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Full text of "The Bristol stage; its story"

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THE BRISTOL STAGE 




MEMOIR 

It was the irony of fate that the author of the following pages 
should have passed away on the eve of their publication. During 
a trying illness, lasting over six weeks, his thoughts and conversation 
were chiefly in connection with his work of " The Bristol Stage 
and the theatre which he loved so well. At this time orders were 
arriving by every post, and when too feeble to open them himself 
he would listen with pleasure to the reading of letters from old 
friends wishing him and his book every success. He was a man of 
varied attainments. Journalist, Author, Playwright, a keen Mason 
and the founder of more than one Lodge. As a reciter he was 
wont to bring tears to the eyes of his audience, so feelingly did he 
render his subject. It is now many years since his best known 
plays, " The Faithful Heart," " Shadow and Sunshine," " Cast 
Adrift," and " God Save the Queen," have been seen in public ; 
but there are many hving who remember their success, especially 
" The Faithful Heart," which ran for over 1 ,000 nights. 

As his Executor and son-in-law I trust his many friends and 
others will pardon the delay caused in the publication of these 
pages, which in the circumstances was unavoidable. 

J. C. EWENS. 



Frontispiece.] 



THE 
BRISTOL STAGE 

Its Story 



TOLD BY 

G. RENNIE POWELL, M.I.S.A. 

(RENNIE PALGRAVE) 



Price io/6 net 



BRISTOL 
BRISTOL PRINTING & PUBLISHING CO., LTD. 

1919 



INSPIRED BY 

THE CENTENARY OF THE MACREADY MANAGEMENT 

TAND DEDICATED 

TO • 

MRS. JAMES MACREADY CHUTE, 

PRINCE'S THEATRE, 

BRISTOL, 



PREFACE 

RESEARCH and memory have enabled me to compile this history, 
to the accomplishment of which object I have been impelled by a 
long and affectionate association with my subject. 

So far back as a.d. 1804, there was a dramatic club, known as "The 
Wigs," the title being suggested by the varied assortment of hirsute 
adornments essential to complete stage representations. At the first 
meeting of the members, October 9th in that year, and under the presi- 
dency of " Stephen Kemble, Esq., Manager of the Theatre Royal, New- 
castle, Theatres North and South Shields, Durham, Scarborough, and 
various other places," Mr. J. Smith, of the Theatres Bath and Bristol, 
recited an original poem, " The Wigs," and upon acceding to a widely- 
expressed desire that he should publish it, penned the following preface : 
" If men in general reasoned on the broad scale of reflection, or knew the 
inconvenience attending a publication ; the hopes, fears, anxiety and 
apprehension that at intervals oppress and weigh upon the mind of an 
author (however fair he stands in the estimation of a liberal and generous 
public), they would cease to think lightly, much less to censure this or 
that production, seeing that it was done with a good intent." 

G. RENNIE POWELL. 
Atn-HORs' Club, 

2, Whitehall Court, 
London, S.W. 



CONTENTS 

1»AGE 

CHAPTER I 
A.D. 1586 11 

CHAPTER H 
A.D. 1764 22 

CHAPTER III 
A.D. 1800 34 

CHAPTER IV 
A.D. 1853 41 

CHAPTER V 
A.D. 1858 -50 

CHAPTER VI 
A.D. 1862 59 

CHAPTER VII 
A.D. 1864 .64 

CHAPTER VIII 
A.D. 1867 72 

CHAPTER IX 
A.D. 1867 . 75 

CHAPTER X 
A.D. 1868 . 86 

CHAPTER XI 
A.D. 1871 . .91 

9 



Contents 



PAGE 

CHAPTER XII 
A.D. 1873 97 

CHAPTER XIII 
A.D. 1876 105 

CHAPTER XIV 
A.D, 1877 . 110 

CHAPTER XV 
A.D. 1878 115 

CHAPTER XVI 
A.D. 1881 .123 

CHAPTER XVII 
A.D. 1886 . 141 

CHAPTER XVIII 
A.D. 1888 148 

CHAPTER XIX 
A.D. 1893 155 

CHAPTER XX" 
A.D. 1893 167 

- CHAPTER XXI 
A.D. 1902 .177 

CHAPTER XXII 
A.D. 1908 189 

CHAPTER XXIII 
AJ>. 1915 . - 199 

INDEX 205 



10 



CHAPTER I 

A.D. 1586 

AT the beginning of the sixteenth century the time-honoured " Mum- 
mers," sole exponents within the city walls of the actors' art, 
yielded their position to the more cultured travelling actors who chanced 
this way, and a company of these, hailing from the metropolis, and visiting 
Bristol, A.D. 1532, were welcomed by leading citizens, who placed at their 
disposal for their stage performances numerous residential grounds, and 
eventually the Guildhall. These early records of Bristol's acquaintance 
with dramatic art, and that in somewhat extended detail, were well known 
to the stage companies of my early days — actors whose profession was their 
pride, their best loved recreation, and, in no few instances, their very 
lives ! It was the custom for them, with a few congenial citizens, to 
assemble in the cosy quarters awaiting them at the " Llandogen Trow " — 
a tavern situated in the vicinity of the scene of their labours — and to the 
accompaniment of a long clay and silver tankard, submit themselves to the 
rule of an appointed president, whilst whiling away many an hour in the 
discussion of these and cognate subjects ; outside being rain or hail, and 
all the world unpleasant. On more than one occasion within my memory, 
the debate turned on the possibility of William Shakespeare having been 
an actor in the city, and without occupying time in a recount of the 
various arguments adduced, but which I may claim to have been cogent, 
and well based upon all that is known of the earlier movements of the 
Bard, I will mention that the supposition mostly favoured was that, in 
search of actual experience of stage methods and technicalities, he found 
opportunity to associate himself with one of those of the more cultured 
bands of strolling players, such as were received with such marked favour 
upon visiting Bristol, and that long previous to his birth. Meeting with 
such a company, he accompanied them on their return to London, then 
making his initial excursion to the metropolis, and appearing at the Globe 
Theatre, Southwark, a.d. 1586 ! 

Other subjects in this connection — although more remote from the 
Bristol stage — coming under review on these occasions, were the probable 
sequence of the Bard's plays (as viewed by veteran students of his works), 
and the handicap of the earlier Romeo exponents, who until more than 
sixty years subsequent to the production of the work, had to be enamoured 
of a male Juliet ! Even the earliest effort to introduce the fair sex upon 

II 



The Bristol Stage 



the English stage not being until a.d, 1663, and then the Parisian troupe 
to whom the venture was due were " pippin-pelted " from the boards, 
and not until three years later, when Mrs. Margaret Hughes made her 
appearance as Desdemona at the theatre in Clare Market, London, were 
such efforts attended with success. 

The earUest mention of a theatre existing in Bristol refers to the " play- 
house " situated in Tucker Street, and in dose proximity to the " Fourteen 
Stars," a fine Elizabethan four-storey inn off Countess Street, adjoining. 
An " Order for the regulation of play-houses," published by Queen Anne 
on January 17th, 1704, and which prohibited " the acting of anything- 
contrary to religion and good manners," apparently provided the " Society 
for the Reformation of Manners " with a deadly weapon with which to 
fight the theatre interest, the Mayor of Bristol being requested by the 
Common Council to prevent the players acting within the city, " by 
regard to the ill -consequences by the introduction of lewdness and de- 
dauchery by the acting of stage-plays." The Tucker Street play-house 
was closed, the building being converted into a Meeting-house — possibly 
for the use of the Society for the Reformation of Manners ! 

That all actors were not tarred with the Tucker Street brush was, how- 
ever, speedily made apparent, as shortly after the eviction, a theatrical 
company, under the direction of Mr. Power, opened their dramatic 
season at a building in St. Augustine's Place, afterwards known as- Lady 
Huntingdon's Salem chapel, and when within a couple of years they were 
" presented " by the Grand Jury at quarter sessions, so favourable was 
the report as to their proceedings, that no action was taken to restrict 
their further performances, and these probably continued pending the 
erection of the theatre at Jacob's Well. The provision of this early 
dramatic home was entirely due to the efforts of Mr. John Hippisley. 
Mr. Hippisley, although a man of education and an author, had com- 
menced a theatrical career in the lowly character of " candle -snuffer," 
but advancing in the profession to the position of principal comedian — 
as evidenced by his being the original Peachum in Gay's " Beggar's 
Opera" on its production in 1728 at the theatre of Lincoln's Inn, 
London, and which then ran for sixty-three successive nights. 

The auditorium of the Jacob's Well Theatre (forming three sides of a 
square) consisted of one large front and four smaller side boxes, front and 
side galleries, and an upper gallery to which the servants of those ladies 
and gentlemen occupying the boxes were admitted free, in order that they 
might be in attendance at the close of the performance. There were no 
upper boxes, but one side of the gallery was called " the balcony," whilst 
over the proscenium doors were the old-time " pigeon-hole " boxes. On 
special nights — such as the benefit of a favourite actor — the back of the 
stage was fitted after the style of an amphitheatre, scenery of course being, 
under the circumstances, impossible. Thus arranged, with the prices 
of admissiow ranging from one shilling to three, the house would represent 

12 



The Bristol Stage 



about ;^8o — obviously a commodious house, having regard to the period 
of its erection. 

Adjoining an inn — by name the " Malt Shovel " — the theatre faced 
the Clifton side of Brandon Hill, on the gravel path of which it was 
customary for numbers of citizens to assemble, in order to admire, or 
criticize, the brave costumes disclosed to their view as the box -patrons left 
their " chairs." The stage accommodation was not so satisfactory as was 
that of the auditorium, and until much more recent years was hardly so 
in other theatres than that at Jacob's Well. Here, with the amphi- 
theatre erected for a " big house," the acting area was a good deal cramped, 
and in order to get from the Prompt to the O.P. of the stage, members of 
the company had to go without the walls of the theatre, and pass from 
side to side across the field of Clifton Wood, and this they did to the 
intense gratification of numbers of " free-list " admirers who assembled 
there for the purpose of inspection and some " chaff." 

It is something to say for those good old days that the theatre was well 
patronized, and the seats generally filled, for the only method of reaching 
it from the city entailed a journey of nearly half a mile through an un- 
lighted and ill-kept roadway. It will easily be appreciated, therefore, 
and especially so with the " 2^pps. no lights " regulations well in our 
minds, that moonlight was of considerable moment to both management 
and patrons. Moreover, its advent saved the no little expense of " link- 
boys." It was customary, therefore, to draw attention to moonlight 
periods on the play -bills. Mr. Richard Winstone, a great favourite here 
and a contemporary of Garrick and Woodward, preduced his benefit 
announcement with the star line " and on this night Madame Cynthia 
will appear in her utmost splendour." The auditorium was crowded 
almost to suffocation, no one doubting that Madame Cynthia was some 
favourite French or Italian performer. But the evening's programme 
being concluded, and that without the lady's appearance, there were 
"calls " for Winstone to account for the omission of the attractive item. 
After making his best bow, the comedian humbly replied : " Ladies and 
gentlemen, although Madame Cynthia does not think fit to appear on 
these boards, she will cheerfully lend you assistance to get safely home, 
and I once more beg leave to congratulate you on its being a fine moon- 
light night ! " 

Amongst the actors seen upon the Jacob's Well stage, and who may be 
regarded as Bristol's pioneers, were many who were already first favourites 
with London audiences. Of these was Macklin, who was in Bristol in 
1728. 

MR. MACKLIN.— Born in 1690, in the county of West Meath, Ire- 
land. Macklin — family name M'Laughlin — after some English experience 
in strolling player companies, made his entree at the Lincoln's Inn theatre, 
under the management of Rich, as a low comedian. His theatrical career 
was marked by numerous quarrels, and in May, 1735, during an alterca" 

13 



The Bristol Stage 



tion with Hallam over the possession of a wig, with his cane he struck his 
opponent in the eye and caused his death. He was subsequently brought 
to trial, but acquitted of any malicious intent. 

Something of the gay Lothario he was, as shown in his devoted attention 
to the daughter of a gentleman residing near Jacob's Well, he having 
induced her to consent to his paying a clandestine visit after the perform- 
ance on a specified occasion ; but when the evening arrived he found him- 
self cast for the characters of both " Hamlet " and Harlequin, and conse- 
quently was upon the stage until late. Whilst on leaving the theatre he 
was overtaken by a violent storm of rain, and by the time he reached his 
lady's bower was wet to the skin. Opening the window, which by 
arrangement was left unfastened, he put one foot inside, but in doing so, 
upset a large bowl of water, the crash of which aroused the entire house- 
hold. The fair daughter, first upon the scene, urging his quick depar- 
ture, resulted in the actor making a hurried and undignified retreat ! 
In the sequel, the admired lady never condescended to speak to him again ! 

To Macklin was due the resuscitation of Shakespeare's " Merchant of 
Venice," after an absence of forty years from the stage, and he was, 
moreover, author of that fine comedy, " The Man of the World." 

He retired from the stage in 1753, Garrick having granted him the use 
of ODvent Garden theatre for his farewell benefit. Afterwards he kept a 
tavern in Covent Garden piazza, a public ordinary, including wine, price 
three shillings, together with his popularity, proving a great attraction to 
many authors, actors and others. He died July nth, 1797, aged one 
hundred and seven years, his remains being interred in a vault under the 
chancel of Covent Garden Church. 

MRS, PRITCHARD was another pioneer of the drama in Bristol. 
Ranging from Bartholomew Fair to Drury Lane, her career was remark- 
able. She retired after thirty -six years' experience, Garrick appearing as 
Macbeth on the occasion of her farewell, at which she played Lady 
Macbeth. She died at the age of fifty-seven years, a monument being 
erected to her memory in Westminster Abbey. 

MR, WOODWARD,— Born in 1717, was educated at Merchant 
Taylors School. As a child he appeared as Peachum, in a juvenile per- 
formance of " Beggars' Opera " at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and followed the 
stage as a career, going through the entire gamut of pantomime " from 
a frog to a hedgehog, an ape and a bear, .till he arrived at the summit of 
his ambition. Harlequin ! " 

Sheridan engaged him in 1747 for a winter season at Dublin, at a salary 
of ;^500, and on his return to England he was immediately secured by 
Garrick for Drury Lane. 

With ;^6,ooo that he had saved, and notwithstanding that he was in 
receipt of a princely salary, he joined with Mr, Barry in building a new 
theatre at Crow Street, in Dublin, in order to oppose Sheridan. 

H 



The Bristol Stage 



During his residence in the Irish capital the mob one morning beset 
the parliament house, in order to prevent the members passing an un- 
popular measure, and the ringleaders, thinking it advisable for some of the 
M.P.'s not to pass the bill, clamoured at Woodward's house, which was 
opposite — in College Green — calling repeatedly for a Bible, on which to 
do the swearing. Mrs. Woodward was greatly alarmed, as there was not 
a Bible in the house ; but her husband, as the result of a happy thought, 
threw them out a volume of Shakespeare, and rewarding him with three 
cheers, the ignorant rabble administered their oath to several of the Irish 
members of the House of Commons upon the works of Avon's bard. 

Upon returning to Covent Garden, Mr. Woodward continued at the 
head of his profession until the winter of 1776, when, seized with an 
abscess near the kidneys, occasioned by jumping on a table in the character 
of Scrub, he was prevented further stage appearances, and died April 17th 
of the following year. 

MR. HALE. — Tall and possessed of a striking personality, Mr. Hale 
was a favourite at the Wells' Theatre. So enamoured of the full-bottom 
wig was he that he assumed a fair flaxen one of that build when appearing 
as Charles I. As Hotspur he was very successful, but whether his head 
was thus adorned for that character history sayeth not. 

MR. ROSCO. — A favourite comedian who upon retirement opened an 
academy at St. Michael's Hill, where Mrs. Rosco also had a boarding 
school for the education of young ladies. 

MR. THOMAS KING.— Born in 1730, was articled to an eminent 
attorney, but paid more homage to the stage than to the law. Joining 
an itinerant company of players in May, 1747, in 1749 he became a member 
of the Bristol company. Mrs. Pritchard selected King to play Benedict 
to her Beatrice and Romeo to her Juliet, and so greatly successful was the 
performance that Whitchand, the then Poet Laureate, and author of 
" The Roman Fatlier," who witnessed it, the following winter appointed 
young King as the representative of Valerius, in which he made a great 
reputation. In 1755 he became a manager of the Bath theatre, whilst in 
1770 and 1 771 he was a performer at, and sole manager of, our King 
Street Theatre. 

After fifty-four years' stage experience, he took farewell of the public 
in a benefit performance at Drury Lane, speaking the following lines, 
written by Richard Cumberland, Esq. : — 

" Whilst in my heart those feelings yet survive, 
That keep respect and gratitude alive ; 
Feelings which, though all others should decay, 
Will be the last that Time can bear away." 

In the green-room, surrounded by all the company, he was presented 
with a handsome silver cup and salver, the former being duly inscribed 

15 



The Bristol Stage 



with details of the occasion, and with the following quotation from 
" Henry V," Act 5 :— 

" If he be not fellow iwith the best King, 
Thou shalt find him the best King of good fellom." 

King died December nth, 1805, and was buried in the churchyard of 
St. Paul, Covent Garden. 

As an indication of the public enthusiasm existing in Bristol for Shake- 
speare's and other high -class dramatic works, it is recorded that a young 
woman who was in " a delicate state of health " could not be dissuaded 
from witnessing the performance of " Romeo and Juliet," with the 
result that, crossing Brandon Hill on her way home, a fine boy was born 
to her, and subsequently christened Romeo. 

MISS PRITCHARD.— Daughter of the famous Mrs. Pritchard, and 
who was a great friend of Mrs. Hannah More, appeared at Drury Lane 
as Juliet in 1757, and subsequently married Mr. Palmer, of Jacob's Well. 

MISS HALLAM was the daughter of the victim of Macklin's onslaught, 
her uncle being the manager of Goodman's Fields Theatre, and she was 
related to Mr. Rich, manager of Drury Lane. She made her debut at 
Jacob's Well on August 8th, 1760, the occasion being the benefit night of 
her aunt, Mrs. Barrington, subsequently as Mrs. Mattocks, of Covent 
Garden, enchanting the theatre-goers of the metropolis, whilst upon her 
retirement on June 7th, 1808, Their Majesties conferred upon her a pension 
of ;^20O a year. 

MRS. GREEN.— Daughter of Mr. Hippisley, founder of Bristol's early 
reputation. Mrs. Green, who had appeared at the opening of both King 
Street, Bristol, and Orchard Street, Bath, theatres, was buried in Clifton 
Church. A handsome memorial there contains the following inscription : 
" Sacred to the Memory of Mrs. Jane Green. As a Comedian, she was 
many years deservedly admired in public, while in private life her virtues 
gained her distinguished esteem. She retired in 1780, and died August 
the 2ist 1791, Aged 72 years." 

MR. RICHARD WINSTONE, esteemed " the Father of the British 
Stage," being Macklin's senior. He performed with Garrick and Wood- 
ward, and at the revival of " Every Man in His Humour " at Drury Lane 
in 1750, Winstone played the part of Downright, in which he had scored 
at Jacob's Well, 

A pupil of Quin, Mr. Ricahrd Winstone made his final stage appearance 
at King Street Theatre, Bristol, on June nth, 1784, and died December 
nth, 1788. 

MR, CLARKE. — ^The leading comedian previous to the arrival of Mr. 
Powell. His first London appearance was in 1755, ^^ Osmyn in the 

16 



The Bristol Stage 

tragedy of " Zara." He became one of the managers at King Street at 
the opening. 

MR. MATTOCKS.— Husband of the famous actress, at the Jacob's 
Well Theatre he was a favourite, being especially a good vocalist. His 
first appearance on the London boards was in 1750, in a musical entertain- 
ment called the " Chaplet." He died in 1804. 

MR. BLAKE. — Personation of " the fop," also sang between the acts 
of the play. In 1743, at Drury Lane, he was in the company with Gar- 
rick, Barry, Mrs. Pritchard, Mrs. Clive, etc. He died in May, 1763. 

MR. PALMER, who became joint-manager at the opening of King 
Street Theatre, was great in old men's comedy parts. Prior to King 
Street, he was for several years at Covent Garden. He died in April, 
1772. 

MRS. PITT, a famous Nurse in " Romeo and Juliet " and such-like 
characters, was junior to Wins tone and Macklin only in the dramatic 
profession, and for fifty years had appeared at Covent Garden and Drury 
Lane. Her last part was Dorcas in " Cymon," when she received a most 
enthusiastic encore for her song, " I tremble at seventy-two," although 
nearly that age at singing it. Mrs. Pitt died December i8th, 1799, at the 
age of seventy-nine years. 

The foregoing eminent actors may be accepted as the founders of 
Bristol's notable dramatic achievements. 

Mr. Hippisley had pre-deceased Macklin some half a century, expiring 
at his residence, near his theatre at Jacob's Well, on February 12th, 1748. 

The subjoined play-bill issued during his management derives additional 
interest from the circumstance that it was with the comedy of the " Con- 
scious Lovers " that upwards of twenty years later the theatre in King 
Street was opened to the public. 

By a Company of Comedians from the Theatre-Royal in London. 

At the Theatre at Jacob's Well, 

On Wednesday next, the 15th June, 1743, 

Will be performed a Comedy called 

THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS. 

Sir John Bevil . . . . . . . . Mr. Harrington 

Bevil, Junior . . . . Mr. Hale Myrtle . • . . Mr. Casbel 

Cymberton . . Mr, Hippisley Tom . . . . Mr. Woodward 

Sealand . . . . . . Mr. Rosco 

being the first time of his appearance on this Stage 

Humphry Mr. Watts Daniel . . . . Mr. Vaugban 

PhilUs ■ Mrs. Hale 

Mrs. Sealand.. .. Mrs. Martin Isabella .. .. Mrs. Mullart 

and the part of Indiana by Airs. Pritchard 

17 B 



The Bristol Stage 



To which will be added a Farce called 

THE OLD MAN TAUGHT WISDOM, 

OR 

THE VIRGIN UNMASKED. 

The part of Lucy by Miss Hippisley, 
being the first time of her appearance on this Stage. 

Boxes, 3/- ; Pit, 3/- ; Balcony, 2/6 ; Gallery, i/-. 

To begin half an hour after six o'clock. 

Tickets to be had, and places taken, at Mr. Hippisley's, near the theatre. 

That Mr. Hippisley had conducted his theatre in an exemplary manner 
is clearly indicated, firstly, by the non-interference of the authorities with 
the performances, and further, by reason of the extensive patronage which 
— in spite of the inconvenience entailed in reaching the theatre — he 
received from all sections of the community. Only the year prior to his 
death there occurred an event which afforded the highest testimony to 
his good repute, this being chronicled in The Oracle and County Adver- 
tiser of July 1 8th, 1847, in the following paragraph : — 

MASONIC 

Monday last was acted at the Theatre at Jacob's Well, to a crowded Audience, 
the celebrated Comedy called " Love for Love " written by Mr. Congreve 
before the Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons with the usual 
Prologue, Epilogue and Songs in Masonry. 

The Play was ordered by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Viscount Kingsland (some 
time Grand Master) for the entertainment of the Brethren. His Lordship 
met the Society at The Bush Tavern in Corn Street about Six o'clock, from 
whence, the ceremony being settled, they set out about half an hour afterwards. 
The Procession was made in Coaches, four in a Coach ; the Masons were pro- 
perly dressed in the uniform of their Order, and His Lordship's Berlin and six 
Horses led the way. 

Being arrived at the Theatre they alighted regularly as they came, and took 
the Places reserved for them in the Boxes according to Seniority. 

Under the direction of Mrs. Hippisley, the Jacob's Well Theatre con- 
tinued the home of drama until 1764, she being then succeeded by Messrs. 
Clarke, Palmer, and Winstone, members of the company. 

Upon the last night of the season of 1 764 — set apart for the benefit of 
Mr. Winstone — a most unseemly scene was enacted by a section of the 
audience, something of the nature of riot prevailing for some time in the 
house. A tradesman having been arrested on a bond given for a defaulting 
friend, the sympathetic management and company had given a benefit for 
the family, but certain of the tradesman's friends had clamoured for a 
second night, a boon which the close of the season and the compulsory 

18 



The Bristol Stage 



I 



departure of the principal artistes for London rendered impossible. Not- 
withstanding that the opening night of the ensuing season had been 
offered, the malcontents assembled in force, and upon the rise of the cur- 
tain, to the accompaniment of a storm of " boos " and hisses, discharged 
the ammunition, consisting of rotten apples, oranges, etc., with which they 
had come provided. It was necessary for the actors, the principal of 
whom — Mr. William Powell — led the way, to scale the proscenium and 
eject the rioters from the building, when, securing a supply of stones from 
Brandon Hill, they commenced a bombardment of the outer walls. 

The disgusted managers turned their attention to the foundation of a 
new theatre in King Street, but there is evidence that the Jacob's Well 
building was reopened under other auspices, Chatterton penning the 
following caustic lines : — 

" Lost to all learning, elegance and sense, 
Long had this famous city told her pence ; 
Av'rice sat brooding in a white wash'd cell, 
And Pleasure had a hut at Jacob's Well." 

The building must have long lain derelict, however, for in 1786, from 
Mr. William Meyler, a Bathonian, emanated the following elegy : — 

Close to where Brandon's heights majestic rise, 

Your once famed theatre in ruin lies ; 

There, where decaying walls affright the eye, 

And threat distruction to the passers by, 

Where moths and spiders fix their dank abode, 

\Vhere screams the screech-owl, and where croaks the toad, 

Emperors and Kings their gaudy temples built, 

And there whole armies oft their blood have spilt ; 

There triumph'd Tamerlane, there Romeo sigh'd. 

There Lear grew mad — there Richard raved and died ; 

There bright Thalia, mirth Inspiring maid, 

Taught ravish'd Bristol ev'n to slight her trade ; 

But all those charms are fled, no perfum'd beau 

There, in green box, shall lounge an hour or so ; 

No thin, wan maid, from Clifton or ^he Wells, 

Wrapt in the drama, there her grief dispels; 

Nor honest Jack, such wafted to our port, 

In comer snug, to Sally pays his court, 

Whence steering homeward by the moonlight scene, 

Tinges on Brandon's hill her gown with green ; 

By Time, rude leveller of small and great, 

Troy's Towers and yacoh's Well have shared one fate ! 

STOKES CROFT THEATRE.— That this establishment existed 
prior to the building of the Jacob's Well Theatre I fail to find any evidence, 
although I am aware that such has been in more than one quarter 

19 



The Bristol Stage 



accepted as correct ; there is, however, no question of its being occa- 
sionally occupied during the years a.d. i 742-1745, but apparently by 
companies giving entertainment of a less scholarly type than v?as to be 
encountered at Mr. Hippisley's dramatic home, as the following adver- 
tisement in the Oracle of March 17th, 1743, would seem to indicate :— 
At the Desire of several Persons of Distinction 
For the Benefit of 
MADEM DOMINIQUE 
(This being the last night of the Company's performing in Bristol) 

at the 
THEATRE IN STOKES CROFT. 

This present Saturday being March the 17th will be exhibited 

several extraordinary Performances 
By a celebrated Company of Rope Dancers, Tumblers, 

Vaulters and Equilibrists. 
Rope Dancing on the Tight Rope by Madem Germain 

Particularly she will Dance with Rolls on her 
Ankles ; also with Two Flags, in Jack Boots, and 

Mons Dominique will beat the Drum and 
Dance with two Boys tied to his Feet. He Will 

likewise run up a board twenty Feet High, and 
throw a Somerset bakwards and forwards 

Equillbries by the famous Russian Boy and 
Mons Dominique ; particular (by Desire Mons Dominique 

will perform an Equillbre on his Head 
wherein he Eats and Drinks) 

Tumbling by Mons Dominique, Slgnior Francisco 
and the Clown by Master Pedro particularly 

(by Desire, Mons Dominique will to the great 
surprise of the Publick, Fly thro' a Hogshead 

with a lighted Flambeaux in each Hand) 
Master Pedro will, to the great surprise of the 

Publick (tho' but 12 years of age) jump over 

a Boy an3 a Horse. 
To Conclude with a Pantomime Entertainment called 

THE FORCE OF MAGICK 

OR THE 

BIRTH AND ADVENTURES OF HARLEQUIN. 

Tickets to be had at her Lodgings at the Swan in Stokes Croft, and at the 
usual Places. 

N.B. — Madem Dominique being an entire Stranger in this Place, humbly 
hopes Gentlemen and Ladies will be so generous as to encourage her, the Per- 
formers being determined to use their utmost Endeavours to give Universal 
Sarisfacrion, and hope they'll permit this Acknowledgment of their Favour, 
and honour her with their Presence, this being the last night of' their per- 
forming. 

20 



The Bristol Stage 



Whilst this from the same source of March 31st, 1744, is highly sugges- 
tive of Melodrama : — 

AT THE 
THEATRE IN STOKES CROFT 

On Monday the 2nd of April, will be acted a Tragedy 

call'd 

VIRTUE BETRAYED 

OR 

ANNA BULLEN. 

The part of King Henry VIII, by Mr. Marshall, Princess Elizabeth by a 
Girl of Six years Old. In which will be introduced the Grand Procession of 
the Coronation of Anna Bullen, as performed in London with all the Peers 
and Peeresses, knights of the Garter, Knights of the Bath, Bishops, Kings and 
Heralds at Arms, etc. In their proper Robes and Dresses. 

N.B. The Play opens with the Procession. The Song of Britons strike Home, 
with the Chorus by Mrs. Stepney. 



21 



CHAPTER II 

A.D. 1764 

IT was in the year a.d. 1764 that a serious eflFort was made to erect a 
new theatre in a more accessible locality. A site in Lime Kiln Lane 
had found supporters, but the fact of Queen Square and Prince's Street 
then constituting the centre of fashion and opulence, College Green and 
its district following closely in the wake, whilst Park Street was but 
creeping into existence, Berkeley Square not dreamed of, and Clifton but 
a village consisting of a few straggling houses, a site in King Street gained 
the day and the theatre foundation stone was laid there on November 
30th of that year. 

The " faddist " — a weed of very ancient origin indeed — ^was, however, 
certainly not dormant during the seventeenth century. The Grand Jury 
led off a formidable opposition to the scheme with a petition to the 
Mayor and Aldermen, pointing out the pernicious effect of a theatre 
within the city liberties, it being regarded as that which will " exceed- 
ingly eclipse the good order and government of the city, corrupt and 
debauch our youth and utterly ruin many apprentices and servants 
already unruly and licentious." Some of Bristol's merchants and shop- 
keepers went, if possible, one better, stating ^^ we shall not keef our 
young men, on play-nights, within the walls of our counting or ware- 
houses " ; and as to our wives and daughters, what will become of them ? 
Especially was there also the opposition of " the people called Quakers " 
— these doubtless the conscientious objectors of the period. Neverthe- 
less, the names of Quakers were to be found amongst those who sought 
the privilege (and possible cash profit) to be secured by subscribers to the 
building fund, Messrs. Richard and William Champion, sons of Nehemiah 
Champion, and Joseph Harford, father of John Scandret Harford— the 
purchaser of Blaise Castle estate, Henbury — being amongst the number. 

But an extraordinary error which designed for Bristol a theatre eight 
feet larger than that of Drury Lane had been discovered on examination 
of the original plans, whereupon Mr. Thomas Symons, a solicitor, accom- 
panied by Mr. Alexander Organ— Sheriff in 1767, and Mayor in 1787— 
both gentlemen proving enthusiastic in the enterprise, proceeded to 
London, where they surveyed and measured the Metropolitan theatres 
and employed Mr. Saunders, the stage -carpenter of Drury Lane, to 



The Bristol Stage 



provide them with a ground-plan, elevation and section of the house, 
furnished with which serviceable drawings they returned to Bristol. 

The enterprise was now tackled with energy, and on November 24th 
it was reported that " workmen were employ'd in order to lay the Founda- 
tion of the New Theatre in King Street," which a week later — as already 
stated — was pronounced " well and truly laid." It is almost superfluous 
to record with what feehngs of horror such an event inspires the " C.O.'s " 
of the eighteenth century ! But the following paragraph from Felix 
Farley's 'Journal of December 1st, 1764, throws some light on the sub- 
ject : — 

" Yesterday afternoon was laid the Foundation Stone of the new in- 
tended Theatre in King Street ; which will be opened the beginning of 
next Summer with a play for the Benefit of the Bristol Infirmary." 
(Then, in italics, is the following) : " What a melancholy Prospect it 
must afford to every considerate Mind, to observe with what Felicity 
Buildings of this Kind are erected, and at the same Time the Difficulty 
with which those set apart for religious Services are carried on." 

In the issue of December 7th, the same journal gives publicity to a 
letter signed " A Fellow Citizen," and which is couched in the gentle 
language still so familiar to us from similar sources. After quoting the 
motto of the Bristol arms, " Virtute et Industrial'* he alludes to those, who, 
so much addicted to pleasure and dissipation, now think of little else but 
gratifying them to the full, even at the risk of ruining the morals of our 
youth, impoverishing our tradesmen, and artizans, promoting the arts of 
intrigue and of seducing the innocent, reducing many perhaps to bank- 
ruptcy, injuring the credit of others, and infusing an habit of idleness, 
indolence, and debauchery, throughout this once industrious and virtuous 
city. 

Then followed the Presentation of the Grand Jury already referred to, 
and of which august body " A Fellow Citizen " might well have been a 
member, as the 700 words of its petition are greatly devoted to such 
expressions of opinion, or fact, as that the " acting of plays and inter- 
ludes hath been attended with, all manner of profeness, lewdness, murthers, 
debauching, and ruining youth of both sexes." 

Still, the promoters of the project turned ne'er a hair, but got on with 
the work ! 

The architect employed for the design of the theatre was Mr. James 
Paty ; the builder, Mr. Gilbert Davis ; the mason, Mr. Foote ; and the 
smith, Mr. Franklyn ; the interior being painted by Mr. Michael Edkins, 
under Mr. Simmons, " city painter," of whom it is recorded that Hogarth, 
when on a visit to the city, observing the sign of the " Angel Inn," Redcliff 
Street — the work of Simmons — said, " that is the artist who shoixld have 
executed the altarpiece in Redcliff church." The scenery employed at 
the opening was executed by Mr. John French, a pupil of Loutherbourg. 
The circle — as originally constituted — consisted of nine boxes, to distin- 

23 



The Bristol Stage 



guish which the names of the following dramatic poets, in gilt letters, 
appeared over the doors : for the centre box, that of Shakespeare ; on 
the right of this, Johnson, Vanburgh, Row and Steele ; and on the left, 
Fletcher, Congreve, Otway and Cibber, whilst the eight upper side boxes 
bore the names of Garrick, Witcherley, Addison, Farquhar, Dryden, Lee, 
Shadwell and Colnxan. In the centre of the latter was the gallery ! 

The theatre — the first cost of which was upwards of ;^5,ooo — ^was 
designed to provide seating accommodation for i,6oo persons, the avail- 
able space being thus apportioned : — 



Boxes .. .. .. .. 750, producing ;£i5o 

Pit .. • 320 „ 40 

GaUery 530 „ 39.15 



1,600 £22g.i^ 

To meet the initial expense were forty -eight subscribers of fifty pounds 
each, these being entitled to a silver ticket giving free admission to every 
kind of performance at the theatre, and transferable for the season, two 
tickets only, issued to one Edward Crump and his wife for services ren- 
dered to the proprietors, being transferable for every night. There were, 
however, several forged tickets in circulation, the result, it was said, of 
the carelessness of the silversmith entrusted with the manufacture and 
issue of the genuine article. A lady, winning a silver ticket in a raffle, 
gave it to her son, who on presenting it at the theatre was refused admis- 
sion, it being pronounced a forged one. On his return home he found — 
taking tea with his mother — a solicitor friend, who requested leave to 
assert the right of admission on the ticket. The manager of the theatre 
— ^Mr. Dimond — knowing that it was not possible to prove this ticket to 
be one of the spurious ones, gave way. After making use of it during 
three successive seasons, the lawyer returned it to the lady, together with 
his bill of costs : " To many attendances at the theatre to assert your 
right of admittance by the Ticket No. — , £iS-^' 

The opening performance at the King Street Theatre was given on 
May 30th, 1766, under the joint management of Messrs. Powell, Arthur 
and Clarke, who had taken a lease of the theatre for seven years. All 
three, managers had already achieved a local reputation in connection 
with the theatre at Jacob's Well. 

The theatre was, however, as yet without a licence, and there still being 
a strong opposition to theatrical representations in the city, it was deemed 
advisable, in order to evade the statute which sent all performers in 
unlicensed theatres to the house of correction as rogues and vagabonds, 
to adopt the following as the announcement of the occasion : — 



The Bristol Stage 



AT 7HE NEW THEATRE IN KING STREET. 

' This present Friday, the 30th May, 1766, will be performed 

A CONCERT OF MUSIC 

Boxes, 4/- ; Pit, 2/6 ; Gallery, 1/6. 

The doors will be opened at five o'clock, and the Concert begin exactly at six. 

ViVAT Rex et Regina. 

N.B. — The profits arising from this Concert is intended to be presented 
towards the support of the Bristol Infirmary. 

Between the parts of the Concert will be exhibited, gratis, a Specimen of 
Rhetoric diversified in the several characters of a Comedy, called 

THE CONSCIOUS LOVERS 

Young Bevii Mr. Powell 

Myrtle Mr. Perry Mr. Sealand . . . . Mr. Walker 

Sir John Bevil .. Mr. Wins, one Cymberton .. .. Mr. Arthur 

Tom (with a song in character) . . . . . . Mr. Dyer 

Humphrey . . . . . . Mr. Mozeen 

Daniel . . . . Mr. Smith Servant . . . . Mr. Buck 

Phyllis Mrs. Green 

Lucinda . . . . . . Miss Read Isabella . . . . Mrs. Barrington 

Mrs. Sealand . . . . Mrs. Pitts Indiana . . . . Mrs. Barry 

In Act the Second, singing by Mr. Dodd. 

A new Prologue and Epilogue, written by D. Garrick, Esq. 
With dancing by Mr. Aldridge, 
To which will be added a Farce, called 

THE CITIZEN 

The Citizen Mr. Dodd 

Old Philpot . . . . Mr. Bennett Beaufort . . . . Mr. Perry 

Sir Jasper . . . . Mr. Winstone Dapper . . . . . . Mr. Mozeen 

Young Wilding . . Mr. Smith Quildrive . . . . Mr. Buck 

Marion . . . . Miss Read Corinna . . . . . . Mrs. Perry 

Tickets and Places to be taken of Mr. Heath, Box-keeper, at the Theatre. 
Printed by Nr. Hooke, in the Maiden Tavern, Baldwin Street. 

After deducting the expenses, the benefit resulted in £6^ being 
contributed to the funds of the Infirmary. 

The prices of admission quoted above wrere for this evening only, 
subsequent charges being : Boxes, 3J. 6d. ; Pit, 2j. 6d. ; Gallery, is. 6d. 

The Prologue, with w^hich David Garrick had supplied the manage- 
ment, was spoken by Mr. Powell :^ 

" Before you, sec one of your stage-Directors, 
Or, if you please, one of those strange projectors 
Whose heated brain, in fatal magic bound. 
Seeks for that stone which never can be found. 

25 



The Bristol Stage 



But in projection could the dreadful stroke, 
The glasses burst, and all is bounce and smoke ! 
Though doubtful, still our fate — I bite my thumbs, 
And my heart fails me,- — when projection comes, 
Your smiles would chase our fears ; still I could dream. 
Rich as a nabob, with my golden scheme ! 

That all the world's a stage, you can't deny ; 

And what's our stage ? A shop — I'll tell you why — 

You are the customers, the tradesmen we ; 

And well for us you pay before you see : 

We give no trust, a ready-money trade ; 

Should you stop payment, we are bankrupts made. 

To feast your minds, and sooth each worldly care, 

We'll largely traffic in dramatic ware. 

Then swells our shop, a warehouse to your eyes. 

And we, from small retailers, merchants rise. 

From Shakespeare's golden mines we'll fetch the ore, 

And land his riches on this happy shore ! 

For we, theatre merchants, never quit. 

The boundless store of universal wit, 

But we in vain shall richly laden come. 

Unless deep water brings us safely home ; 

Unless your favour in full tides will flow, i 

Ship, crew, and cargo, to the bottom go ! 

Indulge us, then, and from our hearts receive 
Our warmest wishes — all we have to give. 
May honoured Commerce, with her sails unfurl' d. 
Still bring you treasures from each distant world ; 
From East to West extend this city's name. 
Still to her sons increasing wealth with fame ; 
And may this merit be our honest boast, — 
To give you pleasure, and no virtue lost." 

Garrick's Epilogue was spoken by Mr. Arthur : — 

" In days of yore, it was a constant rule. 
That every knight should have his 'squire and fool ; 
When forth the hero went, they followed after. 
One bore his shield, the other rais'd his laughter; 
The stage should have them all, but prudent, we 
Join 'squire and fool in one, and I am he ! 
Our hero in the prologue took his rank, 
Don Quixote he, and I his Sancho Pane. 
If ours should prove a windmill scheme, alas ! 
I know, and I will tell you what will pass : 
We all — each son of Tbespis, and each daughter, 
Must for sweet Bristol Milk drink Bristol Water : 
26 



The Bristol Stage 



Which, though a cure for some who fall away, 
Yet we, poor souls ! should feel a quick decay ; 
The wisest face amongst us will look silly. 
And mine will change its roses for the lily. 
But how prevent this terrible condition ? 
There is one way — be you our kind physician : 
For you with other doctors disagree. 
And when you make your visits, give a fee. 

* Hold ! ' cries a Prude (thus rising from her stays) 

' I hate a Playhouse, and their wicked plays ; 

O ! 'tis a shame to suffer such an evil 

For seeing plays is dealing with the Devil ! ' 

' I beg your pardon Madam, 'tis not true ; 

We players are moral folks — I'll prove it too. 

Man is a froward child — naughty and cross. 

Without his rattle and his hobby horse ; 

We play'rs are little master's bells and coral, 

To keep the child from mischief — a'nt we moral ? 

In such a happy, rich and crowded place. 

What would become of the sweet babe of grace ? 

Should you not act unkindly to refuse it. 

This little harmless plaything to amuse it ? 

Good plays are useful toys — as such enjoy 'em ; 

Whene'er they make you naughty — then destroy 'em.' " 

MR. WILLIAM POWELL.— Bristol had probably never possessed so 
great a stage favourite as Mr. WiUiam PoweU, who after three years at 
Drury Lane and becoming joint patentee of Covent Garden, came to 
Jacob's Well Theatre in its last season, and was senior lessee of that in 
King Street in its first. 

During his early appearance at the former house, a literary citizen 
wrote : " A theatrical mania began to rage in Bristol. Powell was the 
chief subject of conversation at our coffee-houses, taverns, and tea tables, 
and any one who had not seen and applauded his performances must (like 
Lady Teazle) never have pretended to any Taste again." 

On the occasion of his first benefit (at Jacob's Well), he appearing as 
" King Lear," the programme contained the following announcement : 
" The Balcony will be made convenient, and laid with Boxes where ser- 
vants will be admitted to keep places. To prevent mistakes. Ladies are 
desired to send their servants by Four o'clock." A three hours' wait for 
flunkeydom ! Nor was the favouritism of Mr. William Powell confined 
to Bristol, for London shared it, he having at Drury Lane played the 
leading parts with unqualified success during no less than one hundred 
and thirty consecutive performances. 

