"The Life and Reminiscences of E.L Blanchard
*With notes from the Diary of W.M Blanchard"
compiled by Clement Scott and Cecil Howard
Born in Sloane Street, Chelsea, October 19, 1820. Real name at Wilson. Was intended for the church, but got the stage fever, and in 1838 began as an amateur to play such characters as the Buckingham, Casio, Iago, etc. He was then a clerk in the city, but finding he was likely to succeed as an actor, he joined the stage and obtained his first engagement at the Theatre Royal, Hull, where he appeared December 2nd 1839, and remained on the York circuit till September 1840, when he joined the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh as Horatio in Hamlet. He remained there five years. Made his first London appearance at the Princess's, April the 19th 1845, as Sir Thomas Clifford in the 'Hunchback'. Played second to Macready at the Surrey. Was the principle of the Lyceum, Olympic, and Strand companies and then made a great hit as Raphael in 'The Marble Heart' at the Adelphi. Married in 1841 Elizabeth Lee, daughter of Henry Lee, 50 years manager of the Western circuit, who proved to him the best and most affectionate of wives, nursing him through his long illnesses with the most patient solicitude. Made his last appearance at Drury Lane on Tuesday morning, June 27, 1865, when a complimentary benefit was given to him by his brother artists. Ill-health perhaps prevented him from becoming one of our greatest actors, but he always did credit to any part he undertook, and in such characters as Gustavo de Grignon in that 'The Ladies Battle', Prince Maurice de Saxe in 'The Reigning Favourite', Harry Dornton in 'The Road to Ruin' and Birchall in that the 'Vicar of Wakefield', parts in which he was associated with Mrs Stirling as the heroine, he was inimitable. He was buried at Brompton Cemetery.
Record The death of Charles Horsman, the actor. He died in great poverty.
The annotation reads:
He was most unfortunate. His immediate cause of death was the result of two operations, which had been performed for some affection of the throat. He was born at Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, October 31st, 1825.
First appearance, Theatre Royal, Plymouth in 1835, as Albert to Macready's William Tell. He was for some years a scene painter, but in 1847 accepted an engagement at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, under Mr Simpson.
Made his London debut at "Punch's Playhouse", now the "Strand", in 1851.
In 1864 was with Miss Marriot at Sadler's Wells, and was for two seasons at the Lyceum, and subsequently at the Princess's.
He was the manager to Messrs. Gunn for two years from 1875, of the Gaiety Theatre, and Theatre Royal, Dublin, but was compelled to resign the appointment through domestic affliction, and since that day had been most unlucky in getting engagements.
Born August 26th, 1804
; eldest son of Admiral E. T. Smith.
Was appointed midshipman in Lord Cochrane's ship,
but motherly affection fetched him back the night before the ship sailed. Was at first in the
Metropolitan Constabulary, and subsequently an
auctioneer. He was
man given to speculation.
of his schemes was connected
with what used to be
gambling-house at the corner of St. James's Street, which
instrumental in turning into a fashionable restaurant known as the
Wellington. He had to do with Vauxhall Gardens ; but his
connection with theatres may be said to have begun in 1850, when he
Marylebone, which he held for two years, and then, most rashly as some
thought, entered on the
lesseeship of Drury Lane Theatre. The
house was in dreadfully bad odour and had been in the market for a
considerable time, and was thought to
be such a bad speculation
ground lessee, the Duke of Bedford, actually thought of pulling it
December 27th, 1852, he opened the house
with Uncle Tom's Cabin and Harlequin
Hudibras; or, The Droll Days of the Merry
Monarch (E. L. B.'s
performances. He spared no expense in engaging the best artists. He had
Beverley for his scene-painter, and during his tenancy of
Drury Lane, Charles Mathews, G. V. Brooke, the Keans, and some of
best stars made their appearance on the boards. He was also one of the first to
recognize provincial talent,
and bring it to London. He
founder of the Alhambra in Leicester Square, previously to that known as the
Panopticon, and opened it as a
circus, February 7th, 1858. He was
lessee of Her Majesty's ; and in Italian Opera,
Titiens, Piccolomini, and
Giuglini appeared under him. He
Gardens from 1861 to 1869. From 1867 he was lessee of the Lyceum for two years. From 1863 he was the lessee of Astley's, which he ran for some years. Commencing October 1870, he ran the Surrey for a short season. In 1871 he leased Highbury Barn, and not very long afterwards became the proprietor of the Regent Music Hall, Westminster. He then appears to have turned his attention again to restaurant catering, and opened a dining-hall under the vaults of the Royal Exchange, which was a conspicuous failure. Years before he started the Radnor at the corner of Chancery Lane, and opened a refreshment room in Leicester Square known as the Cremorne Supper Rooms. The Sunday Times became his property in 1856 for a short time, and he also started the Bedfordshire Independent with a view of entering Parliament, but not obtaining sufficient support he very shortly gave up both these journals. He made many friends, who were always ready to assist him in his various speculations, and though these did not always turn out profitable to the investors, it should be mentioned that he retained his friends, as they had perfect faith in his honesty of purpose. He was a noted character in his day ; he liked to see his name in print as a generous supporter of any form of charity, and though it has been imputed to him that he did this for the sake of advertisement, a great many of his acts originated from genuine kindness. He died November 26th 1877, and was buried at Brompton Cemetery.
John Lee, born October 25th 1795, made his first appearance at Drury Lane, October 1st, 1828, as Laertes to the Hamlet of Charles Young; Miss Kelly, Ophelia; and Benjamin Webster, Rosencrantz.
