Sunday, May 31, 2020

Cartesians: Jessie Rose invades the 'C's!

Today was scheduled as 'C' day, but I got 'turned from my wayfaring' by a post from Katie Barnes which queried the birthdate of Savoyard Jessie Rose. I just had to go in search of it ... doubtless 'Jessie Rose' wasn't her real name ..

Oh, yeah? It was.

Jessie Kate ROSE (b Uxbridge Moor 18 November 1875; d Sunningdale, Berks 27 May 1928) was the daughter of Henry Rose, whitesmith, and his wife Ellen. She was sent as a boarder to a Mrs Sarah C M Gulliver at Ealing for her education, where it seems that she was taught her music by a Miss Forlence G Sherwood. In 1893 she moved to the Royal Academy of Music (bronze medal)

and in 1896 to the Savoy Theatre. She would spend most of her career as a professional singer and actress, as detailed by David Stone (G&S archive), there.

In 1897 (5 August), Jessie married a muso called Percy Elliott (1870-1932), a fellow student at the RAM. There were two children born, before the couple split and ultimately divorced

Jessie remarried, hotel manager Henry Joseph Ford in 1910, and, after a last tour in The Mountaineers, did retire from the stage.

 And now, resisting all temptations to remain amongst the roses, I return to letter 'C'. I have dealt in my Emily Soldene years with W T Carleton, Aysley and Alice Cook, Laura Carthew, and in my Victorian Vocalists phase with Ella Collins, Gertrude Cave Ashton,  Emily Cross, Gerard Coventry, the Corri family, Fanny Harrison and her daughters, and Edward Connell .. but that still leaves a heap of mostly middle-sized to minor folk for me to attack.

Augustus (Oliver) CRAMER (b Victoria Terrace, Rochester Square, Camden 5 May 1864; d St Mary Abbott's Hospital, 2 April 1927) is a familiar name to me. He had a fine and long career as a player in the musical theatre. I didn't realise he had played for Carte.

He was born in Camden, the son of musician William Oliver Cramer, musician, and his wife Sarah Jame née Bailiff, and joined the ranks of the Carte companies in 1884 to play in Pricess Ida on tour. He went on the from there to play a very young Marquis de Pontvert in Violette Melnotte's Erminie tour, but then was reduced to taking part in a tiny operetta company, alongside Bessie Armytage, run by one J Sheppard to showcase his own little pieces. Between 1887-90 he played the star roles in Hans the Boatman and My Sweetheart, taking time out from these barnstorming crowd-pleasers to play Tom Strutt in Dorothy. Dorothy brought him a wife, Mary [Salmon] Webb (b London 5 November 1863; d Kensington 1915), ex-of the D'Oyly Carte companies and currently playing Phyllis, the little bride. In 1890 (27 October) he played Ned Nolledge in a Carlisle comic opera named Dolly 'based on The Country Girl' and attempitng to clone Dorothy.

The couple took a brief turn into variety, and then launched back into Dorothy. Mary was Phyllis again, but Augustus was now 'Hayden Coffin'. Given his staunch baritone voice and handsome physique, it was inevitable, and over the years to come he would appear in the provinces in Coffin's roles in The Geisha, A Greek Slave, and The Country Girl. For the meanwhile he took the juvenile leads in Morocco Bound  and The Lady Slavey, before being summoned to London to create the part of Dr Tortenssen in His Excellency. He and Mary travelled to America with the company that presented the show there, and Mary, understudy to Ellaline Terriss, was called on to play the role.

Back in London, Augustus took over featured roles in Arthur Roberts's Biarritz and The Gay Parisienne, then headed back to the circuits as Harry Goldfield in A Gaiety Girl. He and Mary supported Roberts in a first attempt to get Campano off the ground, and then travelled to America again where he played another handsome baritone in Monte Carlo. 
In the following years, he toured Britain in The Topsy-Turvey Hotel, My Lady Molly, and in the three Hayden Coffin roles, but my only major sighting of him, after 1905, is taking over a part in The Girls of Gottenburg at the Gaiety (1908).

Mary died in 1915, and Augutus's name is seen occasionally thereafter, touring in 1917 and 1920 in a provincial show The Maid of the Midnight Sun -- still billed as 'late D'Oyly Carte', or in 1921 in a variety sketch, 3am, before he disappears from stage view. He died in 1927, leaving an estate of 447L.

[William] Milroy COOPER (b Edinburgh 30 August 1847; d St Joseph's Home, Hackney 18 April 1917) was a Scotsman, the son of William Cooper of Edinburgh and his wife Margaret Stavert née Oliver. He worked as a commercial traveller until, some time in the 1870s, he brought his tenor voice to the English Theatre. The first time I spot him on stage, he is already in his thirties, playing Juvigné is Le Petite Mademoiselle and Robert in La Fille du Tambur-Major for Charles Bernard in 1880. for the next twenty-five or so years, he didn't stop. When a stage role wasn't available, he sang on the halls, or with drawing room entertainments, acted in minor provincial plays, verged on opera,  ...

