I found this photo on ebay this week. Seasonal pantomime as it used to be, a century ago. The year 1910, as I managed to winkle out ...
And I found a review, with cast list. This, the kind of review that pantomimes were worthy of in Edwardian Britain ...
So here we are, 'The Palace of Cards', the final scene from Jack Horner at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol, Christmas 1910.
And here is the review ...
I wonder if photos of the other eleven scenes exist.
Esta Stella. Her publicity said that that meant 'star of the east'. It wasn't her real name, obviously.
Her story is not easy to piece together. Her professional life, yes -- she carried on successfully for over a quarter of a century in music hall, and, latterly, revue -- but her private life. I presume it is she, in the 1911 census, living alone (as she did till the end of her life) in Meadow View, Chertsey, to Madeline Stella, 27 years of age, born in Blackheath. What she does not tell us is, as what. She has scratched out what seems as if it might have been her real name of the census paper ...
The 1939 quasi-census shows Miss Stella living in an eight-room villa, still single and alone, Shepperton Villa, in Chertsey Bridge, Spelthorne. She gives her date of birth as 24 June 1881. Is that true?
So, we go to the birth records for ... ermm .. Kent or Surrey? .. but I find no Madeline ... well, try the other end. She suddenly stops appearing in the electors' registration list for Staines in 1939 .. dead, or just fled the war to kinder parts?
IT'S NOT SHE! Red-herring-time!
But bingo! Caroline Jackson of the Family Treasures Reinstated group came up with a newspaper clipping from 1972 ..
"The old-time revue and variety star, ESTA STELLA passed away on Monday, July 17, in Newhaven Hospital. She was 90, and had lived in retirement in Brighton for nearly twenty years. She was well known in the early part of the century for her many appearances in the late HARRY DAY'S revues, and as a star of the music hall, being known as "The Military Maid," with her singing and dancing act and also appeared in pantomime in the company of many old- time names. Her first husband was CON FREDERICKS, the American vaudeville performer."
Here I go again!!! Er .. first husband ...?
While I slept, Caroline and Gina squirreled away. Now it's my turn, while they (in England) sleep. Ive been on the trail since dawn and here is the result of all our lucubrations.
The Norwegian gymnast Con Fredericks had come to Britain from Chicago, with his troupe, on several occasions from 1896. Latterly, part of the troupe was his son, Con[rad John] Fredericks junior (b 7 May 1883). Con jr and Maggie were married 5 December 1907. A daughter was born, and died at five weeks.