The character of ‘Jingle’ (which he is remembered for) was in Moncrieffs adaption of Pickwick, and was produced at the Strand under the title of Sam Weller or, The Pickwillians. W.J Hammond, the manager of the theatre, was Sam Weller; H.Hall, Old Weller. Dickens had not completed the papers, and so the adaptor finished the story for him, making Mrs Bardwell convicted of bigamy, Alfred Jingle being her husband; Dodson and Fogg were convicted of conspiracy, and were supposed to be released on paying a fine of £500, which the generous Pickwick handed to Jingle and his wife.
Edmund Kean died in Mr Lee’s arms at Richmond, Surrey, May 15h 1833, and his late secretary then became a theatrical agent in Bow St. He subsequently became manager of the Café de l’Europe, next to the Haymarket Theatre, a noted resort of actors at one time.
The famous ‘Jingle’ died at Jersey on the 5th Oct. 1881, aged 86.
when James Hurst Stead was doing the ‘Perfect Cure’
which became so much the
rage at Weston’s Music Hall, he must have frequently jumped
some four hundred
and fifty times in the course of an evening, and he continued this for
The air was composed by John
Blewett, and was originally written for the song “The Monkey
Purdy, the music publisher,
purchased the air for two guineas, was said to have made more than
of it after it was adapted to Stead’s song.
Stead was a great fisherman,
and would often start off immediately his
performance was over to walk to his fishing ground, so that he might be
for his sport with the first dawn of day.
He had, at one time, amassed a considerable fortune, but was unfortunate to lose it through failure of a bank.
2nd Nov 1888
Write for Era a paragraph about the death of Charles Warner's father, whose name I think, was Lickfold; a small actor long connected with Drury Lane and Sadler's Wells.
Annotation by William Blanchard states:
He was descended from a good old Surrey family, which owned a nice estate called Frensham Ponds, near Guildford. The failure of a bank caused it to be heavily mortgaged, and so, when it came into the elder Warner's father's possession , he determined to sell it and and take his family to America. They were all actually on board ship when Lickfold slipped from the vessel and parental authority, and became a player.
In early life he was fair eccentric comedian and played leading parts with Mrs Nisbett. He was, for ten years, connected with Phelps at Sadler's Wells and made his last appearance on Drury Lane stage. He was deeply loved and respected by all with whom he came in contact.
28th February 1888
Saddened by reading of the death, at Liverpool yesterday, of my old friend John Clayton. He was only in his forty-third year. His real name was Calthrop. He was married to the daughter of Dion Boucicault."
Alfred Calthrop, born February 4th, 1845, at Gosberton, Lincolnshire,
for many generations, the Calthrops had been large landowners, but
early in the
present century sustained heavy losses, and the whole place passed into
From an early age he was very
fond of reading, and when nine
went to school at Merchant Taylors. Never cared much for outdoor
delighted in stretching on the rug before the fire, with some favourite
He was also very fond of music. The Church was chosen for him, but he
like the idea. He went to Bonn to study German, to prepare himself for
Indian Civil Service, but he never went up for it, but joined an office
He was a great friend of
Palgrave Simpson and Herman
it was through the former that John Clayton-after considerable success
amateur - joined Miss Herbert's company, at the St. James's Theatre,
27th, 1866, and played Hastings in ‘She Stoops to
Conquer’. Went to the Olympic
in 1867, to the Gaiety in 1869, and in February 1876 was at the Court
His first great success was as Mr. Jormel in ‘Coals of
Fire’. Enhanced his
reputation with his Joseph Surface at the Vaudeville in July 1872, and
entrusted with several important characters at the Lyceum in 1873-4,
but it was
at the Mirror (afterwards the Holborn) Theatre, in 1875, that he
almost his greatest fame as Hugh Trevor in ‘All for
Her’. His George d'Alroy,
in the revival of ‘Caste’ at the Prince of Wales,
in 1879, was also highly spoken
of. Joint lessee with Arthur Cecil, be produced A.W Pinero’s
most amusing plays
– ‘The Magistrate’, ‘The
Schoolmistress’, and ‘Dandy Dick’ in
which he acted
respectively Colonel Lukyn, Rear-Admiral Rankin, C.B., and Rev.
He was buried at Brompton Cemetery.
25th July 1844 Heard of Miss Forde’s death. Remember her first playing for me was as Phillis in my ‘Arcadia’ at the Grecian.
A charming ballad singer, whose duet with Billy Williams at the Vauxhall – ‘Pretty Polly Hopkins’ – for a time was quite the rage. As her voice and personal charms waned, she was glad to to sing at Bagnigge Wells, White Conduit and, even the Albert Saloon. “Sally” Forde attained eminence as a ballad singer in her early days.
23rd June 1846 B.Haydon, the celebrated artist, died yesterday suddenly.
24th 1846 June-Haydon now known to have committed suicide, poor fellow! His diary intensely interesting.
Robert Haydon, a
well-known and clever artist, committed suicide in a most determined
Monday, June 22nd, in his studio, situate 14, Burwood Place, Edgware
cut his throat and shot himself through the head. He was sixty years of
and was born in Plymouth. His body was found stretched before a
picture of "Alfred the Great and the First British Jury," one of a
series of six which he hoped to get accepted for the walls of the new
He had for twenty-six years kept very complete diaries of his daily life and actions, successes and trials; the last entry was June 22nd, "God forgive me, Amen ! B. R Haydon. ‘Stretch me no longer on the rough world' (Lear). The end of the twenty-sixth volume" Pecuniary troubles and artistic disappointments appear to have unhinged an otherwise sound intellect, for he was a pious and temperate man. The jury returned a verdict that he was in an unsound mind when he committed the sad act. Sir Robert Peel had granted him some weeks before a sum of £50.
