Theatrical Obituaries

from 1844 - 1889

    Taken from the book

"The Life and Reminiscences of E.L Blanchard

*With notes from the Diary of W.M Blanchard"

compiled by Clement Scott and Cecil Howard

Published 1891

Throughout the book, Blanchard wrote the obituaries for many people involved in theatrical circles - actors, writers, singers, entertainers, scene painters, stage managers, critics, journalists, theatre owners and lessees plus many more.
For an alphabetical index of others yet to be transcribed in full - click here

Charles Withall

"23rd March 1886

On this day died my old friend Charles Withall [married Kathleen Fitzwilliam] and, I think, nearly the last of our pantomime theatricals of 1838.
He was a well known solicitor of Bedford Row, and family solicitor to Sir Percy Shelly."

Earlier in the books there is mention of the fact that the first amateur pantomimes performed in England were given in the years 1838, 1839 and 1840 at a large theatre specially fitted up for the occasion each succeeding Christmas and Easter at a spacious mansion known as Rodney House in the Old Kent Road.

"The elaborate scenery, property, tricks, changes and transformations were all of home manufacture and attracted considerable admiration at the time.  The pantomime in 1839 was produced by a number of young men and one of these merry hearted youths was Mr Withall, a grave solicitor, who married the once popular singer, Miss Kathleen Fitzwilliam."

W.R Copeland

29th May 1867
Hear of W.R Copeland's death, of Liverpool, aged 67

Lessee and manager of the Theatre Royal and Royal Ampitheatre, Liverpool.  Was apprenticed to a chemist; but through his father having become possessed of the lease of a theatre and carrying it on, he became interested in stage life, and took to it altogether.  He married a sister of Douglas Jerrold, and a sister of his was the celebrated Mrs Fitzwilliam.
He was well known on the western and northern circuits.  About 1842 he succeeded Mr Hammond as lessee of the Liver Theatre, and, in 1843, the Theatre Royal and Royal Ampitheatre, which he let to H.J Byron in September 1866.
In 1851 he was manager of the Strand Theatre, London, which he re-christened "Punch's Playhouse".  His oldest friend was J. Baldwin Buckstone.

Mary Jane Seaman

Death of the widow of W.H Chippendale, a buxom, pretty actress, who came out at the Haymarket in October 1863 as Miss Snowdon.

In the annotation:
Mary Jane Seaman was born at Salisbury, and was the daughter of a solicitor.  Made her first recorded appearance under her own name, as Mrs Major de Boots, in October 1859 in Everybody's Friend, at the Royal Theatre at Manchester, then gained experience during four year's touring in England and Ireland.  She changed her name to Snowdon, and under that appellation, made her London appearance (October 14th 1863) as Mrs Malaprop, in The Rivals, at the Haymarket, and was scarcely out of the bill for twelve years at that theatre. She went to the Court Theatre in 1875 and the Lyceum in 1878.
Mrs Chippendale then took a company of her own on a provincial tour, and later to Australia, with great success.
When she returned to England, Mr Irving engaged her to succeed Mrs Stirling as Martha in Faust, and she went with him to America as a member of his company.

James Byrne

7th Jan 1888 The death is this day announced of James Byrne, comparatively a young man, who has been secretary of the Newspaper Press Fund for nearly twenty years.

 George Godwin

27th Jan 1888 Death of George Godwin, for more than forty years editor of  The Builder. He died at South Kensington, at the age of seventy-three.

William West

11 Feb. 3rd.-See the death recorded of William West,'the Father of the Stage,' at the age of ninety-three, the husband of Mrs. William West, a charming and silver-tongued actress.

William West made his first appearance as Tom Thumb, at the Haymarket Theatre, in July 1805. In 1842 he gave an entertainment illustrative of the clowns of Shakespeare, in London and the provinces. Mrs. West's maiden name was Cook. She was a favourite actress at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, and died, aged eighty-three, December 30th 1876.

Stephen J. Meany

9th Feb 1888.See the death of Stephen J. Meany announced as taking place in New York. This was the man who copied out my articles from The People's Press, and sold them as his own to Whitty for The Liverpool Union Magazine. He was also in some trouble with the refreshment department of the Exhibition of 1862, as Leicester Buckingham and I could testify. He began life as a constable in the Dublin police, whence he was dismissed. In October 1882, at the Middlesex Sessions, he was convicted of fraud, and sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment with hard labour, duly carried out in the Coldbath Fields House of Correction. On his release from gaol he went to America, returned to this country three years later, and received a sentence of penal servitude for Fenianism, which was not carried out. When his remains were brought back to Queenstown they were received in state by the Mayor of Cork and all the prominent members of the National League.