After the Bernard engagements, I see him as King Rat in the Glagow panto (1880), then on the road with Lizzie Mulholland in La Fille de Madame Angot, Le Petit Duc and Pom, in a modest South Opera Company 'of Her Majesty's Theatre, Covent Garden' wot!, before he was hired by Carte to play Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Ralph Rackstraw for three months on the road. He played, and he left for a job singing Luis in Les Manteaux noirs with the T D Yorke combine. He was recalled to the Carte management, for a month, to sing Cyril in Princess Ida (1884, and 62 not out with the cricket team) and was next seen at the Metropolitan Music Hall, singing in a John D'Auban scena Vif.

He toured as Valentin in Olivette, again in La Fille de tambour-major, and then switched back to the halls, and variety troupe (Fred Bowyer's Margery), took a turn in the Venus company, and then joined a tour of Nell Gwynne. But the return to the theatre was only temporary: Frank Hall's sketch troupe, a tenor-ish Mephistopheles in the Portsmouth panto, a spot at the Empire Leicester Square, and then -- an engagement with Ilma Norina's Opera Company with Edmund Rosenthal, Alice Barth, Lucy Franklein, tenors Fred Wood and Francis Gaynar ... Well, Ilma Norina, producer and prima donna, was actually the same Josephine Muntz with whom he'd sung in Olivette, but it was a healthy line up (Miss Franklein had been the original first contralto with the heyday Carl Rosa company). I don't know what he played except that Ms Muntz produced a flop opera revamped as The Rose of Windsor. Wood played the jeune premier: Willie Cooper was Henry VIII.
I think more than his physiognomy may have changed, When the tour finished, her went back int variety billed as 'character vocalist and instrumentalist'. Between 1890-4 he didn't see much of the stage. I see him singing and sketching with Arthur Lloyd's company, the Vokes company, at the Brighton Alhambra and at Day's, Birmingham with his 'refined and clever' musical entertainment' ... and in 1894 he even took a brief trip to America where he played the part of Cholly Montrose in a variety melodrama The Crossroads of Life. However, on his return, he moved into a different and muchloftier realm.
It is a maxim much proven (notably, by me in my days as a musical-theatre agent) that if a good, strong tenor can survive to grey-haired age, he will work and work and work ... Willie was hired by the George Edwardes organisation to play Lawrance d'Orsay's original role of the Earl of Thamesmead in the tour of An Artist's Model. He was engaged for the American production, as well, but in the end D'Orsay went, and Willie continued to play the British provinces. Edwardes subsequently used him as a take-over in the town production of The Circus Girl, in Colin Coop's role of Sing Hi in the touring San Toy, in The Country Girl, and as a provincial Boobhamba in The Cingalee. But in between Edwardesian jobs, Willie was not idle. He played in Fun on the Bristol, he did his variety act, he played character parts in minute productions of such plays as Our Boys, The Abesnt-minded Beggar and Pink Dominos, created the part of Angus McNab in the short-toured Where's Uncle (1904), played opposite Claudia Lasell in her Peggy Machree ...
I don't see him after 1907, except in the 1911 census. 'Single', yes. 49, no. He was 64. And 71 when he died

I'm not sure whether I ought to include Hetty CHAPMAN (b ?London ?1862) here, because I haven't found all her answers. But she is such a grand character, that I think I must, and someone else can sort her details out. The London? and 1862? come from the one census in which she used her stage name (Blackpool 1901). In that census, she also says that she is married. One provincial paper reckoned she was Mrs Harry Monkhouse, Well, if she were, she was Emma Rosamond Thompson from Yeovil aged 51 with three children... I think not! Maybe a temporary Mrs Harry?

Hetty gave a lovely tongue-in-cheek interview to The Era, in which she carefully skirted all family details, but she did clarify her beginnings on the stage -- and, like so many young singers, she owed them to a Carte company -- in the chorus at the Opera Comique, in HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. At the same time, she was singing in concerts at the Aquarium as 'Victoria Matheson' and she even appeared in their 1878 pantomime, Aladdin. In 1881, she was promoted to the role of Ella in Patience on tour, but the previous owner of the role apparently decided against retirement, so a disappointed Hetty was out of a job. However, she was hired to play Fiametta to the Mascotte of Kate Santley, ended up doing off-stage singing for her replacement and ultimately being given the part. She enoyed its fun much more than her next role: Germaine in Les Cloches de Corneville. In between annual pantomime engagements, she played in A Bunch of Keys with Willie Edouin, in Dick at the Globe and Empire Theatres and on the road, rising from the part of Edgar to take over the booming Gladys Homfrey's role at the Princess, in the burlesque Little Lohengrin (Ortruda), and on the road with Monkhouse in in Checkmate and Claribel, with Nellie Farren in Ariel and Aladdin, and with John L Shine in Don Juan jr. In 1887, she took over the role of Maria in Monkhouse's successful touring musical comedy, Larks, in 1888 she toured in My Brother's Sister with Minnie Palmer, and each Christmas brought another Abdallah ...