A contemporary critic described him as " possessing superlative ability," 
whilst another, referring to his performance of " Virginius," said, " the 

27 



The Bristol Stage 



character seemed pencilled by the poet for this actor. . . . Powell was 
the Roman Father in every line, in every action." 

He died on July 3rd, 1769, of pneumonia, occasioned through his 
throwing himself upon the grass whilst divested of his clothing, after 
playing in a strenuous game of cricket. During his illness the utmost 
sympathy was shown on aU sides, the roadway about the theatre — near to 
which he resided — being covered with straw, and, by the order of the 
magistrates of the city, chains placed across the thoroughfare to prevent 
carriage traffic. The intelligence of his death reached the stage just as 
the curtain rose upon a performance of " Richard the Third," and in 
chronicling the scene it is stated that " the fictitious lamentations for the 
loss of King Edward (Act 2) were converted into real anguish, the actors 
appearing on the stage with streaming eyes, whilst their broken voices 
necessitated the manager — Mr. Holland (a pupil of Garrick) — apologizing 
for their incapacity to acquit themselves as usual. Upon learning the 
cause of the performers' grief, and that the actor whom they had so 
admired had passed from them for ever, the audience sadly dispersed 
before the completion of the programme." 

The deceased theatrical favourite was buried in the Cathedral, a hand- 
some marble monument being erected there to his memory, the funeral 
cortege, proceeding from King Street, being met at the foot of College 
Green by the Very Reverend the Dean — by whom the burial service was 
conducted — and by the Cathedral choir, who sang an anthem. 

MR. SHUTER. — Yet amidst this scene of solemnity was one discordant 
touch, the which could have been nothing else than painful to the vast 
congregation of citizen mourners, and especially to those of the deceased's 
confrere. It was occasioned by Mr. Shuter, a favourite low-comedian at 
both Jacob's Well and King Street theatres. The son of a clergyman, 
Shuter had acted as a biUiard-marker, his levity of manner and sense of 
humour at which time had prepared his road to the stage. Unfortu- 
nately he intruded his stage characteristics at the funeral of his brother 
actor, for, attired in a scarlet waistcoat trimmed with broad gold lace, and 
a gold-laced hat, Shuter approached the Cathedral door, then closed to 
keep out the crowd, and giving several knocks upon it with his cane, in 
melodramatic tones declaimed the lines spoken by Romeo whilst breaking 
into the tomb of the Capulets : — 

" Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death, N 

Gorg'd with the dearest morsel of the earth, 
Thus ! I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, 
And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food ! " 

I have not been able to find that Shuter was possessed of any less 
regard for the deceased than were his brother professionals, and am dis- 
posed to attribute this ill-timed levity to a desire to maintain his reputation 
of sangfroid. 

28 



The Bristol Stage 



On the 14th of the following month, at a performance of the " Roman 
Father," given for the benefit of Mr. Powell's family, the crowded 
audience was mostly habited in black, and the theatre is said to have worn 
the appearance of general mourning. 

The season closed on September nth, Holland, who appeared as 
Alexander the Great, taking his last benefit. So crowded was the house 
that a man was thrown from the gallery to the pit, but upon being bled 
and stimulated with restoratives in the green room, felt well enough to 
witness the remainder of the play ; a few days afterwards he died. 

Neither did Holland long survive his friend and fellow comedian, 
William Powell, dying of smaU-pox on 7th of December following. 

The efforts of David Garrick enabled the relatives to secure from the 
Duke of Devonshire permission to place a Monumental Inscription, 
written by the great tragedian, in the chancel of Chiswick church, and 
there it is, or was quite recently, to be seen. 

BATH AND BRISTOL, or, by reason of the recognized right of 
seniority, should it not be " Bristol and Bath " ? 

Until the year 1755 Bath was not in possession of a theatre, or any 
establishment to which such a title would not have been a misnomer. 
That several buildings had from time to time been thus designated is true, 
the chief of these being that which was conducted on the site of the 
present Mineral Water Hospital. In dealing with this subject, the his- 
torian of " The Annals of Bath " states that the standing expense of the 
enterprise was £2 los. per night, which sum included the cost of music, 
attendants, bills and tallow candles. The holding capacity of the audi- 
torium represented at the fuU ^^30, one-half of the profits being payable 
to Lady Hawley — beneath whose baU-room the theatre was situated — for 
the use of scenery, dresses, etc., the remainder of the profit being de- 
voted to the payment of the twelve performers ! But we are told by the 
same historian that the venture "met with very indifferent encourage- 
ment and the performers were hardly able to support themselves," which 
last-named statement I think we might well believe. 

The " new theatre " is described as " simply a room about fifty feet 
long by twenty -five feet wide," whilst the establishment beneath the baU- 
room at Simpson's Assembly Rooms was irreverently designated " a 
ceUar." 

But in 1747 Mr. Hippisley — who, as has been seen, for between a quar- 
ter and half a century had conducted at Jacob's Well a theatre, cordially 
recognized and sheltering the elite of London's theatrical profession — 
commenced at Bath the campaign which resulted in the erection of a new 
theatre in Orchard Street, Bath, his death, during the year following, 
preventing his witnessing the fructification of his plans. 

In the person of Mr. Palmer, a brewer, Bath fortunately possessed a 

29 



The Bristol Stage 



citizen capable and willing to carry through the scheme upon which the 
Bristol lessee had set his heart, and which, moreover, he had practically 
carried^out ; but it was not until some ten or twelve years later, when 
Palmer junior took the reins in hand, that real success attended the 
theatre of the sister city. 

At a cost of £i,ooo he had greatly improved the theatre, and in 1768 
secured for it a Royal Patent. In 1777 he secured the lease of the theatre 
in King Street, Bristol, for which he succeeded in also securing the Royal 
Patent. 

All that Palmer had done for the theatre of his native city, he readily 
duphcated for that of Bristol, adding to it the gallery and completing the 
upper box tiers, the central reach of which had hitherto done duty for 
the gallery patrons. Palmer's lease was for twenty years, the rental being 
fixed at ;^200 per annum, but as a contribution towards the expense of 
the alterations, the first three years of rent were written oflF. 

The scheme of management, in order to admit of the company appear- 
ing in both cities, was that there should in Bristol be three performances 
each week during the summer months, and once only weekly during the 
winter. The season of Lent was to be devoted to the performance of 
Oratorio, six of these being given in 1880. This portion of the arrange- 
ment for Bristol does not appear, however, to have proved quite successful, 
two Oratorios only being performed during each of the two succeeding 
Lenten seasons. 

Neither could the preponderance of the dramatic nights in Bath have 
resulted quite as anticipated, for after June nth, 1 78 1, the company was 
removed to Bristol, and three performances became the weekly lot of each 
city throughout the year. 

The following was the preliminary announcement as to the Bristol 
theatre's re -opening under the Royal Patent : — 



THEATRE ROYAL, BRISTOL. 

On Monday next, the 30th of November, 1778 
(By His Majesty's Company of Comedians) 
will be presented, A Comedy call'd 

AS YOU LIKE IT. 

Jaquis by Mr. Jefferson 

(From the Theatre-Royal, Drury Lane, being his 
first appearance on this Stage) 

Duke Senior Mr. Swindell 

Sylvius by Mr. Blanchard 

(Being their first appearance here) 
30 



The Bristol Stage 



Oliver . . . . . . Mr. Hudson 

Amiens (with songs in Character), by Mr. Cubitt 
Touchstone . . . . . . by Mr. T. Kennedy 

Corin . . . . Mr. Blanchard, Senior 

William, Mr. Collin 

(being his first Appearance here) 

And the parts of Adam and Orlando by Mr. Foot 

and Mr. Wolfe (From the Theatre in Exeter, 

being their first Appearance on this stage) 

Cella . • . . . . . . by Mrs. Sharp 

Phoebe . . . . . . by Mrs. Masters 

Audrey . . . . . . by Mrs. Thornton 

(Being their first Appearance here) 
And Rosalind (with the Cuckoo song) by Mrs. Taplin 

A Prologue to be spoken by Mr. Jefferson 
End of the Play. A Hornpipe by Mr. T. Blanchard 
To which will be added 

A FARCE, etc 

as will be expressed in the Bills of the Day. 

Boxes, 4/- ; Pit, 2/6 ; Gallery, i/-, at which prices, 

No half price can possibly be taken. 

The Doors will be opened at Five, and the Curtain drawn up a quarter after 
six o'clock precisely. 

Places to be taken of Mrs. Walker, at the Office in King Street, from Ten 
till Three o'clock. 

constant fires have been kept, and the theatre 
thoroughly air'd. 

Vivant Rex and Regina. 

Palmer had in his Theatre Royal, Bath, company, Mrs. Siddons, who in 
the year following its opening was at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, also. 
Not that her engagement brought to either house at the time any especial 
glamour, for her appearance at Drury Lane as Portia to Garrick's Shylock 
had been anything but successful. Her beauty had certainly been greatly 
admired, but her histrionic abilities had been voted immature. 

Not to be greatly wondered at, surely, either the circumstance or the 
criticism, for whereas the performance in question had taken place in 1775, 
the fair tragedienne was then barely twenty years of age, being born July 
5th, 1755, at Brecon, where her father, Roger Kemble, an actor, was 
then appearing. 

Merit, especially stage merit, speaks, however, " with miraculous 
organ," and as early as February 9th, 1782, her benefit at Bath, where she 
resided, realizing £ii\!S, being the limit of the theatre's possibilities, 

31 



The Bristol Stage 



necessitated another fixture with the same purpose, and this, on May 21st, 
added the sum of ;^I45 to the previous total. Her farewell at King 
Street was on June 17th of the same year, and £106 1 5/. resulted, as 
Bristol's contribution. 

Upon returning to the London boards she fairly took the world by 
storm, reaching the very pinnacle of histrionic ambition, which proud 
position she retained up to her retirement in 1812. 

The following programme is of interest, being that of a performance 
under the management of Messrs, Dimond and Kearsberry, two favourite 
actors of the company to whom Mr. Palmer had in 1785 transferred his 
theatre licences : — 

THEATRE ROYAL, BRISTOL. 

this present Wednesday, the loth October, 1787, will 
be performed a Comedy called 

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER 

Young Marlowe • . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Dimond 

Hastings (with a song in character) . . . . Mr. Wordsworth 

Sir Charles Marlowe . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Rozvbotham 

Diggory Mr. Jackson 

Stingo Mr. Bristow 

Jeremy Mr. Summers 

and Tony Lumpkin . . . . Mr. Knight 

being his second appearance on this stage 

Mrs. Hardcastle Mrs. Didier 

Miss Constance Neville . . . . . . . . Miss Summers 

and Miss Hardcastle . . . . . . . . By a young lady 

being her first appearance on any stage. 



End of the Play A New Dance call'd 

THE SPANISH LOVER 

by Master and Miss Mitchell 

To which will be added, a Musical Entertainment, called 

THE FLITCH OF BACON 
Major Benbow . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Powell 



Justice Benbow 
Captain Greville 
Patty . . 
Kilderkin 
Tipple . . 
Captain Wilson 



Mr. Blissett 
Mr. Incledon 
Mr. Summers 
Mr. Bristow 
Mr. Jackson 
Mr. Fox 



being his second appearance on this stage 
and Eliza Miss Sharrock 

32 



The Bristol Stage 



To begin precisely at Half fast Six o'clock. 

Tickets and places for the Boxes to be taken of Mr. Walker at the Box Office 
of the Theatre, where attendance will be given. 

The Ladies and Gentlemen frequenting the Theatre, to prevent Disturb- 
ance, or Trouble, in getting to their Carriages, are most respectfully requested 
to give orders to their Servants, to set down with their Horses' Heads towards 
the Back and to take up towards Prince's Street. 

Printed by J. Rudhall, in Small Street, Bristol. 

MR. ELLISTON. — ^Towards the close of the eighteenth and for some 
three or four years of the nineteenth century, an actor of rare ability 
graced the Bristol stage, and whilst so engaged received the most signal 
evidence of royal favour, in that for some half-a-dozen " command " 
performances he, Robert William Elliston, was compelled to divide his 
attention between the Theatre Royal and Windsor, where his appearance 
was welcome, not only to His Majesty, King George III, but also to his 
consort. Queen Charlotte and the distinguished personages of the Court. 
This was an arduous task, however, necessitating his travelling to Windsor 
or Bristol at the close of his performance and throughout the night, from 
either point. But whether in Bristol, Bath, Windsor, or London, Elliston 
drew large audiences, a benefit at Drury Lane realizing for him ;^6oo, 
whilst his ordinary engagements were at very ample figures. Several 
efiorts by him at management, however, were of a disastrous nature, one 
of these being his taking Drury Lane theatre at j^io,20o per annum, and 
he became a bankrupt. Elliston took too many liberties with the wine 
bottle, and I have been given to understand that, whilst on a professional 
visit to the United States, and when honoured with the presence of the 
President, his condition was too palpable to evade censure, and many of the 
audience, resenting what they regarded as an insult to his distinguished 
patron, vented their indignation by palpably " hissing." Elliston walked 
off the stage, and the curtain was lowered. The manager, doubtless 
troubled as to the reputation of his theatre, said, " Really, Mr. Elliston, 
you must endeavour to appease them," whereupon the famous actor, 
going before the curtain, thus addressed the house : " Ladies and gentle- 
men, I have had the distinguished honour of appearing, by royal com- 
mand, and being applauded by his Majesty, King George the Third ! 
Do you think then that I have travelled from Windsor to here to be 
hissed by the chief of the Yankee-Doodles ? " How Elliston left the 
theatre was known to a few only, but he did not return to his hotel. 

Born in London in 1774, Elliston, having fallen from his high estate as 
an actor, died, at the age of fifty-six, in extreme poverty. 



33 



CHAPTER III 

*" A.D. 1800 

THE opening of the nineteenth century marked a period of ill-fortune, 
both for the Bristol house and for the Theatre Royal, Bath, the 
management of the latter still having control in both cities. In 1805 a 
new Theatre Royal for Bath was erected in Beaufort Square, the house 
in Orchard Street being converted into a place of worship, and subse- 
quently becoming the Masonic Lodge, to which purpose it is still devoted. 
In 1 81 7 the lease of the Bristol Theatre Royal was acquired by Mr. 
John Boles Watson, who already having the theatres at Gloucester and 
Cheltenham as strings to his bow, declined to continue the old-time 
association of Bristol with the sister city, it not being until a.d. 1845 that 
these relations were resumed. 

The tenure of the Bristol Royal by Mr, J. B. Watson was neither 
lengthy nor prosperous, and until March of the year 1819, when the lease 
reverted to Mr. William McGready, no shadow of prosperity was dis- 
cernible in connection with that house. 

Mr. McCready, however, in addition to being an acceptable actor and 
possessed of [no little experience in provincial management, held a re- 
markable asset in the person of his son, the world-famous tragedian, 
William Charles Macready. 

Historians speak of " strained relations " as existing between father and 
son at about this time ; be this as it may, the great actor hurried to his 
father's aid, and, bringing with him Mr. Terry and Mrs. Yates from 
Covent Garden, inaugurated on March 29th, 18 19, the new management 
of the Theatre Royal, King Street, with much eclat, his subsequent visits 
being frequent — as constant, indeed, as the metropolitan dramatic 
vacations permitted. It is possible, however, that not all visits were 
solely dictated by the desire to enrich the parental treasury, for the great 
tragedian had fallen in love with Miss Atkins, a prominent member of his 
father's dramatic company, and the two were wed. Mr. William Charles 
Macready made his last appearance in Bristol in 1 851, the year that 
witnessed his retirement from the stage. 

It certainly was not to a " dream of Fairyland "that the new lessee had 
bent his steps, the occasionally opened theatre, with its dirty and rain- 
stained paper and decorations, oil lighted, and with an insufficiency of 
lamps at that, making it better fitted to the title of the " Cave of Gloom," 

34 



The Bristol Stage 



I 



The worst feature with which he had to contend in Bristol he quickly 
recognized — the absence of interest the citizens toolc in dramatic fare. 
It was for that reason that he " led off trumps," and opened with his son 
in his great creation of " Othello." 

From that moment, as circumstances permitted, he was ceaseless in 
improving the conditions of his theatre, and on August 30th in his opening 
year had substituted the new coal-gas lighting for that of the oil lamps, 
his son appearing on that occasion as " Hamlet." 

Other improvements followed rapidly, and barely a couple of years after 
his settlement in Bristol a worthy couple named Morris — keepers of a fish 
shop — in returning to their home from a visit upon the Somerset side of 
Cumberland Basin, the place being badly lighted, missed the swing bridge, 
and falling into the lock, were both drowned. Mr. Morris was a Free- 
mason, and the brethren of the Province raising a fund for the orphan 
children, Bro. McCready generously lent his theatre for a benefit, and the 
j^igo which resulted brought the fund to ;^5oo. 

In the autumn of the following year — shortly after the coronation of 
George IV — Mr. McCready produced a little play designed to introduce 
a pageant, such as in these times we associate with Drury Lane. A few 
of the characters in the piece represented country folk, who had pre- 
sumedly journeyed to London to see the " crownation," and this circum- 
stance afforded the raison d'etre of the affair, they standing to witness the 
gorgeously clad procession, the extent of which took a considerable time 
in crossing the stage. Then the coronation in Westminster Abbey which 
followed was a splendidly grouped spectacle. ■ To render the mise en 
scene complete, the lessee had engaged for the pageant the trained horse 
" Cato," which Mr. Dymock, the champion, was understood to have 
ridden at the coronation itself. The centre box of the dress-circle was 
adapted to Cato's requirements, and with a viaduct therefrom to the 
stage, and amidst the blaring of trumpets, the champion in a complete 
suit of mail, and attended by his heralds and esquires, rode boldly forth, 
" Cato " curvetting along the passage way on to the stage and amidst the 
coronation group. Here, throwing down his gage, the champion gave 
challenge to all the world ! " The effect," says a critic of the time, " was 
immense, and despite the detestation in which the monarch was held by 
a portion of his subjects, the pageant was nightly hailed with shouts of 
approval ! " 

Another masterpiece of stage-craft was the " sensation " scene in the 
drama, " The Cataract of the Ganges," wherein real water was introduced 
in order to produce the full effect. It was not, however, until some years 
later, and under the management of Mr. J. H. Chute, that the theatre 
was supplied by the Water Company, but Mr. McCready was equal to 
the emergency, and engaged the fire-engines of the " Sun," and, I think, 
the " Norwich Union " Insurance Offices to supply the torrent, up which 
Mrs. McCready was announced to ride on the back of a fiery steed. 

35 



The Bristol Stage 



McCready, besides being an actor of much ability, was moreover a 
playwright whose works found favour in the London as well as in the 
provincial theatres, some of the best known of these being " The Bank- 
note," "The Village Lawyer," and "The Irishman in Naples." In 
casting any play from the pen of the Immortal Bard he was scrupulously 
exacting, and my father has related as typical of our old lessee's method 
when casting such a work and interviewing a member of his company who 
was of more or less unknown ability, the following duologue : — 

" Ye have played in Hamlet ? " 

"Yes, Mr. McCready. I have played Horatio, and on one occasion 
the Ghost, and I ! " 

" Ye'll play Rosencrantz," and forthwith he made a note to that effect. 

Throughout his residence in this city he had shown himself a God- 
fearing and religious man, for whilst at no time sanctioning the progress 
of work at the theatre. on Sunday, he had himself been a regular attendant 
at the Cathedral services, and at the Cathedral were his remains interred 
on April 1 8th, 1829, he having passed away on the llth instant, amidst 
manifestations of regret and sympathy on every hand. 

By none, perhaps, were those sentiments more acutely felt than by his 
brother Freemasons, for his kindly, generous heart and charitable efforts 
were such as to be especially appreciated by them. So, indeed, they 
expressed it in the announcement of a benefit which they organized on 
behalf of the widow and children. The members of the Craft attended 
this in large numbers, and a goodly sum was realized for the object stated, 
and in further aid on the following week Mr. William Charles Macready 
appeared in the characters of " Virginius " and " William Tell," and 
again on May 22nd in " Damon and Pythias," with which the house was 
closed. 

Until August 31st the Theatre Royal remained without a dramatic 
company, but on that date it was re-opened under the management of 
Mr. Richard Brunton, son of Mr. J. Brunton, an actor of some repute. 
With Mrs. McCready as his leading lady, he had engaged an excellent 
company also, and used all efforts to secure the assistance of " stars." 
His brief career as lessee, however, proved a failure, and with his company 
unpaid, as, indeed, so far as their just claims were concerned, had been the 
case for some time previously, came to an inglorious end. 

With the earning power of the rank and file of a theatrical company of 
those days, it will readily be appreciated that much suffering ensued, 
whilst still more was looming in the near future ; but that eminent trage- 
dian, Mr. Charles Kemble, with his equally renowned daughter. Miss 
Fanny Kemble, being then engaged in Bristol, gave their services for a 
special benefit for the sufferers, a sum of ;^150 being thereby realized. 

Next upon the scene of Bristol management came Mr. Bellamy, who 
for some years had held the lease of the Theatre Royal, Bath, and who, 

36 



The Bristol Stage 



by the efforts of " Their Majesty's servants " hoped to resuscitate the 
remunerative association of the two theatres. Financial results in Bath 
continued lamentable, and at the close of the spring campaign of 1833 the 
Theatre Royal, King Street, was again seeking a lessee. 

The dramatic outlook of Bristol was, however, but little, if any, better 
than that of the sister city, and, although strongly urged to do so, Mrs. 
McCready hesitated considerably ere she consented to step into the 
breach. 

MRS. McCREADY.— Mrs. Sarah McCready was thirty-five years her 
late husband's junior, but was very far from being without stage experi- 
ence, having indeed in her maiden name of Desmond, by reason of her 
dramatic interpretation of such striking characters as Meg Merrilees in 
Scott's " Guy Mannering," Helen McGregor in " Rob Roy," and Eliza- 
beth in the same author's " Kenilworth," established an exceedingly 
enviable reputation in the North of England. 

The responsibilities of manageress being once accepted, the new lessee 
gave evidence of that energy which had so emphasized her husband's 
management. On February 3rd, 1834, she opened her season with a 
performance of " Speed the Plough " and " The Haunted Inn," and 
shortly afterwards Braham, the famous vocalist, appeared in " The Beg- 
gars' Opera," contributing also his popular rendering of the " Death of 
Abercrombie." 

At various times Mrs. McCready made considerable effort to emulate 
the spirit of spectacle shown earlier in " The Coronation," and as an 
Easter attraction staged a drama, entitled "The Jewess," in the chief 
scene of which, representing the entry of the Emperor Sigismund, some 
200 persons appeared upon the stage. It became evident, though, that 
whilst Bristol possessed a theatre -loving community sufficient to appre- 
ciate a new production for a week or two, anything like a " reserve " to 
ensure a successful run was non-existent. But Mrs. McCready was a lady 
of resource, and all that was available in the way of entertainment and 
which offered a promise of success, she secured. Duerow's famous circus, 
the attractive troupe of Bedouin Arabs, each in turn found a place in the 
programme, whilst a series of promenade concerts and a fancy dress ball 
were amongst the innovations. 

Wallack, the popular Shakespearean actor, of Drury Lane, paid a couple 
of visits during the initial season, being accompanied on the first occasion 
by Miss Phillips, and on the second by Miss Helen Faucit, whilst Mrs. 
McCready herself frequently took part in the performance. 

It was during the autumn season of 1842 that Mr. James Henry Chute 
joined the Bristol company, the previous Eastertide having witnessed the 
production of a local pantomime entitled " Harlequin Hoddledy Gobbledy, 
or a legend of Cooke's Folly." During this year there were also visits 
from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean — Miss McCready appearing as Julia in 

37 



The Bristol Stage 



the " Hunchback " — from Wallack, the visit introducing both Mrs. and 
Miss McCready in the " Belle's Strategem," the before -mentioned 
attractions being closely followed by engagements of Mrs. FitzWilliam 
Buckstone, Macready, Mile. Cerito and M. St. Leon, the famous dancers, 
Charles Braham and Miss Romer, James Anderson, Charles Matthews, Mrs. 
Nisbitts, Miss Fanny Kemble and numerous other of the London lumin- 
aries. Although Mr. Woulds, for many years lessee of the Bath Theatre 
Royal, in 1837 was in receipt of financial support from Macready, but that 
season alone showing a loss of a thousand pounds, the lessee was compelled 
in 1840 to give fickle fortune best, and renounce the venture. A couple 
of announcements in the possession of Mrs. Chute clearly indicate the 
position. The earhest of these refers to " the production on May 5th, 
1840, of Rosini's Grand Opera Seria, the ' Maid of Pallasseau,' with Mr. 
Davidge in his original part of Philip, and with an otherwise excellent 
cast." 

The second announcement bears date May 6th, 1840, and would sug- 
gest that Mr. Woulds had not slept easily upon the result of the last 
night's performance. I reproduce it : — 



THEATRE ROYAL, BATH 

In consequence of the rapturous applause bestowed on Rosini's Grand Opera 
Seria the 

MAID OF PALAISEAU 

produced for the first time in the City of Bath, on 
Tuesday, May 5th, by eleven in the 
Boxes ! NINE in the Pit ! ! and twenty-eight in the 

Gallery ! 1 it will 
be Repeated on Thursday, May 7th, to give the 

Lovers of Music another opportunity 
of hearing the Composition of that Great Master. 

Mr. Woulds became a bankrupt, and in the March of 1841 the theatre 
passed into the hands of Mr. Davidge, he retiring after little more than 
twelve months, broken both in health and pocket. Messrs. Newcombe 
and Bedford carried through the uncompleted season, but by then had 
likewise had enough, so gave way to Mr. Hay, at the close of whose 
tenure, to use a theatrical expression, " the ghost did not walk," and to 
quote Laertes in " Mignon," the manager, thought to be an honest man, 
proved to be a non est man ! 

A further effort was made by Mr. Hooper, but no successor to him could 
be found. It was at the episode of Mr. Woulds' bankruptcy that Mrs. 
McCready took her dramatic company, headed by Mr. Edwin Forrest, 
the famous American actor, to the Bath theatre for one night, and subse- 
quently lent the company for a benefit there to Mr. Woulds, and twice 

38 



The Bristol Stage 



afterward for benefits to relieve the stranded actors. Undeterred by the 
past reverses within her knowledge, a five years' lease vv^as signed, and in 
September, 1845, Mrs. McCready gave her first performance as lessee and 
manageress of the Theatres Royal, Bristol and Bath. 

Whilst on the subject of the Bath theatre, I should wish to record that 
Mrs. McCready proved far from being indifferent to the position of her 
predecessor, for Woulds had joined the Bath stage as an actor in 181 1, 
and might be thought to have been deserving of a happier fate than his 
fellow citizens had afforded him. A benefit in Bristol was arranged, and 
Miss Woulds engaged as a member of the theatre company, she so con- 
tinuing up to 1857. At the outset of the new association, performances 
were given in Bristol on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and in Bath 
on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, but during later years, unless in the 
event of some exceptional engagement or local requirement, perform- 
ances at Bath were confined to Saturday evenings. 

An amusing episode of the reign of " Mrs. Mac." occurred during the 
visit of John Templeton — predecessor of Sims Reeves as star in ballad- 
opera — for whose benefit programme the opera " Masaniello " had been 
selected. The company being familiar with the work, a " run through " 
for orchestra and chorus during the afternoon of the performance was 
alone considered necessary, and it was not until the previous evening was 
the discovery made that the band parts were in Bath, where the opera had 
last been performed. Mine uncle (John Gover) and my father, both 
theatre enthusiasts, undertook to fetch the music. 

Early in the morning my uncle, who lived in Small Street, secured a 
suitable conveyance, and drove to the junction of the Bath and Knowle 
roads, there to pick up my father, then resident in the latter district. So 
well had the nag performed its task that the arrival was a few minutes in 
front of the time arranged, so there was a brief respite or breathing 
interval, but so far from this proving acceptable to the gee-gee, from the 
moment of my father's quite moderate weight entering the scales, neither 
whip nor coaxing could extract from it other than a dignified walking 
pace. 

Recognizing that under such conditions their mission was hopeless, at 
the " Lamb and Lark " inn at Keynsham they endeavoured to get another 
horse, but the stables there proved to be entirely empty. Still they learnt that 
a farmer, less than a mile distant and on the Bath road, would very probably 
be able to accommodate them, so, both having refreshed the inner man, 
■ they resumed their seats in the conveyance, and away went the horse, 
fresh as a four year old. The mystery was solved on the return to its 
stables, it being there disclosed that the horse had been doing funereal 
work, and after the pause to " pick up," proceeded circumspectly until 
it had again " set down ! " after which it was, of course, a go-as-you- 
please. 

The journey to Bath was accomplished in good time, the parts secured, 

39 



The Bristol Stage 



and on the strong recommendation of Mr. Loder, conductor at the Bath 
theatre, they took with them on the return journey a highly proficient 
chorus master. 

" Now," said the expert at the " run through," " Masaniello will go 
dpwn the stage, and we shall follow, but you don't budge an inch until 
I give you the lead, then watch me, and 'do exactly as I do." 

So dehghted was Mr. Templeton with his new chorus master that, by 
way of encouragement, he pressed a five-shilHng piece into his hand, and 
that proved his undoing, for the Bathonian discovered " The Old Duke " 
tavern, where the famed home-brewed proved more potent than was the 
renowned mineral spring ! 

In the evening Masaniello, finding himself alone at the front of the 
stage, whilst his companion fishermen hung like bees about their leader, 
whom he saw clung desperately to a rock-piece set perilously near 
Vesuvius, which in a minute would be in eruption, varied the opening line 
of the second verse of " Behold how brightly breaks the morn," to suit 
the occasion, singing, up stage, " Come down, come down in front now," 
to which the choirmaster replied, musically, of course, " I'll see, I'll see 
you hanged first," or words to that effect ! 

The last and most enduring production by Mrs. Macready — as for some 
time the name had been written — was that of the earlier episodes related 
in Mrs. Beecher Stowe's " Uncle Tom's Cabin," the original exponent of 
Uncle Tom being Mr. John Rouse. 

Mrs. Macready's death occurred at Bath on March 9th, 1853, her re- 
mains being brought to Bristol and interred with those of her husband in 
the Cathedral. 

Mr. Chute having virtually managed the Theatres Royal, but little 
change was noticeable upon his becoming lessee. 

The concluding episodes of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," which, as a matter 
of fact had been fully rehearsed and announced for production prior to 
Mrs. Macready's death, was presented on March 9th, 1853, the title role 
being entrusted to Mr. M'Lein (Mr. MacNeil, subsequently of the 
Princess's Theatre, Edinburgh, but then a member of the Bristol com- 
pany), Mr. George Melville being St. Clare ; Mr. Blewitt (Mr. John 
Chute), Dan Haley ; Legree, Mr. Peel ; Cassy, Miss Tyree ; Emmeline, 
Mrs. M'Lein ; Ophelia, Miss Jackson ; Mrs. St. Clare, Mrs. John Rouse ; 
Topsy, Miss Aldridge ; and Eva, Miss Clara St. Casse. 

Mr. Chute took a benefit, appearing as Don Caesar de Bazan, the theatre 
being then closed until September 13th. What happened during that 
considerable interval is best told in the re-opening announcement. 



40 



CHAPTER IV 

A.D. 1853 

THEATRE ROTAL, BRISTOL. 

Lessee and Manager, Mr. James Henry Chute. 
Queen Square, Bristol, and Alfred Street, Bath. 
It is respectfully announced that the above Establishment 
will OPEN for the season on 

Monday, September izth, 1853 

during the Recess the Theatre has been entirely Re-decorated 

the designs by Mr. J. S. Lenox, 

Executed by Mr. J. S. Lenox, Mr. Henry Gilbert, and Mr. F. Thorne. 

The New Act Drop 

by Messrs. Grieve and Telbin, of the Gallery of Illustration. 

The Saloon, Lobbies, Boxes, Passages, etc., 

Painted, Papered and Ornamented by W. S. Edkins & Sons 

The Ornamental Gilding 

by Mr. E. Harris, Clare Street. 

The Gas Fittings and Plant' throughout the building, Entirely New 

The Stage 
has been greatly extended and improved in order to increase the Scenic Effects 
and facilitate the Working of the Machinery. 

The Company's Water 

with Fire Mains has been laid on. 

An improved method of VENTILATION has been introduced. 

The Boxes are lined with a rich Crimson Flock paper. 

The Seats newly covered, and the Resters covered with crimson velvet. 

Among the Company 

will be found the names of several Old Favourites, with many new Can- 
didates for Public Favour. 

The Band 
will be under the direction of Mr. Salmon. 
Scenic Artistes 
Messrs. J. S. Lenox, Mr. Gilbert and F. Thorne. 

41 



The Bristol Stage 



The Stage Decorations and Properties 
by Mr, Woodyer, of the Theatre Royal, Dublin. 
The Machinery 
by Mr. Harwell. 
The Box Office 
For the accommodation and convenience of the Public will be at 
Holesgrove's, Booksellers, Drawbridge 

Prices of Admission. 

Lower Boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . Two and six 

Upper Boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . One and six 

Pit . . . . . . . , . . . . . . One shilling 

Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sixpence 

Private Boxes, Ten and Sixpence and One Guinea. 

On Monday and Tuesday, September 12th and 13th, will be 
Performed Sheridan Knowles's Tragic Play of 

THE WIFE, A Tale of Mantua. 

Julian St. Pierre . . . . . . Mr. G. Melville 

Leonardo Gonzazo T p • '\ ^^^ Harcourt Bland, 

T, J ^ I ,1 From the Theatre Royal, Dublin 

rerrado Gonzazo J of V,* tt 

I M [Mr. Verner 

\ ) From the Theatre Royal, 

Edinburgh 

Antonio, the Curate — Mr. Vollaire 

From the Theatres Royal, Liverpool and Birmingham 

Count Florida — Mr. C. Webster 

From the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. 

Lorenzo, An Advocate of Rome— -Mr. John Chute. 

Bartolo — Mr. Peel 

Mariana . . . . . . . . . . Miss Fanny Bennett 

From the Theatre Royal, Plymouth 

Floribel . . . . . . . . . . Miss Isabel Adams 

From the Royal Olympic Theatre, London 

After the Play on Monday evening 

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN, by the Whole Company. 
To conclude with an apropos Extravaganza 

MR. CHUTE'S ASCENT OF MOUNT PERNASSUS ! 

The Illustrative Views have been painted from Original Sketches by the 

Artists of the Establishment who accompanied Mr. Chute to the spot where 

they are exhibited. The Decorations by Mr. Woodyer. The Machinery by 

Mr. Harwell. The Music composed and arranged by Mr. Edward Fitzwilliam. 

Sole Lessee and Manager. 
Mr, Chute. His first appearance in that character. Mr. Chute 

42 



The Bristol Stage 



With some strengthening of the caste, no time was lost in again placing 
upon the boards the second part of " Uncle Tom," for, successful as had 
been the play dealing with the earlier episodes, that which introduced 
Miss Clara St. Casse — a wonderfully gifted child of ten years of age — 
created something of a furore. No actress, I should say, who ever graced 
the stage, came into her own more speedily than did this unaffected little 
lady. Mr. George Barker — composer of that famous ballad, " I am 
sitting on the stile, Mary," then on everybody's lips — wrote for Miss St. 
Casse Eva's dying song, " Oh ! my dear father, pray calm thy brow," 
and this she sang with such simple pathos that not many dry eyes were to 
be found in the theatre at its termination. With George Melville at the 
death-bed as Eva's father. Miss C. Fife as Topsy, and John Vollaire as 
Uncle Tom, the scene lost nothing of its intensity in dramatic represen- 
tation. 

VOLLAIRE. — I wonder how many of to-day's theatre-goers remember 
John Vollaire ! And yet he was an actor of rare ability, and one of the 
earliest of the Chute contributions to the London stage. It is not a great 
number of years ago that a local aspirant for high dramatic honours (but 
better versed in details of the auction mart) felt called upon to submit to 
the world his impersonation of Shakespeare's " Hamlet," and during the 
vacation of Sir Henry Irving secured the Lyceum for the purpose. " The 
new Hamlet " was duly boomed ; panel photographs, in character, 
graced fuU many prominent windows. The Daily Telegraph, in its lengthy 
notice of the occasion, said that the production was justified in the oppor- 
tunity it afforded of witnessing the splendid impersonation of Polonius 
by Mr. John Vollaire, an actor of whom we have seen too little in recent 
years. The remaining supporting members of the company received due 
acknowledgment, but the " star " was apparently forgotten ! This is the 
only occasion of which I have any knowledge of " Hamlet " with the 
Prince of Denmark omitted ! 

The Theatre Royal orchestra, which for some years had been led by 
Mr. Henry Cooper, was now under the leadership of Mr. Thaddeus Wells, 
Mr. Cooper, who married a daughter of Mr. Richard Benson, tobacconist. 
Broad Street, leaving for Covent Garden, and subsequently for many 
years conducting the " Cooper Opera Company," which devoted its 
attentions to the North of England and Scotland. 

After " Uncle Tom," which as a fiece de resistance served the manage- 
ment for upwards of thirty years, and more than twenty years after slavery 
in America (its raison d'etre) had been abolished, there was presented 
another Chute stage version of a popular work, " It's Never too Late to 
Mend," being dramatised under the title of " Gold," Mr. Melville repre- 
senting George Sandford and Miss Fanny Bennett Susan. 

The engagement of Mr. Walter Montgomery and Miss Clinton gave 
Mr. Chute the strongest combination of tragedians within my memory — 

43 



The Bristol Stage 



Walter Montgomery, George Melville, Harcourt Bland, John VoUaire, 
Fanny Young, Fanny Bennett, and Miss Clinton, each, be it said, in their 
prime. There was next a single performance by an Italian Opera Com- 
pany of " Des Huguenots." 

MISS MARIE WILTON.— The "World of Flowers " was the title 
of the 1853-4 pantomime. Miss Fanny Young playing the leading part, 
whilst Miss Marie Wilton, as the Sprite of the Silver Star, made her first 
appearance and met with an instantaneous success. Long since as is the 
date of this production, I still have a mental vision of this delightful 
soubrette as the " Sprite," and can conjure up some lines which Miss 
Marie Wilton (Lady Bancroft) has probably long since forgotten : — 

" How now my sprites, anything stirring ? " 
" Only you, Miss ! " 

"Oh! bother 1" . 
" Well, you know you are always on some move or other." 
" If I must confess the truth, be it so ! 

I have a horror of what is called the slow : 

Weary of the little progress here we're making, 

A trip to Earth, this night, I think of taking." 

A feature of the Theatre Royal in those " good old days " was in the 
designation of the O.P. side of the dress circle as the " Bachelors' box," 
and here it was that those claiming this condition of single blessedness 
elected to assemble in greater or smaller force to greet and applaud their 
favourites ; they were a splendid audience. Generally some sotto voce 
pleasantry passed from box to stage, and I recollect one occasion 
upon which Miss Marie Wilton, in the Bavarian costume, then pretty 
much in evidence in our cities as they hawked their toy chip -brooms, 
sang an up-to-date song : — 

" Buy of a wandering Bavarian a broom, 
Buy a broom ! " 

" How much ? " inquired a young but well-known solicitor from this 
box. 

Holding forth one of the little brooms in his direction. Miss Wilton 
replied instantly, " Six and eight-pence," a smartness of repartee which 
" brought down the house." 

Whilst speaking of the bachelors' box, I will mention that on another 
occasion,when, in 1865, the Sisters Nelson, daughters of the composer, 
were playing an engagement here, and Carry Nelson had a taking kind of 
song in which the words of the last line were followed by a couple of bars 
of music, which she whistled, after two or three performances one of 
these " gents " forestalled her, whistling her part, however, quite satis- 
factorily. Taking it all quietly. Miss Nelson at the close secured a round 

44 



The Bristol Stage 



of applause by remarking, as though it were in her part, " You whistle so 
cleverly, it's my belief you are first cousin to the whistling thief " ! the 
title of a then popular ditty. 

On March 13th there was a striking production of "The Sea of Ice," 
an exciting drama. 

G. V. Brooke and George Melville followed in Shakespearean plays, 
after which Mr. Chute gave " a benefit in aid of the funds for the relief 
of the wives and children of our soldiers." An appropriate drama, " The 
Soldier's Daughter," commenced the programme, after which Mr. George 
Melville spoke an " Address," written specially for the occasion by my 
father — Mr. G. F. Powell — this being followed by a new military ballet 
divertissement, arranged by Miss Fife. 

The production of two new plays — one, " The Will and the Way," 
founded on a story written, if my memory serves, by that then every- 
where popular novelist, Mr. J. F. Smith, and appearing in the London 
JournaV; the other, "The Corsican Brothers," by Dion Boucicault — 
brought the spring season to the benefit era, and in quick succession those 
of Miss Marie Wilton, appearing as Jack Sheppard (a play afterwards 
prohibited by the Lord Chamberlain), on May 1 6th, John VoUaire, Mr. 
and Mrs. Rouse, Mr. and Mrs. Harcourt-Bland, Salmon (musical con- 
ductor), and Dobbins (treasurer), were given, and then, on May 22nd, 
Mr. Chute made his appeal, " Napoleon's Flower " being the opening 
item, Mr. Chute enacting the part of Martin Andre, whilst the second 
item was " Green Bushes," with Mrs. Chute as Miami, this being her last 
appearance on the stage. 

The eminent comedian Mr. Wright played during the final week of the 
spring season " Paul Pry " and other works from his repertoire. 

An extensive season of Shakespeare and the otherwise " legitimate " 
followed, Mr. Walter Shelley, Mr. George Melville and Mr. Walter 
Montgomery, with Miss Fanny Young and Miss Fanny Bennett, being 
allocated to the chief parts. 

"Gulliver's Travels" formed the subject of the 1854-5 pantomime, 
the well-trained army of some seventy Lilliputs, under the command 
of Master Rouse, marching beneath Gulliver (Mr. Ellis), was mounted upon 
a couple of their sentry-boxes, legs astride, being a popular feature. In the 
harlequinade Delavanti was clown, Fosbrooke again pantaloon — a charac- 
ter he continued to represent for some period. 

In the course of a highly humorous description of the preparation of 
this " New, Grand, Gorgeous, Chivalrous, Brobdingnagian and Lilliputian 
Comic Christmas Pantomime, abounding with astonishing hits. Embel- 
lished and Illustrated by Extraordinary Effects, Pourtraying the Manners 
and Customs of a by -gone age, in the production of which Months of 
Time and Oceans of Money have been expended," Mr. Chute added, 
" The Magnificent Scenery Real and Ideal, taken from Bird's Eye Views, 
mixed with real Turkish, which in order to have been of great magnitude, 

45 



The Bristol Stage 



has been painted with double size, by Mr. J. S. Lenox and Mr. F. Thome." 

Mr. Thaddeus Wells following in the footsteps of Henry Cooper in 
joining the Covent Garden orchestra, the King Street orchestra received 
Mr. F. Merry as repetiteur under the conductorship of Mr. Salmon, Mrs. 
Merry (Miss PoweU), an accomplished danseuse, scoring considerably in 
subsequent pantomimes. 

Hitherto it had been customary to receive and look for the visits of the 
leading comedians of the London stage, to be supported by the members 
of the resident company ; now, .however, the process was reversed, and 
on August nth, the engagement being directed to the Lyceum theatre, 
it was with the " principal members " only, and quite irrespective of 
Madame Vestris and Mr. Charles Matthews. 

