Chill morn, woollies on, cuppa made, autumn is biting ... so here goes. Yesterday was a very solid day as far as work was concerned. Dawn till midnight. Well, the 'little folk' are harder to dissect than the well-known ones. So I really wasn't expecting to succeed ten out of ten. Well, I sort of did. I got something on all ten of the folk I specified in my last: notably, in the identity department, which always pleases me. Few gravestones missing, but you can't win 'em all. So, without further ado, here goes...
Marie STRACHANE [STRACHAN, Mary Eleanor] (b Leeds 20 January 1861). Sounds like an easy find? Well, it wasn't. But I got there. One of the seven children of Robert Strachan, butcher, and his wife Mary née Groves. She seems to have begun her stage career fairly invisibly with Carte in 1883, and then went on to play in a tour of Fun on the Bristol and My Sweetheart with Albert James and Annetta May (1887-8). But Miss Strachane had ambitions, and, in 1889, she mounted a new Hal Collier musical comedy drama, My Nadine, or André the Mountaineer at Folkestone 20 May, with herself as the titular Nadine and Harry Tebutt as the mountaineer. She also produced a 1-act operetta A Smart Recruit as a companion piece. Anyway, Nadine was rip-roaring provincial fodder, was extremely successful, and toured for a number of years until Miss Strachane left the stage and handed it on to Kate Fedora (1893) and others. She seemingly left the stage to (re)marry (1892) and therein lies a wrinkle. In 1885, Marie had married John Benjamin Wilkinson in Leeds. He died in 1891 (7 November), in his thirties, 'husband of Marie Strachane' in the district of Bridge, and Marie, apparently, subsequently became Mrs Hemming. The marriage indices say 'Marie Strachane' (sic) wed Alfred Charles D'arcy Hemming. Now, A C D'A Hemming (1843-1926) existed, but Mary Eleanor wasn't married to him in 1926 when he died. She mighty have married [John] Sidney Hemming (1864-1917), musician. He married a Mary from Leeds anyhow... probably not. So 'Marie Strachane' disappears from theatrical history and from my ken ...
Next up was what semmed to be a pair. Dora Barnard and Charles Butler. They weren't a pair. The concert ad merely made it seem so. Dora was Dora Ellen Cecil Barnard (1863-1952, Mrs John Edward Renard, Mrs Daniel Macmillan), a contralto, trained by W H Cummings at the RAM, who had a small concert and oratorio career between 1888 and 1895. I see her playing 'Cellier's vaudeville His Better Half' at Brighton in 1895. Wonder what that was. And which Cellier. But she was never a Cartesian.
Mr Butler, however, was. Briefly. I didn't think I'd track him down, with a name like that, but I did. Charles BUTLER (b Hampton Hill 1861), son of Thomas Butler, tailor and grocer, and his wife Ellen. Sister Edith tells us, in 1891, that she too is a 'professional vocalist', unless the census man has put that on the wrong line. In 1901, Charles is 'actor'. I don't see him in 1911, but Edith is housekeeper to an elderly man in Walthamstow.
Anyway, the job with Carte in 1891, playing Indru in The Nautch Girl, was probably his moment of glory. I spot him in 1894, in Dublin, playing in an operetta The Ferry Girl by a pair of titled ladies, in 1898 he was interpolated into a drama Teresa to sing a Neapolitan song, and at some stage he played Forty Winks down in Surrey, but otherwise it was concerts at the Clifton spa ('principal tenor of Mr D'Oyly Carte's companies'), the inevitable Clarence Pier, the Hastings Pier, and little tours through Mechanics Institutes and Piers with such as Walter M George's Lyric and Operatic Party or 'The Original English Opera Singers'. I see him in 1901 with something called the American Comedy Four at the Empire Music Hall.
Strangely, when he sang at Clifton in 1895, his colleague was 'Irene Marriott, late prima donna of Mr D'Oyly Carte's etcetera'. Well, Miss Marriott, whoever she may have been, certainly wasn't that, although she spent a moments as leading lady (1901) of an Olivette touring company where her Bathilde was Cissie Saumarez. According to the Archive, she spent time as a chorister with Carte between 1901-3, so she must have had time off to sing at the Dover Trades Exhibiton and the Portsmouth Town Hall Saturday Nights ('a nice soprano voice'). She apparently became 'Chief soprano, City Temple, Hull', and teamed up with the ageing Welsh tenor Trefelyn David (d 1929) for a decade of singing the Miserere and 'Loch Lomond' in variety. If she was Mrs David, her real name was Hannah.