William Henry Chippendale

William Henry Chippendale, born August 14th 1801 at Somers Town, North London; his mother died in childbirth.  His father was an actor at the Haymarket.  Was educated at High School Edinburgh.  Began to learn to be a printer under James Ballantyne, but the occupation not suiting him, he was apprenticed to John Ballantyne, the publisher, where he became known to most of the prominent Scotch writers of the day. The failure of a mercantile house, in which he was afterwards engaged, induced him to take to the stage. He may be said to have thoroughly joined the dramatic profession in 1819, when he appeared, with Tyrone Power, as David, in The Rivals, at Montrose. In 1834 he got his opportunity at Manchester; for Basil Baker, who was cast as Sir Peter Teazle, not caring for the part, it was handed to Chippendale, who then and there established his reputation. He played lead on the Lincoln, York, and Worcester circuits, and in Edinburgh, Bristol, and Bath. Joined Mr. Steven Price's company, Park Theatre, New York, in 1836; remained in America till 1853, when he became a member of Mr. Buckstone's company at the Haymarket. This was his first recognized appearance in London: he played Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals. Married Miss Snowdon in 1866. Played Polonius to Henry Irving's Hamlet on its revival at the Lyceum, where he took his farewell benefit, February 24th, 1879, Mr. Irving most generously presenting him with the whole of the proceeds, and he himself speaking the farewell address. He gave his final performances at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow in 1880, as Sir Peter Teazle. His mind had failed him for some considerable time before he died.

William Lovell Phillips

William Lovell Phillips died Monday 19th March 1860 in Oakley Square, Camden Town, of dropsy, aged forty-three.  He was an instrumentalist and composer.  Was educated at the Royal Academy of Music; was musical conductor at the Olympic, and composed the music of Gwynneth Vaughan.  He for many yearsdirected the music for the festivals of the General Theatre Fund.

Albert Smith

23rd May
Going out for evening papers, deeply grieved to hear of Albert Smith's death  this morning; very sudden, and the result of professional over-exertion.

He died at half-past eight in the morning, in his own home at Walham Green, of bronchitis. He was born at Chertsey, May 24th, 1816, and was educated at Merchant Taylors. Was intended to follow his father's profession as a surgeon, and studied medicine at Middlesex Hospital and at Paris, and commenced work in 1837 with his father. He soon turned to literary pursuits, and contributed to The Mirror, Medical Times, etc. Wrote several dramas and burlesques, novels, etc.,his "Wassail Bowl," "Adventures of Mr. Ledbury," "Scattergood Family," "Marchioness of Brinvilliers," "Pottleton Legacy," and " Christopher Tadpole," were all successes. He also wrote a series of clever sketches on various classes of London society. In 1850 he produced his Overland Route ; in 1852, March 15th, his Mont Blanc, which he ran til 1958 at the Egyptian Hall.  He married Miss Mary Keeley, August 1st 1859.

Robert B. Brough

26th June 1860  R. B. Brough died, at the age of thirty-two, at Manchester, .

Robert B. Brough was born in London, April 10th, 1828, went to Manchester in 1843, and in 1847 conducted a very bright periodical, called The Liverpool Lion, which he enlivened both with his pen and pencil for many a year. His first dramatic work was a burlesque, called The Enchanted Isle, written in collaboration with his brother William, and was brought out at the Amphitheatre, and was soon reproduced at the Adelphi in London. He married Miss E. Romer in 1851. He became well known as a contributor to all sorts of periodicals. Among them may be mentioned The Man in the Moon, Diogenes, The Comic Times, The Welcome Guest, Train, and National Magazine. Some of his poems bear the stamp of genius. He wrote two novels, "Marston Lynch " and " Which is Which?" and a remarkable set of Radical poems, called " Songs of the Governing Classes," and he was the author of several burlesques. He was no mean actor. His health completely broke down, and he was on his journey to Wales to recruit it, when he was taken ill at Manchester, where he died of atrophy, and left a widow and three young children, one of whom, Miss Fanny Brough (Mrs. Boleyn), is one of the brightest ornaments of the modern stage. He was loved by all who knew him, and was the most generous of men.

Richard Flexmore

Richard Flexmore was the son of a comic dancer of the same name, and was born at Kennington, September 15th, 1824. Began his career at the Victoria ; first appeared as clown at the Grecian 1844. In his first season he broke the small bone of his leg, which incapacitated him for some time; but he appeared the following year at the Olympic as clown. He was for several seasons at the Princess's, and one of his greatest successes was his graceful imitation of the principal opera dancers; the dance he used to accompany by a very clever song. He was seen at most of the theatres in London, and last appeared as clown in Jack and the Beanstalk, at Drury Lane, in 1859. He married in 1852 Mdlle. Auriol, and performed with her a great deal on the Continent. He was most generous, and supported his mother up to the time of his death. He died about 20th Aug 1860 and was buried at Kensal Green.