During the following week came " twenty -seven members of Miv 
Charles Kean's Royal Princess's theatre company" — but no Charles 
Kean! 

A benefit in behalf of the funds of the Infirmary was given on September 
nth, 1854, the " Poor Gentleman " being the chief item, and in this Mr. 
Chute, with my uncle, Mr. John Gover Powell, Mr. Walter Montgomery 
and Miss Fanny Young appeared ; whilst the autumn season, which com- 
menced immediately afterwards, presented Mr. Walter SheUey with 
Montgomery in the chief roles, Mr. George Melville, who had been 
engaged for the season, replacing Mr. Shelley on October 2nd. 

During the spring season of 1855 Miss Fanny Bennett appeared as 
** Hamlet," giving an excellent interpretation of the part of the young 
Dane and looking the character to the life. 

It was at this time that the everywhere popular ditty, " Billy Barlow," 
was written, and it found a place in the bill for some time, Mr. Rouse 
being announced to " relate the history of William Barlow." 

With the engagement of the celebrated actress, Miss Cushman, who 
during the course of her stay appeared as Romeo, the season was brought 
to a close. 

The Dublin Opera Company, amongst the principals being Miss Lanza, 
Mr. Henry Haigh and Mr. Durand, assisted by Mr. Chute, who appeared 
as Devilshoof in Balfe's " The Bohemian Girl," were next upon the scene. 
They remained here seven weeks and produced, in addition to the well- 
known operas, Donizetti's " Love Spell," Rosini's " Cinderella," and 
Weber's " Der Freischutz," whilst for his annual benefit Mr. Chute 
availed himself of the combination, and billed Auber's " Fra Diavolo," 
in which he played Lord Allcash. 

During Easter Mr. Charles Dillon presented " Belphagor," with Miss 
Marie Wilton as " Henri," the after attraction being Auber's " Masan- 
iello," by the Dublin Opera Company. 

Madame Celeste and Ben Webster then producing " Janet Pride," an 
excellent addition to their repertoire. 

Miss C. Fife, who had become very popular by reason of her perform- 

46 



The Bristol Stage 



ance of Topsy in " Uncle Tom's Cabin," Oliver Twist and other charac- 
ters, as well as by her graceful dancing, took a benefit, presenting Home's 
play of " Douglas," in which Mr. Daniel Williams appeared as Young 
Norval. Miss Fife afterwards became Mrs. Dan Williams (of Wills, Biggs 
& Williams, Victoria Street, and later resident at Bournemouth). 

The famous Spanish dancers, Perea Nena, Marcot Diaz and others 
fulfilled a four nights' engagement, and closed the season. 

On October 15th Mr. Chute produced an excellent spectacular piece, 
the " Fall of Sebastopol," this event being the topic of the day. The 
pantomime " Whittington and his Cat " introduced Miss Marie Wilton 
as the hero of the story, Signor Sylvani being the cat, whilst Mr. John 
Rouse was also in the cast. 

Perhaps too much importance should not be attached to foreign names, 
such as " Signor Sylvani," who was cast for sprite, especially in the 
character of sprite or clown ! But the pubUc would have shied at an 
English one ! " Mr. Dean ! " mused Mr. Chute, on another occasion, 
" that will never do for clown," so forthwith he became " Herr Deani," 
and proved one of Bristol's best exponents of the character. Some time 
later, when engaged for an al fresco fete, the management had announced 
him as Mr. Dean. " That won't do for me," exclaimed the clever 
acrobat, " you got to call me by my name, Mr. Herr Deani ! " 

There followed the pantomime a succession of most approved expon- 
ents of Shakespearean characters, viz. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pitts, Mr. 
Phelps, and Mr. James Anderson, with Miss Elsworthy, after which Miss 
Rebecca Isaacs, an accomplished prima donna, next made her first appear- 
ance here. During August " Picco " — the blind-born Sardinian min- 
strel, the sensation of the day — gave an afternoon performance at the 
Zoo, and an evening concert at the Theatre Royal. 

Under the patronage of the Freemasons, Mr. W. H. Angel, an old, 
versatile and valued member of the Stock Company, took a benefit, 
" Don Caesar de Bazan " being the attraction, with Mr. Chute in the 
title role, Mr. Angel, the Marquis, Miss Louisa Angel, Lazarilla, and Miss 
Marie Wilton, for the first time, Maritana. In August there was an im- 
portant visit from London, Mr. Leigh Murray bringing his entire company, 
the which included Miss Jenny Marston. During the three weeks of 
their sojourn the company produced " Still Waters Run Deep," and the 
" Marble Heart," which plays proved the greater attractions. An 
ItaUan Opera Company, with Mesdames Grisi, Gassier, Bellonio, and 
Messieurs Mario and Albercine amongst the artistes, Signor Li Calsi 
being in the conductor's chair, being the most important engagement. 
" II Barbiere " and " Lucrezia Borgia," with an act of " Sonambula," 
constituted the programme. In order to meet the exceptional expense 
of this venture, the pit was boarded over, the carpeted raised floor being 
fitted with stall -chairs, both circle and stalls being similarly priced 8^. 6d.^ 
and at the performances each seat was occupied. 

+7 



The Bristol Stage 



On October 20th, 1856, Mr. Charles Matthews, accompanied by Miss 
Mason, commenced an engagement, being followed hy Ben^Webster and 
Madame Celeste. Madame Celeste became a frequent visitor to our 
boards for many years, and I think was as happy amidst her Bristol sur- 
roundings as at her London dramatic home, the Adelphi Theatre. 

A Chute version of Mrs. Beecher Stowe's new work " Dred, a Tale of 
the Dismal Swamp," with George Melville in the title role, was produced 
with some success, but very far from that attending the dramatic version 
of her earlier work. The 1856 pantomime was "Jack and the Bean- 
stalk " ; and in this Miss E. Grattan (Mrs. Courtaine) played Jack, other 
characters falling to the lot of Miss Louisa Angel, Mr. and Mrs. John 
Rouse, Mr. D. Evans, and Mr. Henry Courtaine, whilst the harlequinade 
was supported by Herr Deani, clown ; pantaloon, Mr. Fosbrooke ; Har- 
lequin, Mr. Duff ; Columbine, Miss Woodyer ; and Spirit of the cat, 
Miss Ida Wilton, a younger sister of Miss Marie Wilton. 

Again under Masonic patronage, a benefit was given to Mr. W. H. 
Angel and Miss Louisa Angel, the latter reciting a Masonic address, 
written by Mr. G. F. Powell. 

Mr. D. H. Jones appeared in a revival of " Dred," and then an English 
Opera Company during four weeks, well known vocaHsts in this com- 
bination being Miss Lucy Escott, Miss Lanza and Miss Dyer, with Messrs. 
Henry Haigh, Aynsley Cook and Charles Durand. Sir William Don, 
Bart., — a very acceptable actor — played here for the first time, and was 
well received. 

During the summer vacation, a Continental BaUet company, with Mile. 
Marie and Signor Veroni, paid a short visit, whilst Mr. and Mrs. Howard 
Paul appeared for ten nights in August. 

Again was there an excellent Italian Opera company, amongst the 
artistes appearing being Mile. Piccolomini, Signors Benevantano, Belart, 
Belletti and Guiglini, " La Traviata " and " La Figlia del Regimento " 
being the operas selected ; and upon their departure Mr. Leigh Murray 
again came to Bristol, bringing with him an exceedingly strong company, 
amongst others Messrs. Charles Vincent, W. H. Vernon and George Bel- 
more, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Vincent (Miss Cleveland) being immedi- 
ately engaged for the stock season. It was an excellent production of 
the play of " Faust and Marguerite " with which they opened their 
campaign. 

There was a fortnight with T. C. King, a week with Sir William Don, 
Bart., and then yet another powerful Operatic company, headed by 
Madame Gassier and Mr. Sims Reeves, producing the operas of " The 
Bohemian Girl," " Don Giovanni," and Verdi's " II Trovatore." 

MR. GEORGE MELVILLE.— The popularity of Mr. George Mel- 
ville, who followed, was by no means restricted to the stage, for any 
announcement of a Shakespearean reading at his hands brought together 

48 



The Bristol Stage 



an appreciative audience. It was for this reason, no doubt, that the 
Temperance party entered into an engagement with him to interlard 
their propaganda at the Broadmead Rooms, with some Shakespearean 
gems, the meat, as it were, between the drier portions of the sandwich. 
The customary place of meeting by this body was at the hall in Tailor's 
Court, but this was a special effort on a big scale, and the Broadmead 
Rooms at that time constituted the most extensive public hall in the city. 
There was a large audience, as many, or perhaps more, being desirous of 
listening to the actor as to the temperance orators. Upon the platform - 
table beside which sat the chairman and Mr. Melville, was a partially 
fiUed stoppered crystal water bottle, and glass. When Mr. Melville had 
been reading for some time, he quite unobtrusively removed the stopper 
and was proceeding to pour some of the crystal liquor into his glass, when 
the chairman, whether scenting a familiar odour or not, may not be said, 
seized upon the bottle and hugged it to his chest. Mr. Melville ex- 
plained that it was impossible for him to get through the programme 
without some little stimulant, that he would have preferred stout, but 
not to offend susceptibilities, he had ordered a little gin to be added 
to the water. The chairman, however, was adamant, and hugged still 
closer the offending decanter. Mr. Melville shrugged his shoulders, and 
was about to quit the stage, when a voice from the body of the hall, and 
which was greeted with both hearty applause and laughter, was heard to 
exclaim, " drink the gin theeself, Melville, and hit him over the nose 
with the stopper." 



49 



CHAPTER V 

A.D. 1858 

NOT all of the theatre company were able to secure reading engage- 
ments during the recess, and more than one effort had been made 
to indulge in a self-supporting holiday tour of the then theatreless resorts 
of the beautiful west. An effort to dramatically enlighten the inhabi- 
tants of several towns, more or less important, of the Southern Princi- 
pality, energetically carried out by Mr. John Coleman and Mr. John Chute, 
from the Bristol and Bath theatres, inspired no desire, however, for a 
repeated venture on their part. With appropriate scenery, costumes and 
effects, Mr. John Coleman was prepared to enact them Shakespeare at his 
best, but Taffy proved anything but reasonably responsive, and so in- 
differently did the " Cr." column of the ledger compare with that on the 
opposite side of the volume, that the management was compelled to leave 
portions of their scenic accessories at some of the localities visited, in order 
to enable the members of the company to travel to their next town. 
Arrived (and thankfully) at the penultimate locale — Monmouth, I think 
it was — evidence was not wanting that here must they shed their last 
feather. So Mr. Coleman, making a virtue of necessity and taking the 
bull by the horns, awoke his final point of engagement, Newport, with the 
following announcement in prominent and arresting characters ! 

NOTICE 

In order that these great works may be presented to the gentry and others 
of the town of Newport, Precisely as Designed by the Immortal Shake- 
speare, the management desires to announce that the productions will be 

Entirely Denuded of Scenery ! ! 

Another brave venture, but of a less ponderous character than the 
combination of John Coleman and William Shakespeare, was made by 
some young actors, who selected a nearer pitch, in that land " Where the 
zidur apples grow." Looking between the curtains and appraising the 
audience present some quarter -of-an-hour after the time specified for 
commencing the programme, and counting four in one set of seats and 
two in another, the manager advanced to the front and addressed " the 
house," " Ladies and Gentlemen," he said, " it is with the deepest 

SO 



The Bristol Stage 



regret that I have to announce that the entire company has been taken 
ill ; so there will be no performance. But if you will kindly apply at the 
box-office, near the entrance, your orders will be returned to you." 

MISS MANDLEBERT.— The Christmas production of 1857 proved 
an unusually popular one, " Valentine and Orson " being the subject. Miss 
Mandlebert (always an admired leading lady) making a striking hero, and 
Mr. John Rouse a capital Orson. The representative of Bruina, the bear 
foster-mother of the latter, was Mr. Marchant. The forest set was very 
good, the centre of the stage being occupied by a bear-pit with climbing 
post, made familiar by that at the Zoological Gardens, of which it was a 
reproduction. When Valentine, armed with the magic sword and shield 
entered, the bear gave note, so for purposes of reconnoitre Valentine 
ascended an orange tree, and immediately upon Orson's appearance threw 
a sample of the fruit at his head, 

Orson. " Come drop that." 

Valentine. " I can't drop that, but here's another." 

Orson (angry). " My name's Orson. 

Valentine. " Is it i How's your mother ? " 

A little later mamma bear cries from the depth of her home, " Well, 
Orson, got anything to eat ? " 

Orson. " A leg of Southdown." 

Bear. " What's that ? " 

Orson. " Mutton." 

Bear. " Throw it down." 

Orson. " Come up for it, you glutton ! " 

Of the other characters in the pantomime Mr. D. Evans was King 
Pippin ; Henry, Mr. Lingard ; Colin Clump and Toby Trott, Mr. Wil- 
son and Mr. T. Rogerson ; Hugo, Valentine's servant, Mr. Fosbrooke ; 
Princess, Miss Bella Cruise ; Agatha, her confidant. Miss Maria Cruise ; 
Fairy Queen, Miss Woodyer ; Dew Drop, Miss Maria Mandlebert ; 
Sport, Miss Alice Bullock ; Pastime, Miss Madge Robertson ; and 
Facolet, Miss Kate Bishop. 

It was during the early days of this production that, owing to the care- 
lessness of a stage hand, Mr. Fosbrooke, in carrying out a revolving chair 
act, had the misfortune to receive a fractured leg, and the harlequinade 
knew him no more, his place being taken for the remainder of the run by 
Mr. Douglas Grey. On this last occasion he had as companion pantomi- 
mists, Herr Deani as clown, Signor Wiling as harlequin. Miss Woodyer and 
Miss Maria Mandlebert, who appeared as Columbine and Harlequina 
respectively. 

It was in connection with this pantomime that Miss Margaret (Madge) 
Robertson took her place in the salary sheet, being remunerated to the 

51 



The Bristol Stage 



extent of is. 6d. per night ; shortl7 afterwards Masters Fred Robertson, 
Fred Marshall and Miss Kate Bishop followed on similar terms, and later 
still, Alfred Bishop, one night 6d. Not great earnings it might appear for 
the Kate Bishop or Mrs. Kendal of the future, of Fred MarshaU, or of 
Fred Craven Robertson of provincial " Caste " renown, but be it borne 
in mind that they were but tiny children, learning their valuable pro- 
fession, and that their parents had not been called upon for " appren- 
tice " fees. But salaries, as recorded in the archives of the Bristol theatre, 
are of a strikingly modest character throughout, and yet, having regard to 
the eagerness of all and sundry to become under the Chute management, 
there is no reason whatever to presume that they were less in Bristol than 
in any other provincial centre. Mr. Arthur Stirling's weekly salary was 
70J. ; Mr. George Melville received 63J. ; Miss Fanny Bennett and Miss 
Adelaide Bowering, 6oj, each ; Mr. Henry Sinclair, 40/. ; Mr. John Chute 
and William Rignold, 42 j. ; George Rignold, 30J. ; Fosbrooke, 3IJ. 6d. ; 
Miss Mandlebert, yzs. ; Miss Marie Wilton, 35J. Of the joint salaries 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Vincent (Miss Cleveland) were paid j^5 los. weekly ; 
Mr, and Mrs. John Rouse, £•} ip. 6d. ; whilst upon the occasion of Bath 
performances, the principal ladies were each paid 3J., and others of the 
Company 2S. 3^., from which they paid their fare, is. lid. for the return 
journey, squandering the balance on a glass or two of ale, or " a cup of the 
beverage which cheers," etc., whilst awaiting the arrival of the midnight 
train to Bristol. 

Of the scenic artists, Mr. Lennox received 55/. and a benefit ; Mr. 
William Gordon, 30J. ; Mr. George Gordon, 25J. ; Mr. Salmon, as con- 
ductor of the orchestra, was paid 42/., with a benefit ; the individual 
members, amongst whom were such well-known musicians as Thos. 
Glover, W, H. Poore, W. Maby, Uriah Richardson, John Pavey, etc., 
24J. ; whilst the leader, Thaddeus Wells, received 3IJ. 6d., and his suc- 
cessor, J. O. Brooke, 25/. For the performances at Bath, Mr. Salmon 
usually took with him the leader and three other selected instrumen- 
talists, who also received their 2s. 3^. each. In the days of Mrs. Macready, 
it occasionally created either amusement or consternation to find upon 
the assembly at Temple Meads railway station, that the " villagers " or 
other " extra " representatives who had done duty in Bristol, and who 
were reaUy essential to the programme, were reduced in number from six 
or eight to two or four, the manageress having during the previous 
evening confidentially conveyed to the missing demoseUes, *' you have a 
bad cold, my chUd, they can very easily do without you at Bath." Thus 
was many a one and six and three and three saved, for the devoted 
purpose of her godson's money-box. 

Not until several years later was so important a specific salary as j^5 
per week paid to any individual member of the Stock Company, Miss 
Henrietta Hodson then being the recipient during the last season of her 
engagement at the theatre. 

52 



The Bristol Stage 



The clown touched that figure ! but he alone counted at theatre har- 
vest's tide, and his features (?) alone'graced the city walls. Names such as 
those of Miss Marie Wilton, Ellen Terry, Carlotta Addison or the Rignolds 
were announced much later than that of Herr, or Signor Clown, and 
found no place in the " star " bills of the day. 

" Herr Deani " received as " stipend " ,^5 per week during the panto- 
mime, half that sum during rehearsals, and a benefit. The benefit ! it 
may be said, the clown's night always attracting an overflowing audience. 
Mr. Fosbrooke, Mr. Duff and others received an additional 10/. per week 
during their appearance in pantomime. 

To arrive at any fair estimate of what annual income these figures might 
represent is by no means easy, if desirable, there being so many controlling 
conditions which it would be necessary to take into consideration. In the 
first place the theatrical career of the clown could only be regarded as of 
brief duration,whilst the year's dramatic seasons usually represented seven to 
eight months only of the twelve, theatrical terms — as recognized through- 
out the profession — being " no play, no pay." On the other side of the 
picture was the additional revenue derived from the annual benefit, 
conceded to practically all, and which, according to the popularity en- 
joyed, realized up to very substantial sums indeed. Nor was it that this 
opportunity of testing one's popularity was the privilege of the more 
prominent actors or actresses only, for those of a less exalted sphere had 
their " ticket nights" whereon every ticket sold by themselves or well- 
wishers, and presented for admission to the performance entitled the 
beneficiare to fifty per cent, of its face value, whilst tickets so purchased 
and not used, of which there were on occasions not a few, enabled him, or 
her, to justly retain the entire sum. 

Salaries were not, however, indicative of merit, or favouritism, as were 
benefit results, for Hke the industrial workers of the present day, stage 
exponents had their especial lines of business, in the execution of which, 
those of the one branch were as efficient as those in another, and even — 
to again employ an up-to-date analogy — as the pattern-maker, turner, or 
fitter may be in receipt of varying remuneration for his labour, on a 
recognized scale, so the parts specified in the actor's engagement would 
suggest the relative nature of his salary. There were the juvenile head, 
first and second hght, and also low comedians, old men and character- 
actors, walking gentlemen, and so on, with corresponding character 
representatives on the ladies' side, and these definitions still obtain — 
save that the old woman and the chambermaid of the past have become 
the dame and the soubrette of to-day. 

There were also, of course, the " star," the manager, and the " first 
robber," i.e. the money taker, but the two last important roles were 
generally in one hand, and anyhow were irrespective of the actors' salary 
list. 

Of the sublime total the before-mentioned method assumed in any 

53 



The Bristol Stage 



single instance, I am profoundly ignorant, but this I can, bv reason of the 
tnany and enduring friendships which from time to time I formed, alhrm, 
that a more contented community than that associated with the Bristol 
stage, or one more highly esteemed by those with whom they were 
brought into association, was not easy of discovery. That the little 
children " stuck to the ship " would seem to claim as much, whilst the 
histrionic aptitude, to be attributed to both heredity and early culture, 
has spoken loudly in the succeeding generations. Take the remarkable 
records of the Terry family — although not associated with Bristol until a 
little later ; of the Bishops, Mrs. Bishop herself being an excellent actress, 
both her son Alfred and daughter Kate earning enviable reputations ; 
whilst Miss Mary Lohr, daughter of the last named, is now on the pinnacle 
whereon Miss Ellen Terry stood ! Then again the Robertson family, of 
whom the mother had proved herself a scholarly exponent of Shake- 
speare's dames for many years. The eldest son, Tom Robertson, was 
author of those famous plays, " Caste," " School," " David Garrick," and 
many'others ; Miss Fanny Robertson and Miss Brunton became rare pro- 
vincial favourites in their brother's plays, as did Fred Craven Robertson, 
by whom they were toured for years ; and last, although the senior of her 
brother Fred, was Madge — Mrs. Kendal — one of the most distinguished 
actresses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

Mr. Chute used to speak of his old manager as having also been a good 
actor. I remember him, however, at the close of his long career. He 
was cast for " the fiery Tybalt," but " funking " the fall upon receipt of 
his quietus, he slid to a sitting position, and then leant back, prone upon 
the stage ! 

The seasons 1858 and 1859 disclosed an exceedingly powerful " all- 
round " company, and less resort to extraneous aid was very marked. 
Such visits as were in evidence had shown the " stars," as compelled, 
either by an increase of personnel, or the inclusion of new works in thread- 
bare repertoire, in order to increase their powers of attraction. Of the 
resident actors of a.d. 1858-9 it is only necessary to mention such names 
as those of Misses Cleveland, Mandlebert, Adelaide Bowering, Emily 
Thome, Mrs. Robertson, Holston and Bishop, together with Messrs. 
Arthur Stirling, Charles Vincent, Arthur Wood, William and George 
Rignold, J. B. Steele, Holston, Henry Farrell, Fosbrooke and David 
-Evans. Mr. Ben Webster and Madame Celeste came in February, but 
they brought with them Messrs. Wright and Paul Bedford, the two most 
popular comedians of the period, and produced " The Poor Strollers," as 
" commanded " by Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince Consort, 
during the previous week, whilst with the two comedians as Grinnidge and 
Jack Gong, in the " Green Bushes," this engagement secured new life for 
that exciting drama. 

Then Sir William Don, Bart., accompanied by Lady Don, introduced 
two new items, " The Evil Genius," and the Farce " The Tragedy of the 

-54 



i 



-^X^lw^ 



t7 c>/L^ 








^— '^ii-: 




7/^e Dfdmafic company. Scen/c Ar/-/s/-s& Oycfyesff^a/feddef'S, 
- Theatre Royal. Bristol. a.d i85o-i860. - 

\To/acep.55- 



The Bristol Stage 



I 



Seven Dials," whilst Mr. and Mrs. Henry Haigh revived, after many 
years, the musical Play " The Devil's Bridge," and Miss Vadenhoff was 
seen in a new Play, " Woman's Heart." Otherwise the local company 
completed the spring programme, a new (and duly licensed) version of 
" Jack Sheppard " the idle apprentice, being personated by Miss Mandle- 
bert, bringing it to a close. 

In the autumn Miss Marie Wilton delighted all as Cupid in the new 
extravaganza " Atalanta," following as Nan in " Good for Nothing," 
and for her benefit and last appearance, producing here " The Little 
Devil." 

On September 22nd Miss Kate Mandlebert (afterwards Mrs. George 
R. Chapman), and a younger sister of Miss Mandlebert, made her appear- 
ance, playing Albert, of apple renown, his father, " WiUiam Tell," being 
represented by Mr. George Melville, whilst a fortnight or three weeks 
later, another of the coming artistes, Miss Madge Robertson, was cast for 
the part of Eva in " Uncle Tom's Cabin." 

A splendid production of " Midsummer Night's Dream," for which the 
services of Mr. Wm. Gordon (scenic artist of Charles Kean's production 
at the Princess's) had been secured to supplement his already strong staff 
of artists, followed, and then a striking drama, " Jessie Brown," dealing 
with the ReHef of Lucknow, attracted large audiences. 

MISS CLEVELAND.— Miss Cleveland had by this time become an 
enormous favourite, her popularity being considerably enhanced by a 
capital extravaganza " Conrad and Medora," in which, with Miss Mandle- 
bert as Medora, she made a great hit as the corsair, following this success 
by undertaking the part of Romeo. 

For the Christmas pantomime, 1858-9, "The Babes in the Wood," 
the company engaged in the opening story were, for the first time, 
elevated to a fellow distinction with the clown, etc., by their names 
appearing in the announce advertisements, an innovation which " had 
come to stay." 

On June 30th and July 1st " that justly distinguished eccentric come- 
dian and comic singer," Mr. Sam Cowell, gave concerts, being supported 
by the Misses Henry, and Master Haydn Corri. At this period in the 
world's history, Sam Cowell was all the rage. 

Another important engagement of Italian Opera artistes inaugurated 
the autumn season of 1859, amongst the vocalists being Mile. Titiens, 
Madame Borchardi and Miles. Vaneri and Dellanese ; Signors Badiali, 
Vialetti, Borchardt, Corsi, Castelli and that famous tenor, Signor Giug- 
lini ! The conductor was Signor Arditti, all hailing from Her Majesty's 
Theatre. Their stay was for the customary two nights only, September 
19th and 20th, and on the Monday " II Trovatore " was the attraction, 
that of the following evening being Donizetti's powerful opera " Lucrezia 
Borgia." 

55 



The Bristol Stage 



It did not occur at Bristol, but it was an incident of the further jour- 
neying of this operatic galaxy, so perhaps I may relate it. It was at 
Dublin, and Signor Guiglini, possibly from the effects of mal-de-mer, 
was indisposed, Signor Corsi being his substitute in " II Trovatore," the 
opera with which the engagement opened. The house was fuU, and the 
gallery, with price raised from sixpence to a shilling, overflowed with 
Dublin bhoys, the most appreciative audience of opera in the British 
Isles ! Manrico had barely dehvered the concluding stanza of his first 
number, sung previous to his appearance, when a voice from the gods, 
betokening much inward pain, was heard to exclaim, " Oh ! me extra 
sixpence." 

Amongst the principals available at the outset of the autumn season, 
I remember Misses Adelaide Bowering, Mandlebert, Emily Thorne, and 
Emily Wood, together with Messrs, Arthur Stirling, William Rignold, 
J. B. Steele, Arthur Wood and Holston. A capital apropos farce, the 
" Rifle Volunteers," in which Miss Emily Thorne " raised " and drilled 
twenty-eight ladies, all being in correct rifle volunteer attire and with 
rifles, proved a huge success, and on November 23rd the performance was 
under the patronage of the Lt.-Col., officers and members of the Bristol 
Volunteer Rifle Corps, the programme consisting of " Midsummer 
Night's Dream," a patriotic address from the pen of Mr. G. F. Powell 
and delivered by Mr. Arthur Stirling, and the farce the " Rifle Volun- 
teers." So well did the female contingent carry out their platoon drill, 
that they were encored, Miss Emily Thorne being recalled again and 
again. 

MR. WILLIAM RIGNOLD.— The pantomime 1859-60 was "Red 
Riding Hood," Miss Powell (Mrs. Merry) as the heroine and WiUiam 
Rignold the wolf. Rignold was an accomplished violinist, and in this 
production played a solo on the stage. To introduce this he was pro- 
vided with the following lines, addressed to Red Riding Hood : — 

" You Won't Dance ? 
You shall, by Jupiter Ammon ! 
For know that I play like unto the far-famed Salmon ! " 

But they pleased him not 1 So on the occasion of the initial performance 
he gradually ran down the gamut until the " Salmon " was in the vasty 
deep, and inaudible. 

This pleased not the conductor, who drew the gov'nor's attention 
thereto. 

The following night the process was reversed, and the " Salmon " 
came from the clouds in a perfect yell. The audience, previously amused, 
was now greatly tickled. Further remonstration and the third attempt 
was, from start to finish, in monotone not varying a hair's breadth. 
" Better cut it out, William," said Mr. Chute, and out it went ! 

56 



The Bristol Stage 



The secret of the situation was that Salmon's fiddle -scraping was neyer 
enjoyable to either the house or company, and Rignold's violin solo 
pleased both. 

Throughout the season i860 the Stock Company was in yet increasing 
evidence, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Matthews, Ben Webster with Miss 
Woolgar in " The Dead Heart," and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean and 
company, being the only outside engagements of the spring. During 
the recess a grand opera company with Madl. Rudersdorff, and Messrs. 
St. Alwyn and Elliot Galer, paid a visit, the conductor being Sig. Ran- 
dagger, and a taking local production, " Gizelle — the Phantom Night- 
Dancers," proved the piece de resistance during the autumn. " Puss in 
Boots " was the 1 860-1 pantomime, Miss Kate Mandlebert being Puss, 
and executing an attractive fas de seul in top-boots, the Baron being in 
the capable hands of Mr. George Rignold. 

The production of Dion Boucicault's famous drama the " Colleen 
Bawn " inaugurated the theatrical season of 1861, Miss Cleveland filling 
the title role, her husband, Mr. Charles Vincent, giving a powerful in- 
terpretation of Danny Mann, and Mr. Arthur Wood proving a capital 
Miles -na-Coppaleen. At a revival^of this epoch-making drama, in 1862, 
as a surprise packet. Miss Marie Cruise played Eily O'Connor. Miss 
Cruise was a niece of Michael Balfe, the Hibernian and famous composer 
of " Bohemian Girl," " Puritan's Daughter," etc., and, as already indi- 
cated, she had been for several seasons a member of the Bristol Company, 
but except when singing, her delivery spoke as emphatically of the sister 
Isle, as — ^well, as did the Dublin jaunting-car. " Will I spake with a 
brogue, Mr. Chute ? " she inquired when the part was entrusted to her. 
" Speak just as you usually do, my dear," was Mr. Chute's reply, the 
cryptic nature of which greatly tickled the other members of the com- 
pany then upon the stage. 

Mr. Vollaire was Father Tom ; Mr. William Rignold, Hardress Cregan ; 
and Mr. David Evans, Mr. Corrigan. The Drama, the first of the " sen- 
sational " school, was finely produced, the new scenery being painted 
by Mr. George Gordon. 

After a fortnight of postponement owing to the illness of Miss Louisa 
Pyne, the famous Pyne and Harrison Opera Company, from Covent 
Garden, made a welcome appearance here, staging Balfe's "The Rose 
of Castille," Vincent Wallace's " Lurline," and " Maritana," Auber's 
" Crown Diamonds," and the first named's " Satanella." Mr. Alfred 
Mellon was conductor, and amongst the operatic company were Misses 
Thirlwall, Leffler and Wood, and Messrs. Henry Wharton, Henry Corri, 
St. Albyn, George Honey and Charles Lyall ; these in addition, of course, 
to Miss Louisa Pyne and Mr. William Harrison. 

An apropos sketch, "The Census," followed. An unusually strong 
combination, consisting of Mr. George Melville and Miss Heath, Mr- 
J. G. Shore, Mr. M'Lein, Mr. R. Cathcart, Mr. J. Clarke and others, 

57 



The Bristol Stage 



appeared in " The Lady of Lyons," " Corsican Brothers," and " Romeo 
and JuHet," were each billed, whilst Johnnie Clarke delighted all by 
appearing in his original characters in " The Bonny Fishwife " and 
" Vandyke Brown " ; the fortnight's engagement concluding with 
" Ruy Bias." 

Mr. and Mrs. F. B. Conway, American artistes, brought with them a 
new play, by Westland Marston, entitled "Ann Blake," and an American 
piece " Romance of a Poor Young Man," the other items produced being 
of the stereotyped order. 

The " Colleen Bawn " was again to the fore, but with a considerably 
varied cast, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Vincent (Miss Cleveland) having left 
the company in May. 

HENRIETTA HODSON.— On October 7th, i86i, Mr. Chute pro- 
duced H. J. Byron's burlesque " Aladdin," and it was in this that Miss 
Henrietta Hodson, in the title role, made her instantaneous success. Mr. 
Arthur Wood also scored considerably as The Widow Twankey. 

Madame Grisi, taking her farewell — and vocally, none too early — 
appeared on October 15th in " Don Giovanni," and i8th in " Norma," 
the dramatic company continuing " Aladdin " on the off nights, after 
which Mr. James Anderson played an engagement of four nights. Miss 
Amy Sedgwick, the popular actress, following with the latest Haymarket 
success, "An Unequal Match," "The Love Chase," and producing a 
new play, " A Charming Woman." 

A special production, with new scenery by Mr. George Gordon — Mr. 
J. S. Lenox, the veteran, having retired to the quietude of Hastings, 
where for several years he lived to enjoy the southern breezes of that 
delightful town — ^was the " Angel of Midnight," Miss Margaret Eburne 
enacted the chief character, in the somewhat weird play, which kept the 
bill for some time, being supported either by " Aladdin " or " CoUeen 
Bawn." 

Lt.-Col. Bush, officers and members of the City of Bristol Rifle 
Volunteers, of which Mr. J. H. Chute was a member, gave a bespeak on 
November 29th, "The Honeymoon" and "Aladdin" being the dra- 
matic fare, and the band of the regiment playing selections of music. 

Some powerful (!) plays followed this, notably " The Idiot of the Moun- 
tains," " The Terrible Secret," and Mr. John Coleman with " Catherine 
Howard," but "Aladdin," which followed each evening, sent the audi- 
ences away happy — and let us hope, undisturbed by nightmare ! 

MR. GEORGE RIGNOLD.— On Christmas Eve was presented the 
1861-2 pantomime, " Jack the Giant Killer," Mr. H. J. Byron's Fairy 
burlesque being provided with the requisite harlequinade tail. Miss 
Henrietta Hodson was Jack, whilst Mr. George Rignold represented the 
Giant Gorgibuster ; Mr. Persivani was Clown, Mr, Doughty, the famous 
Bristol clown, with his dogs, " Clown on his travels." 

58 



CHAPTER VI 



A.D. 1862 



THE success of the " Colleen Bawn," a drama of homely Irish romance, 
pointed to a welcome for its companion play, " Peep o' Day," by 
Edmund Falconer, who had been the original Danny Mann in the 
" Colleen Bawn " at the Adelphi, but, grasping his opportunity, wrote 
" Peep o' Day," and resigning his engagement, took the Lyceum Theatre, 
where he set out to compete with Boucicault in the race for popularity. 
On March 24th the drama was staged in admirable style at the Theatre 
Royal, and excepting a week with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean, occupied 
the bill to the season's end. May 14th. 

A burlesque of the " Colleen Bawn," written in the most delightful 
spirit of banter, by H. J. Byron, proved a real attraction. Everybody 
who had seen the drama felt constrained to see " Miss Eily O'Connor," 
as the humorous item was called. Miss Henrietta Hodson as the Miles, 
William Rignold, Danny Mann, and Arthur Wood, Eily O'Connor ; rare 
promise of rattling gaiety, as all then recognized. 

Mr. George Rignold next appeared as Varney in " Tale of Two 
Cities," and then Mr. WiUiam Rignold took his first benefit, the play 
being " Writing on the Wall," but he concluded with a musical novelty 
of his own, " The Alabama Minstrels." Sitting a la Christy's, there were : 
tambourine, Mr. Adams ; theatre prompter, second viohn, Mr. George 
Rignold ; tenor, Mr. Andrews ; first violin (centre), Mr. William Rig- 
nold ; guitar, Mr. Wood ; concertina, Mr. Trafford ; bones, Mr. Grey. 
The huge joke was applauded to the echo. 

On April 1 8 th a special performance, arranged by a committee of 
gentlemen, with admission prices doubled, was given " as a token of 
sympathy with Mr. Chute, on account of the heavy loss sustained by him 
owing to the destruction of the Theatre Royal, Bath," Morton's fine old 
English comedy, " Speed the Plough," was presented, Mr. G. F. Powell 
again appearing as Farmer Ashfield, Sir Abel Handy, by Mr. H. Layard ; 
Sir PhiHp Blandford, Mr. George Rignold ; Evergreen, Mr. Vernon ; 
Susan Ashfield, Miss Henrietta Hodson ; Lady Handy, Miss E. Burton ; 
Miss Blandford, Miss A. Collier ; Dame Ashfield, Mrs. Robertson. 

A comic song, " The Great Sensation," followed, the exponent, Mr. 
Langley, otherwise Mr. Arthur Walkley (father, I understand, of " Mons. 
Walkley," 7he Times critic), and an address by Mr. J. W. Thorne ; the 

59 • 



The Bristol Stage 



concluding item being Charles Selby's farce, " Peggy Green," performed 
by the theatre company. 

MISS KATE TERRY, etc. — ^The theatre having undergone some re- 
decoration, was opened for a few nights during August with a company 
of exceptional power, as the following names will indicate : Misses Kate 
Terry, Madge Robertson, Ada Dyas and Sarah Stirling, Mrs. Robertson, 
and Messrs. Arthur Stirling, St. Albyn, Tilbury, David Evans, Eugene 
O'Reilly, Charles Vincent, J. Robins, David James, Fosbrooke, etc., 
of whom, whilst Miss Ada Dyas and Mr. David James were making their 
first appearance in Bristol, Mr. Arthur StirHng, Charles Vincent, David 
Evans and Fosbrooke had been absent from the local boards for two 
years. " Extremes," and " Friends or Foes " were the novelties in- 
cluded in the repertoire. 

CHARLES COGHLAN.— The autumn season of 1862 opened on 
September 15th with the " Muleteer of Toledo," followed by a ratthng 
farce, " The Colleen Bawn settled at last by Lord Dundreary," in which 
Mr. Charles Coghlan appeared as Hardress, Arthur Wood as Lord Dun- 
dreary, Mr. Andrews as Miles, and Miss Henrietta Hodson as Mrs. 
Hardress Cregan, nee the Colleen Bawn. The performance concluded 
with the extravaganza " Endymion," with Miss Henrietta Hodson, Kate 
Terry, Louisa Thorne and Madge Robertson, Messrs. Arthur Wood, 
George Rignold, and H. Andrews in the cast ; patrons could hardly 
complain as to their money's worth ! 

In the middle of November the corps dramatique was further strength- 
ened by the inclusion of Miss Ellen Terry, who appeared with them in 
the extravaganza " Perseus and Andromeda," the sisters Kate and Ellen 
Terry, at the close of the month, taking a joint benefit. " Friends or 
Foes " was the staple food, " Conrad and Medora," with Miss Henrietta 
Hodson as Conrad. 

MISS ELLEN TERRY.— Miss Kate Terry, Medora ; Miss Ellen Terry, 
Serena ; and Miss Madge Robertson, Demetrius, followed by " Home for 
the Holidays " disclosed Miss Ellen Terry as Hector Melrose, and Miss 
Kate Terry as his sister, and also as " Mrs. Terrorbody, an assumption," 
these being the only characters in the little play. The Terry engagement 
then came-to an end, but Miss Cleveland rejoined the company, accom- 
panied by Mr, J. R. Anderson. Looking at the foregoing names in the 
light of later days, it is difficult to suggest a combination of greater 
histrionic talent. 

This brings my, story down to the close of 1862, when at Christmas 
" Cinderella " introduced Miss Madge Robertson for the first time in a 
leading pantomime part. She was discovered seated, encouraging the 
baronial kitchen fire with the aid of the bellows, whilst singing : 

" Polly, put the kettle on, 
And we'll all have tea ! " 
60 



The Bristol Stage 



The Prince was Miss Henrietta Hodson ; the Baron, Mr. George Rignold ; 
whilst Messrs, Andrews and Arthur Wood impersonated the elder sisters. 

The popularity of Miss Powell (the Red Riding Hood of i860, and who 
now appeared as Columbine) afforded a great tribute to the bonhommie 
still existent in Bristol dramatic circles, for Miss Henrietta Hodson 
supported the harlequinade a la Watteau, Mr. Arthur Wood as colum- 
bine, George Yates as pantaloon, and Charles Adams as clown. 

The popular comedian, Mr. George Hodson — father of Miss Henrietta 
Hodson — was here for three nights. 

The attraction for Easter proved of an exceptionally holiday character, 
the "[Fairy Fountain," so great an attraction at the Alhambra, London, 
being seen in Bristol for the first time. 

On Thursday evening the performance took the form of a Masonic 
Bespeak, the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Henry Shute, the 
officers and brethren of the Bristol Province attending clothed in the 
Masonic regalia, and moreover, in goodly number. 

Benefits now came fast, Mr. Arthur Wood introducing an extrava- 
ganza of quasi-local interest, " Ye true hysterie of ye Prince Bladud, and 
ye lyttel Pygges of Keynsham." 

Quite a galaxy of talent presented itself to the Bristol public during 
the otherwise recognized recess, the greatest contemporary tragedienne, 
Madame Ristori, supported by an entire company of Italian artistes, 
opening on July 22nd in " Medea," and receiving most generous support. 
Some years later, when the Theatre Royal had passed into other hands, 
and Madame Ristori into iU-judging direction, the popularity of the 
engagement of 1863 induced the latter to demand prohibitive terms from 
the Park Row management, the alternative they threatened being, Ristori 
at King Street ! Park Row accepted this alternative, and Madame Ris- 
tori performed at the Theatre Royal to practically empty benches, the 
receipts on one night, or so her agent informed me, being little more than 

Mr. George Melville placed upon the boards a drama which at the time 
was being played to enormous business at the Lyceum, under the title of 
" The Duke's Motto," London seeing Miss Kate Terry and Mf. Fechter 
in the parts of Blanche de Nevers and Henri de Lagardere. 

A grand combination of actors from the St. James's, including Misses 
Herbert, Ada Dyas, Patti Josephs and Mrs. Frank Matthews, together 
with Messrs. Arthur Stirling, Frank Matthews, Gaston Murray and 
others, appeared in " The Merry Widow," " Lady Audley's Secret," 
Lenester Buckingham's play, " A Dark Cloud." September weather not- 
withstanding, the audiences continued large and enthusiastic throughout. 

The autumn season opened with Tom Taylor's fine drama " The 
Ticket o' Leave Man," and pray note the cast. Bob Brierley, Mr. William 
Rignold ; May Edwards, Miss Kate Terry ; Green Jones, Mr. Charles 
Coghlan ; Hankshaw, Mr. George Rignold ; Jim Dalton, Mr. Fosbrooke ; 

61 



The Bristol Stage 



Sam Willoughby, Miss Henrietta Hodson ; and Mrs. Robertson as Mrs. 
Willoughby. A grand combination of dramatic talent, beyond all 
question. 

Revivals, and especially of the more popular of the extravaganzas, con- 
tinued to be a considerable feature of the season, but there vsrere notable 
productions also, amongst the earliest of these being " Kenilworth," by 
Andrew Halliday and Frederick Lawrence. Miss Henrietta Hodson was 
Earl of Leicester ; Miss Ellen Terry, Amy Robsart ; Sir Walter Raleigh, 
Miss Madge Robertson ; Tresillian, Miss Marion Jones ; with Misses Kate 
Bishop and Maria Cruise, Messrs. George Rignold, Douglas Grey, Fos- 
brooke, etc., also in the cast. Miss Ellen Terry was now a member of 
Mr. J. B. Buckstone's Haymarket company, and appeared here by liis 
permission. 