Charles Fisher was connected with the Fishers of Yorkshire, well known as circuit managers in that county. Clara Fisher, the popular child actor in ‘Little Pickle’ and other parts was C. Fisher’s sister, and David Fisher, original Abbe Latour in ‘The Dead Heart’ was a relation.
Charles Fisher was a tall, well-formed man, whose last engagement was under Maddox at the Princess’s and he was a fine ‘Stralenheim’ at that theatre to Macready’s ‘Werner’. Fisher’s death took place soon afterwards.
2nd April 1847 Leman Rede dies, age 45.
Leman Rede died after a very brief illness at his house, 32 Southampton Street, Strand, on April 2nd, at six in the morning.
He was born in 1802 in Hamburg, and was the son of T.L Rede, barrister, and author of ‘The Laws of England’ and ‘Anecdotes of Eminent Characters’ (translation of St Pierre’s work).
Leman Rede was the author of numerous plays, ‘Old and Young Stager’ etc.; was a writer and journalist; married in 1832 to Miss Sarah Cooke, daughter of Mr Cooke, bass singer at D.L.T., and cousin to Mrs Waylett and Mrs W. West. He left a widow and one son ten years of age.
16th May 1847 W. Smith (Surrey) died yesterday.
William Cole Smith, aged forty-seven, comedian, had been connected with Surrey. Died from general debility, brought on by excessive drinking.
30th. December 1850 -Shocked to hear of the death of Osbaldiston at one o'clock yesterday.
D. W. Osbaldiston was born in February 1794, and died December 28th, aged fifty-seven, of black jaundice. He was the son of a Manchester merchant. Was intended for the Church, but the cassock was distasteful, and so took to the sock and buskin ; and, after appearing as Pierre, and Frederick, in ‘The Poor Gentleman’, at a private theatre, in the year 1817 joined the Exeter and Plymouth circuit, under Mr. Manuel's management.
He married a Miss Dawson in 1818. Was well known at the Manchester, Bath, and Norwich theatres. In 1828 he was a member of the Brunswick Theatre company when it met with its destruction. He then joined Mr. Elliston at the Surrey, and became lessee of it at Christmas, 1831. About the year 1836 he was lessee of Covent Garden, and also, at various times, of Sadlers Wells, City of London, and the Victoria. His elopement with Miss Vincent made a great stir at the time; he died very wealthy. He was a versatile actor, and was good in such characters as Rolla and William Tell.
Thomas Winter Spring, a renowned boxer, born at Witch-end, near Fawnhope, in Herefordshire, February 22nd, 1795.
He was 6ft high, his fighting weight 13st. 2lb. He won his first fight when only nineteen years of age; his second, against Stringer, September 9th, 1817; and his third against Painter, April 1st 1818, but was beaten by himin a second encounter in August. This was his only defeat, though he met most of the celebrated pugs. He was presented in 1823 with the Hereford Cup, in 1824 with the Manchester Cup, and in 1854 with a Cup as Champion of England, for which £500 was subscribed.
He was a generous hearted man, much respected among his class, and had, for some years prior to his decease been landlord of the Castle, Holborn. He died August 19th 1851 of dropsy and heart disease and was buried at Norwood Cemetery.
Mr Alexander was a well-known manager at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, and as an excellent comedian. He was born in Edinburgh, and was for a considerable time lessee of the Adelphi Theatre in that city, and also the Carlisle and Dumfries Theatres.
George Maynard was leading tragedian at the Adelphi and Surrey Theatres.
16th August 1852 – Poor Frank Hartland killed by a beam in Westminster Road aged seventy.
He was for many years a favourite pantomimist, and played with Grimaldi. The beam from some buildings in the course of erection fell on him and crushed his skull.
George Forman died about 25th Aug 1852 for many years a favourite comedian at the Victoria Theatre – about forty years of age- died of pneumonia.
Saville Morton murdered about 5th Oct 1852. Journalist/ Correspondent
Horrible affair at Paris-Bower, correspondent of the Morning Advertiser, and Saville Morton, correspondent of the Daily News.'
Bower appears to have been jealous of Morton, between whom and Mrs. Bower he thought there was undue familiarity. Unfortunately Morton entered the room in No. 22, Rue des Capucins, where Bower was at dinner. The latter seized a knife, and after some altercation on the stairs struck Morton on the neck, severing the carotid artery, and causing his immediate death. It should be added that Mrs. Bower was delirious after the birth of her last child, and in her paroxysms
threw doubt on its paternity. Mr. Morton was much respected by the Daily News, and had been its correspondent in Constantinople, Athens, Madrid, Vicuna, Berlin, and Paris. He was of good family, and a graduate of Cambridge. He was a warm-hearted, talented man.
George Anderson died (suicide) about 1st Nov 1852. He was only thirty-four years of age, and killed himself by throwing himself out of a window.
Robert William Honner was born about 1809, and died December 31st, 1852, much respected. He was the son of a solicitor, and a schoolfellow of Joe Grimaldi. Through reverses when his father died, young Honner, having acquired a taste for the stage, was apprenticed to Leclercq, made his debut at the " Sans Pareil," and travelled the provinces. In 1824 he was at the Surrey; from thence to the Coburg; joined Ducrow, and with him got his initiation into stage display and management ; travelled again ; rejoined Ducrow ; thence to Sadlers Wells under Grimaldi. He was under Elliston at the Surrey till Osbaldiston's time, and with Coleman at Sadlers wells, 1832, and then met and married Miss Macarthy, a talented actress. In 1835 he stage managed for Davidge at the Surrey ; in 1838 became lessee of Sadlers Wells, part of the time with Greenwood; from 1841 to 1846 was manager of the Surrey for Mr. Davidge, and after his decease for his widow. At the close of 1846 Honner became lessee of City of London Theatre, remaining so until he joined Mr. John Douglass as stage-manager of the Standard Theatre, which post he retained till his death.