Arthur Marsh Nelson

Arthur Marsh Nelson was born in 1811, and died in August 1860 at Burnley. He began his connection with the stage, playing leading parts in the legitimate drama in the provincial and minor theatres. He subsequently adopted the talking clown as his vocation; He was a clever musician and a great favourite. His last appearance in London was at the Alhambra.

Mrs. Yates

Mrs. Yates was the daughter of Brunton, a respectable actor of old Covent Garden Theatre, and afterwards a provincial manager. She was born at Norwich, January 21st, 1799, and made her first appearance at Lynn, March 15th, 1815, as Desdemona to Charles Kemble's Othello. Her next success was at Birmingham, as Letitia Hardy to the Doricourt of Elliston. She then gained experience in the provinces, and came to Covent Garden and played Letitia Hardy for the first time in London, September 12th, 1817. She was equally successful in Shakespearean characters. Was leading lady in her father's theatre, the West London (afterwards the Queen's, and Prince of Wales's of Tottenham Court Road) at the time of his opening it, September 9th, 1822. She married Mr. Frederick Yates in 1824, and when he joined Terry as proprietor of the Adelphi, she became one of the principal attractions of the theatre. After her husband's death Mrs. Yates only played for one season at the Lyceum, and then retired to Brighton, where she died. Her connection with the Countess of Craven, and her own agreeable manners, attracted round her a large circle of friends. She was the mother of Edmond Hodson Yates, who, even whilst he was in the post office, devoted considerable attention to literature, and made his name, as an author, journalist, and critic, as the 'Lounger at the Clubs " in the Illustrated Times, and later became proprietor of The World. She died August 1860

Louisa Brunton

This was the once celebrated Louisa Brunton, of Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres. Her father was Brunton, the well-known manager of the Norwich circuit, who had been appreciated at Covent Garden as far back as 1774. Louisa Brunton was born in February 1782; and made her first appearance at Covent Garden, October 5th, 1803, as Lady Townley in The Provoked Husband. The mantle of Miss Farren, afterwards Countess of Derby, fell on her shoulders in 1796, and she became the favourite actress in genteel comedy. She was very handsome, and retired from her profession on her marriage with Lord Craven, which took place about 1807. She died August 1860

Mr Deulin (Isaac Dowling)

His real name was Isaac Dowling. He had made a reputation as Harlequin at the Grecian Saloon. He was about forty-eight years of ago. Had been at rehearsal in the afternoon and was quitting the theatre when he found he was spitting blood; and, almost immediately after, in Wilson's tavern, Drury Lane, he vomited a large quantity of blood, and in a few minutes expired. His lungs were found to be extensively diseased.

Alfred Bunn

Mr. Alfred Bunn died at Boulogne, December 20th, of apoplexy. He had been connected with the stage ever since the year 1826 at the Birmingham Theatre. In 1833 he was manager of Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatres, and continued to manage Drury Lane until 1848. He was noted for the strong companies that he got together. He was the author of the libretto of The Bohemian Girl, and of several other works, and had latterly been correspondent to two or three London papers.


4th April 1861

Hear of poor Saker's death.  He had olny a few days before played the second gravedigger in Hamlet.  He died from a virulent attack of small pox, while quite in the prime of life.  He was well known in the provinces and Dublin, and was a great favourite at the Princess's.

Renton Nicholson

18th. May 1861 Hear this day of the death of Renton Nicholson.

When E. L. B. was but a boy of seventeen, and looking anywhere to earn an honest penny, circumstances almost compelled him to write for The Town, a scurrilous and infamous paper, with which, but for his necessities, E. L. B. would not have been associated. His contributions to it were harmless enough ; they were theatrical reports and tavern sketches, one of which " The Wrekin," embodies some curious and interesting accounts of its most celebrated habitues.
It was the property of Renton Nicholson, better known as the Lord Chief Baron Nicholson, who had a strange, chequered, and, it must be said, not too reputable a career.

He was born early in the century, in a then pretty suburban thoroughfare of East London , Hackney Road. But when a mere child he was brought to Islington, near which a couple of sisters opened what then fell under the name of  "a young ladies' seminary." By this means they supported themselves with comfort and in respectability, and carefully looked after their little brother Renton, early deprived of parents-a serious deprivation, for the lad never had a firm moral band laid on his proclivities. When a boy at home with the hard-working, kindly sisters, he became a nightly visitor at old Sadlers Wells, hard by the sisters' domus; and, in after years, Nicholson used to tell capital stories of the famous clown, Joe Grimaldi, on and off the stage. At sixteen Nicholson became a pawnbroker's assistant in High Street, Shadwell, where he grew intimate with all the plebeian pugs, rooks, and sports of that essentially blackguard and unsavoury parish. Amongst other companions he found a good friend in Jem Ward, originally a coal-whipper, but subsequently a great expert in the fistic art.