Mr. Sothern in " Lord Dundreary " was here for four nights. Mr. 
Sothern's stage appearance in this popular character, with his long " drag- 
down " whiskers as they were then called, was as familiar, and as generally 
approved by playgoers, as is that at the Horse Guards to a Whitehall 
crowd. Mr. George Augustus Sala, the famous critic, however, took 
exception to the judgment which dictated it, by giving the statement that 
whilst the English swell was as a rule tawny, " Mr. Sothern's make-up is so 
dark as to be almost Jewish, and no Jew could ever look a gentleman." 
Perhaps this was aU the satisfaction that he could recover from the tribe. 

Four nights with Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Wigan in " A Scrap of Paper " 
proved most popular, after which there was a staging of the St. James's 
sensational " Isle of St. Tropez," Miss Marion Jones and Mr. William 
Rignold in the Wigans' parts. Miss Charlotte Saunders followed ! 

Both Mr. Charles Coghlan and Mr. George Rignold being engaged by 
a London management, a joint complimentary benefit was accorded them 
on December 1 8th,' 1863, the chief item of the programme was "Aurora 
Floyd," in which Mr. George Rignold repeated his terribly intense per- 
formance of the Softy ; a " Wonderful Woman," in which Miss Louisa 
Thorne, who had come from the Strand Theatre to support Mr. Coghlan, 
played the Marquis, and Mr. George Rignold, Crepin, followed ; and the 
farce, " To Parents and Guardians," formed the concluding item. 

The pantomime of 1863-4, "The House that Jack Built for Little 
Goody Two-Shoes," was one of the most successful of the elder Chute's 
productions. Miss Henrietta Hodson — who in the course of the evening 
sang " HoUy Ho," composed by W. F. Taylor, a fellow -citizen, and 
" The Minstrel Bird," composed for her by myself — was a delightful 
Jack, whilst Miss Madge Robertson was most winsome in the character of 
Goody Two-Shoes. " Freddie Marshall " played a dog ; Mr. Persivani 
was clown ; columbine, Miss Powell. 

Just previous to the production a local architect, who above the nom 
de flume " Jottings " had for some time forwarded to a local newspaper 
finnicking and carping criticisms of Shakespearean and other historic pro- 

62 



The Bristol Stage 



ductions here, had made a serious architectural error in the design of an 
important commercial building (now Andersons', Stokes Croft) for the 
execution of which he was responsible, Mr. Chute contemplated, and that 
seriously, introducing into his pantomime a comic scene representing this 
erection, showing the faulty crack, which was, alas ! only too visible, and 
adorning it with the legend " This is the house that ' Jottings ' built ! " 
The architect, however, heard a whisper of this, and begging Mr. Chute 
to forgo such a damaging retaliation, undertook " to never write a line 
concerning the theatre again." Mr. Chute — although somewhat re- 
luctantly — accepted the compromise. 

The incident was not readily forgotten, however, on one hand at any 
rate, for a couple of years subsequently, when submitting to Mr. Chute 
some items concerning which I had undertaken to give thought, I un- 
fortunately commenced by saying, " I have made a few jottings " 

" Oh ! dear no ! I hope not," he interposed. I tried back ! 

The first productions of the year 1864 were a sensational drama, "The 
Trail of Sin," and Burnand's little burlesque, " Patient Penelope." Bur- 
nand's famous burlesque of " Ixion " was the following item, and kept 
its place through the succeeding fortnight's appearances of Mr. James 
Bennett and also through that of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Vezin, who 
succeeded him. 

On March l6th the Bristol Histrionic Club gave an amateur perform- 
ance of unusual interest, the occasion being a complimentary night to 
Mr. Chute. The " Honeymoon " was the first item of the programme, 
the Duke Aranza being entrusted to Mr. J. W. Thorne, an accompUshed 
amateur ; Lopez was performed by Mr. Irwin — father of Mr. Haviland, 
of the Lyceum]; Padua, Mr. Rexworthy — afterwards known as Mr. 
George Temple, of the Savoy Operas ; Jaquez, Mr. H. G. Davies. 

Mr. S. Miles, tenor, gave a song, and the piece de resistance " Bardell 
V. Pickwick " followed. Pickwick was impersonated by Mr. J. H. Clifton, 
a solicitor, as widely known probably, and as greatly popular, as was any 
citizen in our midst. Buzfuz was in the hands of Mr. Austin, also a 
familiar figure to most Bristolians, and for a long number of years The 
Times correspondent. Skimpkin was impersonated by Mr. Handcock, 
an official of the Bankruptcy Court ; Mrs. Cluppins by Mr. H. C. Davies, 
popular amongst advertisers generally ; Winkle by Mr. Walter Grogan, 
chief reporter on the Bristol Mercury, and with his brother Mr. Michael 
Grogan, of the Western Daily Press commercial staff, subsequently joint 
proprietors of the Torquay Times. Sam Weller, Mr. Yetts (Ottey), Old 
Weller, Mr. Frank HiU, chief accountant, Bristol Mercury ; and Foreman 
of the Jury, Mr. White. Besides being a cast of real histrionic ability, 
the personality of the performers was calculated to produce a " bumper " 
house . 



63 



CHAPTER VII 

A.D. 1864 

MISS HENRIETTA HODSON— who must assuredly be character- 
ized as the most popular comedienne with Bristol audiences during 
many years — in view of her approaching marriage to Mr. Richard Pigeon, 
a local sohcitor — now resigned her position in the company. Upon the 
occasion of her benefit, on April 12 th, 1864, ^^^ ^^^ appeared as Helen 
in the " Hunchback," together with Mr, and Mrs. Herman Vezin, and 
again on the 23rd as Mrs. Ford in the " Merry Wives of Windsor," Ford 
being represented by Mr. James Bennett, and Falstaff by Mr. Chute. 
Her last appearance as a member of the Bristol corps dramatigue was on 
the following April 26th, and in the character which she had made so 
popular here, " Ixion, the Man at the -Wheel." Miss Hodson then 
elected to retire into private life, but subsequently emerged in order to 
assist at a couple of benefit performances, and still later to inaugurate her 
highly successful career in London. On the death of Mr Pigeon, she 
became the wife of Mr. Henry Labouchere, M.P. 

On April 26th, in order to commemorate the three hundredth birth- 
day of Shakespeare, there was an admirably arranged programme of con- 
densed versions of " As You Like It," " Merry Wives of Windsor," and 
" Midsummer Night's Dream," the performance concluding with an 
apropos serio-comic sketch, entitled " Shakespeare at Home." 

During May Mr. W. H. Swanborough, of the Royal Strand Theatre, 
came for a brief season, accompanied by that delightful burlesque actress. 
Miss JuHa St. George, there being also in the company Miss Minnie 
Davis, Miss Amy Conquest and Messrs. George Stretton, Lupino, Farrell 
and Hudspeth. " Orpheus and Eurydice," and H. J. Byron's burlesque 
" Ali Baba and the Thirty -nine Thieves," in accordance with the author's 
habit of " taking one off," were the chief attractions, each proving 
highly popular. 

Mr. Charles Rice was here for the Royal Agricultural Society's week on 
Durdham Downs, June, 1864, and presented his play, "The Stricken 
Oak," in which he had most cleverly availed himself of Professor Pepper's 
recent luminous " Ghost invention — and sensation " ! 

The Theatre Royal being then closed, remained so until August 31st, 

64_ 



The Bristol Stage 



during which time there had been re -painting, re -seating and improve- 
ments, practically throughout. 

For the opening of the autumn season, Mr. Chute had again succeeded 
in securing the services of both Mr. James Bennett and Miss Kate Terry, 
and in addition, an undoubtedly powerful quartet of vocalists, in Messrs. 
Elliot Galer and Theodore Distin, with Miss Gertrude Melvyn and Miss 
Fanny Reeves. In the play, " The Monastery of St. Just," Miss Kate 
Terry was seen in two distinct characters, Mr. Charles Coghlan — again 
with us — appearing as Philip, King of Spain. Later, Miss Kate Terry 
was associated with Mr. James Bennett, then returning to London. Mr. 
James Bennett, on being joined by Mr. Arthur Stirling, the twQ trage- 
dians appeared as Othello and lago. Benedick and Don Pedro, etc., alter- 
nating in the leading characters. 

A huge hit was made by the following production, a localized version 
of Dion Boucicault's famous Princess's drama, and here entitled " The 
Streets of Bristol." The drama was placed upon the stage in admirable 
style on November 7th, 1864, the scenery including such well-known 
localities as Griffin Lane (the fire scene), the entrance to the Theatre 
Royal, and Christmas Steps, whilst the arrival of the engine and fire- 
brigade in their uniforms and helmets, aroused the spectators to the 
utmost enthusiasm. The cast was exceptionally happy. Miss Fanny 
Addison playing Lucy Fairweather ; Mr. Arthur Stirling, Trumper ; 
Mr. Fosbrooke, with his perfect mastery of the Bristol dialect, Dan ; Mr. 
Rogerson proving a perfect Puffy, and Mrs. Robertson an ideal Mrs. 
Puffy. Many Trumpers were seen after these days, including William 
Rignold, W. H. Vernon, J. G. Rosiere, etc., for it was a long while ere the 
playgoing pubHc was through with the " Streets of Bristol." 

On December 17th, 1864, Miss Madge Robertson took the part of 
Maria Darlington, in "A Roland for an Oliver," and then proceeded 
to fulfil her first London engagement. 

"Blue Beard" was the pantomime of 1864-5, Mr. Peel in the title 
role, and Miss Nason (a new arrival) and Mr. Fosbrooke supporting. 
Clown, Mr. Alfred Stonette ; columbine. Miss Kate Mandlebert. 
" Blue Beard " was not of the successful category, the available panto- 
mime artistes not being equal to those of recent years. At the end of 
February, there was an excellent staging of " The Octoroon," in which, 
as in previously produced dramas, the company was fitted like a glove, the 
Jacob M'Clocky of Mr. George Yates being a remarkably fine piece of 
dramatic work. Other striking impersonations in the play were Mr. 
Alfred Lilly's Wah-no-tee (Dion Boucicault's original part) and Mr. 
Rogerson's Old Uncle Pete. But Miss Kate Mandlebert was really above 
previous efforts in her delightful " Paul," and Miss Fanny Addison was a 
capital Zoe. Mr. William Rignold, however, proved an exceptionally 
convincing Salem Scudder (I am contrasting these performances with 
those of the Adelphi cast), and I hardly remember a drama of so many 

65 B 



The Bristol Stage 



characters being so satisfactorily presented. For some little time both 
before and after this date, Mr. R. Barker, who played Colonel Point- 
dexter, had been associated with the Bath amateurs, was, on joining the 
theatrical profession, a member of the Bristol company, but proved a poor 
actor. Upon the occasion of his earliest association with Shakespeare — 
at any rate upon the Bristol stage — ^he appeared as the messenger in 
" King John," a character to whom the Bard has assigned a dozen im- 
portant lines. Mr. B. rushed through the opening four of them, and 
then — to employ a stage classic — " he dried up ! " 

A second small part in the " Octoroon " was entrusted to Mr. James 
Williams — irreverently designated by his confrere " Elastic Jimmy " — 
whose memory was hardly his greatest attribute. In this production he 
bid many thousands of pounds for the Octoroon, when he should have 
confined himself to dollars. When asked if he were not thankful to 
possess so much money, he replied to Alfred Lilly, who on reaching the 
dressing-room had put the question, " I was a joUy sight more thankful 
to learn that the gov'nor had gone to Lodge ! " Later, he married Miss 
Maria Cruise, and subsequently migrated to London, where he achieved 
great success as a producer of comic opera, etc. His death occurred 
during the summer, 1903. 

The Sisters Carry and Sara Nelson — daughters of Nelson, the composer 
— ^were successful in the burlesque " Ill-treated II Trovatore," " Ganem, 
the Slave of Love," and " Ixion." Mr. H. Talbot, a Scotch tragedian, 
appeared in " Macbeth," and then the Brothers Webb as the Dromios, 
the brothers Rignold as the Antipholus, in Shakespeare's " Comedy of 
Errors." 

Mr. George Rignold now replaced his brother William in the leading 
characters, and, being Easter week, the sisters Nelson were re-engaged. 
On May 12th, the last night of the season, Mr. Chute's annual benefit, 
he presented " Robert Macaire " as his personal item, Mr. Addison after- 
wards appearing in his original character, Joseph Ironsides, Miss Fanny 
Addison as Mrs. Smythe, and Miss Carlotta Addison as Katie Mapleson, 
in Tom Taylor's drama " Nine Points of the Law." 

In August Miss Maria Wilton, supported by her entire London com- 
pany, paid the old city a visit, after an absence of ten years, appearing in 
" War to the Knife," and H. J. Byron's burlesques, " La Sonambula " 
and " Mazourka." The company embraced Messrs. Sydney Bancroft, 
W. H. Montgomery, Fred Dewar, J. Clarke and Harry Cox, together with 
Misses Blanche and Augusta Wilton, Hughes and Lavine. 

Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Craven, in the former's enormously successful and 
delightful serio-comic drama, " Milky White," with, as a second attrac- 
tion, the accomplished vioHnist, Mr. Richard C. Levey, as " Paganini 
Redivivus," followed. 

A month's engagement of Mr. Arthur Stirling, supported by Messrs. 
W H Vernon. Fosbrooke, Yates and Lilly ; Misses Fanny Addison, 

66 



The Bristol Stage 



Jenny Anderson and Marion Jones — now Mrs. George Gordon. 
It was very shortly after the arrival of Mr. Vernon as a member of the 
company that the following incident occurred. 

With Mr. Barry SuUivan, Mr. Chute enjoyed the reputation of being 
the most expert swordsman in the theatrical profession, and when these 
two veterans met they frequently passed an enjoyable half -hour with the 
foils. These particulars — although fairly common property — ^were evi- 
dently unknown to Mr. Vernon, who was himself, be it said, a good 
exponent of the art. On the occasion in question, the actor was re- 
hearsing a stage fight for use in an approaching play, and Mr. Chute, who 
was on the stage, was naturally interested in his new leading man's exhi- 
bition of his favourite pastime. " Not that way, Mr. Vernon," he pre- 
sently said, " you would be disarmed ! " " Pardon me, Mr. Chute," 
replied Mr. Vernon, " I rather pride myself upon my rapier practice." 
His manager, holding forth his hand for the other foil, instantly engaged 
with his opponent, and after a few passes sent the latter's foil whizzing 
into the pit. Vernon really blushed, for a rehearsal being about due, 
there were several of the company upon the stage. " I was hardly pre- 
pared for so much vigour, sir," he said, and " Bring Mr. Vernon his 
weapon," rejoined Mr. Chute. A stage-hand quickly dropped to the pit 
and passed up the foil, but probably realizing the " governor's " powers 
of swordsmanship better than Mr. Vernon had done, took a seat there. 
Once more the foils crossed, and after a slightly longer interval away went 
the actor's weapon into practically the same spot as before. Without a 
suspicion of " I told you so ! " the manager resigned his foil and turned 
up the stage. " Thank you, sir, for a valuable lesson," cried the defeated 
swordsman handsomely. " We are none of us too old to learn," observed 
Mr. Chute gently, and obviously well pleased at the frank admission, for 
he added, " you see, some one in front might have known as much about 
it as you or I ! " 

On November 7th the Volunteer Artillery Corps, under the command 
of Viscount Glentworth, gave a Bespeak, " Presented at Court " being 
the piece de resistance ; whilst at the end of November, Mr. H. Talbot, 
the Scotch tragedian, commenced an engagement with " Ruy Bias," and 
in December, Miss Bateman gave for the first time here two performances, 
appearing in her famous character, " Leah." 



MISS CARLOTTA ADDISON.—" Beauty and the Beast," which 
followed, most assuredly ranked in the very forefront of the King Street 
annuals, taking, as I regard it, joint honours with the earlier " Red Riding 
Hood," and so great was its success that it was received as the Easter 
attraction. Mr. George Gordon had provided some dehghtful scenery, 
and in Miss Carlotta Addison, then in her mid -teens, Mr. Chute possessed 

67 



The Bristol Stage 



a Beauty of striking personality. How alluring was her call, when alone 
in the " Sunny Garden of the Fragrant Rose ! " 

" Beast ! Beast ! come out to play ! 
The moon is shining here as bright as day." 

Mr. Arnott was excellent as the Beast, moreover ! 

It occurred during the last rehearsal. Mr. Arnott, who had " I hope 
to make you very happy here " in his part, had at an earlier rehearsal sub- 
stituted the word " comfortable " for " happy," and the line did not scan, 
so Mr. Chute corrected him. The error was unfortunately repeated 
when all should have been straight sailing. " Happy ! Mr. Arnott, 
Hapfy / " cried the manager from the centre of the circle — his accus- 
tomed seat on such occasions — " you have four feet instead of two ! " 
We thought that we saw the point — Mr. Arnott did, he laughingly con- 
fessed a little later. 

English Opera, with M'Ue. Jenny Bauer and Messrs. Parkinson and 
Durand, producing Gounod's " Faust," with a military band upon the 
stage, and the customary repertoire of popular works, occupied the stage 
during a fortnight. Upon their departure, that delightfully sympathetic 
actress, MUe. Beatrice, accompanied by Mr. Arthur Stirling and Mr. 
John Ryder, made her first appearance in Bristol, selecting the part of 
La Sylvia, in " Broken Ties," the fine comedy with which J. Palgrave 
Simpson had furnished her and the Haymarket Theatre. Another piece 
selected during this engagement was " Mile, de Belle Isle." It is not 
too much to say that the impersonations of Mile. Beatrice made an ex- 
ceedingly deep impression upon the large audiences who witnessed them, 
and that her all too early death deprived the stage of a personality difiicult 
to replace. 

" Faust and Marguerite," with Miss Carlotta Addison, and Messrs, W. 
H. Vernon and George Yates ; " Woodcock's Little Game " and the 
" Hidden Hand," held the boards until the eve of Easter was reached, 
" Ivanhoe," an excellent burlesque by H. J. Byron, being next presented, 
the cast including the Misses Carlotta and Fanny Addison, Emily Miller, 
Maud Haydon and Maria Cruise, with Messrs. Fosbrooke, Arnott, 
Barker, etc. 

On April 13th the sisters Addison had their benefit and attracted a 
bumper house. The performance commenced with Dion Boucicault's 
great Haymarket comedy, " London Assurance," Mr. Addison coming 
from town to appear as Sir Harcourt Courtly — his original impersonation ; 
and concluded with " Guy Mannering," Mr. Walter Fisher — a local tenor 
of exceptional ability, and subsequently well known on the London boards 
as the original representative of several leading characters in opera, at the 
Philharmonic, Olympic, Court and Savoy theatres — making his first stage 
appearance as Henty Bertram. Mr. Addison played Dominie Sampson ; 

68 



The Bristol Stage 



Mr. W. H. Vernon, Dandie Dinmont ; Miss Fanny Addison, Meg Merri- 
lees ; and Miss Carlotta Addison, Flora ; whilst the 27th was selected 
by Mr. J. H. Chute for his annual benefit performance. It being the 
last of these events to be taken at the historic house, and the final appear- 
ance of Miss Henrietta Hodson as a member of its histrionic company, I 
append the text of its announcement in extenso : — 



MR. CHUTE 

begs respectfully to announce that his 

BENEFIT 

will take place 

On Friday, April 27TH, 1866 

On Friday evening, April 27th, 1866, 

Will be presented the Haymarket Comedy, written by Benjamin Webster, 

Esq., called 



THE ROUSED LION 

Stanislas Fonblanche (The Roused Lion), Mr. Chitte 
(His first appearance this Season.) 



Hector Mauleon Mr. W. H. Vernon 
Ernest Fonblanche Mr. Alfred Lilly 
Gustave d'Herbelin Mr. Louis Munro 
Antinous de Luxeuil Mr, Williams 
Mde. de St. Luc Miss Fanny Addi- 
son 
Leonie . . . . Miss Carlotta Ad- 

dison 
Baronne Cabrlon Miss Billing 
Mdlle. Suzanne Gras- 

sette de Villedieu Mrs. Rouse 
Baron de Cabrion Mr. Rogerson, jr. 
Monsieur de Bazan Mr. Temple 



Monsieur Horace de 
St. Tropez . . 

Monsieur de Boussac 

Baptiste.. 

Madame de Bazan 

Madame de St. Tro- 
pez 

Madame Boussac 

Mdlles. de St. 
Maurice 

Mdlle. Bourhave 
Madame Ludovic 



Mr. Frayle^' 
Mr. Bennett 
Mr. Travers 
Miss Hooten 

Miss B. Clarke 
Miss Arnott 

Misses Bullock 
and E. Clarke 
Miss Holmes 
Miss Vaugban 



To be followed by the Comedy, in Two Acts, by ilaynes Bailey, Esq., called 

PERFECTION ; 
Or, the lady OF MUNSTER 

Kate O'Brien (The Lady of Munster) .. Miss Henrietta Hodson (Mr*. 

R. W. Pigeon) 

(Who has most kindly consented to appear on this special occasion and for 
this night only) 
'69 



The Bristol Stage 



with the Songs — " Oh, Whisper what Thou Feelest," and " Kate 

Kearney " 

Charles Paragon Mr. W. H. Vernon 

Sir Lawrence Paragon Mr. Barker 

Sam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Fosbrooke 

Susan . . . . . . . . . . . . Miss Emily Miller. 

Duett . . . . Misses Cruise and Jenny Anderson. 

Solo, Comet-a-pistons, " La FIglia del Regimento," by Mr. G. Rennie Powell, 
Who has kindly consented to perform. 

To Conclude with Planche's celebrated Extravaganza of 

GOLDEN FLEECE 

The First Part — ^Entirely Original, founded on the Third and Fourth Books 
of the " Argonautics," entitled 

JACON IN COLCHIS 

The Chorus Mr. W. H. Vernon 

Aetes, King of Colchis, Professor of the Original Golden 

Fleece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mr. Barker 

Jason, Commander of " the Argo " and son of Aeson, 

the deposed King of Colchis . . . . . . Miss E. Miller 

Anonymus, Captain of the Royal Guards . . . . Mr. Williams 

Medea, Daughter of Aetes, an enchanting creature . . Miss Fanny Addison 

Argonauts, the Crew of " the Argo." By a Number of Young Persons 

under Fifty. 

Colchian Nobles, Sages, Guards, etc. ' 

The Second Part — Very freely translated from the popular tragedy 

of Euripides, and particularly adapted to this stage, under 

the title of 

MEDEA IN CORINTH 

The Chorus Mr. W. H. Vernon 

Creon, King of Corinth — Mr. Barker — who by particular desire, and 
on this occasion only, has most obligingly consented to be 

twice a King ^ 

Jason, Married, but not settled, exceedingly clafsical, but 

very far from correct . . . . . . . . . . Miss Emily Miller 

Medea Jason's lawfuUy-wedded wife, and mother of 

two fine boys, but rendered a fury by her wrongs Miss Fanny Addison 
Mermeros, Pheres, the two fine boys aforesaid . . Master Elder^ Master 

Younger 
Psuche, a good old soul — nurse to the two fine boys afore- 
said . . . . , . . . . . , . . . Mrs. J, Rouse 

N.B. The Public is respectfully informed that, regardless of the trouble, 

Mr. Vernon has consented to represent the whole body of The 

Chorus, rendering at least fifty-nine Male Voices entirely unnecessary. 

Argonautic Youths — Misses Hooten, Arnott, K. Anders, J. Clarke, B. Clarke^ 

E. Billing, Vaugban, Holmes, Bullock, etc. 

70 



The Bristol Stage 



That ever appealing cause, the " Lifeboat," brought the Histrionic 
Club members to a successful effort. They performed the " Two Bonny- 
castles," the " Child of the Regiment," with the huge attraction of Miss 
Henrietta Hodson as Josephine, and the extravaganza, " The Rosebud 
of Stingingnettle Farm." Mr. S. Barnes sang " God Bless the Noble 
Lifeboat," and Mr, Walter Fisher "Onward to Victory," which I had 
especially composed for the occasion, to words by General Garibaldi. 

The autumn season of 1866, opening on September 17th, showed many 
recognized favourites, and some new arrivals destined to be included in 
that category, Mr. W. H. Vernon, stage manager. Tom Robertson's 
" Society " and Burnand's burlesque " Paris " constituted the introduc- 
tory items, Mr. H. Talbot next ensuing, to be succeeded by Mr. Charles 
Rice, in " Rip Van Winkle." Mr. Gardiner Coyne, an Irish comedian 
with an excellent singing voice, appeared in a round of characters. "Little 
Don Giovanni," H. J. Byron's burlesque, with Miss Jane Rignold, having 
a satisfactory run as a supporting item. Miss Siddons, great-grand- 
daughter of the famous actress, played a few nights' engagement of the 
" legitimate " order, Mr. James Bennett being especially engaged as her 
ally. The Pantomime of " Robin Hood," the last to be produced here 
previous to the opening of the new theatre, was performed with Miss 
Jane Rignold as the hero. It caused no little sensation by presenting in 
the harlequinade an exterior view of the New Theatre Royal, Park Row, 
significantly labelled as to date of opening, October 14th, 1867, less than 
a twelve months' interval! 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean- were followed by Miss Amy Sedgwick, 
accompanied by Mr. John Nelson, chief interest laying in her imper- 
sonation of Hester Grazebrook, in " The Unequal Match," in which 
character she had appeared with such great success at the Haymarket. 

The Misses Kate and Ellen Terry appeared in " The Sister's Penance," 
a drama written for them by Tom Taylor and A. W. Dubourg. 

Miss Herbert again brought her company from the St. James's Theatre, 
the personnel consisting of Misses Herbert, Ada Cavendish, Barry, Kate 
Kearney and Mrs. Frank Matthews, together with Messrs. Frank Matthews, 
Henry Irving, Gaston Murray, E. Dyas, L. C. Burleigh, J. D. Stoyle, 
J. H. Allen, De Solla, and George Ellis ; Mr. W. H. Vernon also being 
specially engaged. 



71 



CHAPTER VIII 

A.D. 1867 

WITH the opening of the New Theatre Royal, Park Row, on Octo- 
ber 14th, 1867, the management at King Street was — on the 
preceding Monday — placed in the hands of Mr. Arthur Wood, who 
opened with Edmund Falconer' capital comedy, " Extremes," and 
Byron's burlesque, " WiUiam Tell," having at his command for the 
season a really first-class company. 

At the festive season, the pantomime, " Little Tom Tucker," was 
produced, the clever child actresses, the Sisters EUis, being in the cast. 

With " A Romantic Attachment," a comedietta from his own pen 
and which had been successfully performed at the Haymarket, Mr. Arthur 
Wood took a benefit, being assisted by Mr. J. W. Thorne, the popular 
Bristol amateur. 

With a view to meeting the desires of the Bath public, " Little Tom 
Tucker " was withdrawn from Bristol on January loth, and after a couple 
of nights, on which Mr. W. H. Vernon appeared, the season ended. No 
pantomime was again attempted at the Theatre Royal whilst under the 
Chute management, the stage facilities of the New Theatre being quite 
inadequate to modern pantomime requirements. 

But that Mr. Chute had no intention of deserting his old love is evident 
from the various efforts in following years to supply it with suitable 
material. On February loth, 1868, Miss Marie Wilton's company with 
" Caste," the most talked of and admired dramatic entertainment of j:he 
day, commenced an eight nights' engagement here, playing the other 
two nights in each of the weeks at Bath. This " four nights a week " 
method, I may state, was generally maintained until the following May 
(1868), when the lease of the "Bath Theatre Royal was dechned by Mr. 
Chute. 

But to hark back a trifle, this original provincial " Caste " Company 
was an excellent one. Miss Ada Dyas, Miss Bessie Harding and Mrs. 
Buckingham White, appearing as Esther, Polly and the Marquise respec- 
tively, and Messrs. Richard Younge, Charles Coghlan, E. Shepherd and 
F. Glover, as D'Alroy, Hawtree, Eccles and Sam Gerridge. Several 

72 



The Bristol Stage 



companies enacting plays possessed of similar stage requirements followed 
in the succeeding years, Mrs. J. L. Sefton bringing W. S. Gilbert's delight- 
ful works, " Pygmalion and Galatea," with Miss Rose Leclercq, Mr. and 
Mrs. Horseman, etc. Mr. Leigh Murray producing " All that Glitters 
is not Gold," and " Still Waters Run Deep," Farme's " Nemesis " being 
played, with Mrs. Charles Groves, Mr. H. Vernon, in " Mammon," 
and numerous other stage attractions. The majority of the works were, 
however, subsequently — on occasions, during the ensuing week — seen 
at the new house, and as it is difficult to travel simultaneously by two 
roads, thither — with some future references to the Theatre Royal — I 
shall elect to follow them. Still, I must confess to looking back upon 
the old nights at King Street wijh somewhat mixed feelings of regret, 
as also of relief. 

Refreshment bars were thereat unknown at the date with which I 
have been dealing ; there were, however, prescriptive rights to vend 
and also to proclaim certain non-alcoholic beverages in the popular 
parts of the theatre, but as the front row of dress-circle patrons were 
seated but a few inches above those seated in the pit, the proximity 
was as great as didn't matter ! The vender in the pit, so far back as I 
can remember, was an ancient dame, who never appeared to further 
age subsequent to my very early days, and who was possessed of a voice 
and uniformity of delivery, which might have materially aided Madame 
Angot in her business, profession, or calling ! The gallery refreshment 
department, was, I fancy, in the hands of a succession of grandsons of 
the lady of the pit, who having studied under her, correctly reflected 
the unchanging character of both voice and declamation, instituted by 
their senior, below. The intervals between the acts and plays, of which 
latter there were always two or more each evening, were their licensed 
opportunities, and at thd moment that the curtain -roller bumped the 
stage, came the cry from the pit, echoed by that from the gallery — 
" Apples, oranges ; ginger -beer or lemonade ! " This continued until 
the up -curtain bell rang, when without a further sound the old lady 
would resume her seat — hers, however packed the pit might otherwise 
be — and like a statue, gaze towards the stage in readiness for her next 
opportunity of turning an honest penny. I question very much whether 
she appreciated or even mentally saw that which was passing before her 
eyes, be it either an elopement or a murder, her mind being interested 
only in the curtain's rise and fall ! 

There may be of my readers some who see nothing much in the inci- 
dent here related, but if they had just witnessed the death of " gentle 
Eva, whose little hour on earth had done so much good," they might 
have considered the " apples and oranges " cry a trifle too premature. 

I am by no means sure, though, that the practice was a Bristol monopoly, 
for I recollect that somewhere in the late 50's or early 6o's, a song chorus 
ran as follows : — 

73 



The Bristol Stage 



" When she saw the curtain drop, 
Her gingerbeer always went ' Pop ' ! 
Gingerbread, nuts, crack 'em and try, 
Apples and oranges, bill of the play ! " 

This ditty was brought to my notice by a local vocalist named Howard, 
who sung at the Avonmouth concerts, so perhaps after all it had Bristol 
only for its theme. 

Yet even this custom, objectional in some respects as it was, did not 
entirely lack compensating advantages, there being none of that absurdly 
irritating bobbing up and down of the curtain with which one is now 
confronted, and from which one might (and perhaps rightly) assume 
that the scene-plot sent forward by the company's manager was supple- 
mented by a notification to the effect that " this is a three, four, or half- 
dozen curtain act ! " with subsequent rehearsed cries of " Speech ! 
speech ! "^ whereas a real appreciation on the part of the audience might 
call for scarcely a single summons — and certainly no speech ! 

Another feature of the " old house " which might also find consider- 
able tolerance amongst the majority of those who visit the theatre in 
order to both see and hear, rather than to be seen and heard, was to 
be found in the insistence upon silence whilst the play was proceeding, 
demanded by " the gods." No better behaved audience than the gallery- 
ites of the Theatre Royal was to be found, but having paid their money 
they meant to have, and that uninterruptedly, their money's worth. 
Patrons of booked seats who entered after the performance had com- 
menced, and fussed with opera-cloak or what-not, possibly in order to 
claim attention from admiring eyes, were invariably met by a storm 
of hisses, or the cry " order, animals." 

Perchance it may be remarked, " so much for order in the circle, 
but what if the disturbance proceeded from the upper reaches of the 
auditorium, perhaps from the gallery itself ? " The suggested penalty 
in such circumstances was more drastic and, like unto the laws of the 
Medes and Persians, never varied — " Chuck 'n over in the pit," was 
its form ; still, in few places of amusement was greater order maintained 
during the performance than in the Theatre Royal, Bristol, although I 
never witnessed, or heard of, the up-stairs penalty being carried out 
by way of pubhc example. 

Why had Mr. Chute not elected to enlarge and improve the historic 
house f Sentiment may very probably have suggested such a course, 
but prudence must have said it " nay ! " The locality, home of the 
elite at the building of the theatre, was no longer even residential, whilst 
the routes of access from other parts of the city were difficult and unin- 
viting. 

74 



CHAPTER IX 

A.D. 1867 

WHAT probably led to the ultimate decision was the circumstance 
of Mr. Charles Hengler having, with a high-class equestrian 
exhibition, just previously and during two seasons, attracted enormous 
patronage to the Rifle Drill Hall (now a portion of the University build- 
ings) at the top of Park Street. 

The property Mr. Chute acquired was a mansion adjoining his garden, 
once the home of the Fuidge family, who however had migrated further 
west, and the house being void. Yet even historic importance attached to 
the place, in the circumstance that here Charlotte, Consort of George HI, 
and Princess Elizabeth partook of luncheon when visiting the city ! 

Upon the completion of his purchase, Mr. Chute called in Mr. C. J, 
Phipps, the architect with whom he had been concerned in the building 
of the new Theatre Royal, Bath, and who had designed quite a number 
of other provincial theatres, as well as the latest London house, the 
Queen's, Long Acre, and to which Miss Henrietta Hodson, Mr. Rignold 
and others had bent their steps. So prolific was Mr. C. J. Phipps in 
the way of theatre designs, that it was said — rightly or wrongly, I am 
not in a position to state — that the pigeon-holes at his study contained 
complete plans for the re -erection of every theatre in the Kingdom, 
should fire or other circumstances call for the provision of a new dramatic 
home, and that he was ever ready to entrain. 

For the New Theatre Royal, in Park Row, Mr, Phipps had designed 
a building, the auditorium of which provided seating accommodation 
for 2,154 persons, this being 500 in excess of that existing at the Theatre 
Royal, King Street. Of these, the pit would furnish room for 800, 
whilst 700 were allotted to the gallery. On pressure nights, that is when 
" standing-room " was taken advantage of, the theatre would admit 
of an audience of 2,800 being present. 

Such striking changes have since taken place in front of the curtain 
(to which, however, reference will be found later in these annals), that 
I think it well to warn readers that the auditorium, as now existing at 
"The Prince's," was a design of more recent years. 

Mr. Phipps, however, had provided for a commodious stage, as, includ- 
ing the scene-dock, it was 107 feet deep, the height to the grid being 
59 feet, and from cellar to roof 79 feet. The " wing " space beyond 
the proscenium on both left and right, was ample for all purposes, whilst 

75 



The Bristol Stage 



the dressing-rooms provided for the corps dramatique were both numerous 
and conveniently arranged. Upon the occasion of the Opening, the 
lessee, after acknov?ledging the warmest of greetings from his patrons, 
related the foregoing particulars, and others of less interest to present- 
day patrons. The New Theatre, one learnt, built in the interest of the 
Drama, had been completed at a cost of ^18,000, all of which had been 
paid. Mr. Chute severally introduced those whom he described as 
" the working bees of the House that Jack built." Mr. C. J. Phipps, 
by whom it was designed, Mr. Davis, who built the house for Jack, Mr. 
George Gordon, who adorned the house and painted the Act -drop ; 
then Mr. George Wells, who had designed and painted the representa- 
tions of " Comedy " and " Tragedy " which (then) embellished the 
proscenium. The inaugurating personnel of Bristol's new dramatic home, 
being fully disclosed upon the announce -bill, I cannot do better than 
reproduce it. 

NEW THEATRE ROYAL, BRISTOL 
Manager . . . . . . . . James Henry Chute 

Residing at No. 2 Park Row, Bristol. 

OPENING NIGHT 

Monday, October 14th, 1867. 

On which occasion will be presented Shakspere's 

TEMPEST, 

/ OR, THE ENCHANTED ISLE 

With entirely new scenery, decorations, appointments, costumes. 

The Scenery by Mr. Geo. Gordon, Mr. Wm. Gordon, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Horn, 

Mr. Harford, Mr. Spong, Mr. Frank Jones and Mr. Bell. 

The Machinery . . . . By Messrs. Shattock and Eddels 

The Costumes . . By Mr. May, Mrs. Shapcott, Mrs. Adams, and Assistants 

The Music selected from the Works of Purcell, Linley, 
Bishop, Arne, and Hatton. 

The Entr'actes . . . . . . . . . . By Mendelssohn 

Prospero . . . . . . . . . . Mr. James Bennett 

Specially engaged to perform this Character. 

Ariel Miss Emily Cross 

From the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, especially engaged to 
perform this Character. 
Caliban . . Mr. W. H. Vernon Miranda . . Miss Jane Rignold 

Trinculo . . Mr. Fosbrooke Stephano . . Mr. Alfred Raymond 

Alonza . . Mr. Rosiere Ferdinand . . Mr. Augustus Glover 

Sebastian . . Mr. Arnott Juno . . . . Miss Cruise 

Principal Spirits attending on Prospero : Mr. Carl Rowella, Miss 
Kate Mandlebert, and Miss Jenny de Brent. 

76 



The Bristol Stage 



At SiVEN o'clock the Band will play Weber's Overture, " The Ruler 
of the Spirits." 

Mr. Chute will Address the Audience. 

God Save the Qxjeen, Verse and Chorus, by The Company. 
Solos by Miss Cruise, Miss Robertha Erskine and Miss Emily Cross, followed by 

An Overture on Shaksperian Airs 

Principally from the Tempest, Arranged by Mr. Chapman. 

After which will be revived Shakespeare's Play, in Five Acts, of the 



TEMPEST 
From the Text or Shakspere 
Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan . . 

Antonio, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan 
Alonzo, King of Naples . . 

Sebastian, his brother 
Ferdinand, son to the King of Naples 

Gonzalo . 

Adrian . 

Francisco 
Caliban, a savage and deformed slave 

Trinculo, a jester 
Stephano, a drunken butler 

Miranda, daughter to Prospero 
Ariel, an airy spirit 



Iris 
Ceres 

June 
Chronos, or Time 



Spirits in the Vision. 



Mr. Jas. Bennett 

Mr. Alfd. Lilly 

Mr. Rosiere 

Mr. Arnott 

Mr. Augustus Glover 
(Mr. A. Hilton 
\ Mr. Temple 
\Mr. Geo. Nelson 

Mr. W. H. Vernon 

Mr. Fosbrooke 

Mr. Alfred Raymond 

Miss Jane Rignold 

Miss Emily Cross 

Miss Lelia Ellis 
Miss Emily Cross 
Miss Cruise 
Mr. Arnold 



Nymphs — Misses Frailey, Frayley, Widgery, Harwell, Mer- 
chant and Merchant. 

Reapers — Messrs. Bullock, Hooten, Vaughan, Brewer and Dyer. 
Spirits in the Masque 
Miss Austen, Miss Eliza Gordon, Miss Jane Gordon, Miss Kate Hastings, Miss 
Parry, Miss Hooten, Miss Benyon, and Mesdames Ellis and Rosiere. 

Other Spirits attending on Prospero 

Mr. Carl Rowella, 

Messrs. Parker, Williams, Ellis, Anderson, James, Hosegood, Edgar and McAllam 

Miss Jenny de Brent. Miss Kate Mandlebert. 

Demoiselles Arnott, Watson, Clark, B. Clark, Mary Hooten, Bullock, Vaughan, 
Harwell, C. Vaughan, Goodyer, Kate Hastings, Brewer, Dyson, Jenkins, 
Widgery, C. Jenkins, Goodyer, Mack, Edwards, E. Edwards, Mary Ellen 
White, Griffiths, Frayley, Merchant and H. Merchant. Lelia Ellis and 
Florence Ellis. 

77 



The Bristol Stage 



PROGRAMiME OF SCENERY AND INCIDENTS 
Act I. Scene i. 

A 8HIP IN A STORM. 
THE ISLAND 

Overlooking the Sea. — . 

During the progress of the Scene, the Waters abate, the Sun rises, and the 
Tide recedes, leaving the yellow Sands, to which Ferdinand is invited by 
Ariel and the Spirits. 

" Come unto these Yellow Sands" 

Act II. Scene i. 

INTERIOR or THE ISLAND 

Act III. Scene i. 

ANOTHER PART OF THE ISLAND. 

The Scene is Gradually Transformed 

from 

Barrenness to Luxuriant Vegetation. 

After which enter many Strange Shapes bearing Fruits and Flowers, with 

which they form 

A Banquet 
And disappear. The Scene ends with 
A Dance of Spirits ! 
Arranged by Mr. Carl Rowella. 

Act IV. Scene i. 
prospero's cell. 

Scene 2. 

A masque. 

Iris appears, passed by Venus and Cupid, cutting the clouds towards Paphos. 

Dove drawn. 
< Ceres (Ariel) advances, surrounded by Plenty. 

Grecian Landscape 

with 
Temple of Eleusis 
The Dance arranged by Miss Kate Mandlebert. 

Juno approaches. Drawn by Peacocks, 
Accompanied by the Graces and the Seasons, with other Spirits, followed by a 

Classical Allegory, 
Representing the Course of Time, Chronos as Time surmounting the Globe. 
Luna in her Car, accompanied by the Stars, personified, sinketh before the 
approach of Phoebus. 

78 



The Bristol Stage 



Ascent of Ph<ebus In the Chariot of the Sun. 

The Cell of Prospero 

The Act terminates with a noise of Hunters 

Spirits enter in Various Shapes, 
And hunt Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano, set on by Ariel. 

Act V 

before the cell op prospero. 

" My Ariel chick — to the elements. 

Be free, and fare thee well." 
" Where the Bee sucks " Ariel. 

Night Descends 
The Spirits, Released by Prospero 
Take their flight from the Island into the air. 
Chorus of Spirits, Where the Bee Sucks 
Morning breaks and shows 

A Ship in a Calm 

prepared to convey the King and his companions back to Naples. 

The Ship gradually Sails Off. 

The Island I^cedes from Sight, 

and 

Ariel remains alone in Mid-Air 

Watching the departure of his late Master 

Distant Chorus of Spirits. 
To be followed by Buckstone's Farce of 

A ROUGH DIAMOND. 
Cousin Joe . . Mr. Fredk Buck- Capt. Blenheim Mr. George Nelson 
stone Margery Miss Robertha Erskine 

(Son of the eminent Comedian) (Her first appearance From the The- 

Lord Plato . . Mr. Williams atres Royal, Edinburgh and Bir- 

Sir William Ever- Mr. Augustus mingham) 

green Glover Lady Plato . . Miss Eliza Gordon 

Stage Manager, Mr, W. H. Vernon. Leader of Band, Mr. Chapman. 

Repititeur, Mr. R. Watson. Scenic Artist, Mr. Geo. Gordon. 
Box Office (in Park Row) Open from Eleven to Half-past Four. 

Prices for the Opening Night. 
Dress Circle and Orchestra Stalls, 5/- ; Upper Circle and Amphi- 
theatre, 3/- ; Pit Stalls, 2/6 ; Pit, 2/- ; Gallery, i/- 
Private Boxes, Eight persons, J[^2 6s. ; Six Persons, ;;^i i6j. ; Four 
persons, £1 4J. No second Price. 