In 1889 she took a change in direction, and began at career in the music halls -- the Empire, Deacon's,  the Oxford. She was a class act ('a characteristic vocalist of distinction'), in ballads ('Caller herrin' was her standby) and in serio-comic songs ...

And she rode triumphantly through that period of a stagelady's life, when she is neither a juvenile, nor a character lady, except at Christmas time when she donned tights and rolled out her ageless principal boy. Then, in 1895, she began what was to be probably the best period of her career. As a komische Alte for the George Edwardes organisation: another Lillie Belmore, Connie Ediss or Gladys Homfrey. She began playing poor Lillie's part of Ada Smith in The Shop Girl, on the road. After Lillie's death, Alice Barnett took on the part, and then Hetty was summoned from the provinces. When she went off to create the equivalent role in My Girl ('the performance of the night'), creating the song 'When my husband is Sir Tom', Connie succeeded her. Connie also played My Girl in town, and made a hit with 'Sir Tom'. And, for the next half-dozen years, Hetty played the 'Connie Ediss roles' and 'the Gladys Homfrey roles' all round Britain: The Circus Girl, A Greek Slave, San Toy, The Messenger Boy, Kitty Grey (succeding to Homfrey's superb role in town) and then The Silver Slipper ... then it stops. I spot her in 1907, playing Penelope Pyechase in The Dairymaids and then ..?
So, I don't know where Hetty came from, and I don't know where she went ... I wish she had done another interview (the first one can be read in The Era of 19 August 1892) ...
Anyway, here she is: yet another teenaged Cartesian chorister made good ... I wish I knew who she were! 

No such problems with Charles CHILDERSTONE (b Enfield Highway 3 July 1872; d North Hill, Highgate 29 May 1947). His parents were Frederick Childerstone, lockfitter, and Emma née Everett. I see them in Enfield in the 1871 census, with no occupation listed, and a 4 year-old daughter, Adelaide. I wonder if this is the Frederick Childerstone who later took to singing and/or playing the flute in St Leonards.
Charles began working as a clerk in a gun factory, and studied music at the Guildhall. I see him in 1894 'of Lower Clapton' taking 3rd prize in the tenor section at a Stratford East Festival. I wonder what became of the first two prizewinners. He joined the Savoy chorus in 1896 and, as nearly his whole time of a good half-dozen years with Carte and William Greet was in town, I wonder if he kept his day job. Perhaps not. He proudly claims himself 'operatic vocalist' in the census.
Although he mainly filled chorus, forepieces and small parts during those years, he did get to briefly play Ralph Rackstraw at the Savoy, but his merriest moment came when he was cast as Will Weatherley, one of the 'Four Jolly Sailormen' of A Princess of Kensington. He took part in Greet's productions of The Earl and the Girl (1903-4) and of Little Hans Andersen, covered and stepped in for Bobbie Evett in his The Talk of the Town (1905), My Darling (1907)  ...

I next spot him in 1908, teaming with Walter Passmore in his music-hall sketch The Constable and the Pictures, then touring, again with Passmore, in Merrie England, this time as the Earl of Essex. He played in The Chocolate Soldier (alongside Loe Sheffield and W A Peterkin) in 1911, and went on the halls in a double act 'musical interlude' with Winifred Hare (1913), before launching into a series of Concert Parties (The Follies) and the virtual variety bills that called themselves revue, under such titles as Hello, Everybody, Eyes Front, Fall In, Pleasure Bound et al. He staged a scena called A Whiff of the Briny (1919) for the Exeter Hippodrome, and advertised that Edward German had granted him permission to use 'Four Jolly Sailormen' in the score. 

He made a rare foray into the straight theatre in a druggy melodrama called The Man Who Came Back (1921), and then -- his physique must have lasted well! -- was cast as the sexy Ardimedon in the botched and bowdlerised Phi-Phi for C B Cochran. It must have been a fairly brutalised version, for it was played as a twice-nightly attraction. From there, Charles progressed to The Co-optimists (1925, 'an entertaining comedian'), the tour of Katja the Dancer (1926-7, Count Orpitch), the 'great crook play' Broadway' and regressed to 'revue' in Lew Lake's What Price the Navy? (1929). In 1939, aged 77, he appeared in the musical comedy Under Your Hat at the Palace Theatre.

He appeared in films from silent days (The Cry for Justice) to the 1930s (The Thirteenth Candle, Perfect Understanding, Betrayal, I'll Stick to you, Double Bluff, Brown on Resolution, Murder in the Family, Take Cover, Peg of Old Drury with Anna Neagle and Cedric Hardwicke).
He also penned the odd theatre piece (The Sailor and the Nursemaid music Hamish McCunn).

Childerstone married twice. First, in 1901, to Mary Muir McGee (d 1944), by whom he had a son, Clifford Louis Muir Childerstone, and in later years (1945) to Ethel Maud Odd, with whom he had been living some time.

There's more to find ... there must be portraits out there... but it's after midnight ..... C you tomorrow ...

1 comment:

ERG said...

Jessie was my great grandfathers sister.