J.W Sharp, the noted comic singer, died in the workhouse at Dover, January 1856, aged thirty-eight.
16th November 1846 Inquest on AlsagerThis Mr Alsager was a literary man, engaged as a writer of the money article of the Times [newspaper]. He cut his throat in three places on Friday morning, November 13th.
uncle to John Oxenford, and was founder
of the Beethoven Quartet Society, and a great supporter of
Philharmonic Society. He was a distinguished musical
amateur. He died on Sunday 15th at 2am. The jury
verdict that there was no evidence as to the state of his
He appears to have been much depressed at the remembrance of the loss
of his wife and at giving up his literary pursuits.
1st April 1853 Hear of poor Boyce's death at Charing Cross Hospital.
Charles Boyce, late of the Adelphi Theatre, only thirty three years of age, had been ill for some time.
31st August 1853 Premature death of poor Wilkins, a young and promising author as well as a good actor.
John Wilkins was olny twenty-seven. In six years he had produced at the City of London Theatre upwards of ten dramas. The Green Hills of the Far West first brought him into notice and at the time of his death he had several other pieces written.
6th September 1853 - Emma, the daughter of poor John Blewitt, calls to tell me of her father's death. I write paragraphs of the event for the papers in accordance with his dying wish.
John Blewitt died in University Hospital, August 28th, aged seventy-three, and was buried at St Pancras. But for a few weeks before his death he worked for musical publishers, though suffering intense agony from his complaint, and for some years had provided the music for Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Olympic and other theatres' pantomimes. He was a fertile composer, was noted for his glees, and was for some time musical director of Vauxhall Gardens. But for all this he died poor! He will be remembered for his air to "Barney Brallaghan's Courtship".
Mary Amelia Warner, died September 24th, 1854; born at Manchester in 1804. She was the daughter of Huddart the actor ; and, as Miss Huddart, began her dramatic career, when only fifteen years of age, with Brunton, the manager of the Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol, and Birmingham Theatres; made her first notable appearance in London as Belvidera, in Venice Preserved, at Drury Lane, November 22nd, 1830, to Macready's Pierre, though she had already played at some of the minor theatres in town. Lady Constance, in King John; Olivia, in Jane Shore ; Emma, in William Tell ;and Queen Elswith, in Alfred the Great, or, The Patriot King,-were her principal characters that season. In 1836 she was at Drury Lane again, under Bann's management, and played Lady Macbeth, Emilia, and Marian in The Wrecker's Daughter. In 1837, Evadne, in The Bridal (The Maid's Tragedy), at the Haymarket. In the same year married Robert William Warner, landlord of the Wrekin Tavern, in Broad Court. Mrs. Warner was for some four years a member of Macready's company at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, and in 1844 entered into partnership with Phelps at Sadler's Wells, remaining there till 1847, when she became the manageress of the Marylebone, and opened in October as Hermione in The Winter's Tale. The management proved most unfortunate, and so Mrs. Warner returned to the Haymarket (having already played there a couple of seasons between 1837 and 1844), and appeared at Sadler's Wells for a limited number of nights, commencing July 28th, 1851, in her most celebrated characters, and made her last bow on the English boards as Mrs. Oakley in The Jealous Wife. Mrs. Warner subsequently went twice to America, but returned home in 1853, a confirmed invalid. Mrs. Warner left a son and a daughter.
Thomas Egerton Wilks, dramatic author, died this date in a state of wretched poverty. His first work was a romantic drama, The Red Cross, produced at Sadler's Wells in 1831, and he afterwards wrote some two hundred plays.
7th. Nov 1854 -In the obituary of the Times to-day John Esdale Widdicomb, sixty-seventh year, and riding-master for thirty-four years at Astley's. Prior to his being at Astley's he had played the "dandy lover" in pantomime to the clown of Grimaldi at the old Coburg Theatre. He was to the last a wonderfully young-looking man, and was an excellent ring-master.
Nov 1854 Hear of Charles Kemble's death yesterday.
17th Nov 1854 Off to British Museum for data of memoir of C. Kemble; useless labour.
22nd Nov 1854 From Era 10s. 6d. for Kemble memoir.
Youngest brother of John Philip Kemble and Mrs. Siddons ; and was born at Brecknock, South Wales, in November 1775. Educated at Douai ; was in the Post Office, London, twelve months, but left it to appear as Orlando in As You Like It, at Sheffield, in 1792. Made his debut in London as Malcolm in Macbeth at Drury Lane, April 21st, 1 794. Made his first mark at the Haymarket in 1798, as Wilford in The Iron Chest. In 1803 he joined his brother at Covent Garden, and made his first appearance there in September as Henry in Speed the Plough. He rapidly rose to be one of the most capable actors in an extensive range of parts, which included Mirabel, Doricourt, Cassio, Benedick, Charles Surface, Marc Antony, Falconbridge, Pierre, etc. I u 1806 he married Miss Teresa Decamp, by whom he left three cliildren, Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Sartoris, and the Rev. John Kemble. Charles Kemble retired from the stage December 23rd, 1836, as Benedick. He, however, appeared by command of the Queen four years later, and played for twelve nights his principal Shakespearean cliaractcrs. He held for a time the post of Examiner of Plays, but resigned it to his son J. P. Kemble. In May and July 1844, Charles Kemble gave Shakespearean readings at Willis’s Rooms.