When Nicholson's articles of apprenticeship ended, he migrated due west to a Kensington shop, kept by Wells, a successful pawnbroker and silversmith. Other situations in the same capacity, about various quarters of London, brought Nicholson in contact with all the representatives of Bohemian and flash life - journalists, players, tavern vocalists, soiled doves, rooks of all shades, from the turf welsher to the skittle sharp ; Bow Street runners, magsmen, and bruisers-with which remarkable fraternity the help to " mine uncle " had a fast tie to the end of his days.

About 1830, Nicholson opened a jeweller's shop in Cranbourne Alley, his chief customers being sixty-years-ago "mashers" and members of the demi-monde. It soon ended in insolvency and the King's Bunch.

From that time to his death, in May 1861, at the age of fifty-two, Nicholson was always in the hands of money-lending sweaters, "friendly" attorneys, and sheriffs' officers. Nicholson himself almost boasted, in the Gordon Hotel, under Covent Garden Piazza, that his practical knowledge of London bagnios and debtors' " stone jugs " was not to be matched, by any
"flash cove", living or dead. Let it be said that Nicholson, who got hold of plenty of money, always paid pounds for the shillings he might, for the time being, have in his possession. He was literally the Robin Hood of forty-years-gone Bohemia ; barefacedly a freebooter among the aristocratic pigeons, but literally a Good Samaritan to the impecunious and fallen of both sexes. Association with him led one to arrive at the conclusion that he might have been a splendid fellow but for striking his flag to a sense of duty and simply going on the down-grade of inclination-that mode of conduct that may be called
the "I-shall-do-as-I-like method."

Nicholson became notorious, after keeping " brown money " gambling houses, cigar-shops, betting resorts, and bagnios, by projecting a weekly publication called The Town. It ante-dated our society journals, but chiefly dealt with the phenomena of flash life. The first number appeared on Saturday, June 3rd, 1837 ; Last, the printer, finding capital, Archibald Henning, who drew the first -Punch cartoon, furnishing the pictures, while Nicholson sat in the editor's chair. The paper was published by a Mr. Forrester-not to be confounded with the artist who playfully called himself "Alfred Crowquill "-at 310, Strand. Amongst the writers were Dalrymple (burlesque author), a clever Bohemian ; Henry Pellott, once clerk and solicitor of the Ironmongers' Company ; J. G. Canning (" Theophilus Pole ") ; Dr. Maginn, scholar, wit, and free liver ; and Hemming, of old Adelphi memory. Nicholson subsequently attained immense notoriety as Chief Baron of the judge and jury at the Garrick's Head, Bow Street, and the Coal Hole Tavern, whose site is occupied by a part of Terry's Theatre. Nicholson used to have a refreshment booth on all the big race-courses, and, for a time, was proprietor of Cremorne Gardens. He may be described as a plebeian Falstaff turned tapster ; humorous, handsome, obese, sensual, impudent ; a rooker of the rich and the soul of good nature to the poor.

William Farren

Born, May 15th, 1736; died, September 24th, at his house, 23, Brompton Square, from paralysis, from which he had long been suffering, in his seventy-sixth year. His father was an actor, who had played with Garrick at Drury Lane, and he died in 1795. He was educated in Soho, and had Liston for a schoolfellow, and made literally his first appearance as Sir Archy MacSarcasm at Plymouth; played for a considerable time in Ireland, and made his London debut at Covent Garden, September 10th, 1818, as Sir Peter Teazle. He remained at this theatre till 1828, playing at the Haymarket during the sunnier seasons ; and he then went to Drury Lane, remaining there till 1837, when he returned to Covent Garden under Osbaldiston's management. He then joined Benjamin Webster at the Haymarket as stage-manager. Had his first paralytic attack in 1845, while playing Old Parr. He afterwards became lessee of the Strand and Olympic Theatres. Took
his farewell of the stage at the Haymarket, July 16th, 1855, in one scene, as Lord Ogleby in The Clandestine Marriage. This character, Sir Peter Teazle, Squire Broadlands, Michael Perren, Uncle John Nicholas Flam, Uncle Foozle, Grandfather Whitehead, and Old Parr were his most celebrated parts, and in them he was surpassed by none. He was married to Mrs. Saville Faucit.

Arthur Smith

Brother of Albert Smith. Died October lst, in his thirty-seventh year. He was business manager at the Egyptian Hall for his brother, and arranged Charles Dickens's readings. Was one of the committee of the " Thames Fisheries Society," and wrote the little brochure. He was also almoner of the Fielding Club, a benevolent association to assist actors in distress.

