back on to the trail of those 'lost' players of the C19th D'Oyly Carte companies. I don't know why I landed in letter 'B', but it proved decidedly fruitful ... so, here we go ...

Florence BANKHARDT [HAWKSWORTH, Florence Emma] (b Eccleshill, Bradford, Yorks 1 December 1867; d London 1901). Father Alfred Hawksworth 'wool sorter', mother Mary née Greaves, married a couple of months before Florence's birth. Followed by Eleanora (b Bradford 8 January 1873) and Mabel (b 1875).
Around 1880, Alfred shot off to Australia, where he became The Big Expert on wool-classing to the New South Wales government (Australian Sheep and Wool) and remained for the rest of his life. Mary 'retired inkeeper' and the girls seemingly stayed home. I see them in West Bank, Heaton, Yorks in 1881. Alfred divorced Mary 'at present in Italy' (Florence went to take lessons from Mazzoni in 1887! ) in 1897.
All three girls would, from their teens, go in for the theatre: Florence as a singer, Ella as a dancer who sings, and Mabel as an 'actress'. I see them 'the sisters Bankhardt' in pantomime at Brighton in 1886.
Ella went on tour with van Biene and Lingard's Falka company in 1888, and Florence went further and tripped to America for Lydia Thompson (Calypso in Penelope). On her return, she was last-minute hired for Cardiff's Aladdin and the Welsh went mad with their advertising


In 1889, however, she was off again, this time to South Africa as prima donna of Searelle's Opera Company. She played in pantomime at Manchester -- Alice to Bessie Bonehill's Dick Whittington --  and alongside Ella's Cinderella, for Ella now had made herself a small name as a member of the George Edwardes Gaiety Company (Donna Elto in Ruy Blas and the blasé roué).  
In 1891 Florence took on the lead role of Hollee Beebee in the tour of The Nautch Girl ...



and Ella got a husband. Mr Edward Arthur Maund, who was embroiled in African affairs, from Matabele to Mashonaland to Mozambique, is said to have followed the teenaged Ella from South Africa, they were married in London (12 April 1892), and Ella exchanged her dancing shoes for five children and eight servants in Ipswitch and Sunningdale. They made it to the press pages in 1907 when their painting, Hoppner's 'Portrait of a Lady' was the subject of a court case. The 1911 census shows they had subsequent disagreements


Maund died 17 August 1932, Ella 17 May 1964 at Barnstaple, Devon.
She had survived Florence by more than sixty years. After The Nautch Girl, Florence created the title-role of Hayden Parry's comic opera Cigarette. The piece did nicely at the Lyric Theatre, but when it transferred to the Shaftesbury Mrs Bennett-Edwards, the producer, recast with the starry Geraldine Ulmar ... and Florence, reportedly, went off to Paris to Madame Marchesi to have 'one or two notes in her voice' improved. La Marchesi must have botched the job: Florence was never, as far as I know, seen on stage again.
I wonder why she died in London in 1901, 'aged 32'. She was 34, but maybe trying to cover up her parents' pre-marital indiscretion. I also wonder what happened to Mabel.

Mildred [Gertrude Mary] BAKER (b St Saviour 14 June 1878; d Lennard Hospital Bromley 6 April 1975) was one of the ten children of Thomas Baker, London railway porter, and his wife Sarah Wise née Leach.


I first see her singing on the bill at the Washington Palace of Varietes, Battersea in 1895, and the following year she joined the Savoy company, playing Olga in The Grand Duke. She remained at the Savoy, appearing, at the same time, in a few outside programmes with H Scott Russell and Richard Temple (The Rose of Auvergne) and concerts ('delightful soprano voice, did full justice to 'The Moon and I'),  until 1901, after which she took over from Hilda Jefferys as understudy to Edna May in The Little Maids, covered Violet Cameron as the Mother Superior in The School Girl and took over the role for the American production, and played in La Poupée.
In 1904 (27 August) she married Swanage stonemason Harry Hubert Phippard (b 19 January 1882) and, after a final tour in The Prince of Pilsen, retired to a long private life.