He died November 12th 1854, aged 79.
Richard John Smith (or 0. Smith, as he was generally known, having taken the Christian name after his successful performance of Obi Smith in Three-fingered Jack) was born at York in 1786. His imithnr was a Miss Seracs, an actress of some reputation; his father treasurer at the Bath Theatre. O. Smith had an adventurous life. He began as a solicitor's clerk, but had a hankering for the stage, of which his parents did not approve, so he shipped himself off to Sierra Leone. In the Gaboon he assisted three slaves to escape, and was severely punished for it. He came back to England; was pressed for the Navy, but liberated; and was at last engaged by Mr. Macready at Sheffield as "prompter, painter, and actor of all work, at the liberal salary of 12s a week." Thence he went to Edinburgh for two years, and returned to Bath in 1807, and appeared at the Surrey under Elliston in 1810; and it was here he got the name of O. Smith. He was great as Bombastes Furioso, and as Vulcan in Cupid. In 1823 he made a great reputation as Zamiel in Der Freischutz at Drury Lane. In 1828 he caused the success of The Bottle Imp at Covent Garden. He joined Messers. Yates and Matthews' company soon after they took the Adelphi in 1828, and from that time until his decease remained attached to the fortunes of that theatre. His last original part was in June 1853 in Genevieve or, The Reign of Terror.
O. Smith was very tall, had a deep, almost sepulchral voice, and piercing eyes. He was extraordinarily successful in characters of the "uncanny" type. He left behind him a mass of valuable dramatic matters, which he had been collecting with a view to publication.
Hear of the death of W. Dunn, the old treasurer of Drury Lane as having taken place last night.
was seventy-two years of age, for fifty-six of which he was officer to
the committee of Drury Lane. He was full of dramatic anecdote.
18th Dec 1855 - The Poet Rogers died this morning aged ninety-six.
Samuel Rogers, banker and poet, born July 30th 1763. Author of "Pleasures of Memory", 1792; "Poems" 1812, "Italy" 1822, and "Recollections" printed in 1859, after his death.
Born March 20th, 1777. Made his first appearance as Cupid, in a burletta called The Birthday, at the Royalty Theatre in Wellclose Square, in July 1 7987, as Master Abrahams. He was adopted when eleven years old by Leoni, an excellent vocalist and professor of music, who gave him instruction until he was fifteen, when Braham, as he was then known, actually surpassed his master. He made his debut as a tenor singer at Bath in 1794, and continued to study under Panzzini. Braham also gave lessons, and in 1795 Lady Nelson, the wife of the hero of Trafalgar, then plain Captain Nelson, was one of his pupils. Braham came to London, and first appeared at Drury Lane in 1796, in Storace's opera of Mahmoud. After Storace's death, Braham travelled in Italy with his sister, Signora Storace, and gained the highest honour. He returned to England in 1801, to Covent Garden; in 1805 joined the Drury Lane company. His last important character was at Drury Lane Theatre in 1839, in Rossini's opera, William Tell. He built the St. James's Theatre in 1835, and opened the Coliseum the same year. He married in 1816 Miss Bolton, by whom he had six children; one afterwards became Frances Countess of Waldegrave, and four sons Charles and Augustus, tenors; John Hamilton, basso ; and Ward, who, like Augustus, also was in the army. Braham was a brilliant conversationalist, and a composer of great taste. His "Death of Abercrombie"; and Death of Nelson " will live for all time.
28th March 1856 - My poor old friend, George Wild, died this morning.
When lessee of the Olympic, George Wild appears to have been much annoyed with 'Punch' for the following critiscism it had passed on his theatre:- "The Olympic is to the Adelphi what a Tap is to a Tavern. The pieces smack of the Spittoon; but they are often things of real life, the more especially when a live Horse and real Cab from St Clement's Stand are introduced upon the scene." Wild accordingly posted up a bill giving the extract from Punch:-
A COMPLIMENT TO THE OLYMPIC DRAMATIC AUTHORS.
List of dramatists, whose pieces "Smack of the Spittoon" and who have been kind enough to contribute to that Theatre during the Management of Mr G. Wild - viz., from 4th April 1841, to the present date;-
He then went on to list the following authors and their works: Mr Somerset, Mr Graves, Mr Wilkes, Mr Bruton, Mr Raymond, Mr W Moncrieff, Mr Sterling, Mr Fitzball, Mr C. Selby, Mr Reynoldson, Mr E.L Blanchard, Mr Mark Lemon, Mr Albert Smith, Mr H. Wills, Mr Peake, Mr Buckstone, Mr H.P. Grattan, Mr Leman Rede.
signed Theatre Royal Olympic, February 26th 1844.
10th April 1856 - Morris Barnett's death at Montreal announced.
Morris Barnett was born in 1800, and spent a considerable portion of his early life in France, where he was a musical conductor. He came to London to gain confidence, and entered the chorus of the Adelphi under F. Yates. First appeared at Brighton, and in 1833 appeared at Drury Lane, and was thoroughly successful as Tom Drops in The Schoolfellows. In 1837 he wrote and acted Monsieur Jacques at the St. James's Theatre, and saved the fortunes of the house. He then turned his attention principally to literature, but appeared in the Old Guard at the Princess's under Mr. Maddox. He was musical critic to the Morning Post and Era for nearly seven years, and in September 1854, he gave some farewell performances before going to America. He was not succcssful in the United States. He wrote a goodly number of plays, of which The Serious Family may perhaps be looked upon as the best. [I have often heard my old friend, Mr. J. M. Levy, speak of Morris Barnett as the most delightful of companions and the best of men. He was on affectionate terms of close intimacy with Mr. Levy's gifted aud hospitable family. -C. S.]