John Vandenhoff

John Vandenhoff, born at Salisbury in February 1790, and being intended for the Priesthood in the Romish Church, was educated Jesuits' Collcge, Stoneyhurst. Made his first appearance as Osmond in The Castle Spectre at Salisbury, in 1808. Worked steadily in the provinces till 1813, when he played Rolla at Liverpool. Appeared at Covent Garden, December 9th, 1820, as King Lear ; but, finding the best parts were occupied at that theatre, he returned to Liverpool and brought about the " Salter riots," so called from its being thought he was going to oust an actor of that name who was a great favourite with the Liverpudlians. The difficulty was got over by both Salter and Vaudenhoff being engaged, and alternating the principal tragic characters.
In June 1834, Vandenhoff played lead at the Haymarket, and then went to Covent Garden and Drury Lane. At the former theatre he appeared frequently with Macready and Charles Kemble. Took
his farewell of the stage October 29th, 1858, at the Theatre Royal, Liverpool, as Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Wolsey in the third act of Henry VIII. He died of paralysis.

Alfred G. Vance

28th December 1888 - Sudden death of Alfred G. Vance from heart-disease. His real name was Alfred Peck Stevens; he died suddenly at the Sun Music Hall, Boxing-night, after singing three verses of his topical song “Is he guilty?” leaving a widow with four children

Alfred Vance had a chequered career. He began life as an actor at an early age, but did not do well, and so took to teaching fencing and dancing at Carlisle. He grew tired of this, and, as Alfred Glenville, he played clown at the Theatre Royal, Leeds. Not very long after, commenced to make a name as a comic vocalist, under the name of Vance. He was very successful in a monologue entertainment (" Touches of the Times "), in which he represented some twenty characters. It was his cleverness here that obtained him a London engagement at the Strand Music Hall (now the Gaiety Theatre), and his first great songs were "Jolly Dogs" and "Walking in the Zoo." He also played clown at St. James's Theatre, under Mr. Chatterton's management, and, like many others, appears to have divided his time between the music-hall and the regular stage. Of late his star had not shone so brightly. He was nearly fifty when he died, and was buried at Nunhead Cemetery.

Malone Raymond

Malone Raymond, or more properly Richard Malone, was born in Dublin in 1800, and came of a very good family. Made his first, appearance in Londonderry as Collooney in The Irishman in London. Performed in Ireland for a considerable time, then came to Liverpool, where he made a hit in the character of O'Slash in The Invincibles, and from that time adopted Irish characters exclusively. Made his first appearance at the Haymarket, April 14th, 1842, as Major O'Flaherty in The West Indian. After giving entertainments for some years, in 1860, he became acting manager of Sadlers Wells, remaining there till the time of his death.

Maria Tree (Bradshaw)

Monday, 17th Feb 1862
Write memoir of Mrs. Bradshaw (Miss M. Tree), who died this day at noon.

Maria Tree, sister to Mrs. Charles Kean, began life as a vocalist, was instructed by Signor Lanza and Tom Cooke. First appeared as Polly in The Beggar's Opera at Bath, November 13th, 1813. Appeared at Covent Garden, September 10th, 1819, as Rosina in The Barber of Seville-made a great success ; also as Ophelia, Viola, Juliet, Rosalind, Imogen, and appeared with Miss Stephens in The Comedy of Errors. Was an exquisite figure, had very expressive features ; made her last appearance at Covent Garden, June 16th, 1825, as Mary Copp in Charles II, and Clari in the opera of that name, of which character she was the original. She married Mr. James Bradshaw, some years M.P. for Canterbury, who died, leaving her a widow with one daughter who married Mr. H. Langley of the 2nd Life Guards.

William Don

Died at Hobart Town, Tasmania, March 19th, 1862. Was the son of Sir Alexander Don, a Scotch baronet. Was originally in the 5th Dragoon Guards, but ran through his property and was obliged to sell his estate, Newton Don, which fetched £85,000. Being accounted

a good amateur actor, he determined to take to the stage as a profession, and so played in the North of England, and went to America in 1851, and was successful in New York and Philadelphia, remaining there five years. Then came to England, played in the provinces, and eventually at the Haymarket. Was over six feet in height, and was only thirty-six years of age, when he died of consumption, leaving a widow.

Frank Talfourd

11th March 1862.
Deeply grieved to hear of my friend Frank Talfourd's death, which took place on Sunday at Mentone

Francis Talfourd was the son of Justice Talfourd, and was in his thirty-fifth year when he expired, on March 9th; was educated at Eton, and intended for the bar. His first travestie was Alcestis, but the burlesques he wrote after this were almost innumerable. He had only been married five months.  He was a most genial, warm-hearted companion, of brilliant literary powers, and was always ready to help in any good work.

John Drew

Born in Dublin, September 3rd,1825. Was taken to America when he was but six years old ; began life as a sailor. Made his first appearance at the Richmond Hill Theatre, New York, and his first hit in 1845 at the Bowery as Dr. O'Toole. In 1853 was lessee of the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and from that time was looked upon as a star actor. About 1858-59 visited San Francisco and Australia with great success ; came to Dublin, October 1860, and from thence to London, where he appeared in The Irish Emigrant. Died about  June 5th  1862.