Laura MAXWELL (b Camden Town 1 October 1867; d St Leonards Hospital, Ringwood 5 January 1971) was apparently the first Cartesian to score 100 not out. Although, as we've seen, several others got mighty close. At the time of her 100th birthday she was remembered, so I thought her death notice would be easy to find. I mean how many deaths at age 103 are there? You'ld be staggered. The Queen would have run out of telegrams. She was said to be living in Bournemouth, so I wasted half and hour on a former servant girl ... but, of course, she died in hospital. I got her in the end! And, guess, what! Laura Maxwell was her real birth-name!
The last of the eight children of John Maxwell of Bloomsbury, cattle salesman, and his wife Fanny, residing at Minerva Terrace, Islington, Laura went on the stage in pantomime at the local Grand Theatre as the Fairy Rosebud (Cinderella) at Christmas 1888. In 1889 she played a chorus role (Annette) in the unfortnate Mignonette at the Royalty Theatre, before going on tour for Henry Leslie in Doris (Lady Anne Jerningham) and The Red Hussar (Barbara Bellasys). She then joined the Carte organisation with whom she played Tessa and Phoebe in 1890-1. After which she married. Her husband was the twenty-years older Edward John Walford (d St Johns Wood 2 December 1915), stockbroker, and a son was born to them in 1895.
Now Laura 'of Mr D'Oyly Carte's company' had made the news in 1894 when she had written to the Daily Mail claiming that her father was the rightful heir to the title of Earl of Nithsdale (the brave Lady Nithsdale was a heroine of my childhood!). Nothing seemingly came of it, but Laura named her son Leonard Nithsdale Walford, so I knew I was on to the right Laura!
In the meantime, Laura had continued singing. I see her at the Olympic Music Hall, understudying Jessie Bond in Miami at the Princess's, in concert in Essex with Cecil Barnard ('new sketches of Topseyturveydom'), and in 1894-5 taking the title-role in a tour of Little Christopher Columbus. She continued in variety dates up till 1897, before the Walfords retired to Brighton.
Son Leonard was killed in action in France 8 May 1915, and husband Edward died in the December. In the 1939 census, Laura can be seen in Frome, with older sister Grace Viner (m 1914, d 1943 aged 80), and the rest is history.
Maude RODRICK [SIMS, Ezerener Maud] (b Fulham 1860; d Dundee 11 September 1892) was born in London, the daughter of William Joseph Henry Sims, beer retailer, and his wife Ezerener née Scrivener and allegedy a niece, on one side or the other of Savoyard 'J J Dallas' [ALLEN, John Joseph]. In 1881 she married a barman at the Tower in Westminster Bridge Road, Robert Davies Crane, but divorced him for serial adultery (resulting in a dose of the clap) four years later. In 1886, she went on the stage, at the Avenue Theatre, as Janet in Kenilworth, and at Drury Lane in Frivoli, and soon after advertised that she'd had offers from Frank Celli, Violet Cameron and Mr D'Oyly Carte. It was the Carte offer she subsequently took up, cancelling a Christmas engagement for Drury Lane's pantomime, touring as Katisha et al till the end of 1887 when she went off to Liverpool's Prince of Wales Theatre to play in the pantomime Bluebeard.
After that, she turned to the variety stage. I see her at the Royal, Holborn in 1888, where James Fawn tops the bill, and Bessie Bellwood, Dan Leno and Marie Loftus are listed alongside of her. She tured in variety ('late of Mr D'Oyly Carte's..'), featured as Brtiannia in Our Empire at the Liverpool Grand, and as principal boy in Sinbad at Newcastle ... and then remarried (15 April 1889). Her new husband, Charles Lyell, was a Dundee man, and there the couple returned. If he were the Charles Lyell, manufacturer, bankrupt and MP, Maude would have lived the little time left to her in luxury (the bankruptcy was 1894). But she died three years after her marriage ...