Charles Mayne Young was born January 10th, 1777, in Fenchurch Street. Was educated at Eton and Merchant Taylors'. Was in a merchants' house, Longman & Co., for a short time, and first appeared under the name of Green, as Douglas, at the Theatre Royal, Liverpool. His success was so marked that the same winter he played lead at Manchester, and returned to fill the like position at Liverpool the following summer, from 1800 to 1802. He was the greatest favourite in Glasgow. Married Miss Grimani, of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, on March 9th, 1805, but lost his wife in her first confinement. Mr. Young made his London debut as Hamlet at the Haymarket, June 22nd, 1807; joined the Covent Garden company in 1810, as second to John Kemble, and lead when he was absent. He even surpassed Kemble in many of the characters,which were supposed to be the great tragedian's own. Young was almost as good in comedy as be was in tragedy. He bade adieu to the stage as Hamlet at Covent Garden, May 30th, 1832. He was a great favourite in society, was an accomplished gentleman, and a good sportsman. Some interesting memoirs of him were written by his son, the Rev. Julian Charles Young, rector of Ilmington.
Eliza Lucy Bartolozzi, Madame Vestris, was born January 3rd, 1797, in St. Marylebone, and was the granddaughter of the great engraver Bartolozzi. From her father's teaching, and that of the best masters, she became an excellent musician, as well as perfect in French and Italian. She married Armand Vestris, a dancer at the Italian Opera, a most depraved, dissipated man of only twenty-four, but who had already ruined his constitution-she being only sixteen, on January 28th 1813, at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and made her debut as Prosperina in Winter's opera of Il Ratto di Proserpina, Thursday, July 20th, 1815, and achieved a most complete success, not only by the excellence of her singing, but by her beauty and charm of manner.
The young actress next appeared in Paris, both in comedy and tragedy, and returned to London in 1819 to appear as Lilla in The Siege of Belgrade, February 19th, 1829. She made a marked success as the Don in Giovanni in London, and her portraits in the character were all over the town. She could not, however, with all her popularity, turn Giovanni in Ireland, an extravaganza full of grossest improprieties, into a success. It was played December 26th, 1821, and was withdrawn after a very stormy run of four nights. Her husband died in 1825; and, having created a most favourable impression in the provinces, she became manageress of the Olympic in 1831, and opened it, January 3rd, with Mary Queen of Scots, and Olympic Revels, written by Planche and Charles Dance. She brought the theatre up to a pitch of prosperity, and Charles Mathews having made his debut here December 7th, 1835, in his own farce of The Hump-Backed Lover, in which he played George Rattleton, won her affections, and they were married July 18th, 1838, at Kensington Church, and immediately sailed for the United States; but their visit was not a success, and Madame Vestris made her reappearance at her own theatre, which had been managed during her absence by Planche, January 2nd, 1839, as Fatima in Blue Beard. Her lesseeship came to an end on May 31st, and she commenced that of Covent Garden Theatre, September 30th, 1839. This only lasted three years, and was unfortunate. She and Charles Mathews for a time joined Macready at Drury Lane, and then Webster at the Haymarket, remaining there till 1845. After a tour they appeared at the Princess's, March 1846. In 1847 Madame Vestris became manageress of the Lyceum till July 26th 1856, making her last appearance on that date in Sunshine through the Clouds; and it was during this term of years that those exquisite extravaganzas, The King of the Peacocks, The Island of Jewels, Theseus and Ariadne, The Golden Branch, etc., were produced. Many hard things, perhaps deservedly, have been said of Madame Vestris; but great allowances must be made for her. Had her first husband been a different man, she might have proved a very different woman; for, with all her follies, she was good-hearted, and did many acts of kindness. Her extravagance, however, was unbounded; she was known to have cut up a three-hundred-guinea Indian shawl merely to use a portion of it for a turban and sash in Oberon. She lies buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
Gilbert Abbott a’Beckett, called to the Bar, January 1841. Was made magistrate of Greenwich and Woolwich Courts in 1849, and exchanged with Mr Secker to Southwark, where he administered justice until shortly before his death by typhus fever. He was well known as a dramatic author.
Edward Francis Fitzwilliam, born at Deal, August 2nd, 1824. Educated in England, and finished his education at a good school in Boulogne. Studied under Sir Henry Bishop and John Barnett. When twenty-one years of age he composed his first work, a Stabat Mater, which was performed March 15th, 1845, at Hanover Square Rooms. Appointed musical director of the Lyceum under Madame Vestris’s management, October 1847. Was musical director of the Haymarket from Easter 1853, remaining at the theatre until the time of his death. He wrote several cantatas; The Queen of a Day (a comic opera) and A Summer Night's Love (an operetta)-both produced at the Haymarket; besides numerous songs, ballads, and lyric odes; and the music to The Green Bushes, The Flowers of the Forest, and Perea Nena’s ballets. Married Miss Ella Chaplin, December lst, 1853. He died of consumption, and was buried at Kensal Green.
8th June 1857 Douglas Jerrold died this morning, in his fifty-fifth year; a great loss to the world, as well as to his own social circle.