Doors Open at a Quarter past Six. Commence at Seven. 
The prices of Admission after the first night vrill be as follows : — 

79 



The Bristol Stage 



Dress Circle, 3/6 ; Second Price, 2/- ; Stalls, retained the whole evening, 4/- ; 
Upper circle and Amphitheatre, 2/- ; Second Price, 1/6 ; Pit Stalls, 
1/6; Pit, i/- ; Gallery, 6d. Private Boxes, ^2, 30/-, and ^i. 

The admission on the Opening Night to all parts will (as far as practicable) 
be by Ticket ; and no more Tickets will be issued than the House vnW 
conveniently accommodate. Tickets now on Sale — To Upper Boxes, Pit, 
Gallery, and Stalls. 
Regulations for Carriages will appear in future announcements 

Refreshments may be obtained in the Theatre, supplied by Mrs. Caldicott, 

Caldicott's Hotel, St. Augustine's Parade. 
Books of the Words, Sixpence. No fee for Booking Places. Opera glasses on 

Hire. 

The Tempest will be performed Every Evening during the Week, 

Saturday included. 

Places may be booked (without fees) for each evening. 

Children in Arms not Admitted. Printed at the Mercury and Daily Post 
Offices, Broad Street. 

All pleased the lessee save one, who proved the fly in the ointment, 
and vsrhen a l&vi days later a Clifton lady remarked that " off the stage " 
the actor in question was a " fine handsome man," she was immediately 
countered with. Mr. Chute's reply, " but on the stage he is a wooden 
actor ! " 

MISS EMILY CROSS.—" The Tempest " kept possession of the 
stage for a month, subsequent to which Mr. James Bennett appeared 
as Rob Roy, Miss Emily Cross as Diana Vernon, Miss Robertha Erskine 
as Helen McGregor, and Mr. Frank Crellin — on joining the company — 
as Sir Francis Osbaldistone. 

"Aladdin" was the first pantomime (1867-8), Miss Emily Cross in 
the title part, Mr. E. Arnott as Abanazar, with Messrs. Frank Crellin, 
Fosbrooke and Carl Rowella, Misses Robertha Erskine, Jane Gordon 
and Jenny de Brent (Mrs. RoweUa) likewise in the cast. The harlequinade 
continued a feature of the Christmas productions, and following custom, 
there was another play at each representation. " Aladdin " was a pro- 
nounced success. 

Miss Emily Cross afterwards appeared as Oberon in " Midsummer's 
Night's Dream," this being followed by " Flying Scud," with Mr. W. H. 
Vernon as Tom Meredith, and Mr. Arthur Wood " Old Boots." At 
Easter, Miss Reinhardt appeared in the "Angel of Midnight," Miss 
Jenny Baur and her Opera Company following. Mr. Sims Reeves, then 
at the summit of his reputation, put in one night, appearing as Harry 
Bertram in " Guy Mannering " ; the Julia Mannering was Miss Emily 
Cross ; Gabriel, Mr. Patey ; Dominie Sampson, Mr. G. F. Rowe ; and 
Dandie Dinmont, Mr. Chute. It was a musical as well as a histrionic 
treat. / 

80 



The Bristol Stage 



Mr. Felix Rogers, with his accomplished little wife, Miss Jenny Will- 
more, the original Minerva and Ixion, appeared in that popular Burnand 
burlesque, and other pieces, and then Mr. Sothern was welcomed at the 
new house. On the occasion of this visit he was accompanied by Miss 
Ada Cavendish, and was taking his farewell, previous to leaving for the 
U.S. " The Hero of Romance," a moderately successful play, translated 
from the French by Mr. T. W. Robertson, was the first production of 
the week, to be succeeded by " David Garrick " (Tom Robertson's), Mr. 
Sothern's original character and his world-renowned Lord Dundreary 
in " Our American Cousin." 

What a splendid career had this famous comedian ! A pronounced 
success in America, as Lord Dundreary in " Our Enghsh Cousin," brought 
him to the Haymarket theatre, where it was only necessary to shift the 
personality of the character suggesting the title, from Dundreary to 
Asa Trenchard, to give us the play of that name with which we became 
so famihar. Subsequently, he appeared as " David Garrick," and was 
far and away the finest exponent of that character that I have seen. 
I remember that on the occasion of the first night of this play, at the 
Haymarket Theatre, Mr. Sothern was vociferously called upon to make 
a speech, for his triumph had been somewhat in question owing to his 
rather pronounced American accent. " It was thought," he said, " that 
I should not keep my friends if I played a lover, my voice being too hard 
and unsympathetic for such a part. I don't know how that may be 
on the stage, but in private life, I assure you I get on as weU as most 
people." 

It was — as stated earlier in this story — in 1864, that the popular 
American comedian first visited our city, at the Theatre Royal, but the 
following incidents related to the present engagement, at the New 
Theatre. Mr. Sothern, in thanking the audience for the warmth of 
the welcome accorded, congratulated not only Mr. Chute, but the city, 
upon the possession of so fine a theatre. " When I was here before," 
he said, " it was at the old house. Everything was cramped and there 
was not room off the stage in which to swing a cat ! Not that I have 
any recollection of wanting to swing a cat ! but if I had so desired, I 
could not have done it there. In the wings here, I could swing two 
cats — one in each hand ! " 

An incident of a somewhat social character I feel urged to relate. A 
number of citizens had invited Mr. Sothern to an informal dinner at 
the Royal Hotel, whereat, with table beautifully laid, an excellent 
repast was served. Unfortunately, some one or more of the company, 
during the dessert, were persistent in calling upon their guest, to " recite, 
or act something." In David Garrick's exit from Ingot's drawing- 
room, whilst pretending to be under the influence of drink ! he tears 
down the portiere curtains, and with " ye common cry of curs, whose 
breath I hate, as reek from rotten fens, I banish you— thus ! " At the 

81 F 



The Bristol Stage 



dinner in question, Mr. Sothern being really offended at the shockingly 
bad taste of some of his hosts, arose, delivered the above speech, and 
there being no portiere curtains, clutched at the table-cloth, and in a 
moment, as Mr. Sothern disappeared through the door, the carpet was 
covered with smashed decanters, valuable glasses and dessert service, 
the which must have cost the entertainers a pretty penny to put right. 
Some reference to this being made to Mr. Sothern at a subsequent date, 
the comedian, in the most level tones, replied, " Well, you would have 
something, and that was the only thing that I could remember ; you see, 
I had been acting it." 

In January, 1917, Mr. Sothern, at the command of his medical atten- 
dant, abandoned a portion of his farewell American tour, and retired 
from the stage. 

Miss Marie Wilton's company in Tom Robertson's comedies, " Caste " 
and " Play," followed, and was here for twelve nights. The combination 
included Miss Ada Dyas, Blanche Wilton, Louisa Thorne and Sophie 
Larkin, together with Messrs. Richard Younge, Charles Coghlan and 
J. W. Ray. 

BARRY SULLIVAN.— After a fortnight with Madame Celeste, 
Barry Sullivan fulfilled his first engagement here, appearing in " Ham- 
let," " RicheUeu," " Richard III," " Lady of Lyons " and " The Stran- 
ger." He was accompanied by Miss Kate Saville and further supported 
by Mr. W. H. Vernon and other members of the local company. 

Barry, or, to speak by the card, Thomas Sullivan, was born on July 
5th, 1821, at Birmingham, his father being a private in the Duke of 
York's Irish regiment ; but three years later the family removed to Bristol, 
where his grandfather was already resident, and where he was sent to 
the R.C. day-school (St. Joseph's) in Trenchard Street. There he 
met as fellow-pupils his life -long friends, George Harvey, and also Robert 
Sidney Pratten, who subsequently became the ■premiere flautist at Covent 
Garden. Very early in his school days, boy Sullivan gave evidence of 
a wonderfully retentive memory, as well as powers of elocution entirely 
unexpected, and Martin Bayne, head-master of the school, was not a 
little proud of his pupil. 

Upon the death of his parents. Master Tom was sent to the Stokes 
Croft Endowed School, but even whilst at Trenchard Street the dramatic 
spirit was strongly in evidence, for he has related to a small circle — of 
which more anon — that it was his custom, together with " Bob " Pratten, 
who at this period performed finely upon the tin -whistle, to give an al 
fresco entertainment from the steps of their school-house ; but neither 
melody nor elocution was forthcoming before George Harvey had col- 
lected what he considered a sufficient tribute in half -pence and farthings, 
to compensate the orchestra and tragedian for their efforts. When 
there was suflicient cash in hand for three gallery seats at the theatre, 



The Bristol Stage 



thither they bent their steps, " but the occasions were all too few," added 
Barry, in relating the foregoing autobiography. 

Following his short course of education, Barry Sullivan became office 
boy with Mr. Burges, the town clerk. Determined to give office life 
the go-by, and, by hook or by crook, find a place upon the stage, and 
coming across a small company of strolling players then making their 
way to Swansea, Sullivan ran away from home. 

It was at the age of sixteen that the famous tragedian (that was to be) 
first set foot upon the professional stage, but it was not until ten years 
later that he assumed the maiden name of his mother, and became known 
as " Barry Sullivan " ! 

On the eve of his twenty-first birthday Mr. Barry Sullivan married 
Miss Mary Amory, the daughter of Lieut. John Amory, formerly of the 
29th Regt., but at this time a macer in the Edinburgh Court of Sessions. 
Barry was an accepted visitor at the father's house, but Miss Amory 
being then but sixteen years of age, the parental consent to the union 
was barely hoped for, so the marriage — the outcome of affection and a 
runaway one to boot — was celebrated at the Protestant Church of St. 
Cuthbert, Edinburgh. Speedy forgiveness ensued, and at his death 
Lieut. Amory bequeathed his fortune to his daughter. Mr. Barry 
Sullivan's eldest son " Amory " was named after his maternal grandfather. 

The little circle to which I referred just now was a dinner function 
to which Mr. Barry Sullivan, who greatly disliked more extensive banquet- 
ing assemblies, invited upon the occasion of his visits here, a very few 
friends, these consisting of Mr. J. H. Chute, and his sons George and 
James Macready Chute, his old school-fellow Mr. George Harvey, with 
my father, brother and self. His son, Amory, was never of the party, 
and although in the course of years I saw the numbers dwindle, as my 
father, Mr. Chute and his son George were summoned to the great 
majority, their seats were never filled by new-comers. On these occa- 
sions, Mr. Barry Sullivan, at no time, in private life, the ponderous 
tragic figure tradition presents him, was as bright and cheerful as a boy- 
might be, and invariably shared with us the enjoyment of the choice 
cigars which were brought us with the coffee. Many times I have dined 
with the great tragedian in town, but beyond the limits of this cosy 
Bristol circle, have never seen him smoke. Amongst the anecdotes 
related by our host was one somewhat of the nature of the experience 
of Mr. Sothern already chronicled, for invited by a few citizens — pro- 
fessed play-goers— to a quiet dinner at the Clifton Down Hotel, the 
famous actor found himself neighboured by a local soUcitor, who proved 
anxious to inculcate his own views as to theatrical matters, one of these 
being that " Shakespeare and the drama were all very well, but no com- 
petitors with opera, for real enjoyment." Greatly surprised, Mr. Barry 
Sullivan quietly intimated that he could hardly be expected to agree. 
" Oh, yes," persisted the other, " there's altogether greater enthusiasm 

83 



The Bristol Stage 



at the opera." Barry suggested that he had not been without evidence 
of enthusiasm for either Shakespeare or other dramatic works. " Well, 
look here, Mr. SulHvan ! were you ever in the front row of the gallery 
at Covent Garden, upon the occasion of the production of a grand opera, 
with really first-class- vocalists ? " " No, sir," replied the actor, and 
this time in that remarkable tragic voice of his, " thank God I was never 
in the front row of a theatre gallery in my life." " Which was not true," 
he remarked to us, with a merry twinkle, " for I had been many times 
in the gallery at King Street, and always made a dash for the front row. 
But I thought it so rude to invite me to dinner in order to behttle my 
profession." Then it was that we learnt of the early days with his com- 
panion, Sidney Pratten. 

Anecdotes framed around Barry Sullivan hang as thick as blackberries, 
not all, however, being associated with Bristol, but the following are 
of local origin. The play was " Hamlet " and the six " extra " damsels 
bearing the coffin of Ophelia were standing at the wing, waiting for 
their cue, and not exhibiting that attitude which Hamlet thought was 
called for by their occupation. " Young ladies, young ladies," repri- 
manded Mr. SulHvan, " are you aware that the coffin which you bear 
is supposed to contain the body of a very estimable maiden, and you 
swing it about as though it were the remains of an old tom-cat." 

It is not a Bristol story, but it is an experience personal to myself, so 
I may relate it. I had dined with Mr. Barry Sullivan in town, and as 
was my custom, knowing the arrangements best suited to his profession, 
at six o'clock I prepared to take my departure. He, however, was not 
acting that night. " What are you doing this evening ? " he asked, a 
question never previously put to me by him, and that, on the only occa- 
sion when it would have given me a shock ! However, I had to face it, 
so replied, " Well, Barrett has given me a box ! " " To see ' Hamlet ' 
— I should hke to go ! " That settled it ! PoUni (Wilson Barrett's 
manager) welcomed me, and scarce beUeving his eyes, whispered, " Is 
not that Barry Sullivan ? " I nodded reply, and the intelligence, I 
have Httle doubt, was conveyed to the dressing-room in very few minutes. 
Later, Polini came to the box with the information that Mr. Barrett 
hoped that I would, as usual, go to his dressing-room for a few minutes' 
chat. " Certainly," I answered. " And Mr. Barrett hopes that you 
will bring Mr. Barry SuUivan with you ! " " Oh, no," interposed the 
tragedian, " I never see any one during the performance." " Oh ! Mr. 
Wilson Barrett does, Mr. Palgrave always goes round," urged Polini. 
" Ah. ! I must not break my own rule," said Barry, so I went alone. 
I had barely entered the box on my return, before Barry gave vent to 
thoughts which had evidently been occupying his mind, for he said, with 
some excitement traceable in his voice, " You see I could not go, Rennie, for 
he would have been sure to have asked me how I Hked it. If I said ' not 
at all,' that would have been rude, and if, out of politeness, I had answered 

84 



The Bristol Stage 



* very much,' in to-morrow's Daily Telegraph I should have read, ' Barry- 
Sullivan witnesses Wilson Barrett's " Hamlet," and says ! ' " His 

mental vision was, I think, a true revelation of what would have followed 
the suggested visit behind the curtain. 



8S 



CHAPTER X 



A.D. 1868 J 



MR. W. H. VERNON, who had been engaged for the New Globe 
Theatre, London, took his farewell benefit, selecting " Wild 
Oats " and the " Chevalier St. George " for his programme. " Pro- 
fessor " Anderson, supported by his son and four daughters, with Miss 
Carlotta Zerbini, put in one night, with " Rob Roy," and was succeeded 
by Mr. Charles Matthews, who produced for the first time in Bristol, 
" The Liar." Next Mr. J. L. Toole made his first appearance in Bristol, 
supported by Mr. Billington, and appearing in " The Weavers," " Dearer 
than Life," and " Oliver Twist," wiih a couple of farces. Then followed 
one of the most popular pantomimes yet presented, " The Field of the 
Cloth of Gold," being a reproduction of the capital Strand burlesque 
in its entirety, with the essential harlequinade, tacked on. Miss Jenny 
Wilmore as Earl Darnley, who became an immense favourite here, Miss 
Eliza Gordon was Duke of Suffolk ; Miss Jane Gordon, Anne Boleyn ; 
and Miss Kate Mandlebert, Le Sieur de Boissy. Henry VIII, Mr. A. 
Hilton ; Francis I of France, Mr. Fosbrooke ; Sir Guy the Cripple, 
Mr. Rosiere ; Queen Katherine, Mr, Howell ; and Tete de Veau, High 
Constable of Calais, Mr. Stanley. 

Mr. Buckstone, with whom came Mr. Howe, Mrs. Chippendale and 
others of the Haymarket Theatre Company, and their appearance in 
Haymarket comedies proved a welcome change. Then Miss Bateman 
accompanied by Mr. T. Swinbourne, and her sister — Miss Virginia 
Francis — produced a new play written by the author of " Leah," entitled 
" Pietra." 

A splendid local production of Dion Boucicault's new drama " After 
Dark," in which Mr. Fred Hastings, specially engaged, made a great 
hit in the part of Old Tom, followed. The new scenery, by Messrs. 
George Gordon, Frank Jones and Harford, had not been previously 
equalled here in drama. " After Dark " was followed by the pioneer 
comic opera, destined with its successors to supersede the burlesque and 
extravaganza reign which, so far, had done duty in this line. It was a 
right good send off too, for I do not remember the " Grand Duchess " 
with so powerful a cast, embracing as it did. Miss Julia Matthews, MUe. 
Albertazzi, MUe. Esta, and Messrs. J. D. Stoyle, Aynsley Cook, Odell, 
W. H. Narton and Wilford Morgan, with the famous Payne family. 

86 



I 



The Bristol Stage 



Half a dozen characters were thus in the hands of their original Covent 
Garden exponents. Mr. Sims Reeves, with Miss Ada Jackson, a Clifton 
soprano, and Mr. Chute, for three performances, " Guy Mannering " 
and " Rob Roy " being staged. 

In June, Miss Kate Saville, Miss Coghlan, Mr. Henry Drayton and 
Mr. Allerson, brought Boucicault's play " Forbidden Fruit," and in 
August Mr. Coleman Charles Reade's " Never too late to Mend," 
with Messrs. Henry Haynes, Henry Sinclair, J. G. Warde and the 
one and only " Jacky," Mr. Stanislaus Calhaem. It was a fine 
performance. 

MISS LOUISE WILLES.— The stock season of the autumn, 1869, 
opened with a company especially strong in the ladies engaged, there 
being Misses Plessy Mordaunt, Bessie Marston, Periera (Mrs, J. H. Slater), 
Louise Willes and Fanny Bennet, amongst the principals. Of the gentle- 
men, were Messrs. J. G. Warde, Howell, H. Chippendale, Arnold, Fred- 
crick Marshall, Hilton and J. H. Slater. 

The drama, "Caste and Colour," was the initial item, this being a 
Chute version of " Le Docteur Noir," and embracing the rising water 
effect, at that time the sensation at the Queen's, London, in " The 
Turn of the Tide." 

Mr. Charles Dillon followed, producing " Valjean," a version of Hugo's 
" Les Miserables," and then Mr. Fletcher, with Miss Carlotta Leclercq, 
who during the fortnight of their engagement produced Wilkie Collins' 
drama " Black and White." Mr. J. L. Toole introduced us to H. J. 
Byron's " Dearer than Life " and Dion Boucicault's " Dot," a dramatic 
version of Dickens' " Cricket on the Hearth. 

"Robinson Crusoe" was the pantomime of 1869-70, Miss Louise 
Periera being cast as Robinson, and Mr. Fred Marshall, Bristol's " call- 
boy " under the stage management of his father, in the bygones, taking 
the palm by his admirable performance of Friday. It had but a brief 
success and was withdrawn February 12th, its want of popularity greatly 
due, beyond doubt, to the lamentable accident which had occurred on 
the night of its production, and in which eighteen lives were lost. The 
popularity of the two preceding Bristol pantomimes had gathered an 
unprecedented crowd of theatre patrons to the pit and gallery entrance 
in which there was, at that time, neither dividing rail nor protective gate. 
In the rush at the opening of the doors, some of the very foremost fell, 
and those behind, entirely unconscious of what had happened, quite as 
unconsciously walked over them. In order to avoid a panic, Mr. Chute 
gave orders for the performance to proceed, and it was not until they left 
the building that any member of the audience knew anything of the 
disaster. That both mentally and financially the management had been 
dealt a cruel and crushing blow none might doubt, and coming as it did 
so speedily upon the stress and anxiety of their great venture, I am dis- 

87 



The Bristol Stage 



posed to think that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Chute ever regained their fair 
outlooks upon life. 

Again came Madame Celeste upon the scene, bringing with her a new 
play written for her by J. Palgrave Simpson, entitled " The Watch Dog 
of the Walsinghams." As to whether that experienced dramatist had 
designedly supplied the popular actress with a " tongue-twister " or not, 
he had done so, as in speaking " the tag," the facial contortions of Madame 
were extraordinary. " Ze Wass-dog of ze Walzinghams " was not a 
sentence in which her slightly foreign accent, so charming in the parts of 
Miami, and other of her staple goods, was proved to advantage. 

There was an amusing episode in the staging of this play, Henry Owen, 
the master stage -carpenter, not caring to put the management to un- 
necessary expense, having ingeniously made up a scene which he thought 
might suffice for a night or two's performance, and this was set for the 
rehearsal. 

" Harry Owen," cried Madame, as it met her view, " what you call 
this ? " 

" That, Madame, is the Park scene ! " 

" Ah ! ze Park scene ! It is what I call a go'dam giblet stew ! " 

On Monday, February 26th, there was produced Dion Boucicault's 
latest success, the Irish drama " Arrah-na-Pogue " (Arrah of the Kiss), 
played at the Royal Princess's upwards of 200 nights, and as " Jean la 
Poste," upwards of 100 nights in Paris, being the first drama of the 
English stage to be translated for production there. In Bristol it formed 
one of the most complete stagings of the times. The scenery, by Messrs. 
Gordon and Harford, was exceptionally effective, whilst the representa- 
tion was in truth convincing. Mr. James O'Sullivan as Shaun -the -post, 
his foil, Mr. Shiel Barry, as Michael Feeny. Col. Bagenal O'Grady (" the 
O'Grady ") was in the hands of Mr. Chute, and I know of no character, 
certainly if it be not the " Roused Lion," in which he has been seen to 
such advantage. I have the picture before me now, as rising from the 
bench in the Justice Hall, his splendid personality in the uniform of a 
British Colonel, and that mellow ringing voice of his pervading the hall, 
he exclaimed, " Oh ! Major, Major ! it's mighty hard for an Irish gentle- 
man to sit here whilst a poor boy is condemned to death, when dignity 
forbids him to say that he is damn sorry for him." The play ran for four 
weeks, until a previously arranged return of Barry Sullivan necessitated 
its withdrawal, but it was revived for the Whitsuntide holidays, and this 
closed the spring season of 1870. 

Perhaps it is as well to acknowledge that the success or otherwise of 
this important production was one of more than passing interest to the 
management, for as the weeks had shpped by it had become increasingly 
evident that the deterrent effect of the Boxing- night's disaster would not 
readily disappear. 

There were the customary benefits, a complimentary night by the 

88 



The Bristol Stage 



Clifton Amateurs to Mr. Chute, and a bespeak by Col. H. E. Weare, 
C.B., and the officers of the 50th Regt. (Queen's Own), then stationed at 
Horfield Barracks, from whence came the fine band of the regiment to 
assist. Mile. H. Schneider, with her French company, gave {one per- 
formance of each of Offenbach's two operas, " La Grande Duchesse " 
and " Orphee aux Enfers," and then came Whitsuntide, with, as already 
stated, " Arrah-Na-Pogue " revived. 

The autumn season commenced on August 29th with that delightful 
artiste MUe. Beatrice, who brought with her Misses Sophie Young, 
Emmie D'Este, A. Markham, etc.-, and Messrs. H. Sinclair, Horace Wigan, 
F. Harvey, etc. " Frou-Frou " was first introduced to Bristol play- 
goers, and during her twelve nights' engagement " Marie Antoinette " 
and " Marie Stuart." Henry J. Byron, in " Blow for Blow," " Promp- 
ter's Box," and " Lancashire Lass," occupied the succeeding twelve 
nights, and then a week with Miss Cleveland — back from Australia — and 
three nights of Mr. Sothern, accompanied by Miss Amy Roselle, produc- 
ing for the first time on any stage T. W. Robertson's comedy " Birth " ; 
at its best, un success d'estime. 

The following attraction offered by the management was Mr. H. J. 
Byron, the popular and versatile author, who during twelve nights 
appeared in a couple of his own plays, one of which, " An English Gen- 
tleman," had not previously faced the foothghts. The author was 
accompanied by Mr. J. D. Beveridge and Miss Nellie Joy. 

J. L. Toole followed. The features of the engagement being " Uncle 
Dick's Darling " and " Dearer than Life," he accentuated" the immense 
popularity of his predecessor, H. J. Byron, as an author. 

For the production of " Little Em'ly " Mr. G. F. Rowe had been 
engaged. Miss Rese Lisle played Little Em'ly and Miss Fanny Robertson, 
Betsy Trotwood. 

The pantomime was on the subject of the " Forty Thieves," and was 
well produced, the majority of the scenery being by Messrs. Harford and 
Mark Barraud, the latter of whom had now " joined up " as local artist, 
but Messrs. Gordon and Frank Jones were also in some evidence. Miss 
Louise Willes as Morgiana and Miss Susan Rignold as the princess, proved 
early favourites ; Abdallah being played by Miss Louise Periera. The 
pantomime, in its entirety, ran to February i8th, 1871, and bereft of the 
harlequinade, for three nights in the ensuing week, but Miss Periera was 
not an ideal pantomime boy. 

The Easter attraction was Mr. W. H. Vernon in " The Will and the 
Way," and " Faust and Marguerite," and the return of this Bristol-born 
favourite as a " special engagement " was recognized in an unmistakable 
welcome from all parts of the house. On the Friday, Miss Bateman 
appeared as " Leah," Rudolph, Mr. W. H. Vernon ; and on the following 
Monday, for his benefit, " The Marble Heart " was the premier item. 

During the first three nights of the Whitsun week " A Message from 

89 



The Bristol Stage 



the Sea " held the boards ; but on the Saturday, May 13th, the Vaude- 
ville Theatre Company appeared in " The Two Roses," the following 
being the cast : — 

Jack Wyatt, Mr. W. H. Montague ; Caleb Deecie, Mr. C. W, Gar- 
thorne ; Digby Grant, Esq., Mr. Henry Irving ; Our Mr. Jenkins, Mr. 
George Honey ; Mr. Furnival, Mr. W. H. Stephens ; Lottie, Miss Amy 
Fawcitt ; Ida, Miss Louise Claire ; Mrs. Jenkins, Miss Billings ; Mrs. 
Cupps, Miss Hertz. 

A farce, never before performed, entitled " A Fearful Fog," by F. 
Hay, preceded the successful comedy. The engagement was for one 
night only, the company being en route for Ireland, but on its return 
therefrom they took up the thread without intervention, save that of 
time, for a most successful further six performances. 



90 



I 



CHAPTER XI 

A.D. I87I 

ON August 14th, 1 871, Miss Bateman opened a six nights' campaign 
with " Mary Warner," a new play written for her by Tom Taylor, 
the well-known author of the " Ticket-of -Leave-Man." Mr. W. H. 
Vernon was George Warner ; Mr. Frank Barsby, Bob Levitt ; and Miss 
Virginia Francis, Milly Rigg. Barry Sullivan followed, and in that gifted 
young citizen-actor, Mr. Walter Fisher, found in " Hamlet " an excellent 
Laertes, Malcolm in " Macbeth," and in " Richard III " Sir WiUiam 
Brandon. In the first-named tragedy, Mr. Chute gave " his chance " 
also to another well-known Bristolian, long amongst the front rank of 
" general utility " under his management, Mr. Osgood being cast for the 
character of Horatio, and acquitting himself entirely to the satisfaction 
of both Mr. Chute and Mr. Barry Sullivan. Mr. Osgood was a chimney 
sweep, and with a prosperous business in the vicinity of Redland Green, 
but his love was for the stage, and his ambition to become an actor ! As 
an elocutionist, Mr. Osgood was quite entitled to such dreams, for be- 
sides giving evidence of this in an evening of popular readings, arranged 
by him at the Broadmead Rooms, I have seen him play Osric and Catesby 
capitally. One drawback, however, he had, and that, for a young aspirant 
to the mantle of Rossius a fatal one, his voice, being best described perhaps 
as ultra -woolly. The following week of Mr. Barry Sullivan's engagement, 
Mr. J. F. Cathcart was Laertes ; Mr. Walter Fisher, Horatio ; and Mr. 
Osgood, Marcellus ; such was the " school " which sent forward on their 
career so many of our leading stage exponents. 

Mr. H. Leslie sent us a remarkably fine Operatic Company for the per- 
formance of Offenbach's "Princess of Trebizonde," amongst the prin- 
cipals being Misses Mabel Brent, Julia St. George, Louie Henri, and as 
" Manola, the Strong Woman of the Wilderness," Miss Carrie Braham. 
Mr. H. Bracy was Tremolini ; Cabriola, Mr. Edward Chessman ; and 
Dr. Spreadrap, Mr. A. Walmsley ; and amidst the greatest tokens of 
success the twelve nights proved none too many for comic-opera patrons, 

Mr. J. Clarke, who had scored a success at the Prince of Wales Theatre, 
produced his fiece de resistance, Byron's comedy " Ours," his old favourite^ 
" The Bonny Fishwife," and for his benefit " Sairy Gamp," in which 
latter piece Mr. Fosbrooke played Betsy Prig. Mr. Clarke was further 
supported by Miss Rachel Sanger, 

91 



The Bristol Stage 



That prolific playwright and king of representatives of the " Bhoys of 
Clarney," Mr. Dion Boucicault, together with Mrs. Boucicault, came for 
six nights, and Mr, Chute wisely engaged Mr. Shiel Barry to resume his 
part of Michael Feeny, and upon the occasion of the benefit to appear as 
Danny Man. What Mr. Boucicault thought of this support can be fairly 
estimated from the fact that he took Mr. Shiel Barry away with him and 
retained his services throughout the tour which he was then making. 

Not a few consistent playgoers are apt to associate the name of Dion 
Boucicault with his phenomenal successes, the " Colleen Bawn," " Arrah- 
na-Pogue," " The Octoroon," etc., and think that there the story ends. 
Save, perhaps, Mr. H. J. Byron — and as to which of these comes first I 
am not sure — no dramatic author has placed upon the stage so many 
successful works. I cannot pretend to remember all of these, but I can, 
in addition to the foregoing, mention " London Assurance," " Louis XI," 
"Love in a Maze," "The Irish Heiress," "Woman," "Night and 
Morning," "Don Caesar de Bazan," "Hunted Down," "The Long 
Strike," "Janet Pride," "The WiUow Copse," "Dot," "Rip Van 
WinUe," " The Vampire," " Streets of London," " After Dark," and 
" The Shaugraun," most of which have been seen in Bristol, whilst others 
of less enduring popularity, which I know to exist, do not readily suggest 
their titles to my mind. 

Mr. Joseph Eldred was the next attraction, bringing " Nell," in which 
he impersonated Quilp ; " Little Em'ly," he playing Micawber, " Aurora 
Floyd " and Andrew HaUiday's " The Great City." " Uncle Tom " 
followed, Mr. Charles Arnold in the title role proving himself the best 
exponent of the character since Mr. Vollaire. 

An excellent and popular romantic actor of the time — one whose name 
has been made increasingly familiar by reason of the intrepid aeroplane 
exploits of his son Robert (also by profession an actor) during the great 
" World War " — Mr. Henry Loraine, introduced to a Bristol audience 
an attractive melodrama, "The Face in the Moonlight," which was 
warmly received. During his visit Mr. Kirkman Hodson, M.P., gave a 
bespeak, and before an exceedingly large audience Mr. Loraine appeared 
as " Don Caesar de Bazan." Temp. Lieutenant -Colonel Robert Loraine, 
whilst trying during the surQmer of 1918, and when flying at a height of 
5,000 feet to stop a couple of Hun bullets, was made a cripple, but hoped 
to again " carry on " before returning to the stage. 

The Christmas annual was on the subject of " Dick Whittington and 
his Cat." It was at this point in his theatrical experience that Mr. Chute 
first felt acutely the new vogue of the " middleman " in the dramatic 
world. So far, the method of securing an engagement had been for the 
actor to " write in " to the desired manager and, in the case of Bristol at 
any rate, such apphcations involved no loss of dignity to the writers ; 
whilst the manager, king in his own castle, avoided the worry and un- 
pleasantness of addressing those artistes who were no longer at liberty, or 

>92 



The Bristol Stage 




were not desirous of accepting the offer made. In all that touched the 
privileges of either manager or actor, Mr. Chute was intensely conserva- 
tive, and the intervention of the " agent " in no way appealed to him as 
being either necessary or desirable. His last two Christmas productions 
had unquestionably suffered considerably from the absence of such pan- 
tomime " principal boys " as he had never previously failed to secure by 
the " write in " method, and it was nothing but a last moment necessity 
that had at length driven him into the arms of the " theatrical agent ! " 
Of course the basket had already been well picked over, and it was purely 
a matter of Hobson's choice that gave him his Dick Whittington. How 
well I remember his first appreciation of what he was in for, when with 
what appeared to suggest the conscious pride of excellence, the lady in 
such a pronounced nasal twang of Cockneydom that you could cut it with 
a knife, sang the opening number : — 

" I had a dream, a happy dream, 
I dreamt I was Lord Mayor." 

It was a shock 1 But always the philosopher, if, at times, the cynic, he 
was pointing out to me, and that with quite an unaccustomed finality of 
reasoning and with apparent enthusiasm, that she zoas Dick Whittington, 
and that the performance (I don't know whether on that occasion he had 
seen it further) was the only correct and classical impersonation of the 
part that he had ever witnessed. " Just think," he said, " Dick Whit- 
tington, in spite of the artistic costume in which we disclose him, was a 
boy of the lower order, a gamin, born and bred within the sound of Bow 
BeUs, and carries the whole of his spare wardrobe in a pocket-handker- 
chief perched on a stick ! Isn't that^ the exact style in which he should 
proclaim his joy ? I tell you, it is great ! ! " But I scented the volcano 
that lay beneath the gently rumbling sounds. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rousby, in a twelve nights' engagement produced on 
February 19th Tom Taylor's " Twixt Axe and Crown." Easter was 
rendered exceptionally attractive by the presentation of Mr. Charles 
Rice's fine production " Amy Robsart." Mr. Rice undertook the char- 
acter of Mike Lambourne, the best effort which I associate with his name. 
The play, with its glittering armour, proved a great draw, and was con- 
tinued during the following week. 

On May 3rd the Bristol Histrionic Club gave a performance on behalf 
of the widow and children of the late Mr. Dobbins, the many years' 
theatre treasurer, presenting "Extremes." " Childeric," the famous 
opera bouffe, was staged at the King Street Theatre, that popular artiste 
Miss Augusta Thompson proving a star of no little brilliance. The com- 
pany shifting its quarters to the New Theatre on the 21st, when, taking 
advantage of the excellent musical combination, Mr. Chute announced 
his annual benefit, and appeared as Charles XII of Sweden. 

Mr, Charles, with Miss Annie Manners and Mr. Forrest Knowles, gave 

93 



The Bristol Stage 



two performances of '* Coriolanus," the week being completed with Mr. 
Douglass' Royal Standard Company, presenting the drama " For Sale " 
from that theatre. 

In early June, Mr. John HoUingshead sent his Gaiety company of 
bouffe artistes, exponents of Offenbach's most attractive works, " Grand 
Duchess," " La Belle Helene," and " Barbe Bleue," and so popular did 
these works prove, that the original six nights' stay was extended through- 
out the following week. Of the principals were. Misses Julia Matthews, 
Emily Muir and Alice Cook, with Messrs. J. D. Stoyle, Furneau Cook, 
Carlton, H. Collier and E. D. Beverley, the last named being an ideal 
Fritz in appearance, and possessed of an exceptionally fine tenor voice. 

Until the lure of the stage captured him, Mr. (I forget his family 

name) had been a schoolmaster in Beverley, hence the attractive nom de 
theatre. The majority of the audiences witnessing the " Grand Duchess " 
were puzzled at the obvious amusement of some few amongst themselves, 
and especially of members of the company on the stage, when the Grand 
Duchess, inquiring of her disgraced commander-in-chief what position 
he would prefer to occupy, Fritz replies, " I should Hke to be a school- 
master ! " 

In July Mr. J. L. Toole brought a fuU company, producing during the 
week H. J. Byron's dramas, " Uncle Dick's Darling " and " Dearer than 
Life," as the chief items of the visit, and then on August 26th, in order 
that A.D. 1872 might not get dramatically lethargic, MUe. Beatrice, the 
ever -increasingly welcome comedienne, arrived on a six nights' visit, bringing 
with her the entire Olympic company, which then included Mr. WilUam 
Rignold, and producing " Our Friends " {Nos Intimes), " Broken Ties," 
etc. 

" Amy Robsart " (Chas. Rice's production), and Joseph Eldred with 
" Sleigh Bells," followed by " Little Amy Robsart," Hahday's burlesque, 
were next upon the list, Eldred having with him Misses Augusta Thomp- 
son, AngeHna Claude, Mr. Joseph Paulton, Mr. E. W. Royce, etc., this 
being Eldred's finest combination of bouf^e artistes. 

The season which, with " Lost in London " and Byron's burlesque 
" Don Giovanni," commenced on September 23rd, revealed what was 
practically a new stock company, but which — as in the two or three pre- 
vious substitutions — could not be regarded as a welcome change in the 
dramatic personnel, and the effect of this was increasingly evidenced in the 
decrease of patronage, other than upon exceptional occasions. There 
was a goodly assembly on the 27th inst., that being the night of the 
bespeak of the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr. and Mrs. Proctor Baker. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rousby returned, and were followed by Mr. Talbot, a 
Scotch tragedian, who in Macklin's "Man of the World," and also in 
" King o' Scots," gave his most attractive programmes. " After Dark " 
was succeeded by Mr. James Bennett and Tom Swinbourne, with some- 
thing approaching a change in the selection of Shakespearean plays, 

94 



The Bristol Stage 



'* Julius Caesar," " Henry IV " and " King John " being of the category. 
The last-named gem of the Bard proved intensely popular, King John 
being impersonated by Bennett, Faulconbridge by Swinbourne, Hubert, 
Mr. Henry Walton ; and Prince Arthur, by Miss Kate Mandlebert, the 
two last-named artistes in that touching scene of the fourth act, drawing 
forth a measure of applause seldom bestowed on one's local representatives 
when supporters of traditional " stars " ! 

Miss Henrietta Hodson had a warm welcome as Ariel in the " Tem- 
pest," whilst in a burlesque version of " The Stranger " as Mrs. Haller 
(her original character), some lines, easily adapted by those who knew the 
circumstances, to her matrimonial infelicity, inspiring unmistakable 
evidences of sympathy. 

The old round of revivals followed, with more or less success, the 
company of the season now comprising Misses Fanny Enson, E. Rudd, 
Armitage, Kate Newton, and Kate Mandlebert ; Messrs. George Stretton, 
Henry Walton, Longmore, Charles Arnold, Kelly Robertson, R. Cowell, 
Scudamore and Fosbrooke. 

Three nights of an Italian Opera Company, comprising Mesdames 
Trevelli-Bettini, Titiens, Marimon, and Baunmeister, Signors Bettini, 
Foli, Tombesi, and Renaldini. The operas were " Norma," Flotow's 
" Martha," and Bellini's " Sonambula," Signor Li Calsi being the 
conductor. 

The pantomime of 1872-3 was founded on the subject of "Tom 
Thumb," Miss Gerty Mills, yclept " the Infant Sappho " (a title I 
thought the distinguishing mark of Miss Louisa Vinning), appearing in 
the name part, but the revived glories of the Christmas annual in Bristol 
were certainly not yet ! 

It will thus be seen that the available repertoire of attractive plays at 
the disposal of a stock season's manager was of painfully limited dimen- 
sions, whilst of travelling " stars " very few indeed continued conspicuous 
in Bristol's dramatic firmament, the majority of whom, owing to their 
lack-lustre constitution, proving to be of other than a meteoric character. 
Neither can it be claimed that dramatic authorship received many 
recruits to its ranks, H. J. Byron, Dion Boucicault, Tom Taylor, Andrew 
Halliday and Tom Robertson, all old timers, being mostly responsible for 
the holding of the fort. 

Mr. Edmund Falconer came with his Princess's drama, " Eileen Oge," 
and on March 24th the vast ballet production " Babil and Bijou," from 
Covent Garden, took possession of the boards, whilst lovers of the more 
dramatic fare, had, at the Theatre Royal, Mr. George Rignold in his great 
London success, " Amos Clark," the performance of which was continued 
during the following week at the Park Row house. 

Monday, May 5th, introduced Mr. Wybert Reeve and company, from 
the Olympic, in the "Woman in White," this being an engagement 
which stood out, for the representation throughout was of a very con- 

95 



The Bristol Stage 



vincing order. Mr. Wybert Reeve made a fine Count Fosco, Mr. E. S. 
Willard a splendid Walter Hartwright, Miss Eliza Saville, a striking 
Marion Halcombe, and Miss Ellen Meybrick a perfectly alluring Woman 
in White. Wilkie Collins was about now " entirely the cult," and that 
the following week should be devoted to Miss Marie Wilton's Company 
in " Man and Wife " was quite that which might have been hoped for, 
and beyond all question the performance proved as delightful as did that 
which had preceded it. The representation of Geoffrey Delamayn was 
in the hands of Mr. Charles Wyndham, and those who have only seen Sir 
Charles in those lighter works to which he owed his later popularity, 
would hardly conceive how great was his impersonation of the sodden 
aristocrat of Wilkie CoUins' novel. A great performance in this produc- 
tion of Man and Wife was that of Miss Ada Dyas as Anne Silvester, the 
heroine, and Miss Blanche Wilton. Messrs. Charles Collette, H. B. Con- 
way and others were aU successfully cast. 

It is remarkable how many Hghts of the histrionic world settle into a 
line of characters foreign to that which would apparently be their pre- 
destination, or which constituted their desire. " Johnny " Toole often 
vowed, although perhaps not seriously, that his ambition was to play 
Othello or Macbeth, and certainly he was to my mind more at home in 
touches of pathos, such as Caleb Plummer, Uncle Dick, etc., than in more 
intensely humorous characters or those intended to be such, and upon 
which his reputation was mainly built. 

Offenbach's opera, " La Perichole," with Mr. E. Beverley in the name 
part, was performed here for the first time. 



96 



CHAPTER XII 

A.D. 1873 

HENRY IRVING, under the Bateman regime, had by now estab- 
lished his early Lyceum reputation, and much interest surrounded 
his opening the autumn season here with W. G. Wills' picturesque play 
" Charles I." Although in some quarters voted " thin," I own to being 
an admirer of this work, as also of Irving's dignified yet sympathetic 
performance as the unfortunate monarch. Miss Isabel Bateman played 
Queen Henrietta, Mr. H. Forrester being Cromwell and E. F. Edgar 
Lord Moray. " The Bells " was also presented for a couple of nights, 
Irving without the " Bells " being, at this time, unthinkable. 

Miss Julia Matthews and Mr. J. D. Stoyle had a ten nights' run with 
" Kissi-Kissi," H.I.M. the Padishah Doo Deen being amongst the fvery 
best of the Stoyle impersonations. The first week was interrupted on 
the Thursday and Saturday by Madame Ristori, the world-renowned 
tragedienne, the lady appearing on the former occasion as Mary Stuart, 
and on the Saturday as Queen Elizabeth, the prices of admission, of course 
raised, being to stalls, 6s. ; dress circle, 5J". ; and so on, down to is. 
gallery. 

Tom Taylor's company visited Bristol next, with " Arkwright's Wife " 
and " Vesta's Temple," very effectively represented by Misses Phillie HiU 
and A. M. Kelly, Messrs. Charles Kelly, Flockton, Henry, Ferrand, etc. 
Miss Henrietta Hodson brought " Old London," a drama, certainly not 
of her best attractions, but " The Tempest " as also " The Stranger," 
burlesque, were revived in support of the engagement. 