Miss WALLACE, chorus member at the Savoy between 1884 and 1887. Am I right to equate her with the Emily Wallace who claims membership of the Carte companies? 1892: at St Pancras Ernest Henry Coltman son of R[ichard] J[ohn] Coltman. Prebendal House, Thame, Oxon to Miss Emily Wallace, late of D'Oyly Carte's Savoy and Carl Rosa light opera company. Well, when you know the first name ... Emily WALLACE [SWEENEY, Emily] (b St Martin in the Fields 1863; d Islington 1923) by James Patrick Sweeney, tailor, ex Charlotte Annie née Blatch .. 1879 Betty in Nell Gwynne 1880 Amelia in The Love Chase, 1881 census actress aged 19, July 1885 to November 1886 on the road as Peep Bo in The Mikado ... 1891 census with parents, Emily 27 actress with 4 year-old Violet Ethel Hancock ... hum. 1901 census: Emily Coltman, 35, cashier. I guess the eight-years-younger Mr Coltman would be barely pubscent in 1887. So Violet is clearly just a by-blow. She's still Emily Coltman when Violet marries in 1906. 1911 census 45, married, servant to a ladies' costumier in Argyle Street. Seems to have died September 1923.
Well, she was the tenth of ten ... my last identity-discovery of this group. Done!
W H MONTGOMERY. No dates. I severely doubt if it's a kosher name. If it was real, he really ought to have changed it. The real W H Montgomery, musician and composer, didn't die until 1886, by which time this fellow had done his youthful amdrams, done his RAM studies, and appeared in the odd minor concert. I suppose the Royal Academy of Music would know what his name actually was, but they're not as helpful as they used to be in archivist Bridget's day.
He was noticed as a 'young baritone with a rich sympathetic voice' when he appeared in a disastrous concert in May 1887, and he went on to join Carte's companies for the next two years plus. His next shop was a year's stint with the Redfarn Dorothy company (1890-1) but, after an interim of Clarence Pier and Royal Aquarium concerts, supplying the songs to Adelaide Detchon's dramatic recital (accompanist: Walter van Noorden), et al, he got a job with Arthur Rousby's opera company. Rousby being a baritone, he might have expected crumbs, but he played Valentine to the boss's Mephistopheles in Faust, Silvano to Rousby's Renato in Un Ballo in maschera, Arnheim and Don Jose, Masetto to Rosby's Don Givanni, Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Midas in Die schöne Galathee, Silvio in I Pagliacci and, seemingly, in La Traviata through his engagement. And then he went back to more Harry Sherwood (Dorothy) and endless 'Queen of my Heart' from 1894-6. In 1897, he toured with Mr Restall's Cinderella, popped up briefly in In Camp with the Vokeses, in 1898 he played a provincial musical The Puritan Girl before popping over to Crouch End for pantomime. The principal boy was one 'Annie Craig' who had been his Dorothy, his Cinderella's Prince et al. They seems to turn up together for quite a few years, so maybe they were a couple. Or not.
In 1889-90 Montgomery played Harry Cremlin in a touring piece called The Mermaid, then setlled in for three years playing Tony in My Sweetheart. I see him in William Hillier's rather sad opera troupe in 1903 (King in Maritana), and in 1904 in a piece called The Rajah of Ranjapore, leading lady: Constance Bellamy. In the decade since his Rousby days, he had fallen sadly low. My last sighting of him is in a Muldoon's Picnic company in 1904 ...
Of course, I don't know what became of him, because I don't know his name. I'll try again later.
Ella Maud HAIGH [aka Maud[e] HAIGH] (b Newlay, Bramley, Yorks 11 September 1861) was the daughter of an Edwin Haigh (not the singer, but a dyer) and his wife Martha née Clayton, but she seems to have spent much of her youth with relatives, John Keighley (plumber, glazier and gas fitter) and his wife, Emma née Clayton. She was also another who began her career with the Carte companies, before going on to play with Charles Bernard's Cloches de Corneville company, and then as Regina in Joseph Eldred's La Princesse de Trébizonde (1881). In 1882-3 she worked for producer Fawcett Lomax in drama, burlesque and pantomime before taking to the variety stage. For the next twelve years, she worked as a ballad vocalist in variety, emerging from the halls to appear annually in pantomime, usually in one of the main centres. In 1889 she featured as St George in the Sanger's Amphitheatre Lady Godiva. In 1890, I spot her in variety in Holland: "De heer A de Well toonde zich een uitstekend trapeze-equilibrist, terwijl miss Ella Maud Haigh als Engelsche zangeres en de heeren Daniels en Nelson met hunne koddige voorstellingen veel tot de feestvreugde bijbrachten". I see her last playing a musical sketch, entitled The Merry Blacksmith, with E C Dunbar and a swatch of children, billed as 'the famous songstress late of D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company', in 1896.