Born in London, January 3rd. 1803. He obtained his dramatic knowledge mostly through his father having been manager of the Southend and Sheerness theatres. Having taken a great predilection for the sea, be became a midshipman in the Royal Navy, in the ship of Captain Austin, brother to Miss Austin, the novelist. A year and a half cured him of his love for seafaring, but the knowledge of maritime life that he had gained stood him in good stead afterwards. He was next apprenticed to a printer, where he worked with Leman Banchard. His first effort in dramatic writing was The Smoked Miser, or, The Benefit of Hanging, a farce that was very successful in 1823 at Sadlers Wells, when Egerton was manager. He obtained his footing on the Press through an essay which he wrote on Der Freyschutz. He was a wonderfully rapid concocter of plays, and for some time supplied a fresh piece of some sort at the Coburg every other week, besides writing for Sadlers Wells and editing the Weekly Times. His best-known piece is Black-eyed Susan, produced at the Surrey, June 6th, 1829, with P.P. Cooke as William. The Rent Day, Drury Lane, January 1832; Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden, January 1833; The Housekeeper, or, The White Rose, Haymarket, July 1834; The prisoner of War, Drury Lane, 1842 -were amongst his most famous plays of which space will not permit giving an entire list. He contributed much to magazines. His "Caudle Lectures " in Punch will always be remembered. He started a shilling magazine and Jerrold’s Newspaper, but these were not successful. About 1852 he became editor of Lloyd’s Newspaper. He was a brilliant conversationalist and satirist. He died of disease of the heart, and was buried in Norwood Cemetery.
Married in 1849 to Milano, the well-known harlequin and balletmaster. During her whole life Therese Cushnie was most highly esteemed for her private worth, and she was celebrated as a dancer. From the first she worked very hard at her profession, having made her debut at an early age at the Garrick Theatre, followed by engagements at the Grecian Saloon, Surrey, and Astley's. She then studied hard for two years in Paris, of the best masters; her first succeeding English engagement being at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, which was followed by her being engaged as one of the principal dancers at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden. With her sister Annie and her husband, she was for two seasons at Drury Lane, since which time they were at the Haymarket. Therese Cushnie last appeared in The Babes in the Wood, at Christmas 1856. She died on September 22nd, after giving birth to a still-born child.
John Sinclair was born in Edinburgh in 1785. When twenty-five years of age, came to London to take up his commission in a regiment in India, but was asked to sing for the benefit of a lady at the Haymarket in Lock and Key, and sang his three songs so well that he was persuaded to give up the idea of a martial career, and he studied for three years under Thomas Welsh. He played for a short time previous to this as Mr. Noble at the Margate Theatre, and made his first appearance as Carlos in The Duenna, September 20th, 1811, when actually under articles to his master. He made a great hit as Apollo in the burletta of Midas. In 1816 he married, and in 1818 his long engagement with Mr. Harris of Covent Garden terminated. He went to Italy and studied under Rossini, and made his Italian debut at Pisa in Torvaldo in 1821. He then made a most successful Continental tour, and on November l9th, 1824, was engaged by Mr. Charles Kemble at Covent Garden, and appeared as Prince Orlando in The Cabinet in 1826. He went to Drury Lane in 1828, to the Adelphi in 1831, again the principal tenor at Drury Lane, and then visited America; on his return from thence he confined himself to chamber concerts. He became the proprietor of the Tivoli Gardens at Margate, and spent the remainder of his life there. He was a most accomplished singer; he possessed a wonderful falsetto, and was great in Scotch ballads. He was the father of the Mrs. Catherine Sinclair recently referred to.
Louisa Cranstoune Nisbett, Lady Boothby, died January 16th, 1858, of apoplexy, at her residence, St. Leonard's, near Hastings, Sussex. She was the daughter of Frederick Hayes Macnamara and Jane Williams, and was born April lst, 1812, at Ball's Pond, near Islington. Her father was a successful actor, and from him she, at an early age, learnt to recite. Her maiden attempt was in private theatricals in 1820, as Adolphine de Courcy in the farce of Monsieur Tonson. Her success urged her to appear at the private theatre in Wilmington Square as Juliette, Miss Hardcastle, Jane Shore, even before she was ten years old, for at that age she played Angela in The Castle Spectre at the English Opera House; and, having given a wonderful performance of Jane Shore, the infant prodigy determined, as Louisa Mordaunt, to tour the provinces, commencing at Dorking in Surrey. At the age of sixteen she made her debut at Drury Lane, as the Widow Cheerly in The Soldier's Daughter, and by the time she was eighteen she had been acknowledged to be almost perfection in the roles of Juliette, Beatrice, and Rosalind. She married Captain Alexander John Nisbett of the Guards in 1831, but lost her husband seven months later by a fall from his horse, and was thus a widow at nineteen. Pecuniary troubles compelled her to return to the stage, and she reappeared in 1832 at Drury Lane. In 1835 she was manageress of the Queen's Theatre, and here one of her great parts was that of Cornet FitzHerbert FitzHenry in The Married Rake. Subsequently she went to the Strand for a time, and to the Surrey; and undertook the management of the Olympic during a temporary absence of Madame Vestris. On October 9th, 1837, she appeared at the Haymarket under Benjamin Webster as Constance, and reached the pinnacle of her fame,
About this time the property to which she was entitled through her late husband came into her possession, and her first care, as it had been all through her career, was to provide for the whole of her family - grandmother, mother, brothers, and sisters - besides doing many acts of kindness for other relatives. In October 1839, Mrs. Nisbett divided the honours of Covent Garden with Madame Vestris, and it was during this engagement that London Assurance was produced, in which she was the original Lady Gay Spanker. At Drury Lane she played with Macready and Anderson, and afterwards returned to the Haymarket. Whilst here Sir William Boothby, Bart., of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, was smitten with her, and married her on October 15th, 1844. Lady Boothby became a widow in 1846, and returned to the stage in 1847. She appeared on March 28th, 1851, and was then suffering from an indisposition from which she may be said to have never really recovered. She was able to appear for Anderson's benefit on April 12th, but was obliged to resign the part of Katina Nelidorf, in The Queen of Spades, which she should have acted on the 24th, but Miss Vining was obliged to read her part. Mrs. Nisbett made her final appearance at Drury Lane, May 8th, 1851, as Lady Teazle. From this time her health broke down, and domestic bereavements in her family, to one who was so deeply attached to her relatives, helped to aggravate the evil. The death of Mrs. Macnamara was the final blow, and from its date, December Sth, 1857, till her own death, she never completely rallied. Mrs. Nisbett was one of the most entertaining actresses ever seen on the London stage, and those who were fortunate enough to have heard her laugh always quote it as one of the most rippling, joyous, and musical ever heard.