Miss Marie Lytton's " Happy Land " company, consisting of Messrs. 
F. Dewar, George Rignold, Edgar Bruce and C. Steyne, together with 
Miss Kate Bishop, Miss Rose Egan, Misses Sylvia Hodson, Phoebe Don, 
etc., proved quite a hit. 

It was a merry skit (by the author's permission) upon W. S. Gilbert's 
"Wicked World." In London, when produced at the Court Theatre, 
the three principals, of whom Mr. Walter Fisher was chief, were made up 
as the famous politicians, Gladstone, Bobby Lowe and Professor Ayrton, 
and sang : — 

" For we are three most popular men, 
And we'd like to see who'll turn us out 1 " 

97 o 



The Bristol Stage 



The Lord Chamberlain quickly vetoed the " make-up," so that much 
of the point of the humorous skit was lost, except to those who, knowing 
the details, drew on their imagination. During this week the New 
Theatre Company performed " The Octoroon " at " The Old ! " in 
King Street. Mr. and Mrs. Bandmann, in a cycle of plays, in one only of 
which, " Narcisse," was he, to my mind, seen to advantage. 

Mr. Charles Matthews next occupied the stage, and needless to state 
met with an enthusiastic reception. Yet how much greater would the 
laughter and applause which fell upon his ears have been had the audi- 
ence been in possession of the details of the delightful little comedy which 
had preceded his appearance on the Monday evening, and as disclosed in 
the following amusing letter : — 



" Belle Vue Mansions, Brighton, 

^^ August 6th, 1873.' 
"My dear Toole, — 

" Were you ever in a mess ? If you never were I can explain it to 
you, having been in several ; indeed, I don't mind confessing to you that 
I am in one now, and, strange to say, you are perhaps the only man who 
can get me out of it. You need not button up your pockets, it isn't a 
pecuniary one. Only fancy ! after thirty years' practice and experience 
I have made a mistake in my dates, and for the first time in my life find 
myself engaged to two managers at the same time. Now they say a man 
cannot serve two masters, but I can if they will come one after the other, 
only one at a time, one down, t'other come on ; but to play at Bristol and 
the Gaiety on the same night (and keep it up for a week), I don't see my 
way to accomplish. In a moment of enthusiasm I engaged to begin with 
Chute on September 29th, and I had scarcely done so when Hollingshead 
reminded me that I was booked to begin with him on that date, and that 
it could not be altered. Conceive my dismay. Chute holds fast — ' can't 
be altered ' — so does Hollingshead — ' can't be altered.' Now, Toole — 
dear Toole, beloved Toole — can't you stay a week longer at the Gaiety ? 
Can't you let me begin there on Monday, October 6th (as I thought I 
did), and get me out of my dilemma ? Can't you make this sacrifice to 
friendship and put three or four hundred more into your pocket ? 
Virtue is not its own reward, but an extra week of fine business is. Now, 
Toole, adored Tooley — the best of men — first of comedians — most 
amiable of your sex — burst into tears — throw your arms and sob out, ' Do 
with me as thou wilt — play me another week — pay me another three hun- 
dred and be happy.' Breathless with anxiety, yet swelling with hope, I 
must await your answer. Pity the sorrows of a poor old man and even 
telegraph ' Yes ', rather than keep me in suspense. What's a week to an 
able-bodied low comedian ? Child's play ! Why, you'll be wanting to 
throw in morning performances as well to keep you from rusting. It 

98 



The Bristol Stage 



really is a chance for you — avail yourself of it and bless me, and I'll bless 
you, and HoUingshead will bless us both, and Chute will bless us all. 
" With my intermediate blessing, ever faithfully yours, 

" C. J. Mathews." 

The Carl Rosa Opera Company followed on October 6th, 1873, this 
being the first visit of the renowned combination to our city. The operas 
produced on this occasion were " Maritana," " Faust," " Don Giovanni," 
" II Trovatore," " Fra Diavolo," and the " Bohemian Girl." The Com- 
pany was a fairly good one, the -prime donne being Madame Vaneri, and 
Misses Rose Hersee and Blanche Cole, with Misses Lucy Franklin and 
Catherine Lewis, contralti. The tenors, Messrs. J. Chatterson and Wm, 
Castle, and bassi Messrs. Aynsley Cook, Arthur Stevens and S. C. Camp- 
bell. Mr. Carl Rosa conducted in person, and it was easy to appreciate 
the master hand that had done so much with the material at his disposal, 
as also to anticipate some of that which was to come, under his direction. 

Miss Bateman brought with her Mr. E. H. Brooke, a fine actor, and 
others, and on December 8th commenced a series of four performances by 
Her Majesty's Theatre Italian Opera Company, and although one or two 
of the great " stars " were beyond their prime, the combination was a 
famous one. There were Mesdames Titiens. Sinico, Bauermeister, 
Trebelli-Bettini and Marie Roze, the last named making her earliest 
appearance here as Margherita in " Faust," whilst amongst the gentlemen 
were Signori Urio, Rinaldi, Fabrini, Tito Sterbini, CampobeUo, Giulio 
Perkin, Agnesi, etc. " Lucrezia Borgia," " Faust," " Dpn Giovanni " 
and " II Trovatore " were the works selected and Signor Li Calsi was the 
conductor. 

Miss Ada Cavendish appeared as Mercy Merrick in Wilkie Collins' play 
" The New Magdalen," a part which she had for 200 nights filled with 
enormous success at the Royal Olympic, and which she was destined to 
play amidst equal plaudits for several hundreds of nights further, and 
that throughout the Kingdom. Mr. R. Markby was the Julian Gray. 
" Valentine and Orson," as its production had done in the old days, pro- 
mised to revive the waning popularity of pantomime. The management 
had realized that all was not well with recent attempts in this direction, 
and a Christmas annual possessed of far greater scenic beauty than had 
previously been essayed here on such occasions, was supported by an all- 
round cast of principals, more or less reminiscent of earlier triumphs, and 
it met with its reward ! Valentine was enacted by Miss Joanna Blake 
(Mrs. Alexander), Orson by Mr. Henry Walton, the leading light come- 
dian of the dramatic company, whilst other characters were represented 
by Misses Florence Edgar, Nellie Lingham, Kate Mandlebert, A. 
Page, and Ellen Mayne ; Messrs. Scudamore, Tapping, Henry H. 
Vincent, Fosbrooke, Cowell, and Edward Compton. The clown was 
Mr. A. F. Forrest. But so long as the harlequinade continued to be a 

99 



The Bristol Stage 



leading factor in pantomime, the transformation scene, the time-honoured 
introduction to the Christmas fooling, would hold its sway, and set a hall- 
mark upon all that followed and, at times, upon much which had pre- 
ceded it. There was the opportunity for scenic ingenuity. It was in 
this respect that the pantomime of 1873-4, when seen, exacted long 
absent admiration. " The Nativity of Venus " suppHed the subject, the 
story as disclosed being effectively told by Mr. C. Brew, from whose 
studio Mr. Chute had acquired it. " Valentine and Orson " ran until 
the last week of the spring season. Mr. George Chapman, musical con- 
ductor, announced a benefit, producing " Masks and Faces," his sister- 
in-law, Bristol's old favourite. Miss Mandlebert, coming from her London 
engagement in order to sustain the character of Peg Woffington. The 
play was followed by a musical interlude, in the course of which the 
Bands of the 1st Gloucestershire Artillery, and the 1st Gloucestershire 
Rifle Volunteers, of the latter of which Mr. George Chapman was band- 
master, took part. The benefit house was a " bumper " ! 

Not aU benefits, however, have their paths too liberally strewn with 
milk and honey, for Mr. George Chapman, his son and our present con- 
ductor at the Prince's, relates how some years since, when occupying a 
similar position at the Empire, Hanley, he was induced to take a benefit ! 
What more natural or more provident than that he should map out the 
channels into which this anticipated accession to the season's revenue should 
flow, and what more natural than that a visit to the paternal roof and 
the scene of his early joys should occupy a conspicuous position in the 
programme ? In the result, he felt exceedingly thankful that the 
" benefit " left him minus £1 1 p. \d. only of his hard earned salary. 
Such is life ! 

Although the foregoing episode was of somewhat remote origin, the 
concluding act of the drama as indicated in the following correspondence 
was delightfully local : — 

" Dear Father, — 

"Last night I took my benefit. Please send me ten pounds. 

" Your affectionate son, 

" George." 

" Dear George, — 

" Herewith cheque for _^io. . Don't take another benefit, I cannot 
aflFord it. 

" Dad." 

There was an excellent company (Mrs, W. H. Listen's) producing 
" La Fille de Madame Angot," MUe. Blanche Tersi, Miss Pattie Laverne, 
with Messrs. John Grantham and Loredan amongst the principals, and 

100 



The Bristol Stage 



then the Albery Company charmed with " The Two Roses," " For- 
given," and " Apple Blossoms," Miss Susan Rignold, Miss May Holt and 
Miss Jenny Fountain appearing with Messrs. Flockton, G. S. Titheradge, 
C. W. Garthorne, E. Chessman and W. Walmsley — an excellent com- 
bination. 

On May 25th, 1874, that fine old actor, Mr. Compton, whose son, Mr. 
Edward Compton, had for some time been earning his spurs under the 
Bristol management, commenced a brief engagement with comedies of 
the grade so successfully associated both with his career and with the 
Haymarket Theatre. The veteran comedian was accompanied by 
several artistes of standing — the which is not always synonymous of un- 
doubted merit — notably Miss Kate Hodson, Miss Stansfield and Mrs. 
F. B. Egan, Mr. Chas. Vadenhoff, Mr. J. A. Phillips and Mr. Warren. 
" Paul Pry," " Heir at Law," etc., were performed during the first four 
nights, and on Thursday, 28th, Mr. Chute taking advantage of his old 
friend's presence, announced his annual benefit. Shakespeare's play 
" Twelfth Night " was selected for the occasion, Mr. Compton enacting 
the part of the Clown, Mr. Chute that of Sir Toby, and Miss Madge 
Robertson — coming from the Haymarket Theatre to support her old 
manager — as Olivia. The event was exceptionally successful, and the 
two remaining nights of the engagement exceedingly well patronized. 

In October Miss Bella Murdoch joined the company, her husband, Mr. 
George Titheradge, having for some time been principal light comedian 
here. " East Lynne " was her opening play, the after-piece being 
" Domestic Economy," in which Mr. Fosbrooke was, to my mind, 
always seen at his best. He had a glorious Mrs. Grumley, this time, the 
character being admirably acted by Miss Eliza Rudd. 

For his pantomime of 1874-5, Mr. Chute on Christmas Eve produced 
Charles Rice's " Rfed Riding Hood, and Little Bo Peep," which, owing 
mainly to the introduction upon the Covent Garden stage of a perfectly 
tractable flock of sheep, had set all the nation a-talking, and had experi- 
enced a phenomenal run there at the previous Christmas. Beyond the 
" ba-lambs," however, the pantomime was one of the best I remember, 
the two stories being admirably dove -tailed, and that its excellence was 
recognised here was indicated years later when it was again staged by 
Messrs. George and James Macready Chute. On the present occasion it 
was presented in a charming manner, a vast amount of new scenery being 
provided by Mr. Mark Barraud, whilst that of the " Glow Worm Dell," 
by Messrs. Gordon and Harford, proved one of the most delightful 
" sets " imaginable. Red Riding Hood was impersonated by Miss Katie 
Brown, and Bo Peep, her sister, by Miss Willa Brown, their performance 
leaving little, if anything, to be desired. In the harlequinade the Clown 
was Mr. Harry Wright, and amongst the scenes employed were views of 
the Old and the New Railway Stations, Bristol. 

The production of Tom Taylor's " Clancarty," with Miss Louise 

loi 



The Bristol Stage 



Willes, fresh from her Olympic Theatre triumph of over 200 nights as 
Lady Clancarty, was exceedingly popular. Our old favourite was sup- 
ported by Mr. Charles Barrington as Lord Clancarty, Miss Florence Terry 
as Lady Betty Noel, Mr. David Honeysett, Mr. A. Lindsay and the local 
company. " The Two Orphans " followed. 

On May 3rd Henry J. Byron's masterpiece " Our Boys," then in the 
full tide of success at the Vaudeville, London, was presented. The com- 
pany consisted of Messrs. Reginald Moore, R. S. Boleyn, E. W. Garden 
and R. W. Younge, the ladies being Mrs. E. B. Egan and Miss Laura 
Lendon, Louise Vernon and Fanny Brough. The proprietor of the 
phenomenally successful venture being Mr, William Duck — " Duck of 
Bath," as he customarily introduced himself, evincing surprise upon dis- 
covering that fame had not preceded him. 

Under the patronage of Col. Taylor and officers of the 1st Gloucester- 
shire Rifle Volunteers, Mr. George R. Chapman again took a benefit, the 
regimental band, of which he was stiU bandmaster, being in attendance. 
Miss Kate Mandlebert (Mrs. George R. Chapman) recited Collins' " Ode 
on the Passions," and Miss (Lizzie) Mandlebert, who again came from 
London, gave a powerful rendering of the part of Marie de Fontanges, 
in "Plot and Passion." 

The Standard Theatre Company in " Rank and Fame," and then came 
Mr. and Mrs. Billington with Miss Ellen Meyrick, and Miss Florence 
Cowell, in Paul Meritt's pretty plays " Rough and Ready " and " Olive 
Branch." Mrs. Billington also recited Arthur Mathison's " Phmsoll " 
poem, " Coffin Ships." The following week the company was to be seen 
at the Old Theatre Royal. 

On September 6th there was in Park Row the enormous attraction of 
Mr. J. K. Emmet, in " Fritz," with his haunting songs " Schneider, how 
you was," " Peek-a-Boo," "Go to Sleep my Baby" and "Sweet Vio- 
lets." The six performances proved far and away too few for the would- 
be patrons, and later Mr. Emmet returned. 

A fortnight of opera, under the direction of Mrs. VV. H. Liston, and 
conducted by Mr. John Crook, came next, Offenbach's latest contribu- 
tion to the musical world, " Girofle-Girofla " opening the ball, and " La 
Fille de Madame Angot " following. It was a good company, embracing 
the Misses Rebecca Isaacs, Catherine Lewis, Terese Cummings, and 
Rose Norris, and Messrs. Knight Aston, Henri Corri, R. Cummings and 
Mat Robson. 

Mr. Chute produced " Faithful Heart," my first play, but written 
under my nom de theatre " Rennie Palgrave." Mrs. Rousby followed in 
a round of plays, and on her departure the run of " Faithful Heart " was 
resumed. 

Miss Wallis came, supported by Mr. Frank Clements, fulfilling a 
successful twelve nights' engagement, Miss WiUis, on one occasion, 
reciting Tennyson's " Charge of the Light Brigade." " Nicholas 

102 



The Bristol Stage 



Nickleby " was next produced, and there were several revivals, but 
although there were a number of members of the company, mostly with 
Bristol residential associations, who proved most valuable in their re- 
spective lines of business, the " lead " was no longer in the hands of the 
excellent exponents to which playgoers here had become accustomed, 
and for which, at the New Theatre, at any rate, they looked ! 

There were three nights of Itahan Opera from Her Majesty's Theatre, 
the combination of artistes appearing being the most attractive then 
extant. On Thursday Donizetti's " Lucia de Lammermoor " was pro- 
duced, with Mile. Elena Varesi in the title role, and Signor Brignoli, 
Edgardo, and on Saturday, Verdi's " Rigoletto," with Signor Del Pucute, 
whilst the Friday evening was devoted to Gounod's " Faust," Signori 
Gillandi and Castlemary making their first appearances as Faust and 
Mephistopheles respectively, Galazzi as Valentine and Costa as Wagner 
with Madame Demeric-Lablache, Marta, Madame Tre belli -Bettini, 
Siebel and Madame Christine -Nilsson making her first appearance here, 
enacting the character of Margherita. The treasury receipts on this 
occasion (upwards of ;C50o) establishing a record. 

The subject selected for the Christmas pantomime was " Little Cin- 
derella," represented by Miss Emma Ritta. Produced on Christmas Eve 
it ran until February 23rd, 1876. 

Mr. Charles Matthews, back from his tour in India, met with quite an 
enthusiastic reception, his appearance here as Adonis Evergreen, " My 
Awful Dad," evoking torrents of applause. Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Matthews left Calcutta on January 17th, and for one week previous to 
his return to the Gaiety at Easter, opened at the New Theatre Royal, 
Park Row, on February 28th. The Era of the time remarked, "An actor 
who can play in India in January and in England in February, may cer- 
tainly be numbered among the Wonders of the world ! " 

" Drink " being the problem of the day, Mr. Chute produced a drama 
founded on Cruibhank's famous picture and entitled "The Bottle." 
The company of these times consisted of Misses Amy Burnette, Louise 
Stanhope, Lorymer, Armytage, Emmerson (Mrs, Luigi Lablache) and 
E. Rudd, with Messrs. J. F. Lewis (Luigi Lablache), Julian Cross, Wyke 
Moors, Fosbrooke, Chas. Cooper and Russell Crauford. Mr. Compton 
appeared as Maurvorm, in the " Hypocrite," and then a comphmentary 
benefit to Mr. Chute, who was seen with Mr. Compton in the " Poor 
Gentleman," and with his son, Mr. George Macready Chute — who 
made his first professional appearance on the stage — in " Box and Cox," 
the cast being announced as follovirs : Box, a Journeyman Printer, Chute, 
Senior ; Cox, a Journeyman Hatter, Chute, Junior ; whilst the headline 
proclaimed " The old stager and the young stager appear together." 

Miss Helen Barry and Mr. Harry St. Maur were here for a week, " Led 
Astray " being the chief item, whilst for Easter there was a production 
of Jean Valjean (" The Atonement "), Mr. George Titheradge returning 

103 



The Bristol Stage 



for the lead. Signer Campobello next brought a powerful Italian Opera 
Company, headed by his wife Madame Campobello -Sinico, performing 
" Maritana," " Nozze di Figaro," and Weber's " Der Freyschutz," 
Signor Li Calsi conducted. 



104 



CHAPTER XIII 

A.D. 1876 

AFTER a week with Mr. J. L. Toole's company, including Miss 
Rose Saker, and producing " Tottles," Mr. Alexander Henderson 
sent us the Lydia Thompson Company, which made a great splash, such 
a galaxy of humorous talent not being seen every day. In addition 
to the popular comedienne there were the Misses Rachel Sanger, Topsy 
Venn, Ella Chapman, Violet Cameron, D'Aguillar, Alice Grey, and 
other ladies, the male department being represented by such actors as 
Messrs. Lionel Brough, Phihp Day, Willie Edouin, etc. The fare during 
the twelve nights consisted of " Blue Beard " and " Piff-Paff." 

When Mr. Alexander Henderson, with a selected company, visited 
the U.S. a New York journalist, coarsely spoke of the combination as 
that of " the shovel -nose shark from the sea of vice, with his yellow -hair 
scrofula from the slums of London." That Miss Lydia Thompson (Mrs. 
Alexander Henderson) whipped him for his pains will occasion no surprise, 
but, by way of advertisement, I presume, the journalist was the first 
to announce the fact. Employing extra heavy type for the purpose, 

" cowhided " was the sensational head-line to a relation of the 

incident. 

Miss Heath, in W. G. Wills's " Jane Shore " and " East Lynne," then 
a fortnight with Miss Ada Cavendish, Mr. Leonard Boyne and Mr. 
E. D. Lyons. Both " New Magdalen " and " Miss Gwilt " were staged, 
the engagement being succeeded by a very fine production of " Sar- 
danapalus," the lines of the King of Nineveh being most poetically 
spoken by Mr. Arthur Darley. 

Next came Madame Selina Dolaro, Edward D. Beverley and company, 
Mr. E. Goossens being the conductor, with " Grand Duchess " and 
" La FiUe de Madame Angot " occupying the bill. On Saturday, 
December 23rd, 1876, the pantomime "The Babes in the Wood" was 
produced, Mr. E. D. Lyons, specially engaged as producer, undertaking 
the part of Rinaldo, the chief ruffian. In his transformation scene, " The 
Children's Dream of Fairy Land," Mr. Mark Barraud was ahead of his 
previous efforts. He had adhered to his customary method of setting 
one well on the qui vive, though, and given the management his accus- 
tomed thrill, by (apparently) not being well up with the work. One of the 
minor scenes, set only on the morning of production, was palpably wet, 

105 



The Bristol Stage 



being in fact finished the moment previous to Mr. Chute walking on 
the stage. The gov'nor eyed it critically, and then called to the paint 
room, " Is that horizon straight, Mark ? " " It'll dry straight, sir," 
came the uncompromising answer from above — and so it did ! There 
was a companion episode to this at the production of " Faithful Heart," 
and a real fright it gave me I well remember. The scene before the 
big railway set, with its distant view of the illuminated Suspension Bridge 
and Hotwells, was well on, and the Avon scene was still under his brush, 
and lying fuU stretch upon the stage. " You'll have a stage-wait," I 
said, in sorrow rather than in anger, for a few moments' wait at such a 
time is usually estimated by the audience as of ten or twelve minutes' 
duration. " The scene is just over, Mr. Barraud," cried the prompter, 
Charlie Adams. " Pull up," called the artist to the fly -men, and, in 
certainly not more than two minutes, Mr. Mark Barraud was bowing 
his acknowledgments of an enthusiastic " call," and with a sang-froid 
which suggested that the work had been complete a month before. 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Frayne appeared in an American drama " Si 
Slocum." There was not much to attract in the work itself, but the 
Fraynes and their children did some remarkable work with the rifle, 
the climax being reached when Mr. Frayne with a backward shot over 
his left shoulder, smashed an apple placed upon the head of his blind- 
folded wife, her figure being reflected in a six-inch mirror before his 
eyes. Later in his English tour, owing to a stage -hand having carelessly 
set a wing of the scene, the actor, to his horror, saw his wife shot through 
the forehead fall dead upon the stage. The coroner's jury exonerated 
Mr. Frayne and accorded him their sympathy. 

Mr. W. H. Pennington, the actor -hero, appeared in a Shakespearean 
round, and on the occasion of his benefit, wearing the uniform in which 
he had ridden on that historic occasion, recited Tennyson's " Charge 
of the Light Brigade," and thereby awaking the audience to much enthu- 
siasm. The Vokes family, at Easter, and Miss Kate Santley, with " Prin- 
cess Toto " and " Trial by Jury," preceded the benefit of Mr. G. M. 
Chute, who had now greatly relieved his parents of the cares of manage- 
ment, acting as treasurer in addition to putting in some stage work. 
He on this occasion appeared as Marmaduke Woodcock. 

The Gilbertian successes, " Dan'l Druce " and " Sweethearts " were 
produced. Miss Florence Terry with Messrs. Arthur Wood, Henry 
Forrester, Charles VandenhofiF and David Fisher being of the company. 
Miss Jennie Lee was seen in her touching impersonation of " Jo " (Bleak 
House), after which, on the occasion of his benefit, Mr. G. R. Chapman 
let us hear " Cox and Box," Burnaud and Arthur Sullivan's musical 
farce on the well-known subject. Mr. John Rouse played Box, Mr. J. 
Shaw — from the Alhambra — Cox, and Mr. H. J. Dyer, the excellent 
baritone of the Bristol Histrionic Club, Bouncer. 

The Gaiety Burlesque Company was here on July 2nd, the sisters 

1 06 



The Bristol Stage 



Jenny and Julia Beauclerc being supported by Misses Kate Vaughan 
and Marion Webb, together with Messrs. A. E. Bishop and E. W. Royce. 

" Henry V," John Coleman's fine production, was a remarkable stage 
picture, and for a fortnight proved an attraction ; but Mr. Coleman played 
the Warrior King, as also Ben Webster's part of Robert Landry in Watts 
Phillip's powerful drama the " Dead Heart," in which Mrs. Charles 
Calvert also appeared. 

The Bristol Histrionic Club, in really excellent form at that time, 
played Tobin's capital comedy the " Honeymoon " and the farce " Chisel- 
ling " at a complimentary performance to Mr. Chute. The Club had 
been fortunate in enlisting the services of Miss Henrietta Hodson and 
Mrs. Arthur Wood (Miss E. Wiber). " Pom," a comic opera by Bucca- 
lossi, with Miss Pattie Laverne and Mr. Beverley, preceded a popular 
fortnight with Barry Sullivan. Barry was personally conducting the 
rehearsal of " Hamlet," whilst several of the employees in the property 
room, adjoining the stage, were conducting a raffle for a goose, the means 
employed being dice, thrown into an earthenware basin. Needless to 
say, there was " some rattle " going on. When Mr. Arnold, who was 
cast for the First Player, commenced his speech, a long one, the tragedian 
disappeared, and entering the property room, addressed the occupants 
in no gentle tones, as follows : — 

" If down those craving gullets I were to thrust my sword instead 
of that infernal goose, you would make less confounded noise ! " The 
irate tragedian was again on the stage in time to take his cue. 

The " PHmsoll " play by Dion Boucicault and Charles Reade, " The 
Scuttled Ship," was effectively staged. Miss Louise Hibbert and Mr. J. H. 
Clynds being specially engaged for the leading characters. 

At the " Old " Theatre Royal, Mr. W. H. Vernon gave a wonderfully 
artistic rendering in Grundy's play " Mammon," in which he had already 
scored a notable success at the Strand Theatre, and which under the 
title " A Bunch of Violets," Beerbohm Tree subsequently produced. 
Mr. Vernon was supported by Miss Swanborough. 

Mr. John Clayton, with Miss Louise Moody, opened on November 
19th with " All for Her," the play with which he had established so dis- 
tinctive a mark at the Holborn Theatre. The two central figures, as 
in " The Only Way," were virtually Sidney Carton and Miss Manette, 
from the " Tale of Two Cities," and it would be difficult to surround 
these two characters with any setting that could rob them of their charm, 
and this Mr. Merivale certainly had not done. Mr. Clayton also played 
his original part Osip, in " The Danischefs " ; an excellent Russian 
drama. 

Mr. and Mrs. Kendal in a " Scrap of Paper," the " Queen's Shilling " 
and a revised version of " Black -Eyed Susan " — which however did not 
catch on — and three nights of Her Majesty's Theatre Italian Opera 
Company, including Mesdames TrebeUi, Bettini, Marimon, Bauermeister 

107 



The Bristol Stage 



and Salla, Signori Runcio, Bettini, Celarda and Del Puente, with L 
Calsi as conductor, brought the season to the Christmas pantomime 
" Beauty and the Beast," written, as were the two previous annuals 
by Mr, Wm. Muskerry. Miss Milly Cook was a fascinating Beauty 
and Mr. George Stretton exceedingly popular as the Beast ; both Mr 
John Rouse and Mr. Fosbrooke were in the cast and the great success 
for it was exceptionally such, was the admirably staged snow ballet. 

It was during the performance of " Uncle Tom " Mrs. Chute passed 
away, and upon the close of the death scene of Eva, Mr. Brandon Ellis — 
stage-manager — announced the sad intelligence. The performance was 
suspended and the audience quietly dispersed. Co -incident, the " Uncle 
Tom " production of a.d. 1853, occurred at the passing of Mrs. Chute's 
mother, Mrs. Macready. 

MRS. CHUTE. — Born at Swansea, July 27th, 1824, Mazzerina Emily 
was the only daughter of Mr. William McCready and Sarah (Miss Des- 
mond), the wife of his second marriage, the famous tragedian, William 
Charles Macready, being the son of his former wife. 

Had the maternal purpose matured. Miss Macready would have been 
a musician rather than an actress, and quite early in her girlhood both 
the pianoforte and harp showed her to be a skilful performer, but " the 
call of the blood " claimed her to the footlights rather than to the music- 
stool. 

Miss Macready was beyond dispute an actress of distinction, her reper- 
toire, embracing characters in varied vein, being interpreted in such a 
manner as to merit high praise from connoisseurs, both behind and in 
front of the footlights. Especially was this the outcome of her appear- 
ance as Evadne, in Richard Lalor Shiel's play of that name, and also 
in Sophocles' famous work " Antigone," wherein she achieved a veritable 
triumph. Mr. Chute used to enjoy relating a reminiscence of the first 
night of this revival, when, as was then and still is customary upon the 
occasion of an unknown (!) play being produced, at the fall of the curtain 
there were loud calls for the author. Oblivious of, or ignoring the cir- 
cumstance of his having ceased from earthly troubles some 500 years 
B.C., cries of " Sofocels ! " " Sofocels ! " resounded through the house, 
some explanation, inoffensive to the amour prof re of the delighted audi- 
ence, therefore became essential. " Ladies and Gentlemen," said the 
stage -manager, "we really have no knowledge of the author's presence 
in the theatre this evening. He has not been seen by the officials in 
front of the house and has failed to introduce himself to any one upon 
the stage, whilst inqury at the stage -door gives assurance that he has 
not made himself known in that quarter. But whether present or not, 
I feel sure that when intelligence of this night's triumph greets his ears, 
he will be greatly gratified." 

It was on October 28th, 1844, that Miss Macready, at the Church of 
St. Margaret, Westminster, was married to Mr, James Henry Chute, 

108 



The Bristol Stage 



a member of her mother's dramatic company. It was a " runaway- 
match," her mother regarding her as too young (she had but just turned 
twenty) to embark on such a step. It was, however, entirely a love 
match, and Mrs. Macready speedily recognizing this, forgiveness which 
had been withheld at the outset, was not long delayed, and " Mrs. Mac " 
came to rely very materially upon her son-in-law in the management 
of the theatres. For several years, mother, daughter and son-in-law 
resided en famille and happily, in Bath. 

Neither did Mrs. Chute, by any means, confine her energies in this 
direction, and when, as I have heard, she was remonstrated with for 
having rather too much work on hand, her reply frequently took the 
form of a favourite line, a quotation from " Uncle Tom's Cabin," " We 
do our own overseeing here, and things are looked to ! " 

On March 27th, 1878, and at the comparatively early age of fifty-four 
years, Mrs. Chute expired at 2, Park Row, Bristol. 

Mr. George Macready, Mrs. Chute's only brother, was educated to 
become a surgeon, and was one of the first medical officers appointed 
to the s.s. Great Western, his efforts during a tempestuous home -voyage 
in 1839 being so marked as to result in the presentation of a massive 
gold snuff-box, on March nth in that year, as a souvenir of the occasion, 
and in recognition by the passengers of his general kindness and attention. 

Later, Mr. Macready quitted the sea and was appointed surgeon in 
the 31st Infantry Regiment, with which he served in the Sutlej cam- 
paign, dying from exposure and fatigue after the battle of Ferozeshah. 
A letter from the Adjutant -General to his mother accompanied the 
silver medal of the campaign, and informed Mrs. Macready that it was 
forwarded to her in recognition of her son's services and bravery. 

Another distinguished member of her family is General Sir C. F. 
Nevil Macready, K.C.B., G.C.M.G., Legion of Honour— Commissioner 
of London police, he being a son of the famous actor, William Charles 
Macready, her half-brother. 

The portrait to be seen in the corridors of the dress-circle was a presen- 
tation to Messrs. G. and J. M. Chute, subscribed to by every employee 
at the theatre. 




109 



CHAPTER XIV 

A.D. 1877 

ON April 1st Mr. Charles Calvert brought from the Theatre Royal, 
Manchester, his splendid production of " Henry VIII," he (as 
at Manchester) representing the monarch, and Mrs. Charles Calvert, 
Queen Catharine. Miss Annie Poole was engaged for the part of Patience, 
and sang " Orpheus with his Lute." 

Mr. Hollingshead's Gaiety Company, including Misses Eveleen Rayne 
and Connie Gilchrist, appeared in H. J. Byron's burlesque " Little 
Doctor Faust," and achieved a great success. 

In June there was a Complimentary Benefit to Mr. Chute, which 
proved to be the last ; Miss Bateman appearing as " Leah," Mr. Frank 
Lyars as Rudolph. 

Notwithstanding the attraction offered in the bill of fare, upon Mr. 
Chute's appearance on the stage the entire audience cheered and 
applauded as it had never done before, and quite unmanned by his recep- 
tion, and incapable of speech, Mr. Chute bowed, and turned towards 
the stage entrance. The audience understood, and renewed the applause 
which for the moment had quieted down, and amidst the most sym- 
pathetic cheers, Mr. George Chute, who had accompanied his father 
upon his entrance, led him away. 

MR. JAMES HENRY CHUTE.— Born at Gosport, on July 4th, 
1 8 10, Mr. Chute very early in life adopted the stage for his profession, 
appearing almost at the outset of his career upon the Bristol boards 
under the nom de theatre of " Mr. Chew," and subsequently, as Mr. 
Chute, acting in many of the chief dramatic centres of the United King- 
dom. With Dublin audiences he was a great favourite, being a member 
of the theatre company there for several seasons, and wherever in con- 
nection with his profession he sojourned, he appears to have drawn 
around himself numerous friends. Indeed, so early as 1837, when engaged 
on the York and Lincoln circuits, under the management of Mr. Robert- 
son, father of the famous author of " Caste," etc., and of " Madge " 
(Mrs. Kendal), Mr. Chute became the recipient of a handsome gold 
watch " in recognition of his dramatic talent and personal worth ! " 

In December, 1862, shortly after the burning of the Theatre Royal, 
Bath, he was presented by the citizens there with a service of plate " as 
a token of sympathy for his loss, and of their esteem for the manner in 

no 



The Bristol Stage 



which he had for so many years conducted the affairs of the theatre " ; 
strong evidence that these characteristics were the genuine outcome 
of his nature, and no passing virtue. 

That Mr. Chute was an excellent actor, there are, I trust, still many 
in our midst who, having had the opportunity of witnessing his efforts 
will most readily concede. 

It was in 1843 that Mr. James Henry Chute joined Mrs. Macready's 
company at the Theatre Royal, appearing during September of that 
year, as Sir Patrick M'Guire, in a farce entitled the " Sleep Walker," a 
lease of the Assembly Rooms, Bath, being secured by him in 1848 and 
retained until September 29th, 1858, Mrs. Macready already being lessee 
of the Theatre Royal in that city. 

On the look out for histrionic promise amongst the members of his 
resident company, night after night, and generally throughout the entire 
week, our manager was to be found occupying his familiar seat in the 
back row of the centre circle, and thoroughly intent upon that which 
was transpiring upon the stage. Wherever genius peeped, whether it 
proceeded from one of the principals or from a " general utility," Mr. 
Chute saw it, and the subsequent casting of coming plays, clearly con- 
veyed to the company that it had not escaped his observation ; but 
disappointment in a performer irritated him. On one occasion, visiting 
the King Street house for the first time that week, and on a Thursday 
(I was usually a Monday or Tuesday patron), Mr. Chute was promenading 
to and fro the ticket barrier and the entrance — outside it rained heavily. 
A " great American actress," was the announced attraction. " Have 

you seen Mrs. f " I asked. " Once, Rennie, once ! " and the reply 

spoke volumes. 

Some difficulty being experienced in hitting upon a play for early 
production, I, at length, suggested " Formosa," then being successfully 
performed at Drury Lane. In recent times the work (which was by 
Dion Boucicault) would pass muster amongst the quite sedate produc- 
tions of the time ; it dealt, however, to some extent, with "/ast life," and 
Mr. Chute aimed at keeping his theatre free from aU reproach. " For- 
mosa," he said, whilst mentally reviewing the subject, " No. No, there 
is some bread that is too dirty to eat." 

Neither is the following anecdote lacking in significance. A local 
and narrow-minded magnate in an address to a certain community, 
whilst proudly proclaiming that he had never entered a theatre -door, 
indulged in some intolerant and highly offensive comments on the stage. 
I had prepared a letter, somewhat bitter in tone, I admit, but thoroughly 
justified by the fellow's gratuitous attack. On my submitting it to 
Mr. Chute, " No, no ! " he observed, " honey is better than vinegar ; 
it catches more flies ! " 

And with one other of such reminiscences of which I might, and 
that with ease, supply very many more, I trust that I have succeeded in 

III 



The Bristol Stage 



demonstrating the excellent directness, consideration and wit of Mr. 
Chute in such-like circumstances. 

It occurred shortly after the incident last related, and the unusual 
spirit of the remark induced me to the belief that the unwarranted insult 
to his profession had affected him more than I had hitherto thought. 

It was during another search for an attraction, an occupation rendered 
every day more difficult, London productions now being held by the 
producers, or otherwise acquired, for " sole provincial acting rights," 
and I suggested " could we do a week of Shakespeare, and I would secure 
a bespeak for one of the nights ? " " Humph ! William Shakespeare 
under the patronage of Mr. Super-phosphate of Guana ! It sounds 
alluring ! " I changed the subject, be very sure ! 

An excellent and energetic lessee — instance for the latter attribute 
the building of the theatre in Park Row — Mr. Chute was held in respect 
by his fellow managers and in affectionate remembrance by all who 
had been privileged to tread the boards under his management. Of 
this fact I have received both oral and written testimony. 

Mr. William Rignold, an actor whose career in Bristol, and subsequently 
at the Olympic and Drury Lane, was one of continuous success, and whose 
reputation must still live active in the memory of many, expressed 
himself as follows : — 

- " Blexland House, 

"HORNSEY, N. 

" My dear Powell, — " October i6th, 1902. 

" I thank you heartily for your manly and kindly letter — also your 
notes in Magpie. It is a great thing to be remembered, my dear old 
friend, and also to remember. My thoughts always go back with pleasure 
to Bristol and the old days. My old friend — Chute, worked for the 
elevation of the profession — and I believe this worked for his respect 
and won it. The last time I saw him he addressed me as his friend, 
and I was never prouder in my life, and that I retain the regard of his 
son is to me more than I can say. Your Dad was also my well-wisher, 
and it is most gratifying to find you also among my steadfast friends. 
" I have taught myself to write in my long darkness (I have not seen 
God's sun for over five years), but I know it must be a horror to make out, 
so will say no more than this — remember me to any of the old ' crocks ' 
who are still outside the crust — and may Bristol flourish — it seems to 
me the old-world pliace is making a new start — may it be so. I am very 
well, and if I can manage it I intend to write, so if I live I shall be a terror 
to a lot of people. 

" With all kind regards to you and yours, from me and mine. 
" Believe me, 

"My old Friend and Brother, 
" Faithfully yours, 

"William Rignold." 



The Bristol Stage 



" Blexland House, 

"HORNSEY, N. 

" December i6th, 1902, 
'* My dear Palgrave, — 

" This is to thank you for your thought and support of me in the 
Ben. and my helplessness. I can't get the tone into this letter I wish 
— I am so upset about George Chapman. I can only say nature seems 
cruel. There is one thing, it serves us all alike. The Ben. was a great 
success and they tell me I spoke well, but I was obliged to hold myself 
with an iron hand in order not to give way. There is a full account in 
Era last Saturday — any of the Boys you happen to see thank them for 
me. You might write a few lines to the old crocks for me. The enclosed 
is an extract from a letter written to my Dad in the days that are gone 
never to return. The daughters have just hit upon it, and it brings 
the old time back. God bless you, old Boy. 

Extract. 

" You ask me how I like Bristol and the management. Weil, I have not had 
'time to look round yet. Bristol itself is" a wondrous place. The sun comes 
down here in King Street, outside the theatre and shining — ^among the quaint 
old gables and everything is still and sleepy. The cocks and hens are basking 
in it, the smaller birds are revelling in it. The inhabitants are sitting on queer 
old steps in the shade. There are two old-fashioned Inns out of which might 
come Sir J. Falstaff at any moment, and yet witliin a minute you are on what 
is called the ' Welsh Back,' where all is bustle and work. In the square where 
I live there are some fine trees and the houses large but not picturesque as in 
the older streets and from my bedroom windows I can see the ship masts sway- 
ing to and fro — in short I cannot make the place out yet. But I know that it 
was here they built the Great Briton, the first screw which revolutionised the 
steam navigation of the world. How I don't know for there are no hammers 
to be heard, no dockyards to be seen, and no water to speak of, 

" Our governor is a fine looking man, deep in the chest, broad in the shoul- 
ders — well set up, twinkling eyes — that can be severe — broad massive forehead 
and large moustache. His hands are Frenchy in their action, and he is never 
seen without a pair of gloves — which I am told by the old hands he has never 
been known to put on. 

" But, Dad, if I know anything of human nature he is nothing if not a jokist. 
This is what he said last Saturday before dismissing us for Bath, * Gentlemen 
who have done me the honour to join my company this season will make their 
bow this evening for the first rime before a Bath audience. I hope — and I 
know you will deserve well at their hands, Bath is a beautiful city and possesses 
a magnificent theatre and the audience are the best out of London. There- 
fore be careful. Bath is famed for two things in particular. Its old beers, 
which are very beautiful ; and its hot mineral waters, which I believe are very 
beneficial. I may here advise you never to take the beers before business, 
because they have a habit of flying to the head, and also at the same time council 
you never to take the mineral waters after performances, as they have a habit 
pf flying in the opposite direction. This is a fact taught me by bitter personal 

113 8 



The Bristol Stage 



experience. Good morning, gentlemen ; and with a twirl of the moustache 
he was gone. But, he is a strict disciplinarian for all that." 

Not of Bristol only was the capability of its theatre management a 
legend, for throughout the ranks of both actors and actresses a stock 
company " Chute engagement " was regarded as a safe stepping- 
stone to that Mecca, " London, West," to which all actors aspired. 

I last saw Mr. Chute on the 4th July preceding his death, that being 
our joint birthday anniversary, and for several years it had been our cus- 
tom to then meet. Flags in plenty bedecked the harbour and at other 
points, and in our happiest vein we were disposed to attribute the display 
to other causes than that of the American Independence, in celebra- 
tion of which they flew. And as we quaffed our draughts of Rhenish, 
we exchanged the customary good old English birthday greeting, " Many 
happy returns of the day ! " Then followed a supplementary toast, 
invented by Mr. Chute, but which in subsequent years I never allowed 
to escape recognition, " The U.S. and US — our noble selves ! " 

But what to say on this occasion I did not know, for cruelly racked by 
both asthma and bronchitis, the companion of my birthday celebrations 
was sadly changed, and the familiar formula would, I felt, be strangely 
out of place. " I trust that you are easier, Mr. Chute ? " I contrived 
to say at length, and, after a further distressing fit of coughing, 
Mr. Chute, quoting from " Bleak House," made answer, " The cart is 
shaken to pieces ! " 

Of an exceedingly genial temperament and at all times witty in con- 
versation, Mr. Chute was welcomed in whatever society he elected to be 
met. Amongst the first to volunteer for national defence upon the 
threatened or anticipated invasion of the country, he joined the ist 
Gloucestershire Rifle Corps in 1859, with the rank, as he humorously 
put it, of a " full private," and by the intervening steps mounting to that 
of colour -sergeant, and the regiment possessed no finer or more military 
figure. As a Freemason Mr. Chute was greatly esteemed by his brethren, 
and in 1866 was elected W.M. of the Jerusalem Lodge, No. 686. 

Greatly proud of his numerous offspring, Mr. Chute was as their com- 
panion as well as father, and, affecting an inability to recollect in correct 
rotation the names of his ten children, Mr. Chute numbered them, 
and in the home circle always so addressed them. " Number five," he 
would say, " if you are going into the study, ask number seven to come to 
me," and the number indicated responded as readily as though addressed 
by name. 

