Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cartesians: Lewys and Crimp

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Just a couple of delvings today. The sun came out. I'd started on Iago Lewys, so I thought I'd finish him.

LEWYS, Iago [LEWIS, James] (b Tredegar, Monmouthshire 29 May 1866; d Camberwell 1942)

Dear Little Denmark
The tale of the career 'Iago Lewys' is one of those which has more substance outside his years with the Carte companies that in the half dozen years he spent as an understudy, small part player and chorister in their ranks.
Lewys began his career as a baritone concert singer in Wales. I see him first billed in 1893, singing with C Emlyn Jones and his 'National Welsh Choir and Concert Party' and appearing in concert around north Wales. In 1895, he entered the Royal Academy of Music, while performing at various Welsh functions in London ('The Bandolero', 'The Headland Light', 'Hybrias the Cretan'). In 1895 he joined the company at the Savoy Theatre as an understudy, while appearing occasionally in concert with the Tonic Sol-Fa folk, at the Welsh Chapel et al (Elijah quartets, Judas Maccabeus). The Welsh press gleefully reported the odd occasion when he deputised, the most notable being when he filled in for Henry Lytton as Captain Corcoran in the 1899 revival of HMS Pinafore. In 1900, he covered W H Leon in The Rose of Persia.
When he left the Carte organisation, he still had twenty years of activity in the musical theatre left, but I lose him for a wee while. The credits I have culled for him, all bit parts, and mostly in short-lived shows include Miss Wingrove (1905, Camillo), The Three Kisses (1907, Beppo), Dear Little Denmark (1909, Town crier), Love and Laughter (1913), The Laughing Husband (1913, Baldrian), Miss Hook of Holland revival (1914, Hans Maas), Vanity Fair (1916, revue), Pamela (1917, French Chef), Violette (1918, Vanloo), The Eclipse (1919, A Waiter) and Mr Garrick (1922, Thomas Hoskin).
Since he doesn't seem to have gone on the road, I wondered if he might have had a day job,like so many others, but in the 1939 census he is still staunchly claiming his profession as 'vocalist'.
Lewis/Lewys was married 17 Janaury 1900 to Emily Marion Bosher, at which stage we are informed that his father was one Thomas Lewis. Emily survived him and died in Camberwell, aged 92, in April 1967.

There. Another "L" bites the dust. Not that colourful, but our next man makes up for that.

CRIMP, Frank [Harris] (b Pimlico 26 November 1872; d Battersea 1948). 


Frank Crimp, leading man
Much to my annoyance, I haven't been able to pinpoint this fellow's family. Yes, I have found him in the 1881 census labelled as seven years-old (he was eight and a half), but he's not with his parents. He's down in Devon, at Fore Street, Kingsbridge, where all the Crimps come from (and undoubtedly his father) labelled 'nephew'. And uncle and aunt are not home! So, how do I know that it is him? Because Master Crimp was a choirboy at Exeter Cathedral. I ought to say that three years later an Edward Harris Crimp (b 27 June 1868) of Fore Street, aprentice chemist, son of a large milling and corn merchant, was killed by an explosion at his workplace. Uncle? Cousin? Maybe father was Harris Crimp, butcher, of 110 New Bond Street.
In the census of 1891, I see our man not. Is that because he is the Frank Harris Crimp who has joined up with the 3rd Dragoons ...? I suspect so.
However, by 1894 Frank is 'of Birmingham' and into adult singing. I see him taking part in a performance of The Rose Maiden back in Devon. And swiftly (1895), he became a member of the Carte companies. I see him singing the Colonel in Patience, and deputising for Arthur Hatherton annd W H Leon, playing Ferdinand in The Chieftain, Pooh Bah, the Herald in The Grand Duke and, later, the Royal Executioner in The Rose of Persia. His career with Carte continued until 1902 (The Emerald Isle), before he moved on to what we be his career proper as leading man in touring musical comedy. And, unlike Lewys, he played the best roles in only the biggest successes -- A Chinese Honeymoon (1902-4), A Country Girl (1905), The Cingalee (1906). The Prince of Pilsen (1906-8), Miss Hook of Holland (1908-10), The Quaker Girl (1913) -- for more than a decade the pre-eminent Haydn Coffin or Walter Hyde of the touring circuits. And then came the war.


Captain F H Crimp of the 3rd Suffolk Regiment went to war. And he did not return to the stage. In 1920 he was still Captain Crimp, cashier at the Pension Office, Regent's Park. In the 1939 census he was listed as 'clerk with the Iraq Petroleum Company'.
Crimp married, in 1902, fellow Cartesian small part player and chorister Mary Margaret ('Maggie') Hogan (b Limerick 2 November). They apparently had one child. Maggie apparently toured with Frank. I see them on tour in Warrington in the 1911 census. Whether she was in the chorus of his shows, I know not.

Early to bed tonight. The weather promises to be nice tomorrow. It rained quite a lot the night before last ...





1 comment:

ss said...

Re: Frank Crimp

It appears that touring in musical comedy, even in leading roles, was such a poor existence that he chose to stay in an administrative job with the military after the war.

Sam Silvers
Isolating in NYC