She was married, in 1890, to one Albert John Green. He is a 31 year-old actor in Paddington in the 1891 census. I see he sued her for divorce in 1905 for infidelity with one John Isaac, analytical chemist, of Liverpool and Brussels ... but, of course, he'd been messing about too, and the marriage was seemingly long over. I don't know what happened next ...
J[ames] A[lexander] MUIR (b Everton x 13 December 1857; d Elswood, Newsham Drive, Newsham Park, Liverpool 10 May 1919) had basically one stage engagement in his whole long career in show business, and that was with Mr D'Oyly Carte. In England, in America and on the Continent. Muir was a son of Scottish-born William Muir, draper, of Liverpool and his wife, Mary, and he had two siblings with whom he would share parts of his career: elder brother William Henry (1855; d 14 Arno Road, Oxton 13 December 1912) and sister Sarah Helen ('Ellen') (b 1859; d Birkenhead 23 December 1938). The boys joined the family business and in 1881 they can be seen -- William as 'draper's manager' and James as 'draper's traveller' for their widowed mother's business. But they have already got involved in music. And the Freemasons. Heavily. And when James wasn't singing at the Freemasons' dos, he was up at the Reform Club, or the Garrick Club, performing at this Benefit or that, occasionally in an operetta (The Waterman, Up the River, Foxglove). Both brothers were members of the Wavertree Dramatic Society. In 1885-7, James sang with Joseph Cantor's well-known semi-pro 'Gems of the Opera' troupe (well dosed with G&S numbers), and in concerts alongside such as Valentine Smith and Fanny Josephs.
And, next thing, it was goodbye the drapery. He was engaged by Carte & Co, to tour as the Mikado and Major Murgatroyd. And then to play Sir Joseph Porter and Bunthorne on Carte's Continental tour. On his return to Liverpool, he put together a two-hour entertainment which he took to the Isle of Man. He sang, he recited and he proved himself a nifty conjurer, and it all went down exceedingly well. So he took it to other venues. But Carte called upon him to go with the company which was to present The Gondoliers (Grand Inquisitor) in America. He went, returned, played some more Alhambras and more Mikados, and ended his stage career. But he didn't go back to the drapery. He was now a 'humourist'. He gave his comic pieces ('My first and last appearance') at Benefits, at concerts, notably those of T A Barrett ... I notice him 24 September 1892 giving 'The Family Vault' with Kirkby Lunn, as well as 'John Wellington Wells' and 'Time was when Love and I' -- and those of J A Cross, and he relaunched his entertainment at Liverpool's Hope Hall: pianist - Miss Ellen Muir. His repertoire of musical sketches ('The Spring Collection', 'The Editor in Society' &c.) had now been extended by a whistling speciality.
On 21 May 1895, he visited London's Steinway Hall and scored a hit. 'A worthy successor to the lamented Corney Grain' hailed the press, praising his dual comic and vocal talent. So he gave a second, and then a third at Prince's Hall (29 October). He sang 'Rock to Rock', he whistled The Pirates of Penzance and Les Cloches de Corneville, he gave his sketches and recitations -- The Three Parsons, The Circus, A Bizarre Bazaar, To See Her Future Husband, One More, By the Sea: in the season ... London loved him, the press detailed the tales of his pieces, but the were going to have to wait some 4 years to see him again. He went back to Liverpool and the Hope Hall, to the Manchester Concerts, visited Glasgow, Rhyl, Cromer, Colwyn Bay, Scarborough, Whitby et al, with Ellen at his side, and sometimes a comic recitation from brother William, now married, a father and a bookkeeper. 9 January 1900 he ventured one more London concert, at Queen's Hall (The Sellamy Smiths at Home, At the Seaside, Jones's Ghost), and then back, with brother and sister to the good old Hope Hall. Now he was singing The Rose of Persia, whistling 'Il Bacio', playing A Comedy of Love, A Palace of Varieties...
I see him in Edinburgh in 1904 but by 1911 the whole family 84-year-old mother, bachelor James, unmarried Sarah, and William with his wife and three children had uprooted and moved to Birkenhead. Mother Mary (25 May) and William (13 December) both died in 1912, Mrs William 18 February 1919, and James a few weeks later. Perhaps they should have stayed in healthy Liverpool.
Constance ARNOTT aka SNOW [née JONES, Emily Constance] (b Warwickshire 1848). She obviously had a nomenclature problem, which may have involved divesting herself of a husband.