Leaving six sons and three daughters, one daughter (Maggie) having 
died during her educational course in Germany, Mr. Chute, at the age 
of sixty-six years, passed away at his residence, 2, Park Row, on July 23rd, 
1878, practically three months subsequent to the death of his wife, their 
remains being associated in the family vault at Arno's Vale. 

114 



CHAPTER XV 

A.D. 1878 

ENTER THE BROTHERS MACREADY CHUTE, exit the long- 
established and world-renowned " Bristol Stock Company," and 
with it much, if not all, the glamour of the provincial actor's life. Truth 
10 tell, had Mr. J. H. Chute been moved by less of the family instinct of 
esprit de corps, consulted his own feelings of personal dignity and treated 
the affair purely as a commercial rather than artistic situation, some three 
or four seasons earlier must have found Bristol following in the wake of 
the more northern cities where commerce prevailed. Entire acting 
rights of new and successful productions had for some time been secured, 
and companies formed to tour the country. Provincial managements 
being compelled to take their programmes very much as the house- 
keeper acquires the family milk, i.e. when offering in the district. 

With the joint theatre management appointed in the interest of the 
entire Chute family, the theatre -going public was very speedily in accord, 
for it was realized that from the public point of view no more welcome 
announcement of names could have been issued in connection with the 
reopening. Primarily there was that of George Macready Chute, pre- 
senting a powerful resemblance to his father when of similar years, fiUed 
with enthusiasm for the career of an actor, in which he had already given 
evidence of rapid and consistent progress — " Jimmie " — it is impossible 
to speak of " James " in this connection. I have known families 
possessed of a John or a James, I have known others whose asset has been 
a Jack or a Jimmie, maturity in the form of instances has appeared to be 
well accommodated with the names accorded them by custom, but 
whenever the more famihar mode of address has caught on during 
boyhood, nature and name would seem to have grown together, 
and the caU of " Jimmie," " James," in later life would strike one as an 
anachronism. With George and Jimmie, therefore — or, to speak by the 
card, with George Macready Chute and James Macready Chute — as 
joint managers, the time-honoured vehicle once more starts upon its 
industrial and artistic journey, the first passengers on which were Mr. 
J. L. Toole & Co., those capital actors E. D. Ward, E. D. Beveridge, 
Jack Barnes, who brought with them " Diplomacy," and Carl Rosa's 
Combination, then consisting of Madame Vanzini and the Misses Georgina 



The Bristol Stage 



Burns, Josephine Yorke, Ella Collins and Julia Gaylord, Messrs. Joseph 
Maas, Charles Lyall, L. Cadwalader and Fred C. Packard being the tenors, 
F. H. Celli, Snazelle, Leslie Crotty and Denbigh Newton, baritones, and 
Herbert Laurence, MuUer and Henry Pope, bass. Mr. Carl Rosa was in 
the conductor's seat, Mr. John Pew, chorus master, and Mr. J. D. 
McLaren, acting manager, and presenting these works, " Maritana," 
" II Trovatore," and " The Huguenots," were the Maas-Vanzini works, 
" Lily of Killarney," " Merry Wives of Windsor," and " Bohemian Girl." 

Miss Bateman produced a Wilkie Collins drama, " The Dead Secret." 
Her company contained Mr. E. H. Brooke and Mr. Fosbrooke. 

Messrs. Jarrett and Palmer staged their New York production of 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin," a version dealing mainly with the plantation 
episodes, which were enacted by legitimate " darkies." There was a 
capital caste though, William Calder being the Uncle Tom ; Mark 
Kinghorne, Marks ; Mrs. Charles Calvert, Cassy ; and Miss Alfy Chippen- 
dale, Topsy. The piece ran three weeks. 

THE BALCONY ARRIVES.— Mr. Charles Reade's company, with 
his dramatic version of Mrs. Burnett's novel, " That Lass o' Lowrie's," 
entitled " Joan," came next. Miss Rose Leclercq being in the title role ; 
but the " hits " of the piece were to be found in Mr. William Mclntyre 
and Miss Katie Maccabe. It was an entirely successful fortnight that 
the company filled, the second week, moreover, being marked by the 
institution, in October, 1878, of the circle -balcony seats, which ever since 
have proved such a popular portion of the auditorium. 

On November 4th the first performance of Planquette's famous opera, 
" Les Cloches de Corneville " was given, and aroused the greatest en- 
thusiasm. The exponents of the work were aptly chosen, being Misses 
Florence St. John and Kathleen Corri, Messrs. John Howson (Gaspard), 
Lithgow James, Mat Robson, F. Darrell, and as Gobo our whilom fellow^ 
citizen, Mr. Allen Thomas. A local production of " Streets of Bristol " 
followed, the occasion being made memorable by the introduction of 
electric lighting (during the act intervals) in the auditorium. MUe. 
Beatrice, accompanied by Misses Eliza Saville and Charlotte Saunders, in 
the " Women of the People," followed by Irving and the Lyceum com- 
pany for six weeks, preceded the pantomime. Accompanying Mr. Irving 
was, amongst others, Mr. A. W. Pinero — the popular playwright, and of 
later years. Sir Arthur Pinero. 

The first pantomime venture of the young managers was the " House 
that Jack Built," Mr. William Muskerry being again the author. The 
introductory plays were now abandoned, the performance commencing 
each evening at seven o'clock and there being five morning performances, 
that of Saturday, January nth, being the last of these. 

The company included Misses Eva Ross -Church, Katie Maccabe, 
Messrs. Julian Cross, Fosbrooke, J. L. Shine, with Messrs. Sydney and 

116 



The Bristol Stage 



Victor Stevens and Miss Enaelie Stevens, the last three also providing the 
harlequinade. Mr. Mark Barraud had provided the scenery. It was 
during the run of this production that " pantomime excursion trains " 
were brought into vogue. A second edition of the work was presented 
on February 3rd, and on the loth, by the introduction of the famous 
Majiltons, yet a third edition, the last appearance of " Jack's House " 
taking place on February 23rd, 1879. About this time comedians en- 
gaged in pantomime showed a disposition to be less respectful to the 
author's work than they would have been compelled to be to that of 
William Shakespeare, and it was, I believe, in one of the concluding weeks 
of this annual that the author, seated in the managerial box, towards the 
close of the evening, was invited to adjourn for the purpose of a little 
refreshment. 

" Not just yet, dear boy," he said. 

" What do you want to see ? The show is nearly over." 
" I don't want to see anything. I am waiting in the hope of hearing 
one of my lines ! " 

A complimentary benefit to Mr. Mark Barraud revealed an excellent 
performance of " Caste," mostly by amateur and personal friends of the 
scenic artist. Mr. George M. Chute was D'Alroy ; Mr. David Bell, 
Hawtree ; Mr. Honeyton, Eccles ; Dr. Boys, Sam Gerridge ; Mr. W. 
Irwin, Dixon ; Polly Eccles was played by Mrs. Chapman (Miss Kate 
Mandlebert) ; Marquise by Miss Eleanor Aickin ; Esther by Miss Amy 
Burnette. 

For Easter there was a grand production of the T. P. Cooke prize 
drama, "True to the Core," from the pen of Mr. E, R. Slons, and a 
powerful company, amongst whom were Messrs. E. H. Brooke, J. D. 
Beveridge, A. T. Hilton, C. Arnold, E. B. Norman, E. H. Beresford and 
Fosbrooke had been specially engaged to enact it. " True to the Core " 
constituted the first important local production subsequent to the dis- 
bandment of the resident company. After a successful twelve nights the 
nautical play gave way to a military one, " The Relief of Lucknow " being 
staged with the same performers. With this excellent company around 
them, Messrs. Chute took their first joint benefit, producing Tom 
Taylor's " 'Twixt Axe and Crown," Miss Louise Moodie having been 
specially engaged for the part of the Lady Elizabeth. Miss Marriott's 
week brought us to Whitsuntide, when dxe " Shaughraun," with Mr. 
George Chute as Con and Mr. Fosbrooke as Harvey Duff, closed the 
spring dramatic season. 

Mr. and Mrs. BiUington opened the autumn season of '79 with some 
pretty little plays by Paul Meritt— " Rough and Ready," " Olive Branch," 
etc. — and Mr. J. H. Ryley's burlesque company followed with the same 
author's " Pickles." J, K. Emmett was followed by " A Cruise to China," 
and by Mr. and Mrs. George S. Knight in " Otto," in which, with great 
effect, Mr. Knight recited " The Water Mill," this performance leading 

"7 



The Bristol Stage 



up to the production of " Proof," with Mr, Walter Speakman and Miss 
Emmeline Ormsby in the cast. An attractive programme in Broughton's 
"Ruth's Romance" and then Bronson Howard's "Truth" was pre- 
sented by a company embracing Misses Rose Saker, Wentworth, Maria 
Daly and Letty Lind, with Messrs. J. G. Grahame, Walter Everard, etc., 
proved exceedingly to the public taste. Charles Reade's " Drink " 
played for twelve nights, Mr. Cyril Searle being Coupeau. Possessed of 
a certain morbid interest, the " Drink " correspondence, engineered in 
the local Press, secured for the play considerable patronage. Verb sap. 
Mr. Harry Jackson was manager to the company ! " Sardanapalus " was 
finely produced. Miss Helen CressweU, wife of Mr. Frank Kenyon, 
sometime lessee of the Theatre Royal, Bath, Miss Susan Rignold, Mr. 
Arthur Darley, and Mr. John S. Wood appearing in the most important 
parts. The Carl Rosa company, in addition to the whole of the artistes 
last mentioned as of that combination, now embraced Miss Giulia War- 
wick, Miss Clara Perry and Miss Amy Beresford, as also Messrs. Wilfred 
Esmond, Walter Bolton and T. Law. Guirand's opera " Piccolino " was 
produced. . 

The Majiltons, then all the rage, brought their farcical absurdity, 
" Round the Clock," and did excellent business. 

That delightful soprano and actress, Miss Emily Soldene, accompanied 
by Signor Leli (Jose), followed in " Carmen " and " Madame Angot," 
whilst on her departure, playgoers got their first taste of Gilbert and 
Sullivan, Mr. D'Oyly Carte's company presenting " H.M.S. Pinafore." 

" Sinbad the Sailor " may readily be accepted, as claimed, to be the 
initial pantomime production of the young managers, as the previous 
year's arrangements had been in hand at the time of Mr. Chute's death. 
The part of the King was in the hands of Mr. Charles Arnold, that of the 
shipowner in those of Mr. Fosbrooke, but beyond these, all prominent 
characters were represented by new-comers. There were : — 

Miss Nellie Bouverie as Sinbad the Sailor, 

Mr. George Thorne „ Tinbad the Tailor, 

Mr. George (JoUy Little) Lewis „ Dosy, the sleepy Cabin Boy, 

Miss JuHa Bullen (Mrs. George Lewis) „ Zorilda, 

Miss Grace Huntley, „ Princess Pretty Pearl, 

Miss Florence Harrington „ Yazora, 

Mr. Norton Locke-Norton „ The Old Man of the Sea, 

Miss Emily Vincent „ The Fairy Enterprise. 

Miss Alice Esden, Miss Alice Greenwood, and others. 

The " book " was a fine one, written by Mr. John McArdle, and prov- 
ing a phenomenal success at Manchester the previous year, had been 
brought well up to date for Messrs. Chute. The splendid scenery was 
by Charles Smithers, Walter Hann and Mark Barraud, the costumes 

Ii8 



The Bristol Stage 



being designed by Mr. Alfred Maltby of the Criterion Theatre. In the 
harlequinade the clown was impersonated by Jolly Little Lewis, other 
pantomimists being Miss Emmie Inman (afterwards Mrs. E. J. Lonnen), 
Miss Emily Darlow, Miss C. Anderson, with Mr. Will Langley as Harle- 
quin and Robert Smith as Pantaloon, the stage management of the entire 
production-being in the hands of Mr. C. H. Stephenson, 

Mr. Chapman was responsible for the music, the melodies selected 
proving very popular, although in this department there had very nearly 
been a fiasco, Mr. McArdle had established such a reputation for panto- 
mime libretti that, in addition to the three principal (and rival) Manches- 
ter theatres, he had been commissioned for Bristol, Newcastle (and, I 
think, another important provincial) annuals, but either success, or dis- 
may at the magnitude of the work before him, had induced a dolce far 
niente which, unfortunately, in its character did not incline towards the 
supply of lyrics. Day after day the arrival of these was expected but 
failed to mature. Pantomime songs in the days of " Sinbad " had 
reference to the situation, and upon this occasion had to be turned out 
in the manager's private office, and that during the last two or three 
rehearsals, Mr, George Chute, who again had some little trouble with 
his ankle, flute in hand, hopped about like a canary in its cage, alternating 
a few bars of the melody for the benefit of the ditty authors, with a 
sluice of cold water from a bucket for the welfare of his ankle ! 

Mr. George Thome, who sang one of his principal numbers in the car 
of a balloon, had, in consequence of success, to deliver innumerable verses 
therefrom, one which hit the public taste being — 

" Two lovely black eyes ! 
Oh ! what a surprise ! 
Only for wishing the missus was dumb, 
Two lovely black eyes ! " 

When Miss Nellie Bouverie (Mrs. Volt) and her husband were appear- 
ing in " The Girl who Didn't " at the Prince's in April, 1914, she recalled 
the whole of this episode, and for my benefit sang a verse of a popular 
" Sinbad " number in which she delighted : — 

" O 1 lord, O dear ! I did shiver and did shake, 
When the Old Man clasped my hand," etc. 

During its sixty -two performances " Sinbad " had been witnessed by 
upwards of 1 10,000 patrons. Had there been any question that " Sinbad " 
was not run to its full course, was made evident on the last night of its 
performance, when the curtain obstinately refused to descend and block 
out the familiar scene. Eventually the act drop — at that time a separate 
cloth — was brought into requisition, and shut off at last the happy stage 
company from the highly diverted audience ! 

119 



The Bristol Stage 



On March 1st Mr. Charles Wyndham appeared in Bronson Howard's 
Comedy " Brighton." 

Miss Wallis produced, for the first time in the provinces, " Ninon," in 
which Mr. George M. Chute appeared as Marat, and subsequently, 
playing the same part, accompanied Miss Wallis on tour. Mr. Chatter - 
ton's company with " On the Jury " contained Mr. William Mclntyre 
and Mr. Luigi Lablache, the season concluding with a twelve nights' 
engagement of the " Favart " Opera Company, which included Messrs. 
Walter Fisher, M. Dwyer, Lytton Grey and J. Neville, Misses Adelaide 
Newton, B. Harper, Rose Murray, etc. 

The autumn season opened early, as on August 2nd, 1880, Mr. W. H. 
Vernon, Miss Ada Swanborough and Mr. Arthur Wood appeared in 
Grundy's comedy " Snowball," and for his benefit the first -named 
artiste selected the same author's masterpiece " Mammon," the part of 
Mr. Chinnery having already been performed by him on upwards of 400 
occasions. Miss Alleyn, in whose company were Mr. R. L. Courtneidge 
and Mr. John Burton, was employed with the " Legitimate." The 
Carl Rosa Opera Company now embraced Misses Julia Gaylard, Clara 
Perry, Georgina Burns and Josephine Yorke as amongst the prime donne, 
and Messrs. Joseph Mass, Nordblom, J. W. Turner and Charles LyaU, 
those of the gentlemen, Ambrose Thomas's opera " Mignon " and 
" Zampa " being the novelties. William Calder brought a strong com- 
bination for " Rip Van Winkle," as did Mr. Wilson Barrett for a fortnight 
with "The Old Love and the New," and then for twelve nights the 
audiences revelled in Gilbert arid Sullivan's " Pirates of Penzance." So 
far as my memory advises me, it was this engagement that was responsible 
for the venture in Bristol of the theatrical matinee, which has since be- 
come so highly popular with local playgoers. 

Mr. Alfred Hemming and the Walton family, with George R. Sims' 
comedy " Crutch and Toothpick," were succeeded by Mr. Edward Terry, 
producing " Weak Women " and Byron's " Little Don Caesar," Misses 
Julia Warden, Nellie Vane, Katie Ryan and Rosie St. George appearing 
with Messrs. Mark Kinghorne, E. W. Colman and others in support. 

A matinee of D'Oyly Carte's children's " Pinafore " company was suc- 
cessful, and was followed by the Beatrice Company, now, alas ! minus 
that delightful actress, and under the direction of Mr. Frank Harvey, 
" The Workman " and the " Woman of the People " being the plays 
produced. 

Mr. Sims Reeves opened on December 13th with " Guy Mannering," 
and in order to introduce to the Bristol audience his son, Mr. Herbert 
Reeves, had secured for the Wednesday evening a strong concert party, 
consisting of Madame Alice Barth, Miss Lucy Franklin and Miss Villiers, 
Mr. George Fox and, of course, Mr. Herbert Reeves as vocaHsts, with 
Mr. H. Nicholson, the famous flautist, and Mr. J. L. Roeckel at the piano. 

There was a full band and chorus also, Mr. George R. Chapman con- 

I20 



The Bristol Stage 



ducting, and having Mr. Thaddeus Wells as his leader. The theatre was 
then closed for rehearsals of the pantomime " Jack and the Beanstalk." 
Written by Mr. Frank W. Green, of Drury Lane pantomime renown, the 
production was a good one, Mr. Ed. S. Gofton being the producer. 
Mile. Sidonie was responsible for the ballet, Mr. Will Simpson for the 
comic business, and the well-known departmental heads of the theatre 
for the remainder. Miss Nellie Bouverie was welcomed as Jack, and 
there was otherwise a fairly good cast. Until February 26th, 1881, it 
ran merrily each evening, there being also some eight or nine morning 
performances. 

Mr. J. L. Toole's company, with the popular comedian non est, appeared 
in " Upper Crust," after which Miss Litton, supported by Miss Helen 
Cresswell and Messrs. Kyrle Bellow, Howe, Lionel Brough, Everill and 
others, appeared in old comedies. " Billie Taylor," a smart nautical 
comic opera by Edward Solomon, came next. " The Danites " pre - 
ceded the reproduction of " Faithful Heart." I had a greatly improved 
cast on this occasion, Messrs. J. H. Clynes, Walter H. Fisher, George 
Stretton and J. G. Taylor being specially engaged.' 

" New Babylon " followed, and at Easter the " Shaughran " was re- 
vived. On April 21st Mr. George Chute took his benefit, and appeared 
as Digby Grant in the " Two Roses," whilst Mr. Walter H. Fisher, the 
original provincial Jack Wyatt, again filled that part. 

Carl Rosa's company, introducing Mr. Barton M'Guckin, produced 
" Promessi Sposi " for the first time in Bristol. 

The Bristol Histrionic Club gave a performance for the memorial fund 
to Mr. John A. Ottey, a popular citizen and member of the club. Messrs. 
C. Bernard, H. G. Davis and Tom Brown appearing with Misses A. H. 
Irwin and Marion Hill in " Turn Him Out," Mr. Rennie Palgrave reciting 
" The Little Hero," and, as a humorous foil to that pathetic story, " Bill 
Gibbon's Deliverance " (both stories being by Arthur Mathison) was 
given by Mr. George Chute. " New Men and Old Acres " concluded the 
performance, Messrs. H. C. Dyer, J. Warley, Walter Kidner, R. A. Dodds, 
G. F. Wightman and other gentlemen playing up well to the professional 
ladies who gave their services. 

" Betsy," with an excellent cast, preceded D'Oyly Carte's Company, 
including Messrs. Fred Billington, Cadwaladr and Arthur Rousbey, and 
introducing for the first time to Bristol the " Sorcerer." 

For Whitsuntide that screamingly funny absurdity, " Voyage en 
Suisse," was performed by the Hanlon Lees and company, and drew 
splendid houses for twelve nights, as did " The Guv'nor " during the 
following week, with the following exceptional cast : — 

Butterscotch .... Mr. Richard Dalton. 
Freddy ..... Mr. George Alexander. 
Macclesfieldy .... Mr. J. F. Young. 

121 



The Bristol Stage 


Theodore .... Mr. Herbert Waring, 


Jellicoe . 






Mr. Stephen CaflFrey, 


Gregory 






Mr. T. W. Robertson. 


Aurelia . 






Miss E. Brunton. 


Kate . 






Miss Emily Darncombe. 


PoUy . 






Miss Florence Rayburn. 


Mrs. Macclesfield 






Miss Fanny Robertson. 


Carrie . 






Miss Maud Robertson. 


Barbara 






Miss Ada Glynne. 



During the ensuing week the same company, which it will be noted 
consisted very considerably of the talented Robertson family, gave a series 
of " farewell " representations of the Robertson comedies " Caste," 
" School," " Ours," and " Home," and on July 9th the season came to 
an end. 



122 




'""' -^^^'^^ 





//> p^^' 







[ro /ac^/J. 123- 



CHAPTER XVI 

A.D. I881 

THE REFRESHMENT ROOMS.— When on Bank Holiday, August 
1st, 1881, the theatre was reopened, great improvements had been 
effected in the commissariat department, inviting refreshment rooms 
having been constructed both at the upper boxes and pit levels, the 
management of this department being novsr vested in the lessees, which 
had not previously been the custom. 

" Olivette," with Miss Esme Lee and Messrs. Phil Day and E. S. 
Gofton, played the first engagement. Mr. Edward Compton, accom- 
panied by Miss Sylvia Hodson, appeared in a round of old-time plays, and 
was succeeded by Messrs. Fred Gould and Robert Nelson in the " Black 
Flag." 

Miss Kate Lawler introduced G. R. Sims' " Member for Slocum " and 
the " Don Juan Junior " burlesque, Mr. J. L. Shine being in the company. 

A really fine production of Henry J. Byron's English dramatisation of 
" Michael Strogoff " was next on the boards, after which came the Carl 
Rosa Company, introducing for the first time on the lyric stage Mr. Ben 
Davies, who played Thaddeus in the " Bohemian Girl," and also Miss 
Julia Gaylord and Fred C. Packard, a delightful combination, in " Lohen- 
grin," heard for the first time here. Miss Litton followed with Irving's 
Lyceum production of the " Corsican Brothers," Mr. Kyrle Bellew during 
the first week, and Mr. Herman Vezin throughout the second, appearing 
as the dei Franchi frere. " Patience " came next. It is a fact that the 
libretto of this delightful work of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan had been 
completed during the previous month, and seldom was it better produced 
or cast, and never more entrancingly rendered than on this December 5th, 
1 88 1. We saw Mr. George Thorne as Bunthorne ; Mr. Arthur Rousbey, 
Grosvenor ; Mr. James Sidney, the Duke ; Miss Fanny Edwards, Lady 
Jane ; Miss Elsie Cameron, Lady Angela ; and Miss Ethel M'Alpine, 
Patience. 

December 12th was even more noteworthy, being the first occasion of 

Mr. Henry Irving and Miss Ellen Terry being supported here by the 

entire Lyceum company. " Merchant of Venice," " Charles I," and 

-Tennyson's " The Cup " were the chief attractions. Then followed 

" Aladdin," the Christmas fare of 1881-2. Of the principal members of 

123 



The Bristol Stage 



the company were Misses Sara Beryl, Katie Ryan, Baby English and 
Julia Bullen, Messrs. George Lewis, James English, Fosbrooke and Mark 
Kinghorne. Mr. William Younge was the author, Mr. John Doyne the 
producer, and Mr. Mark Barraud, with his assistants, was responsible for 
the whole of the scenery. The pantomime, during the last week of 
which Miss Nellie Bouverie appeared as Prince Pekoe (previously in the 
hands of Mr. Fosbrooke), was performed on sixty -four occasions and 
visited by upwards of 90,000 patrons. 

" Cast Adrift," the nautical drama written by my brother and myself 
(with our noms-de-plume thus — Rennie Palgrave and Fred Gover), was 
the following attraction. It was a magnificent production by the brothers 
Chute, and was taken in its entirety to Sadlers Wells, the Olympic, and 
other London theatres ; Mr. William Mclntyre, as Tom Croft, achieved 
a lasting triumph. Speaking of its production in Glasgow, the Glasgow 
News said : " A play that combines both literary and spectacular attrac- 
tions rises out of the Drury Lane rut, and ' Cast Adrift " ought to draw 
superior houses to either ' The World,' ' Pluck,' or even ' Youth.' " 

EARLY DOORS.—" Early Doors " were now instituted, and on wet 
nights especially there was a gratifying appreciation of the arrangement. 

After a fortnight with " Cast Adrift," the receipts of March loth 
being devoted to a fund raised for the survivors of the Bath City, a 
Bristol liner which had foundered in the Atlantic, " Queen's Evidence " 
preceded the Easter production by Holt and Wilmots of the first of those 
Drury Lane huge dramatic productions, the " World." In the company 
were Messrs. John Vollaire, George Warde, Austin Melford, etc., and the 
drama had nineteen representations. " Youth," Drury Lane's second 
of the big " shows," the drama seeing the Whitsun holidays through. 
" Retiring," a comedy presented by the old " Caste " company for a 
week, " Imprudence," enacted by Mr. Carton's company for another, 
and then the opera of " Billee Taylor," with Mr. John Rouse as Ben 
Barnacle, brought the spring season to a close. 

On Bank Holiday (August 7th, 1882) the season being inaugurated by 
Miss Emily Soldene, introduced to Bristol Von Suppe's opera " Boc- 
caccio." 

" Cloches de Corneville," with Shiel Barry as Gaspard, the part of his 
creation, was followed by Miss Marie de Grey, Mr. Dion Boucicault pere 
coming for Miss de Grey's benefit performance, and being seen as Kerry, 
his original character in his own delightful play of that name. 

" Moths " was performed by Miss Litton and the Olympic company, 
an excellent one, and which included Misses Louise WiUes, Carlotta 
Addison and Maud Brennan, and Messrs. Kyrle Bellew, C. Cartwright 
and W. H. Denny. 

" Manteaux Noirs " (the Black Cloaks) followed. When Mr. George 
Chute was chatting with a newspaper critic in Glasgow a Httle earlier, 

124 



The Bristol Stage 



the latter told our joint -manager how he had been charmed with a new 
opera, describing it as follows : It was called the " Mantuo nores," ye 
ken, or the " Black Clocks ! " At the time the speech conveyed nothing 
to Mr. Chute's mind, and he determined to look out for the " Black 
Clocks." 

The Carl Rosa Company now included Mile. Marie Roze and Mile. 
Valleria, and produced " Fidelio," " The Flying Dutchman," and 
"Dame Blanche." 

A.D. 1882 

Miss Rose Leclercq as Kate Verky, the character which Mrs. Kendal 
had made so delightful in Pinero's comedy, " The Squire," was sup- 
ported by Messrs. G. B. Phillips, Charles Cooper, A. Elwood, B. Buca- 
lossi and Albert Chevalier, the " Squire " tour being directed by Mr. 
J. EUis MiUer, who now paid his first visit to the Park Row Theatre, 
returning, however, upon the death of Mr. James Macready Chute in 
order to take up his present position of resident manager and treasurer. 
But Mr. Miller's family have had Bristol associations of residence during 
their last three or more generations. Born in Redcliff parish, his grand- 
father, whilst still in his teens, went to London, where at both the English 
Opera House and Drury Lane Theatre he was constantly in the cast with 
such world-famous artistes as Balfe, John Templeton, Miss Romer, Miss 
Poole, Mons. and Madame LeClercq, Grimaldi, and Braham. 

MISS GENEVIEVE WARD.— The next engagement was that of 
Miss Genevieve Ward as " Forget-me-not." Bristolians, perhaps, hardly 
realize the extent to which this remarkable personaHty was associated 
with their city, for, although her birth occurred in New York, March 27th, 
1838, her father. Col. Sam Ward, was American Consul here in 1858 and 
for some years following, residing next Victoria Rooms, Clifton, where 
now stands the Colonial Institute, and here his gifted daughter was a 
pretty frequent visitor. As Madame Guerrabella (she was indeed the 
Countess de Guerabel, having married the Count in Warsaw in 1853), 
she made her first operatic appearance at La Scala, Milan, in 1856, and in 
this country in 1858, at Covent Garden, in English opera with the Pyne 
and Harrison company. In i860 Madame Guerrabella was singing in 
Italian opera at Her Majesty's Theatre, notably in " Roberto il Diavolo " 
and " I Puritani," in which latter work I then first had the pleasure of 
seeing and hearing her upon the lyric stage. In i860, when visiting her 
father, she gave her services for a concert in aid of the Garibaldi fund at 
the Victoria Rooms, and was not again seen as an artiste here until the 
occasion which has introduced this little biography. Having strained her 
voice by too strenuous w:ork, the lyric stage was abandoned, and, under 
her maiden name, " Genevieve Ward," the Countess, having spent years 
in study, made a venture at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, as Lady 

125 



The Bristol Stage 



Macbeth, her instant success leading to the production of Andrew 
Merivale's " Forget -me -Not " at the Lyceum, London. But it is pro- 
bably in this later stage that this great artist's career is the more remark- 
able, for after appearing in that character on upwards of 2,000 occasions, 
and in every quarter of the English-speaking world. Miss Genevieve Ward 
appeared with Sir Henry Irving in " Richard III," " King Arthur," and 
" Becket," and in 1894 was again seen at the Prince's Theatre. Yet 
again, we find Miss Genevieve Ward's name " starred " at the St. James's 
Theatre in " The Aristocrat " right into June, 1917, at which time she 
had more than completed her eightieth year, and repeating that marvel- 
lous performance at the Prince's during the following October. 

If all this be considered a digression, " Mea culpa ! " but the story of 
this full life, so packed with romance and interest, as well as associated 
with our city and with the Bristol stage, appeals strongly to my pen. 
Miss Genevieve Ward was supported by Mr. W. H. Vernon as Sir Horace 
Welby, as had been the case throughout her world-wide tours. 

Mr. Wilson Barrett's company followed for a fortnight in " The Lights 
of London," Mr. Leonard Boyne, who about this time must have found 
difficulty in assuming his customary headgear, playing Harold Armytage, 
with Miss Cissy Grahame as Bess. At the rehearsal, in an effort to 
impress upon the company the relative value of the respective characters, 
Mr. Boyne remarked, " You, ladies and gentlemen are, let us say, the 
coat. Miss Grahame and myself being the spangles ! " Mrs. R. Power — 
an actress of great experience and ability — easily recognizing her oppor- 
tunities as Mrs. Jarvis, the showman's wife, was content to observe sotto 
voce, " And I think he will find that Jarvis (Mr. H. C. Arnold) and I are 
pretty big spangles also ! " Others of the company were- Miss Kissie 
Wood (Mrs. H. C. Arnold) and Messrs. R. S. Boleyn, J. S. Haydon and 
Henry Lee. 

The 1882-3 pantomime was " Whittington and his Cat," the former 
finding an excellent exponent in Miss Julia Warden and the latter in 
Master Cummins. As Alice Fitzwarren Miss Amy Grundy was delight- 
ful ; as Idle Jack Mr. George Thorne was, as at all times, " top hole," 
and Mr. E. M. Robson made a capital " old woman," There were 
several important features of the work, which was written and produced 
by Mr. C. H. Stephenson. Amongst these was a violin solo by MUe. 
Rita Presano, a double panorama of the Thames (Mr. Arthur Henderson), 
and the " Turn again Whittington " sounded by an octave of magnificent 
bells, manufactured for the Messrs. Chute at a cost of ;^45o. A further 
welcome item was the inclusion in the cast of Messrs. Henderson and 
Stanley, the " living marionettes." Mr. Harry Paulo was the clown. 
The attendance surpassed even that of " Sinbad," and attracted until its 
seventy -fourth representation. 

John F. Sheridan in " Fun on the Bristol," and then Mr. F, Neebe 
brought his pantomime (a successful one) " Robinson Crusoe," from the 

126 



The Bristol Stage 



Theatre Royal, Bath, the great feature of the production being the 
splendid performance of Friday by Mr. E. J. Lonnen, shortly to be the 
great hit at the Gaiety, London, in " Here Comes the Bogie Man," 
" Killalvo," etc., and who married Miss Emmie Inman, a late and delight- 
ful columbine of ours. Twelve nights with " The Silver King," in which 
Mr. E. H. Brooke gave a remarkably fine interpretation of the part of 
Wilfred Denver. All round it was an excellent performance of Henry A. 
Jones' initial effort, Miss Cissy Grahame playing Nellie Denver ; Mr. 
Edward J. George, Jakes ; Mr. Charles K. Chute, Geoffrey Ware ; Mr. 
A. G. Leigh, Baxter ; and Mr. R. S. Boleyn, the Spider. Afterwards 
came Miss Bateman with my drama, " Shadow and Sunshine," produced 
at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, and of which the Scottish Press had 
proved unusually appreciative. 

Unfortunately a recent illness in the Bateman family had claimed the 
attention of the famous actress, and the formation of her company had 
been entrusted to other hands, who apportioned two of the leading parts, 
one to his wife and the other to himself. As I did not approve the selec- 
tion and gathered that the engagement had (modestly) been made for 
three years, supported by the opinion of both Messrs. George and James 
Macready Chute, who were also friends of the famous actress, I withdrew 
my play from performance by the then existing company. 

Planquette's opera " Rip " succeeded ; " Pluck," from Drury Lane, 
following, Messrs. James Elmore, A. C. Lilly and Edmund Lyons being 
amongst the interpreters. Mr. Kyrle Bellew brought the Lyceum pro- 
duction of " Romeo and Juliet," and was associated with Miss Fanny Reid 
as Juliet, Mr. Courtenay Thorpe as Mercutio, and Messrs. John VoUaire 
and Henry Rowe Guy, of Bristol, in the by-gones. " lolanthe " filled 
the house for six nights and a matinee. 

Six nights of the Rentz-Santley American novelty company for Bank 
Holiday, and the following week brought the " Ruling Passion," in which 
Miss Amy Steinberg appeared. Then came " Our Boys," with Mr. 
David James in his original part of Perkyn Middlewick, Miss Minnie 
Palmer next introducing to Bristol her speciality " My Sweetheart," Mr. 
Charles Arnold, the American Tony, supporting. Excellent business 
resulted. 

Miss Marie de Grey in Robert Buchanan's " Lady Clare," was followed 
by Miss Kate Vaughan in the " Country Girl " and " Cinderella," she 
being succeeded by the Carl Rosa Company, producing " Esmeralda," 
with Miss Georgina Burns in the name part. 

Alfred Hemming was here with " Mother -in -Law," etc., after which 
Mr. J. H. Clynds appeared as William Hope in the Adelphi drama " Love 
and Money," and Miss Ada Cavendish as Marian Heatherly in A. C. 
Calmour's " Broken Bonds." 

The following week, during which Miss Florence St. John appeared in 
" Madame Favart," and a new comic opera by Offenbach, " Lurette,'* 

127 



The Bristol Stage 



which had been translated into English by Mr. Frank Deprez, a local 
author, was a highly popular one at the Park Row house, Miss St. John 
being accompanied by Mons. Marius, Mr. H. Bracy, Mr. David Fisher, 
jun., and others, 

Mr. Barry Sullivan was the next attraction, and on December 17th the 
Bristol Histrionic Club gave a performance of " Blow for Blow," A. J. 
Byron's capital drama, for the benefit of the funds of the Bristol A.O.F. 

" Cinderella," written by J. Wilton Jones, was the subject of the 
pantomime 1883-4, scenery being provided by Messrs. J. K. Lennan, 
Mark Barraud and E. Stock. The special features of this production, 
and which proved immensely popular, were the diminutive cream- 
coloured ponies drawing the " Fairy Victoria," and the Snow Ballet, 
arranged by Miss Kate Kelly. The sisters Cuthbert, Miss Kate Lovell 
and Miss Mary EUen White were the principal ladies engaged, Messrs. 
Henry C. Arnold, E. W. Colman and Harry Crellin being amongst the 
gentlemen. Messrs. Rezenc and Robini, afterwards clown and panta- 
loon, were also in the cast. At its last representation it had been wit- 
nessed by close upon 100,000 patrons. This final performance was again 
under the customary patronage and presence of the Right Worshipful the 
Mayor and the Mayoress (Mr. J. D. and Mrs. Stevens), but the patronage 
and presence of this occasion had an especial significance. The determi- 
nation of the management to maintain order in every part of the audi- 
torium had led to one of the attendants appointed for that purpose 
forcibly ejecting a man, who subsequently took action at the Assizes, and 
was awarded the sum of ;^3o. The mistake of the attendant lay not in 
the ejection, but in his not calling upon the police officer to perform the 
act. What the citizens thought of this matter and of the general character 
of the management was pretty clearly defined on April 27th following, 
when a number of gentlemen assembled in the crush-room of the New 
Theatre Royal in order to present the Brothers Chute with a testimonial 
having immediate reference to the event. This presentation took the 
form of ;^ioo in cash, accompanied by a volume containing the names of 
nearly 200 subscribers to the funds, amongst which was that of the Rt. 
Worshipful the Mayor. The first page of the volume bore the following 
inscription : — 

" CHUTE INDEMNITY FUND. 

" Names of the subscribers to the fund raised by private subscription 
in appreciation of the efforts of Messrs. G. M. and J. M. Chute to enforce 
order in the New Theatre Royal. Sam Lang, treasurer, April 27th, 1883," 

" Shadow and Sunshine " was now in the hands of Miss Florence Wade, 
of the Haymarket Theatre, and her capable company comprised Miss 
Dolores Drummond, Miss Mary Ellen White, Miss Kathleen O'Conner 

128 , 



The Bristol Stage 



and Miss C. Cameron, with Messrs. Vincent Sternroyd, A. G. Stewart, 
Lawrence Grey, Creston Clarke, Walter G. Buist, etc. When this com- 
pany was in Ireland the Belfast News said : " ' Shadow and Sunshine ' is 
beyond doubt a cleverly conceived piece. The panoramic and mechani- 
cal effects are minimised and common sense is never outraged for the sake 
of producing what is known as a strong situation. The plot is worked out 
with directness and with a vivid effect that leaves little to be desired." 
Miss Florence Wade, a truly delightful actress, fell a victim to the then 
terrible scourge of poisoned native oysters. I had lunched with her at 
her flat and discussed details of the new tour with " Shadow and Sun- 
shine." She was, however, engaged to dine elsewhere that night, and on 
my return to her flat the following mid-day I was met with the terrible 
information that she was dead. 

A fine production of Boucicault's " Flying Scud," with Mr. George 
Thome as Nat Gosling and Mr. George M. Chute as Tom Meredith, 
preceded Mr. Joseph Derrick's eccentric comedy " Confusion." 

There was a complimentary benefit to Mr. F. W. Irwin — father of Mr. 
William and Miss Haviland — by the local amateur clubs. Mr. Sims 
Reeves was here for two nights, appearing in " Guy Mannering " on the , 
first, and in the last act of " Lucia " on the second, being supported by 
Miss Rose Hersee, soprano, and Mr. George Fox, the eminent basso. 

The production here of " Fedora," a conspicuous success at the Hay- 
market, was an item appealing exceptionally to the haut-ton, and on the 
Friday of the week, amongst an exceedingly fashionable assembly, were 
Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, whose projected 
patronage had already been announced. Miss Laura ViUiers appeared 
as Fedora, and otherwise the cast included Mr. Arthur Dacre as the 
Count Ipanoff, Mr. W. H. Day as Gretch, and Mr. Francis as Desire. 
A novelty was that of the following week's attraction, an " Adamless 
Eden," the whole of the performers, including a full orchestra, being of 
the sex of Eve ! 

In the comic opera " Estelle " we heard Miss Dora Willy in the nam.e 
part, and our whilom fellow-citizen, Mr. George Temple, as Count 
Composo, he being also entrusted with stage management, whilst Mr. 
Luscombe Searle, the composer, himself occupied the conductor's chair. 
Offenbach's " La Vie " was the next item of the season. Miss Maud 
Branscombe being supported by a good company, amongst whom we 
recognized Mr. E. J. Lonnen and Miss Emmie Inman (now Mrs. Lonnen). 

The D'Oyly Carte Company introduced "Princess Ida," whilst 
" Haunted Lives " and George Walton & Co. in " Three Hats " brought 
the season to a close. 

There was, however, an " Extra Night " of unaccustomed interest in 
the compHmentary benefit given to Mr. George R. Chapman, in order 
to celebrate his twenty years' service as Musical Conductor under the 
Chute management. The dramatic share of the programme, consisting 

129 * 



The Bristol Stage 



of " Rob Roy " and " Box and Cox," fairly bristled with the names of 
local popular artistes and pantomime favourites of recent years, amongst 
those in the Scottish operatic drama being Miss E Rudd (as Helen 
MacGregor), Miss Maud Avery and Miss Harwell, Messrs. Montague 
Worlock (Francis Osbaldistone), Mr. H. J. Dyer (Major Galbraith), Mr. 
George Macready Chute (Rob Roy), Mr. Fosbrooke (Dougal), Mr. A. J. 
Levy, Messrs. Harry Crellin, Lampard, Lethbridge Beck, Mr. Henry 
Fenwicke, and as Rashleigh Osbaldistone, Mr. Edward Fletcher (lessee of 
the Theatre Royal, Cardiff), and Mr. Richard Edgar, who played the 
Bailie. The well-known and popular farce was performed by Mr. George 
Thorne, Box ; Mr. Henry C. Arnold, Cox ; and Mr, E. M. Robson, 
Mrs. Bouncer. 

THE PRINCE'S. — The reopening on Bank Holiday, August 4th, 
1884, was as the "Prince's Theatre," the old title having on several 
occasions proved confusing to visitors. Mr. Calder with his " White 
Slave " company had the honour of " kicking off," Mr. Harry Jackson's 
Opera Company in Planquette's " Nell Gwynne " following. " Clau- 
dian " was finely placed upon the stage, and the company embraced Miss 
Laura Linden (Almida), Miss Cissy Burton, Miss Claire Devigne and 
other ladies, Mr. Leonard Boyne, J. Dewhurst, Chas. K. Chute, George 
Sennett, Arthur Yates and Wm. Mclntyre — quite a strong array of 
dramatic talent, the result being a fortnight of crowded houses. Miss 
Kate Vaughan, with whom came Miss Nellie Bouverie and Messrs. John 
Bannister, Allen Thomas and Charles Cooper, gave, during her six nights' 
engagement, " The Country Girl," Byron's burlesque, " Little Era 
Diavolo," and her latest London success, " The Little Viscount." 

Miss Bella Pateman received a cordial welcome as Miami in the time- 
honoured drama " Green Bushes," the Buckstone drama, well-worn as it 
had been in the old days, coming up as fresh as paint. Mrs. Royce 
Carleton and Mr. Louis Calvert and Mr. Robert Pateman afforded chief 
support. A Carl Rosa week introducing Boito's " Mephistele," with 
Mile. Marie Roze and Mr. Barton McGucken as Marguerite and Faust, 
and Mr. Ludwig as Mefistole, Ludwig being famed for an ultra-bass 
voice — and huge feet. The operas were followed by the Leopolds in 
" Frivolity," and by " Woman and the Law," Miss Fanny Brough (Mrs. 
R. S. Boleyn), Miss Cavalier, with Messrs. R. S. Boleyn, J. G. Grahame, 
G. Canninge and J. S. Blythe being in Mr. Wilson Barrett's company 
representing it. 