 Charles Selby

He was in his sixty-second ycar, and was as favourably known as a light dramatist as he was as au actor. He joined Mr. Macready at Drury Lane in 1842. Was for a considerable time a member of the Adelphi and Lyceum companies, and shone most in character parts. His farces were favourably received at almost every theatre. His last appearance was as M'Ian in Bonnie Dundee, at Drury Lane.  Died 21st March 1863

James Rogers

James Rogers was born in 1821, and was intended for an engraver, but joined Mr. George Wild at the Olympic in 1841. He made a hit in E. L. Blanchard's drama, The Road of Life. He soon made his mark as a burlesque actor, and had parts specially written for him. One of his great characters was the Post Boy, in Craven's drama of that name. He visited America for a short time in 1857, and then joined the Lyceum company. He was best known perhaps as a favourite at the Strand, in all the burlesques produced there. Was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

On the 18th of this month a benefit in aid of the widow of the late James Rogers was given at Drury Lane. The application for seats was so great that the whole of the space generally occupied by the orchestra and half of the pit were converted into stalls. The programme consisted of Retained for the Defence, played by members of the Savage Club. Lionel Brough, Pawkins; Leicester Buckingham, Whitewash; W. H. Prowse, Thwaites ; H. J. Byron, Fergusson.

Augusta Wilton made her debut in this. Arthur Sketchley gave Mrs. Brown at the Play. Webster appeared in One Touch of Nature; J. L. Toole and Paul Bedford in a scene from The Green Bushes; Creswick in a scene from Hamlet. The Strand company in the farce of My Preserver; and Widdicombe and J. G. Shore in the farce of The Two Poults. During the evening Miss Patty Oliver delivered the following address written by E. L. Banchard:


Ere yet more pleaders in this cause appear,
I, for a moment, ask a listening ear.
As one who often held that Actor's hand,
Who sent the roar of laughter through the Strand;
And watched the kindling of the light of mirth
From eyes that now have looked their last on earth
I, too - a sister of the art-would crave
Your leaves to throw a wreath upon his grave.

You have heard-some know-the story of his life,
That brief existence with afflictions rife;
How to the last he struggled with the foe,
Whose shadow darker nightly seemed to grow;
Still smiling through his sufferings, and though wrung
By quivering pain, a jest still on his tongue.
He had cause indeed to wish the play had power
To `ease the anguish of the torturing hour.'
Shall it be said, the man who bravely fought
Life's battle out, no noble lesson taught?
No! 'twas a hero's sermon for the age,
Preached from the Players' pulpit of the Stage.

This fortitude in bearing sorrows shown
Enabled others to forget their own;
How many a care he banished from their mind,
How many hearts he gladdened, left behind ;
He from the saddest laughter could beguile,
The dullest left his presence with a smile.
Though broad Burlesque his later path attended,
To gross extravagance he ne'er descended
The proper range of humour well he knew,
Kept strict decorum constantly in view.
Quaint and original in each design,
The truthful artist filled up every line.

You have felt, like us, 'twere idle tears to shed,
To help the living is to mourn the dead ;
Those whom he laboured for demand our care,
In our remembrance of to-night they share.
If we cannot recall the one so gifted
To raise our spirits, theirs can be uplifted ;
Your presence here will give those hearts relief,
Your sympathy assuage their bitter grief.
For service to a woman thus bereaved
From woman's lips be gratitude received.
So take for one missed sadly from our ranks
The Actors' tribute, and the Widow's thanks."

The benefit realized £350.

Drinkwater Meadows

On the 12th of June 1869 E.L Blanchard writes:
My old and my father's good friend, Drinkwater Meadows, died this day aged 75.  I mournfully send off to the Daily Telegraph my tribute to his memory.

The obituary for Drinkwater Meadows reads:
After he had gained provincial experience he made his first appearance in London as Scrub in The Beaux Stategem, Covent Garden, September 28th 1921, and was the only survivor of the cast that then appeared in it. He maintained a prominent position at the theatre until 1844, when he joined the Keeleys at the Lyceum in their management.  He afterwards went to the Princess's under Charles Kean, and made his last appearance at this theatre during the farewell performance of the Keans under Harris Senior's management.  He was secretary to the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund for thirty four years.  He married Georgina Caroline, youngest daughter of Admiral Pridham, July 1842.

[ For further details on the Meadows Family see]

Harriette Emily Everard

Harriette Emily Everard, wife of George William Darley Beswick, was born March 12th 1844.  First appeared at Theatre Royal Exeter, in 1860, and in London at The Royal Alfred (the Marylebone) in 1869. She used to sing so admirably at Rosherville Gardens the 'Death of Stonewall Jackson' and she was the original 'Little Buttercup'  of HMS Pinafore at Opera Comique.