Post scriptum: Katie Barnes and Vincent Daniels have supplied these grand photos of Mildred in The Grand Duke and The School Girl ...






Carrie [Isabella] BURTON (b Cambridge, Mass 10 September 1858; d New Jersey October 1931) was born in Massachussetts, the daughter of Edward Burton, a brass finisher, and his wife Nancy M Dunlap.


Carrie made what seems to have been her stage debut in 1877 as the mezzo-soprano in Anna Granger Dow's opera company, with Adelaide Randall, Herbert Brown, Louis Pfau, John E Brand and Edward Payson. The following year, Mrs Dow, Carrie and Miss Randall played with L M Ruben's company, which performed at the Grand Opera House (Buda in The Bohemian Girl, Maritana). In 1879, when Pinafore mania hit, she appeared as, variously, Hebe and Josephine, alongside Digby Bell. In 1880, she played at the Bijou Theatre as Susan Bumpus in Charity Begins at Home and Viola in The Spectre Knight then went on tour with E E Rice's Bijou company (Pirates of Penzance, Charity Begins at Home &c). In 1881 she took the star role of Phoebe in Billee Taylor and the title-role of Patience at the Standard Theatre, in 1882 was Constance in Claude Duval, and Phoebe again, but didn't play the part of Constance, as intended, behind Lillian Russell, in The Sorcerer and went on the road with James Barton's company playing Iolanthe, with Walter Pelham.


I see her thereafter playing Alexina in Falka at the Casino Theatre, in Zanita in Boston (1884) and, in 1889, in McCaull's company of Clover at Palmer's Theatre and the subsequent tour ...
She married an Hungarian ex army Captain (otherwise a beef-packer and a real estate agent) widower Theodore G Korony, and had two children, Edith Burton Korony (Mrs Hachenberg) and Theodore jr. Korony died in 1907, Theodore jr was killed at the Somme ...


Carrie lived, latterly, with her daughter and, at the death in 1931 was buried in the Hachenberg family plot ..


Carrie's older sister, Lizzie M BURTON (1856-1939) also worked in the musical theatre, and was for a time, a member of the Boston Ideal Opera Company (Louise in The Musketeers, The Fortune Teller in Fatinitza etc). She married vocalist Herndon Morsell.

Mae BRUCE (BRUCE, Mary Abbott) (b Salem, Mass 1865) was the daughter of Robert P Bruce, architect of Salem, Mass and his wife, Mary E.
At 21, she was touring with the Moulton and Bennett troupe in a repertoire of Gilbert and Sullivan pieces (Pitti Sing, Josephine) plus Olivette (Bathilde), La Mascotte (Bettina). as second leading lady to Louise Eissing, the following year she played in Ruddigore, and a season at St Louis's Schnaider Gardens, and was announced to marry conductor William Barter Johns. Myabe she did, if so, they went through the ceremony all over again in London 15 July 1890. Between 1890-2 they fulfilled two South American tours with Edwin Cleary, in 1893 they played with Loie Fuller and at the Eden Musée, and in 1894 they joined Rose Leighton, Henry Hallam et al in something called the Murray Light Opera Company. The last time is see Mae is in the 1901 census at London's 49 Springfield Rd. She is 35. I don't know what became of her. In 1909, Johns married someone else ...

Alfred BEERS (b Newcastle x 22 February 1874; d Sheffield 18 December 1933) was the son of Dutch violinist and conductor Joseph Henri Beers and his English wife Elizabeth née Rowntree. He, too, was trained as a violinist, and in the 1891 it is sister Mimi who is the family vocalist. Alfred is a '?music carrier'. In 1894, already, he show up singing at Wallsend's St Luke's Church and at Morpeth where 'Mr Alfred Beers of Newcastle contributed much to the amusement of the audience by his musical sketches ...


