One can't know everything. So I rarely venture outside my area of 'expertise' and into the twentieth century. But the Excelsior Opera Singers tempted me, this week, and while I was there, amongst the seaside entertainments of the 1900s and 1910s, I saw this card ...
Carrie Tubb? At the seaside? But Carrie Tubb was a splendid soprano in opera and oratorio. So I looked. A nice biographical interview Herman Klein. One of eight children, no money, Guildhall School of Music, School Prize 1900, debut in the first British Elektra at Covent Garden in 1910, and on we go.
There is the Tubb family, father, mother, six at-home children in 1901, at 81 Claverton Street, Westminster. Poor? But father is 'living on his own means', two of the boys are legal clerks, another works for an organ-builder, another for an ironmonger ... So, back a decade before John Tubb started living on his own means. Ah. 'Club porter', and 14 year-old Caroline Elizabeth (b 17 May 1876) is a dressmaker's apprentice. That's right, she said that. John must have risen, I see that by 1911 he has a civil service pension.
Guildhall, yes. Prize, yes. But then a gap of ten years before Covent Garden when she appeared as 'fifth maid' behind the Elektra of Edyth Walker. What was she doing? The first mention I see is in December 1899 and 1900 singing 'patriotic music' for the Primrose League at Westminster Town Hall. Then
Well, we all have to start small, but this is really small. 'The Dominos' on Southend's Clarence Pier. The Pier usually used the not-quite-good-enough and the clapped-out of the singing world. I have no idea what became of Dominos 1, 3 and 5 from this team. But number four, musician Alexander E Oliveira, married Carrie.
Most of her next credits seem to be at Bath. Sixpenny concerts in 1901, and in 1902 we see that she sang Goring Thomas's 'A Summer Night', 'Il Bacio', Mattei's 'Dear Heart', Goetz's 'Melisande in the Wood', Clutsam's 'Folk Song' and ... Elsa's Dream.
It seems that she did indeed, for a decade, gravitate between piers and pump rooms and the like. So, when was she part of this particular group. It seems to have been 1909, for I spot this team (Mr Oliver and Miss Stuart were, alternately, the pianists of the affair) at Croydon 10 November 1909... and yes, 13 December was a Monday ... but what is this? Here is the same team in Shields 'The Rendall Jackson Comedy Concert Co in April 1908, already ... and he and she singing together in Tottenham in November 1908 .. they're at Margate for summer season ..