But, after a canny slog, I found her. And all the names were real. The Welsh press unveiled her as being 'née Jones' and, yes 'a North Wales vocalist' they say in 1880: 'daughter of the vicar of Llanidan, Anglesey'. Jones. So is this Rev David Jones? Later of Llanberis. Son the Rev Hugh Wynne Jones? Or is it his for-a-long-time predecessor, the Rev Hugh Hughes Jones. Well, Hugh Hughes had a daughter Emily Constance born 1849 in Alcester, Warwickshire. And, yippee! His wife was Emily Louisa Barclay Snow! So that's our girl. When she entered the Royal Academy of Music, around 1879, she was evidently a slightly mature student. And .. yippee! she had been Mrs Alexander Arnott since 1871. A Scottish name, but I have no idea who he was.
Anyway, having arrived in London, Constance set to singing. 'Madame Arnott RAM' can be seen at Lmmas Hall, Battersea in 1879 showing her 'highly-trained contralto voice and distinct articulation in 'The Lost Chord' and Randegger's 'Village Girl'. She sang at Rivère's concerts at the Royal Aquarium, and tripped home to sing in Carnavon for an Organ Fund. And then she joined the D'Oyly Carte. She played Kate in Pirates and Lady Saphir in Patience over a period of nigh on two years.
I next see her 22 December 1882 singing the alto in The Messiah in Chester with Laura Smart, and in 1884 she was employed by John O'Connor for his Royal (!) English Opera Co. O'Connor's wife was the well-known contralto 'Lucy Franklein', so there was little for Constance -- Ann Chute in The Lily of Killarney, Lisa in La Sonnambula, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro -- as the company toured through 1885 and into 1886. I see her little thereafter. Pantomimes at Southsea, Swansea and Cardiff .. singing with the Diorama of Hastings excursions. Whatever happened to Constance, I wonder. She was still calling herself 'Arnott' in 1894. 'Miss Arnott'. At 46. But I see her not ...
And lastly, David JAMES jr or David S JAMES [BELASCO, David O'Hara] (b Covent Garden 28 August 1857) and referred to, all his life, as 'the son of ...'. The son of comedian David [Abraham] Belasco, known as David James, remembered by a couple of generations for his celebrated portrayal of Perkyn Middlewyck in the great comedy Our Boys. Embarrassing? Perhaps more embarrassing in that he was born in 1857, when his father was a teenager, and nine years before the first of his two childless marriages. Oh, O'Hara was the name of the lass involved.
As is the usual case, the junior didn't get professionally within a mile of his sire. David James jr, in spite of playing the parental card blatantly, had a very moderate career. I see by the 1881 census that he was already an 'actor', and by The Era that he was advertising in 1878 'of the Gaiety Theatre, Glasgow' and 'of the Theatre Royal. Waterford', for work. In 1880, he toured in Duty and as Duc della Volta in La Fille du Tambour Major and Pontsablé in Madame Favart. Having a 22 year-old play these classic old men roles must have been odd. He toured in Never Too Late To Mend, Destiny, Uncle Tom's Cabin, directed the 1882 Isle of Wight panto, adapted Wilkie Collins's Wife or No Wife and in 1883 went out as Gaspard in Les Cloches de Corneville. The provinces did not approve.
His engagement with Carte (1884-5) had him again cast in his preferred old men roles. Soon after, he launched some more pieces as a producer: an inevitable revival of Our Boys and a comedy company playing Nita's First. I don't know how they did, for I spot him next at the Marylebone Theatre in 1887, in 1890, in Sheil Barry and William Hogarth's Cloches de Corneville company, in the tour of Miss Decima (Jeremie Jackson), and in a series of London pieces Ned's Chum, The Fringe of Society, Haste to the Wedding, The Two Orphans, the Willie Edouin burlesque Babes as Sir Rowland Buttre, The Home Secretary, The Rogue's Comedy ... as well as directing the 1894 Gloucester pantomime.
I don't know what happened next. He vanishes from theatre pages and censi. The Archive says he died in 1917 (25 April), but I can't find that. Another website says he married. I can't find that either. For a man who made so much noise in his young days, he is strangely opaque after 1896 ... odd. And odd that nobody has followed him up ...
11.17pm. Bedtime. I'll post this in the morning ... maybe with the help of the carrier pigeon which arrived at our door today ... dosn't he know that the Baroness Ardern has decreed 'no visitors'!