Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cartesian players: What a lot of Wilkinsons!

George’s second request to me was … to sort out the Wilkinsons. You know, Arthur, John, Laura, Ben, Poppie … that lot. So I started (after a morning wasted on the mysterious Kate Talby) … and, immediately, I thought ‘I’ve done this before’. Then, after an hour or so, I remembered why. The only problem was to FIND my ancient research among the heaps of files which the cursed Microsoft has rendered out of date and unreadable …

Opened my first lime, and found it. OK. I’m not going to deal with their careers. They were largely D’Oyly Cartesian, and that means David Stone has done the leg work there. I’ll just set the record straight as to who they actually were. Not difficult, for all, except ‘John Benjamin W’ of the D’Oyly Carte (died 7 November 1891), were from the same family. And real Wilkinsons. Arthur and John were brothers, John married Laura and sired 'Poppie'.

Now, I wasn’t ‘into’ the D’Oyly Cartesians ten years ago. That only started last month. So why did I delve out the details on the Wilkinsons? Answer: their father. Their father is for me the family star. I shall post his little Kurtbiog on my blog and my Author facebook page (both open to allcomers), but because he predates DO’C … here, I shall just give chapter and verse.

Ralph Wilkinson, organist, married (first wife) Julia Peel Westrop in 1856, and from that marriage were born, in quick order:
(1)           Ralph Westrop Wilkinson 
(2)           Arthur John Haigh Wilkinson
(3)           Julia Annie St Leger Wilkinson (Mrs John Thomas Simpson)
(4)           John Edward Wilkinson
(5)           Jessie Wilkinson
(6)           Alfred Wilkinson

All christened at St Maurice, York, father’s birth-town … before Ralph went up to the big smoke. 

I haven’t followed up the girls, but three of the boys went in for music. Ralph jr was a star choirboy at St James’s chapel royal, but his (mental) health let him down and he ended up a young pensionnaire of Bethlehem asylum. Arthur (b York 27 August 1859; killed Liverpool 31 March 1894) had a grand career with an unhappy traffic-accident ending, and John (x York 3 March 1861; d Northampton 20 February 1910) became a Big G&S Star in Buenos Aires before, also, an untimely death.

Arthur as Major Murgatroyd

John as Robin Oakapple
John had time to wed, and he wed (Hastings 1883) a fellow D’Oyly Cartesian, ‘Laura Elliston’. Elliston was not likely to be a kosher name in the theatre, and of course her actual name was Laura Alderton. I haven’t followed her up (being only a tardy Wilkinson) but I’m sure she traces easily. They promptly had a daughter, the above-said Poppie who doesn’t appear as such, amongst the Pollys and Phoebes, in the British records. And that's the 20th century, which is outside my knowledge.

So, not very exciting, but precise. OK, George? Is that what you wanted? 


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