He seems to have begun his theatrical career in 1899, covering Simms Bull as Phantis in The Grand Duke then C H Workman as Jack Point and Koko, on the Carte tours. But he would not be an understudy for long. As soon as his Carte contract ended, he went on tour in the star comic role of Li in San Toy ('immense success' 'double encores') for George Edwardes. The job lasted some four years.  He appeared at Glasgow as Widow Twanket at Christmas 1905, then went back to musical comedy in Willie Edouin's role of Moolraj in The Blue Moon (1906-7). His father died in 1907, and Albert disappears for almost a decade. Overseas? Well, in the 1911 census there he is, with wife Beatrice Elizabeth née Holton (19 July 1902) and son Harold Alfred (1905-1966) in Wood Green, labelled 'actor'. I don't know where.


But in 1916 he resurfaces, touring as of old in the musical comedy Tina. I suspect he may have covered star WH Berry in London, for he fulfilled that job in Berry's shows The Boy (1917) and Who's Hooper (1920). He toured in High Jinks (1917, Col Slaughter), played Levy in The Street Singer (1924) and took A W Baskcombe's role of François on tour, took part in The Lady of the Rose, The Naughty Princess (Nitchevo), and played Mr Burke in The Girl Friend (1928-30), forty years on from his first venture ...
Beatrice had died in 1926, Alfred died in 1933, not that long after his last theatre job.

Cecil BURT [BUTTERFIELD, Charles Robert] (b Kent Road 1 April 1852; d Camberwell 26 June 1916) Son of Robert Steven Butterfield, a secretary in the Home customs Office, and his wife Louisa Sarah.

Burt started his working life as a clerk with an insurance company, and I haven't found any record of his performing before his engagement, in 1884, to play Hilarion in Princess Ida with Carte. A year of that was followed by a year as Arthur to the Falka of Giulia Warwick, a lesser tour as The Little Tycoon, and then four years as Geoffrey Wilder in Dorothy. Dorothy also brought him a wife, Miss Lucinda Frances Shaw ka Lucy Carr Shaw, who was playing Dorothy (17 December 1887). Miss Shaw was the sister of Mr G B Shaw, who frequently scorned the musical theatre in bigoted print.
Burt appeared in London as Risotto in The Mountebanks, and then went to India for a season (1892-3).
On his return, he appeared in pantomime at Paisley for Eade Montefiore, toured with Millie Vere's sketch co (with Lucy), and then was signed to play in South Africa with George Edwardes and Frank Wheeler's company. This was followed by tours in The Gay Parisienne (Hans) and five years as Doc Sniffkins in The Belle of New York. During this tour, Lucy decided she was frail, and needed the air of Germany (?!) for her health. She disappeared only to resurface in 1909 to claim that during her decade on the Continent Cecil had been unfaithful. What did she expect? The co-respondent was a lady stagenamed 'Constance Barclay' who may have been Mrs Eade Montefiore.
Burt toured in 1905-6 with Sergeant Brue ... but I see him not thereafter. Except for the 1911 census: Cecil Burt. actor, 57, single, boarder in the house of a boot salesman in Brixton ...



After such success, I thought I'd try a few tiny folk. 'Impossibles'. I got just enough to make it worthwhile ... as follows:

G[eorge] S BRADSHAW was born George Smith. I've tracked his career from the little Isidore de Solla opera co in 1872, through his stint with D'Oyly Carte (1879-80), through the post-Soldene Philharmonic (1881) to his appearances actually with Emily Soldene (1882-3), and a couple of little engagements at Hastings up to 1885. Then nix. He was brother-in-law to the fine baritone Michael Dwyer.

J W BIRTLEY. Well, it depends if he's John or Joseph. The 'W' is William. I see him off and on between 1892 and 1912. With Carte's companies on tour 1892-3, singing in the Theatre Chorister's Association concert and in the chorus of The Bric a Brac Will in 1895, with the English Opera Singers at Crystal Palace ('William Birtley') in 1896, at the Gaiety Theatre in the chorus of The Orchid, The Spring Chicken and understudying Harry Grattan in The New Aladdin between 1903-6 and lastly in 1912 in a walkon at the Whitney Theatre.