22nd July 1858 – My old friend George Bartley died this afternoon, aged seventy-four.
Born at Bath in 1772, was apprenticed to the chef at the York House Hotel in his native city. As soon as he was out of his indentures joined the theatrical profession. At a very early age married Mrs. Swendall, who, though considerably older than himself, had nursed him through a dangerous illness in Jersey. Through the influence of Mrs Jordan, who discerned his merits, he was engaged by Sheridan at Drury Lane, and appeared there as Orlando, December llth, 1802. During the five years he was a member of the company he often appeared during Bannister's absences. He joined Incledon at the Lyceum in giving the entertainment called A Voyage to India, and the seven succeeding years travelled in various capacities throughout the United Kingdom, and greatly increased his reputation. Married a Miss Smith in 1814 (his second wife), at Birmingham. She was a tragic actress of repute, and with her he went to America and amassed a considerable fortune. On his return joined the Covent Garden Company, and in 1829 was one of the principals who aided
Mr. Charles Kemble to carry on the theatre. He was then appointed stage-manager, and the fortunes of the house changed. He remained stage-manager till 1843, when his son, who was at Oxford, died, and he withdrew from the stage. He played before Her Majesty at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace: Sir John Falstaff being one of his great characters. His last appearance was at the Princess’s December 18th 1852. He was for many years the respected treasurer of the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund.
John Pritt Harley, born in February 1786. Began life in a solicitor's office, joined the Southend and Canterbury theatres. He may be said to have made his professional debut in April 1808, as Doctor Ollapod in The Poor Gentleman. He played here and at Worthing and Brighton under Mr. Trotter, the manager of these theatres, as principal comedian till February 1813, when be joined the York Circuit and played Ludovic in The Peasant Boy, March 8th, 1813.
He appeared in London, for the first time, Saturday, July 15th, 1815, as Marcelli in Arnold's opera of The Devils Bridge, and Peter Fidget in Beasley’s farce of The Boarding House, and at once leaped into favour.
First appeared at Drury Lane, Saturday, September 16th, 1815, as Lissardo in The Wonder; and on the 23rd of the same month made a great success as Doctor Pangloss in The Heir-at-Law.
He was a great favourite of Jack Bannister's, who called him "his theatrical son and successor," and made him several valuable presents. He was for a time at the Lyceum, and at the St. James's Theatre in 1836. Was with Macready at Covent Garden, 1838, and remained at the theatre with Vestris and Charles Mathews. He joined Braham at Drury Lane in 1840, and in 1850 became a prominent member of Charles Kean's company at the Princess's Theatre. Was one of our best Shakespearean clowns. He had been acting Launcelot Gobbo on Friday, August 20th, 1858, and seemed in unusual health and spirits when he was seized with paralysis of the left side. He was a great favourite both on and off the stage, was of a merry disposition and equable temper, and possessed an extraordinary fund of anecdote.
He coached Grimaldi to play Orson. He was connected with Covent Garden and Drury Lane during the time of the Kembles, the elder Kean, and from Macklin down to Charles Kean. He retired from stage in 1834; he also wrote several melodramas.
Tom Manders, born December 22nd 1797, was clerk in the Bank of England from 1814 to 1821, when his office was abolished by the withdrawal of one-pound notes. He then turned his attention to the stage and began a provincial career with his wife, Louisa Powell, whom he married in 1820. He became a manager, and then came to town; played Justice Greedy to the Sir Giles Overreach of Edmund Kean, at the City Theatre, Milton Street. He was afterwards a member of The Strand and Olympic Theatres, but latterly of the Queen's to which theatre he was attached some sixteen years and was a great favourite. Was the original Tom Stag in the farce Captain Stevens, and Sam Slap in The Rake's Progress. He became the proprietor of the Sun Tavern, Long Acre, a favourite theatrical rendezvous. He was much esteemed and died October 28th 1859.
Edward Wright died at Boulogne on December 21st 1859. He was born in 1813, and was therefore forty-six years of age at the time of his death. Made his debut at the Queen's in 1834, but was not a great success so went into the provinces. His first recognized appearance in London was at the St James's, under Braham, September 29th 1837, as Splash in the Young Widow, to the Aurelia of Mrs Stirling, and Fitzcloddy in Methinks I See My Father. He was for twenty years a member of the Adelphi Theatre. He was great as Paul Pry, John Gumley and Muster Grinnidge, and was immense favourite with the public.
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