John Distin

John Distin, sen., died July 8th 1863 , aged sixty-nine.  Was a celebrated cornet player, and also manufacturer of brass instruments.

Robson (The Old Playgoer)

He obtained this sobriquet from having written a book called "The Old Playgoer" in which he stood up for the Kemble school of acting.  He was originally a schoolmaster, and wrote several educational works, and also contributed to periodical literature.  His great companion was Mr. Caulfield, the author of Wonderful and Eccentric Characters.

Sam Cowell

After a long illness at Blandford, in Dorsetshire, surrounded by his wife and family, on Friday, March 11th, 1864, died Sam Cowe11, a descendant of the Siddons and Kemble families. Began life as a singer and member of Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. Then joined Adelphi and Princess's, sang with Sims Reeves under Bunn's management at Covent Garden, and before Her Majesty at Windsor. Gave concerts in the United Kingdom. He bore the reputation of being the originator of Music Halls, and certainly first drew attention to the Canterbury, where he was a great favourite. He was afterwards, for a long time, at Evans's, where he made large sums. He had been a bankrupt, and died in distress, leaving his family totally unprovided for.

T.P Cooke

Thomas Potter Cooke was the son of a surgeon,and born in Titchfield Street, Marylebone, April 23rd, 1786. Joined the Royal Navy in H.M.S. Raven, in 1796; was a sharer in Earl St. Vincent's victory ; was wrecked off Cuxhaven, and afterwards joined The Prince of Wales. He left the navy after the Peace of Amiens, and joined the dramatic profession in January 1804, at the Royalty Theatre, and subsequently was a member of Astley's, the Lyceum (under Laurent, the clown) ; and then went to Dublin. In 1809 he was at the Surrey, and made his first appearance at Drury Lane, October 19th, 1816, as Diego in The Watchword; or, The Quito Gate; went to Covent Garden, October 1822. He first played Long Tom Coffin in The Pilot, at the Adelphi, October 1825, and William in Black-eyed Susan, June 6th, 1829. His last appearance was on March 29th, 1860, as William, at Covent Garden, for the Dramatic College Benefit. His most celebrated characters he acted the following number of times:-William, 785; Long Tom Coffin, 562 ; the Monster in Frankenstein and the Vampire (this
character he also played in 1826, at the Porte St. Martin,Paris), 365; Roderick Dhu, 250; Aubrey (Dog of Montargis), 250; Vanderdecken, 165; the Red Rover, 120 ; Poor Jack, 140; Luke, the Labourer, 181; My Poll and My Partner Joe, 269. He was the best representative of the British sailor ever seen on the stage ; was a noble, kind-hearted man, and had the interest of the dramatic profession sincerely at heart. Died April 4th 1864 aged seventy-eight and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

George Daniel

"April lst.1864- Write obituary account of my respected friend George Daniel, who died on Wednesday, aged seventy-four, whose memoir I never expected to write.' 

George Daniel, the Director-General of Cumberland's British Theatre, was born in London, September 16th, 1789, and died at his son's house, The Grove, Stoke Newington, March 30th, 1864. As early as the year 1805 he published " Stanzas on Lord Nelson's Victory and Death." In 1812 endeavours were
made to suppress his "Royal Stripes ; or, A Kick from Yarmouth to Wales," it being very telling against the Prince Regent, and £10 was offered for a single copy. He was the author of several works-a three-volume novel, "The Adventures of Dick Distich" (written before he was eighteen). His burlesque, Doctor Bolus, was produced at the Lyceum in 1818 ; his musical farce; The Disagreeable Surprise, Drury Lane, 1819; and Sworn at Highgate, in 1833. He became editor of Cumberland's Minor and British Theatre in 1825, and edited the entire sixty-four volumes. He contributed largely to magazines. Used for years to dine at the Sir Hugh Myddelton, and was a prominent member of the Urban Club.

William Searle

13th May 1864. Am sorry to record the death of William Searle, an excellent actor, who twenty-two years ago played admirably in 'Road of Life and Pork Chops.'

William Searle, born January 1816, first appeared at the Surrey under Osbaldiston ; from thence went to the Adelphi, and then joined the York and Norwich circuits. Made his first hit in London at the Strand, as Bats in Douglas Jerrold's Perils of Pippins. He then went to the Olympic, where he remained till 1844, and subsequently became stage-manager of the City of London and Astley's Theatres. Was an admirable " character " actor.

Phil Phillips

He died May 29th, 1864, aged sixty-two. Studied contemporarily with Clarkson Stanfield, and painted dioramas for the Surrey, when Davidge was manager. In 1839 he built and opened the Bower Saloon, in the grounds of the Duke's Arms Tavern, Stangate Street, Westminster, which he had purchased, for musical and pictorial entertainments ;but they did not succeed. He subsequently became scenic artist to the Lyceum, Haymarket, and Adelphi Theatres. He accompanied the Queen to Ireland in 1849, and under Her Majesty's patronage took the "Chinese Gallery" at Hyde Park Corner, where he exhibited a panorama illustrative of the Irish tour. Mr. Phillips married the daughter of T. Rouse, of the Royal Grecian, in 1837; she was also a celebrated artist. Their pictures were hung at the Royal Academy and other exhibitions. He was much esteemed.