Marie BALFOUR [SIMKINS, Mary] (b Carrington, Notts 1856) to William and Harriet Simkins, lace-makers ...

Olivia BENYON 'a Birmingham young lady'. Made her stage debut in the Birmingham panto of 1884, 1886-7 with Carte, 1887 panto Babes in the Wood for T W Charles at Nottingham ... vanishes back into stagenameinity ..

Steve BLAMPHIN (b Tewkesbury Gloucs 1855). Well, I've searched for his real name, but for the moment, he's winning. Blamphin? Why? There was the harpist and songwriter Charles Blamphin, there's a Blamphin who plays the bass trombone in the north, there's one that sings in Minsrel shows ..  But Steve? Not a favoured name in 1850, as in 2020, when every second tradesman who comes round is 'Steve'.  Well, whoever he was, he toured in Marjorie in 1890, sang in concerts in Chester and Doncaster, and from 1893-7 toured with Carte. In 1897, he created the role of Ben Smith, the sailor, in Dandy Dan, the Lifeguardsman 'a rough seafaring man with a voice that would be heard amidst the thunder of the mightiest wave ever seen in mid-ocean'. But after that it was 'Steve Blamphin and Fred Verte's variety company, and pantomimes at the Lyric Hammersmith, at Hull (singing 'The Absent-minded Beggar') and at Burnley ...
He described himself as 'single' in 1891, 'widower' in 1901 ... and that's all I know.

Winifred [Agnes] BASTICK (b 16 Aslkham Road, Kensal New Town, Bayswater 12 April 1873; d 5 Russell Rd, Kensington 1965) daughter of Samuel Archibald Bastick, lace-maker, and his wife Tamosine née Moyle. Mother lived to be over 90,... and left her 210L to ... oh! Winifred Agnes HILBERT wife of [Friedrich Emil] Max Hilbert (d Russell Rd, Kensington 1940) ...  well, where has she been all the intervening years?

Kate Oscar BYRNE [BYRNE, Kathleen] (b Chelsea 6 March ?1854; d Islington 1940) the daughter of Oscar Byrne and Abigail née Mahoney later Martin. Studied RAM, 1891 'vocalist English National Opera'. In 1875, she appeared with David Fisher at the Mirror Theatre, in 1876 touring with the Payne Family in pantomime, in 1883 with the D'Oyly Carte, in 1885 playing at Preston (Lady Gay Spanker, Jack in the Beanstalk), in 1886 with Kate Santley in her Vetah, in 1888 singing at the Irish exhibiton (she was of Irish extraction), in 1891 in South Africa with a company headed by Agnes Delaporte and George Temple (Lazarillo, Siebel, Allan a Dale)...

There is no need for me to tackle Leonora Braham, Alice Barnett, Rosina Brandram, Fred Billington, Rutland Barrington and the like .. I have written huge articles on George Bentham, John Broccolini, Frank Boyle ... blogged already Nelly Bromley, Billie Barlow, Frederick Bovill, Jessie Bond ... delved deeply into Henry Bracy[e]y and family in my books, included Robert Brough and many of the above in my Encyclopaedia, bought a grave monument for the partner of Miss [Julia] Barber ... so, who is left?  I'm not even going to attempt 'Mr Brown', Mr Boyd or 'Miss Buckingham', 'Miss Burgess', 'Miss Bartlett' and the like ... I've failed with such as Marguerite Breydel and Annie Bernard ..
I could have a go at Arnold Breedon or the Deane Brands, or, on the American side, Emma Mabella Baker, Flora Barry, Mary Beebe or G H Broderick ... but I think I'll say 'Bye' to the Bs with the lovely Alice BURVILLE. Tomorrow ... midnight tolls ...

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