Robert Roxby

25th July 1866
This day, poor Robert Roxby dies, the stage manager of Drury, after a long illness.  I should think he was about fifty-seven.

The annotation reads:
Son of William Roxby Beverley, and brother to William Beverley, the scenic artist.
After considerable experience in the provinces he appeared at St James Theatre in 1839, when Hooper was the lessee.  From that time he remained in London, and was for a long time a member of the Lyceum and Drury Lane Companies; at the latter theatre he had been stage-manager for eleven years.

Other mentions of Robert Roxby
23rd January 1863
Fire at Princess's; poor little ballet girls burnt in pantomime.
The girls names were Hunt and Smith, who died from their hurts.  Robert Roxby, the stage manager, was seriously injured in endeavouring to put out the flames.  It was fortunate, with such number of people on the stage, that the accident did not result in more evil consequences.

William Beverley

May 16th 1889

The death of William Beverley, the scenic artist aged seventy-eight.
William Roxby Beverley was descended from a dramatic stock.  His father was lessee of the Scarborough and Filey Theatres, and there the future scenic artist first appeared as an actor.  It was under the Vestris-Mathews management he painted the exquisite scenery of Planche's extravaganza's  He made his mark in the profession at the Princess's, under J.M Maddox, and also furnished the scenery for Albert Smith.  He exhibited at the Royal Academy.  He was compelled to submit to a delicate operation on his eyes some two years previous to his death, and this, and being unable to follow in his profession all preyed upon him, as it entailed the loss of an income non too large to support his well known hospitality.

Other mentions of William Beverley

4th December 1863
Read pantomime to Falconer, Chatterton and Roxby,  of Sinbad the Sailor.
In the opening, the scenery of which was painted by W. Beverley, there were no less that nine magnificent tableaux, and in the harliquinade, so different to modern pantomime, there were nine different scenes, winding up with another grand tableux

Rebecca Isaacs

21st April 1877
Record the death of Mrs Roberts (Rebecca Isaacs), who died today aged about fifty.

Annotation reads:

She was the daughter of Mr John Isaacs, a favourite actor and singer at Covent Garden some half century previous.  She made her first appearance at the old City Theatre, Milton Street, in 1832 when only four years of age, in 'The Barn Burners'; and when she was ten years old played Albert to the William Tell of Macready at Covent Garden.

John Knowles

25th February 1880
Hear of death of John Knowles, of Manchester Theatre Royal, aged sixty-nine years.

Annotation reads:
He died on the 19th.  He was widely known in the dramatic profession; and though esteemed a just man he rarely erred on the side of generosity.

Sefton Henry Parry

On the 18th inst., at Cricklewood, Sefton Henry Parry,' aged fifty-five. He built the Greenwich, the Globe, the Holborn, and the Avenue Theatres, and was also the proprietor of theatres at Hull and Southampton.

' Sefton Parry may almost be said to have been the founder of the drama in Cape Town. He took out there with him his wife and a young female dancer. These used to assist him in his various productions, the rest of the cast being made up by the amateur dramatic clubs, which were rather strong in Cape Town at the time of his visit. This was in the years 1859-60. He was a man who could turn his hand to anything. Could paint scenery, model masks, cut out dresses, and could do stage carpentering. After leaving Cape Town, he travelled for some considerable time with a small company in various parts of the world, and amassed the money which enabled him to build the theatres mentioned. Sefton Parry was a thorough businessman, and, by some, may have been considered a little hard in his transactions, but he was always just and strictly honourable, and in private life was one of the most generous and charitable of men.. He had a stroke of paralysis some few years before his death, which, for a time, altogether disabled him. It left its mark, and was, no doubt, eventually the cause of his death.

George Loveday

21st December 1887
Hear of the death of my old friend, George Loveday, Toole's acting manager and confidential advisor.

He was fifty-four years of age at the time of his death, during twenty of which he had been Mr Toole's right hand.  But previous to this, he and his brother Henry (equally known as the trusted manager of Henry Irving) had been managers of musical entertainments.  Indeed, it was they who first introduced Faust in English to England.  George Loveday was noted for his skill in advertising, on which he at first was thought to spend extravagant sums, but he invariably found that the outlay repaid itself.  Like the manager. George Dolby, he was one of the few men to whom Bradshaw was easy reading.  As a young man he was very handsome and bore the nickname of "The Prince".  He had been ill for some time.  Was universally esteemed.

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