HUGH CONWAY AND THE ARTS CLUB.—" Called Back," 
the dramatic version of our fellow-citizen " Hugh Conway's " — or, to give 
him his birth name, Frederick John Fargus's — famous story, tested the 
capacity of the Prince's as it had never previously been, for, apart from 
the astonishing popularity of his Christmas story, the author had been a 
well-known and approved citizen before attaining his great literary 
reputation. During the week that " Called Back " occupied the stage, 

130 



The Bristol Stage 



therefore, Mr. Hugh Conway and his dramatic collaborateur, Mr. Comyns 
Carr, were the recipients of quite a number of complimentary invitations 
at the hands of the citizens. Amongst those they found the opportunity 
of accepting was that of Mr. D. T. Taylor, joint proprietor of the Bristol 
Times and Mirror, and an old friend of Mr. Hugh Conway, who assembled 
some thirty-five fellow admirers at a dinner at the Royal Hotel. The 
Arts Club also provided an elaborate supper in honour of the authors, 
and, throwing my memory back, I must, I think, award this night the 
palm of the several Arts Club's famous occasions of festivity. 

Anent this popular retreat into the realms of Bohemia, some few 
details may be read with interest, and amongst the " old boys " will, I 
think, be looked for. The Arts Club was constituted on the initiative of 
the following seventeen gentlemen, who, as the " Governing Body," 
ruled both its customs and its destiny. 

These were — Messrs. Henry C. Arnold, Mark Barraud, David BeU, 
W. R. Chandler, G. Russell Chapman, George Macready Chute, James 
Macready Chute, Stephen M. Chute, A. Morris Edwards, J. G. Heyman, 
Eustace A. S. Hounsell, Walter E. Lloyd, E. G. Osborn, Fredk. Gover 
Powell, Geo. Rennie Powell, F. W. Tonkin and Montague Worlock. The 
list of the 250 and upwards of subscribing members to the Club contained 
the names of F. Goodenough Taylor, Walter Hawkins, Harold Lewis, 
Thos. Carrington, Andrew Waite, F. R. Leibick, J. H. Clifton and others 
of our resident arts world, whilst of those migratory stars of the dramatic 
or operatic cult who came our way, and few indeed it was who passed by 
on the other side, one finds the names of J. L. Toole, Meyer Lutz, George 
Barrett, Seymour Hicks, Charles Arnold (of New York), Arthur Roberts, 
W. H. Vernon, Edward Terry, William Rignold, George Conquest, Louis 
Calvert, Tom Paulton, F. C. Packard, Leslie Crotty, Basil Chatterton, 
Col. J. H. Mapleson, Willie Edouin, F. J. Lonnen, E. Grossens, Fred 
Leslie, J. G. Grahame, Fred Terry, Fred Vokes, T. W. Robertson, John 
Rouse, Alfred Maltby, Arthur Elmore, Ainsley Cook, Mat Robson, D. J. 
Canary, Albert Hengler, A. D'Esterre Guinness, Charles Collette, John 
Billington, Barton McGucken, G. F. Marler, Louis Calvert, et hoc genus 
omne, for the reputation of " the club where the members helped them- 
selves to refreshment, and, without the employment of steward or other 
club servant, were relied upon to place the cash equivalent in the till, 
and where there were such wonderful nights of artistic entertainment," had 
permeated the ranks of theatredom from John O'Groats to Lands End ; 
that is, it would have touched those remote districts had there been 
theatrical ventures thereat to hear the legend. 

The club-room, with its four handsome stained windows, illustrative 
of the famous heads of the various art branches, Shakespeare, Byron, 
Mozart, etc., above the wainscoting was decorated with delightful 
glimpses of historic scenes, the work of Mr. Mark Barraud, scenic artist 
of the Prince's Theatre, and a member of the Club's Governing Body. 

131 



The Bristol Stage 



One panel, that adjoining the doorway, remained in distemper only, and 
his fellow governors failed to gather from the artist the why or wherefore 
of their decorations remaining incomplete. The solution came upon the 
occasion of the Hugh Conway visit, when both members and guests 
found themselves confronted by an admirably conceived and entirely 
apropos cartoon, executed in crayon. It represented, as seen from the 
back of the stage, the joint authors before the footlights, bowing their 
acknowledgments of the audience's approval — Mr. Comyns Carr's un- 
mistakably podgy figure, with ridiculously short dress-coat tails, besides 
the aesthetic and faultlessly garbed form of our fellow-citizen ; whilst 
above the figures appeared the explanatory legend : — 

Authors 

CALLED (and beneath) 

BACK 
View. 

When in the morning sunshine the two guests left the club, for, be it 
remembered, such functions there were necessarily postponed until the 
final fall of the curtain at the Prince's, the urgent summons of a number 
of the members brought them back again, only to find the company 
engaged in desultory and impersonal conversation. " Well, what is it ? " 
inquired Hugh Conway. " Oh, we only wanted you to realize that you 
were ' called hack^ " replied Mr. George Macready Chute. After a 
hearty laugh, Mr. Comyns Carr said, and that feelingly, " I am glad that 
we were, for we had walked far enough to pass a resolution that. Arcades 
ambo, no previous entertainment had proved so much to our fancy, or 
resulted in so much real pleasure to ourselves." 

Hugh Conway, who was born in Bristol, December 25th, 1847, died 
May 15th, 1885, at Monte Carlo, a handsome memorial tablet, executed 
by Mr. Havard Thomas, the celebrated local sculptor, being erected by 
public subscription in the Bristol Cathedral. 

Death removing three of the most popular and energetic members of 
the Governing Body — Mr. George Macready Chute and Mr. Mark 
Barraud in 1888, and Mr. David Bell in 1890 — it was decided to close 
the Arts Club entirely. 

MR. MARK BARRAUD was really a good fellow, and although there 
were, at times, some few who might temporarily have thought otherwise, 
there were certainly few who did not ultimately regard him as per the 
opening line. It was that he was an inveterate leg-puUer and practical 
jokist that occasionally brought him into disrepute, yet I only remember 
one occasion upon which his exploit in the latter direction read as ap- 
proaching real tragedy, that being when, not calculating the inevitable 
consequence, he in a chemical fire joke destroyed the contents of a green- 
house of plants. Even in this instance Mr. George Chapman, his 
immediate neighbour, and whose most cherished ideal — as is so fre- 

132 



The Bristol Stage 



quently the case in the theatrical world — was the rus in urbe, although 
the unfortunate victim of the outrage, ultimately forgave, " let bygones 
be have-beens," and shook hands ! 

But Barraud was as original in practical joking as with his brush, and 
I remember an occasion when, meeting two members of a visiting com- 
pany — strangers to the district — ^he answered their inquiry as to whether 
there was " anywhere to go or anything to see during the day ? " 
" Yes," was his reply, " the Chew Magna regatta," and forthwith he 
directed them how to get to the rustic scene. There was another event 
on similar lines, that occurring when a couple of ardent anglers attached 
to another company inquired as to the possibility of wetting a line. 
" Rather," said Barraud, " and I will join you. We'll meet here (the 
Arts Club) to-morrow at eleven o'clock." 

The two visitors turned up armed with rods and other paraphernalia 
of the cult, and not long afterwards Barraud entered, with rod, fishing 
creel, etc., in correct position and form, and with really the most extra- 
ordinary of head-gear. One matutinal drink, and " 'twas time to go," 
he said, whilst opening the club room door, but only to be confronted by 
a boy from the theatre bringing him a telegram. Quickly tearing open 
the envelope, a look of annoyance clouded his brow. " Dear, dear ! " 
he said. " Well, it can't be helped ; you two go on, get up to Clifton 
Down station and take tickets for Fishponds. I will follow you. Go to 
the ' Full Moon ' hotel. The landlord is one of the best fishermen in 
the West of England ; he will tell you all about it." And as they were 
leaving he added, " And order dinner for us at 4.30." 

The joke of both episodes lies in the fact that the river Chew barely 
affords the vfidth necessary to scull a skiff, let alone any such passing 
another en rouU, whilst Fishponds, the name of an extreme parish of the 
city, and however correct some tradition of lish -ponds being situated 
there may be, it relates to a century or so ago, as there is not a ghost of 
either pond or river within its boundary ! 

Probably the most amazing part of the latter incident lay in Barraud's 
effrontery in joining the disappointed anglers at the dinner table ! What 
transpired there I do not know, but the three returned to the Arts Club 
the best of chums, and so continued during that company's visit. Another 
thing that I did not know, and that none of the club members ever dis- 
covered, that being the place of origin of his piscatorial get-up, for I do 
not believe that previously he had ever handled a fishing-rod. 

There was an occasion upon which Mark Barraud, being knocked up 
about 2.30 a.m., put his head out of the window, with the inquiry, 
" Who's there ? " 

" Police," came the reply ; " your front door is open." 

" Well, shut it, there's a good fellow ; you don't want me to come 
down to do that." 

" But won't you see that it's all right, sir i " 

133 



The Bristol Stage 



" Oh ! they are welcome to anything they can carry away from here. 
Good night ! " 

Yes, Mark Barraud was an extraordinary man ! He smoked — occa- 
sionally tobacco — but mostly matches ! 

That as a scenic artist he was possessed of rare ability there is Httle 
doubt, and once he painted a canvas — by no means a large one, nor was 
it a poor eflFort — and sent it to the Bristol Fine Arts Academy exhibition, 
but the hanging committee, or, as he termed it, " the committee of 
hangmen," possibly considering that there was a sufficiency of local artists 
for on, or near the line of sight, found the eflFort a place upon the sky-line 
and almost beyond the vision of the ordinary star-gazer. The artist's 
fellow club members had some difficulty in persuading him to refrain 
from inserting the following advertisement in the local Press : " Wanted, 
a ladder from which to view my picture at the Academy. — Mark 
Barraud." 

Miss Fanny Josephs brought from the St. James's, Stephenson's comedy, 
" Impulse," amongst her company being Miss Fanny Enson, Helen 
Cresswell and Maria Daly, as also Mr, Albert Chevalier, C. W. Garthorne 
and J. H. Darnley. 

Mr. Barry SuUivan, in whose company were both Miss Jane and Miss 
Susan Rignold, drew his customary crowd, and was followed by the 
comedy " Nita's First," represented by Miss Cora Stuart (Mrs. T. W. 
Robertson), Miss E. Brunton (Miss E. Robertson), and Messrs. John 
Rouse, Walter Everard, Charles Thorne and T. W. Robertson. 

Messrs. Sims and Pettitt's Adelphi drama " In the Ranks," was intro- 
duced, the theatre then being closed until Christmas Eve (Wednesday), 
1884, when the pantomime "The Forty Thieves" was produced. 
Written by Mr. J. Wilton Jones, author of the " Cinderella " pantomime 
preceding, the book contained a caustic reference to the method adopted 
by Mr. Justice Manisty of fining jurymen who were not present in court 
when their names were called. This summary proceeding having caused 
a flutter throughout the kingdom, aflforded a capital subject for panto- 
mime " up-to-dateness." Unfortunately the Bristol Assize came within 
the sphere of Mr. Justice Manisty. " James Macready Chute ! " cried 
the usher, and repeated the invocation. Alas ! silence reigned, and a 
ten pounds fine ensued. 

Miss Maggie Duggan was Ganem, the Brothers Harlow, the donkey, 
and the Brothers Griffiths, the two driver thieves, others in the cast being 
Misses Kate Murray, Adelaide Chippendale (Mrs. G. M. Chute), Maud 
St. Clair, and Messrs. C. K. Chute, Richard Purdon, Leicester Colling- 
wood (a Bristolian who afterwards as an actor " made good "), Messrs. 
Richard Edgar and others, but beyond the representatives of Ganem, the 
donkey and its driver, those otherwise engaged were not of the pantomime 
cult. The annual proved a disappointment, and was withdrawn on 
February 21st, 

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The eminent and ever welcome comedian, Mr. J, L. Toole, as full of 
life as ever, and as resourceful in the desire for a practical joke, who 
followed, was met on arrival by Mr. G. M. Chute, my brother and self. 
Strolling as far as the George and Railway Hotel for a much-needed 
drink, luncheon trains not yet being in evidence, a four-wheeler was 
requisitioned to take us on our way. Tipping the " boots " who had 
put through the call, Mr. Toole told him not to wait, we being a waiting 
throng onnthe hotel steps when the vehicle drew up. " Don't get down," 
cried J. L, T. to the cabby whilst opening the door, and forthwith his 
form disappeared inside the commodious " growler." Mr. C. followed, 
and then my brother. The practical joker, who had immediately opened 
the opposite door and passed behind the back of the cab, was close be- 
hind as I made my entrance, being again closely followed by Mr. Chute 
and myself, my brother depositing his sixteen stone on the front seat 
and so blocking the view of the inside from the driver's box. The Jehu 
now evidently thought it time to see what was going on, but just as I 
closed the door with a goodly bang, Mr. Toole's head protruded from the 
further window. " All right, cabby," he cried, " we're all here. Drive 
to Arts Club." The driver, probably congratulating himself upon his 
nag not being a " screw," drove as instructed, but looked amazingly 
puzzled at seeing no more than four passengers alight. " Here you are, 
cabby," exclaimed Mr. Toole, whilst adding a generous " tip " to the 
legal fare, " I must pay for those three fellows who got out as we came up 
the hill ! " 

Mr. Edward Righton appeared in " Twins." Commencing April 19th, 
1885, the romantic play " Young Mrs. Winthrop," which had been so 
cordially received on production at the Court Theatre, was produced. 
The company appearing in Park Row was altogether an excellent one, 
including as it did Mr. J. G. Grahame, Vincent Sternroyd and Alfred 
Bishop, Miss Alice Ingram, Miss Lottie Venne, Miss Clara Cowper and 
Miss Josephine Calvert. 

The stage on the Thursday afternoon, April 23rd, was occupied by a 
social gathering. Miss Chute, an accomplished pianist, accompanied by 
her younger sister. Miss Christine Chute, who was possessed of a fine voice 
and had received the benefit of tuition by Signor Randegger, were about 
to take up residence elsewhere than Clifton, and for the purpose of 
affording accommodation to their legion of friends at an " At Home," 
her brothers had converted the stage of their theatre into a charming 
palm and flower-bedecked drawing-room. Upwards of a hunred guests 
were received, and a delightful concert, in which the two ladies were 
assisted by Mr. Montague Worlock, Mr. Carrington (violin), and a 
selected orchestra under the baton of Mr. George R. Chapman. The 
function was in every way a success, and not speedily forgotten by those 
so fortunate as to be present. 

Mr. E. A. Sothern, who followed, infused quite new life into his time- 

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honoured programme, including for the first time the reading of a letter 
from Brother Sam, when playing as Lord Dundreary, and on the two 
concluding nights coupling with John Oxenford's farcical comedy 
" Sam," H. J. Byron's screaming farce " Dundreary Married and Settled." 
He met with the heartiest receptions throughout the week. 
- One of the most welcome of visits was that of Harry Paulton's screaming 
burlesque, " The Babes ; or, W(h)ines from the Wood," for it intro- 
duced such a galaxy of talent as that of Mr. Willie Edouin, Lionel Brough, 
Harry Fischer, H. Litton, and, amongst the ladies. Miss Alice Atherton, 
Carlotta Zerbini, Maggie Duggan, and several other well-known artistes. 
The Babes — the Babes were, of course, personated by Mr. Willie Edouin 
and his wife. Miss Alice Atherton. 

" Called Back " returned and with a strengthened cast, for Mr. Fred 
Terry now played Gilbert Vaughan and Mr. Bassett Roe, Macari ; Miss 
Alma Murray, however, again gave her delightful rendering of Pauline. 
" Falka," with Miss Giulia Warwick, Vere Carew, F. Lytton and a host 
of charming ladies, together with Messrs Horace Lingard, Lytton Grey, 
Walker Marnock, Allen Thomas, etc., constituted the programme. 

After a week of the " Private Secretary," with Mr. Arthur Helmore 
giving his admirable rendering of the Rev. Mr. Spalding, his original 
part, Mr. G. Chute took his benefit, playing Talbot Champneys. 

Miss Florence Warden for a week appeared in her own play, the " House 
on the Marsh," after which the Drury Lane drama " Formosa," by 
Dion Boucicault, at last saw the footlights here, and went exceedingly 
well. 

MR, JOHN ROUSE.— Probably the most versatile of the popular 
low comedians seen on the Bristol stage, being cast for his original charac- 
ter on production of the play at Drury Lane. 

Being an excellent vocalist, very few programmes of the Theatre Royal 
issued during his tenure here failed to announce as an intermezzo of the 
two plays customary, " Comic song, Mr. John Rouse." 

When in advancing years the popular actor felt like having a more 
settled home, he applied to the licensing magistrates of Bristol for the 
transfer of a licence, known for half a century or more as the " Sugar 
Loaf," by reason of its proximity to a famous sugar refinery. But the 
refinery in question had been totally destroyed by fire fuUy a score of 
years previous to the comedian's application, and the tavern's old title 
had ceased to be appropriate, so Mr. Rouse was desirous of renaming it 
" The Gaiety." 

The chairman of the Bench on that occasion, a broad-chested, narrow- 
minded, noncompromising Nonconformist, said : " The magistrates 
don't mind allowing the transfer, but they object to the name Gaiety." 

The solicitor (Mr. J. H. Clifton) appearing for the applicant, in his 
customary delightful manner explained that the title did not in any way 

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The Bristol Stage 



imply that which his worship probably had in his mind, but was the name 
of a high -class restaurant and rendezvous of the theatrical profession in 
London. 

" Well, the magistrates don't like it ! Why ' Gaiety ' f " 

" Why ' Sugar Loaf ' ? " interjected the prospective landlord, and 
nearly lost himself his licence. The argument, however, was unanswer- 
able ; so, " Granted," growled " the beak," as though he were pitching 
offal to a bear. 

And that reminds me ! At " Ye Olden Fayre " Mr, Rouse turned up 
garbed in the bear's skin made for the pantomime of " Valentine and 
Orson," Mr. Mark Barraud, armed with the familiar keeper's pole, con- 
ducting his charge amongst the spectators. I fancy that Master Bruin 
must have received an extra energetic probe, as both bear and keeper 
shortly sought their dressing tent, returning, however, a little later with 
the characters reversed. No doubt the popular low comedian had taken 
his turn with the corrector's weapon ! 

The curtain now fell for the last time upon the Bristol version of 
" Uncle Tom," of which character Mr. John Rouse had been the original 
exponent so far back as 1852. On this occasion the faithful old nigger 
was presented by Mr. Charles K. Chute, Miss Nellie Bouverie was the 
Topsy, Mr. W. H. Vernon filling the characters of George Harris and 
St. Claire. This was a memorable " Good bye " to a drama, dramatized 
by Bristol skill, which had proved a veritable gold mine to the treasury 
and must have witnessed during its career something very like a hundred 
reproductions. 

Mrs. Langtry during her six nights' engagement produced a new play 
written for her by W. G. WiUs, and entitled " A Young Tramp," the fair 
comedienne appearing as Jessie Daw, an actress who in the course of the 
plot disguises herself as a boy tramp. Up to this night the popular and 
charming society beauty had never appeared upon the stage in " shorts," 
and in a little chat I was privileged to have with her immediately before 
her going on the stage, it is no exaggeration for me to assert " she was as 
nervous as a kitten." Subsequently she told me that I was quite right 
in the words of encouragement I had spoken, for I had said, "The 
audience will be familiar with ladies in boy's clothing, and in ten minutes 
you will yourself have forgotten that you are so costumed." Mrs. 
Langtry was accompanied by Mr. Charles Coghlan, Mr. R. D. Lyons and 
others. Mr. Thomas Thome's company in " Open House " was suc- 
ceeded by "The Candidates," for the representation of which Mr. 
Charles Wyndham sent Miss Mary Moore, Mr. Harry St. Maur, Mr. 
Alfred Maltby, etc. Then a Carl Rosa week, the operas selected for 
performance being " Carmen," with " Manon " for the first time, with 
Madame Marie Roze in the principal characters, " Nadeshda," for the 
first time in Bristol, with Madame Georgina Burns as prima donna, 
"Mignon," and "Faust," with Madame Julia Gaylord (Mrs. F. C. 

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The Bristol Stage 



Packard) and Mr. F. C. Packard, and " Marriage of Figaro " as a wind-up, 
with all three prime donne in the cast. 

Miss Fortescue arrived, accompanied by Misses Kate Hodson, Helen 
Cresswell, Messrs. Philip Beck and Arthur Wood, in " Frou Frou " and 
" Pygmalion and Galatea." Then Mr. WiUiam Duck's company in 
Hugh Conway's " Dark Days," Mr. Comyns Carr having again colla- 
borated in the dramatization. It was a good company, and included 
Miss Florence West, Mrs. Mary Jocelyn and Miss Rose Roberts, Messrs. 
Lewis Waller, C. W. Somerset, Carter, Charles Macdona, etc. On the 
opening night the performance was under special patronage.' 

Pinero's capital farce the " Magistrate," in which appeared Miss Lottie 
Venne (Mrs. Walter H. Fisher), followed. On the following Monday 
the performance for the New Boathouse Fund of the Ariel Rowing Club, 
the " Guv'nor " being played by known local talent, mainly amateur, 
and Club members. Of these were : Messrs. George Macready Chute, 
David Bell, Albert Carter, George Bellairs, Robert W. Home, Lethbridge 
Beck, A, Scott, Walter Blinkhorn, T. W. Hancock, Walter H. Gange, 
W. A. Barr, George E. Davies, assisted by Miss Maud Avery, Mary Ellen 
White, Jane Grey, Gertrude GuiUiam and Mrs. George Chute. There 
was a splendid attendance of the public. 

" Little Red Riding Hood," the 1885-6 pantomime, was again one of 
the right sort. Little Cissie Burton proved a delightful Red Riding 
Hood, and Bo Peep, her sister. Miss Mary EUen White, followed by her 
flock of sheep, again quite hit the public taste. Mr. Henry C. Arnold, 
C. Coleman, Edward J. George and E. S. Gofton proved a powerful 
crowd of comedians. Misses Kissie Wood, Emily George and other ladies 
making up an excellent cast. We had Stebb and Trepp, unquestionably 
artistes in their line, and the marvel of the bicycle, Mr, D. J. Canary, was 
a splendid novelty. Little Levite was the clown. One of the happiest 
pantomime recollections in my mind is of a matinee to which Messrs. 
Chute had invited 250 children from the R.C, schools of Pennywell Road, 
and St. Mary's on the Quay. Dear little ones ! how they laughed and 
how they applauded ! Their enjoyment acted like a tonic to the com- 
pany upon the stage, and when each of the mites was supplied, by the 
kind thought of Mrs. Chute, with a bun and an orange, no happier throng 
need be looked for in our midst than were those children. 

Visited by immense audiences, the pantomime had to be withdrawn, 
February 27th, 1886. 

Mr. J. L. Shine, with " Fits and Starts," was followed by Mr. Edward 
Terry with Pinero and Byron's comedies, and then came the opera 
" Erminie," which proved a great draw. It went with immense spirit, 
for in the cast were Misses Esme Lee, Lizzie Collier, Julia St. George 
and Carrie Lee Stoyle ; Messrs George Marler, W. H. Rawlins, Tom 
Paulton and other popular comedians. 

At Easter Messrs. Chute produced " God Save the Queen," Rennie 

138 



The Bristol Stage 



Palgrave and Fred Cover's new drama. It was a fine production, and 
went straight to Astley's, whilst the company included Miss Julia Warden, 
Rosa Kenny, Alice Yorke and Marie Glynne, with Messrs. E. N. Hallows, 
E. Major, Fosbrooke, Charles Arnold, Walter H. Fisher and George 
Macready Chute. Further London engagements had been made, but 
as " Home Rule " was very much in the air, I received a most kindly 
written letter from a high authority, asking whether another title might 
not be used, as there was the possibility of disturbance in the theatres, as 
the result of " Patriots " agitators' efforts. My brother and myself, 
being loyal subjects, preferred to withdraw the play from representation. 

That this was a bit of bad luck will be realized when I mention that 
the Sunday Times said : " The piece is excellent. The plot is uncon- 
ventional and interesting, and the dialogue above the average," whilst 
The Referee credited it with " exciting material. Sound and stirring 
sentiments. Probably the ' fattest ' low -comedy part ever seen on any 
stage" ; and The Sportsman, " A good interesting dramatic work. Go and 
see it, dear reader, and if you don't agree with me, well, then I'U take a 
back seat or an overflow ticket ! ! " So virtue had to be its own reward, 
but that it ivas cruel luck for both of us was extensively conceded. 

It was at one of the concluding rehearsals of this play when the " call- 
board " read " Scenes, props, everybody," that Mr. Harry Owen, who 
had worked really hard to assist in the artistic success, came into contact 
with the stage-manager (Mr. Charles Arnold). Now the master carpen- 
ter is quite an autocrat in his kingdom, and " Harry " was about to lay a 
new stage, an evidence of the entire confidence of the lessees. So when 
at the close of the rehearsal of Act 4 Mr. Arnold said, " All right ! Set 
Act 5, please ! " Mr. Owen, from amidst some scenery replied, " You 
must rehearse it in that set, it will take me twenty minutes to set Act 5." 
But if the master carpenter rules in his own province, the stage -manager 
is " All Highest," and like " She," must be obeyed. 

" Very well," said Mr. Arnold, " twenty minutes' interval, ladies and 
gentlemen," and the company temporarily dispersed. 

" Well ! " remarked Harry Owen, as he passed me on the stage, " if 
that isn't treating a real good mechanic no better than a bally play- 
actor ! " 

And therefrom I learnt his appraisement of the consideration due to 
each of the two industries. 

MR. WALTER HENRY FISHER.— Handsome, debonaire, and 
possessed of a delightful tenor voice, " Wally " was an immediate favour- 
ite with all with whom he came in contact. The son of a Bristol minia- 
ture artist, his professional connection with the stage commenced at 
Plymouth, where, at the Theatre Royal, Mr. J. R. Newcombe was 
producing Burnand's burlesque " Paris." Shortly afterwards, upon 
joining Captain Disney Roebuck's U.S.D.C., he met his future wife — 
Miss Lottie Venne — a lady possessed of all the stage attributes that so 

139 



The Bristol Stage 



distinguished her husband, and upon their entry into the theatrical life 
of the metropolis, their promise of a career of exceptional success has 
seldom, if ever, been surpassed by any young artistic couple. Miss Lottie 
Venne has never ceased to realize this promise until the present day . . , 
when she still graces the stage ! 

Mr. Fisher's career for some time equally realized the early promise, 
and at the Philharmonic, Royalty, Olympic and other theatres he became 
the original exponent of many notable operatic and dramatic works. By 
Messrs. Montague, James and Thorne, he was selected for the part of 
Jack Wyatt (" Two Roses ") in the provinces, where also he scored as La 
Pericole, and as the defendant in " Trial by Jury," with Mile. Selina 
Dolaro. With the D'Oyly Carte Company he was exceptionally success- 
ful, but it was whilst fulfilling this engagement that he became unreHable. 

Twice whilst producing in Bristol, the Brothers Chute and myself came 
to our old friend's aid — " any part," he said, " if my name can be in the 
bill to send to Carte." On the first occasion the play, with the exception 
of the principal character, was already cast, so it was a serious risk — but 
we took it. In the second event the part was less exacting, but still an 
important one. Mr. Fisher's impersonation of both characters was de- 
lightful, and the appreciation of the local critics convinced Mr. D'Oyly 
Carte, but the disease was too deeply rooted for permanent cure. 

Mr. John S. Clarke, who was accompanied by Messrs. John Vollaire, 
Richard Purdon, H. Reeves Smith, and others, did excellent business, 
with his specialities the " Heir -at -Law," " Toodles," etc. 

A very great attraction was George R. Sims' and Clement Scott's "-Jack 
in the Box," with Miss Fannie Leslie, in her original part, as played at 
the Princess's, London. In the cast otherwise were Messrs. J. B. Ashley, 
J. A. Arnold, Malcolm H. Grahame and " Little Ada Reeves " ; " A True 
Story," Mr. Elliot Galer's company ; and for Whitsuntide, " The Guv'- 
nor," with a benefit on the Friday for Mr, Mark H. Barraud, when he 
made " his first appearance as an actor on any stage," playing the part of 
Capt. Wilton in " Ruth's Romance." The " Magistrate " followed, but 
,not necessarily on account of Mr. Mark Barraud's new role. 



140 



CHAPTER XVII 

A.D. 1886 

ANEW STAGE. — During the summer recess that important feature 
of a. theatre, the stage, had been entirely re -laid upon the most 
modern and artistic lines and with the introduction of the most recent 
inventions. 

First to tread the new boards was Bristol's old favourite, Mr. William 
Rignold, he appearing as "Adam Bede," in which character he gave a 
further taste of his admitted charm as a violin player, Mr. Hubert 
O'Grady followed with the Irish drama, "The Famine," and next came 
Mrs. Weldon in " Not Alone," a play written by herself and George 
Lander, and dealing with the Lunacy laws. " Harbour Lights " was 
well staged and proved attractive, giving way to Miss Amy Steinberg in 
a " Bitter Wrong," which, in turn, was succeeded by an old member of 
the Bristol company, Mr. F. A. Scudamore, with his own play " First 
Class." 

The Vaughan-Conway Company, which appeared on September 13th, 
was a powerful one, for it embraced Misses Kate Vaughan, Fanny Cole- 
man, Marie lUington and Woolgar -Mellon, the last-named being the 
daughter of the favourite Adelphi actress, and her husband, Mr. Alfred 
Mellon, the musical conductor of that theatre, and of opera a composer. 
There were also in the cast Messrs. H. B. Conway, William Farren, 
WUford Morgan, Mark Kinghorne, Charles Collette, etc. 

" The Man with Three Wives," from the Criterion, brought Mr. Cyril 
Maude, the following week being devoted to " Vetah," an opera by 
Messrs. Bernical and Jacobi, of which Miss Kate Santley had provided the 
libretto, and in which she sustained the name part, an Indian maiden. 
In the cast were also Messrs. De Lange, Michael Dwyer, Robert Court- 
neidge, Charles Stevens and Lionel Rignold. 

The Carl Rosa Company played a most successful week, the chief fea- 
ture of which was the first appearance here of Mr. Edward Scovel, who 
appeared in both " Carmen " and " Lohengrin." 

Miss Marie De Grey next introduced " Jane Shore " (the King's 
Favourite), the new play with which I had furnished her, in the writing 
of which I had secured the collaboration of Mr. J. W. Boulding, a past- 
master of blank verse, and who in writing of the " White Rose " and other 

X41 



The Bristol Stage 



plays had secured an enviable reputation. Our play was first produced 
at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool. Miss De Grey was surrounded 
by a capable company, of whom Miss Maud Digby and Mrs. Ernest Clif- 
ton, Messrs. Matthew Brodie, Bassett Roe, A. T. Hilton and E. Charles 
were the principals. Miss Nelly Farren and Mr. Fred Leslie appeared 
in " Little Jack Sheppard," whilst " On Change " was followed for twelve 
nights by the Drury Lane drama " Human Nature," with the Drury Lane 
scenery. The pantomime was " Sinbad the Sailor," J. F. McArdle 's 
unrivalled scenario being brought up to date by Mr. Harry F. McClelland, 
who played the part of Capt. Scuttle. Miss Ada Blanche was Sinbad, 
Miss Addie Blanche the Princess, Miss Edith Blanche, Yazora, and Miss 
Flora Hastings, Zorilda. Mr. George Walton was now the Tinbad, the 
Leglere family were in the cast and harlequinade, and greatest attraction 
of aU, Lieut. Walter Cole gave in the Palace scene his splendid ventrilo- 
quial entertainment. 

Mr. G. M. Chute took his benefit on the concluding night, February 
26th, and in addition to giving an admirable performance in the farce 
" My Turn Next " and his customary annual address, during the Palace and 
following scene of the pantomime, he took Mr. Chapman's seat as con- 
ductor of the orchestra. This evening of remarkable versatility on his 
part constituted his last stage appearance. 

George Hawtrey's comedy, the " Pickpocket," followed by Mr. Ed- 
mund Tearle, with Miss Kate Clinton (Mrs. Tearle), in Shakesperean 
plays, then Willie Edouin's company in " Turned Up " carried the 
season to March 21st, when there was one of those rara avis announce- 
ments to be found only in the world of amusements, and on this occasion 
taking the form of " Farewell Visit of D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company in 
the ' Mikado.' " I can't say whether the public believed it or not, but 
there were splendid houses throughout the week. The American drama 
" Passion's Slave " was staged, this being followed by the Olympic drama 
" Alone in London." 

Needless to say, Edgar Bruce's original company and production of 
" Alice in Wonderland," by way of being a great novelty, proved a big 
success. Miss Mabel Love, Miss Phoebe Carlo, and MUe. Rosa shared 
with Messrs. Stephen Addison, Sidney Harcourt and H. C. Payne, the 
chief toil. 

During Queen Victoria's "Jubilee Week"! the performance com- 
menced each evening with the full company singing the National 
Anthem, after which came Mr. Henry Hamilton's play " Harvest." 
There was a good company, amongst the principals being Miss Olga 
Nethersole and Miss Adria Hill, together with Messrs. J. H. Darnley, C. 
W. Garthorne, John Benn, Nicol Pentland and Scott Buist. " Ruddi- 
gore " came for the last week of the spring season. 

Mr. Charles Arnold, a delightful American comedian and vocalist, 
who had already established a most desirable reputation as the original 

14^ 



The Bristol Stage 



Tony in " My Sweetheart," opened the autumn season with " Hans 
the Boatman," and then Mrs. Bernard-Beere paid her first visit, " As 
in a Looking Glass " being the play produced. Misses Muriel Aubrey, 
Eva Sothern, Ashford and Marie Wynter, Messrs. Herbert Standing, 
Bucklaw, Arthur Marcel and M. Marius supported the famous trage- 
dienne. Mr. Charles Dornton brought Mr. William Rignold for his 
original part of Jaques in the " Two Orphans," after which George R. 
Sims' Princess's drama, the " Romany Rye," was introduced to a Bristol 
audience. 

The Carl Rosa Company opened with " Carmen," introducing Miss 
Fanny Moody and Mr. Francesco Runcio. The second night was 
devoted to the production of " Nordisa," written and composed for 
the company by F. Corder ; and on Saturday (October 8th) was per- 
formed for the first time in this country Victor Masse's " Galatea," 
with Madame Marie Roze in the title role, and Mr. F. H. Celli as 
Pygmalion. 

Mr. Wilson Barrett, with Miss Eastlake, produced " Chatterton," 
" Clito," etc., followed by the opera " Dorothy," which proved most 
popular upon this, its introduction here. 

Mr. Willie Edouin and Miss Alice Atherton in " Katti," and with them 
Mr. Albert Chevalier, Miss Dolores Drummond, Laura Sedgwick, etc., 
after which came three nights with Mr. J. H. Mapleson's Italian Opera 
Company. '• 

The pantomime of 1887-8, "The Babes in the Wood," was the last 
Christmas production of the joint -management ; and was, moreover, the 
last with the scenic success of which was associated the name of Mr. Mark 
Barraud, both he and Mr. George Macready Chute being already seri- 
ously incapacitated by the illnesses which shortly afterwards proved fatal 
in both instances. Each, however, had taken some part in the prepara- 
tion of this annual, the department of Mr. Barraud being strengthened 
by scenes executed by Messrs. T. E, Ryan, Thos. W. Hall and J. Barry 
Parker, the latter now being appointed the resident scenic artist. The 
" Babes " went with spirit until February i8th, Miss Amy Grundy as 
Robin Hood ; Miss Retta Walton, Allan A'Dale ; Miss Emma Broughton, 
Maid Marion ; Messrs. Clarence Hague and George MinshuU, the ruf- 
fians ; and Mr. Fred Walton, Mumps ; all working with a will. 

Messrs. Van Biene and Horace Lingard gave us the first taste of Lecocq's 
latest opera " Pepita," Miss Guilia Warwick being in the title role and 
Messrs. Horace Lingard and Louis Kellerer, Inigo and Pedrillo respec- 
tively, after which the Drury Lane drama " Pleasure " held the bill. Mr. 
Willie Edouin sent a company with " Turned Up," a farcical comedy by 
Mark Melford, the following week being occupied on the Tuesday and 
Wednesday, March 27th and 28th, with special performances in aid of 
the Mark Barraud Fund. 

These performances were organized by his fellow -members of the Arts 

143 . • 



The Bristol Stage 



Club, Mr. J. M. Chute acting as general manager and treasurer, Mr. 
Charles Arnold stage-manager, Mr. George Chapman musical conductor, 
and Mr. Fred Gover Powell Hon. Secretary. A single night would have 
proved inadequate to the accommodation of those desirous of being pre- 
sent, and would have also been insufficient to give opportunity to those 
desirous of lending their aid upon the stage. The brothers Chute and 
the entire staff, both before and behind the curtain, had already volun- 
teered their free assistance, theatre or services for two nights. 

The Mercury, Times and Mirror, and Daily Press proprietors made no 
charge for the advertisements, Messrs. Billing & Co., Jarrett & Co., and 
Read & Co., posted all the announce -bills without expense, Messrs. Wil- 
liam Lewis and Son {Bristol Mercury) made no charge for the printing, the 
Bristol United Gas Co. provided the gas free, Mr. E. Coathupe (Chief 
Constable) presented the services of the police, and Messrs. Duck, Son & 
Pinker kindly lent the fine concert grand-piano, whilst the whole of the 
artistes gave their services without expense. 

The programme of the former date commenced with the farce " Turn 
Him Out," Dr. Lionel Weatherly playing Necodemus Nobbs ; Mr. 
Lethbridge Beck, Mackintode Moke ; Mr. George Minshull, Eglantine 
Roseleaf ; Miss Sibyl Claridge, Julia ; and Miss Lottie King, Susan. 
The farce was succeeded by a delightful musical melange, in which the 
Countess Ali Sadowski, Mr. F. M. Mansfield and R. Elliott were the 
vocalists, Messrs. Theo. Carrington, F. L. Leibich and Andrew Waite the 
instrumentalists. The 3rd and 4th Acts of " As You Like It " followed. 
Miss de Grey appearing as Rosalind ; Mr. Luigi Lablache, Orlando ; Mr. 
W. Fosbrooke, Touchstone ; Mr. G. F. Wight, Corin ; the characters of 
Sylvius and Celia being represented by Mr. H. E. ParneH and Mr. G. J. 
Hale. The Bristol Operatic Society finely rendered some favourite glees, 
the members of the Bristol Histrionic Society bringing the evening to a 
close with a capital rendering of Acts 3 and 4 of Tom Taylor's drama, 
" The Ticket-of -Leave Man." 

On the Wednesday " The Weavers " was played as the opening item, 
and was again succeeded by a musical melange, Miss Maud Bennett and 
Mr. Theo Carrington delighting with a duo for pianoforte and vioHn, of 
airs from " William Tell." Mr. W. Hogarth, Dr. Lionel Weatherly and 
Miss Christine Chute each contributed songs, and Mr. Edward Fletcher 
a recitation. " The Happy Man " had the following excellent cast : — 
Paddy Murphy, Mr. Shiel Barry ; Ram Rusti, Mr. W. Hogarth ; Foxi 
Fum, Mr. R. Smith ; Shi Hi, Mr. F. W. Irwin ; Run Phaster, Mr. G. I. 
Hale ; Ko Ket, Miss Lottie King. 

Members of the Arts Club winding up the proceedings with the Trial 
Scene " Bardell v. Pickwick : — Mr. Sergeant Buzfuz, Mr. G, Rennie 
Powell ; Mr. Sergeant Snubbin, Mr. Chas. K. Chute ; Mr. Justice Stare- 
leigh, Mr. Fred Neebe ; Clerk of the Court, Mr. G. F. Wight ; Sam 
Waller, Mr. Geo. Minshull j Winkle, Mr. Lethbridge Beck j Crier, Mr. 

144 



The Bristol Stage 



R. C. Smith ; Old WeUer, Mr. F. W. Irwin ; Pickwick, Mr. Arthur ; 
Foreman of the Jury, Mr. F. M. Mansfield ; Mrs. Cluppins, Mr. W. 
Fosbrooke. 

Wilson Barrett's play, " The Golden Ladder," was next seen, Miss 
Lingard accompanied by Mr. Frank Kemble Cooper, following with 
" Camille," " Adrienne Lecourvieur," and for her benefit, on Friday, 
" Cymbehne." A dramatic version of the story by Fergus Hume, then 
in everybody's hand, " The Mystery of a Hansom Cab," was brought by 
Mr. Balsir Chatterton, with his fuU production from the Princess's, and 
attracted good houses. 

Miss Julia Gaylord and Mr. F. C. Packard having seceded from the 
Carl Rosa Company, brought a good dramatic combination, producing 
"Colleen Bawn " and " Frou Frou." 

The D'Oyly Carte Company produced a capital little operetta by 
Cellier, libretto by F. Deprez, entitled " The Carp." " Siberia " from 
the Princess's, for six nights, after which the Gaiety Company in " Miss 
Esmeralda," played by the Misses Ada Blanche, Florence Dysart, Aline 
Lambert, Messrs. E. J. Lonnen, George Stone, Charles Ross, etc., and an 
extra liberal supply of fair corphee. 

" Falka," with Miss Wadman in her original character, and supported 
by Mr. Allen Thomas and others, was followed by that excellent farcical 
comedy " The Barrister," our old favourite, Mr. W. H. Rawlins, being 
seen to great advantage in the title role, and on the following Monday was 
a complimentary benefit to Mr. George Macready Chute, admirably 
arranged for him in his absence by his brother and joint-manager. The 
programme constituted an entire change from his customary benefit night, 
consisting as it did of the opera " The Bohemian Girl." The cast was as 
follows : — ^Arline, Miss Julia Gaylord ; Queen of the Gipsies, Madame 
Telma ; Thaddeus, Mr. Henry Walsham ; Count Arnheim, Mr. Montague 
Worlock ; Florestan, Mr. Ambrose Collins ; Devilshoof, Mr. Aynsley 
Cook. The chorus being supplied by the ladies and gentlemen of the 
Bristol Operatic Society. 

The patronage which Mr. Chute was enabled to announce, together 
with the large audience, provided a still further tribute to the great 
esteem in which their family had for so many years been held by their 
fellow-citizens. 

The brief note I received from him on leaving his native shore. It was 
taken by the pilot from the steamship at the last moment, and, as offi- 
cially endorsed, posted by him at Plymouth. Above the well-known 
signature were the two fateful words " Good Bye ! " How often between 
that date and August did I wish that he had at least said " Au revoir, and 
not Good Bye." 

MR. GEORGE MACREADY CHUTE.— The third son of Mr. J. H. 
Chute, born at Alfred Street, Bath, the then residence of his parents, on 

145 K 



The Bristol Stage 



March 20th, 1851. Educated at the Bristol Grammar School and the 
College which Dr. Hudson (head master of the Grammar School) sub- 
sequently founded at Manilla Hall, Clifton. His earliest leaning was to 
a " life on the ocean wave," and he spent some little time in the Mercan- 
tile Marine service, severing his connection therewith at the desire of his 
parents, and assisting them in the management of the Theatre Royal, of 
which, upon the death of their father, he and his younger brother assumed 
control ; he devoting his attention to the stage. 

During the rehearsal of " Amy Robsart," produced by Mr. and Mrs. 
Rousby in 1872, he had the misfortune to break his ankle. 

In December, 1873, Mr. G. M. Chute first appeared on the stage as 
?Iugh de Bras, in " A Regular Fix," and during the fourteen ensuing 
years of his career as an actor had given unmistakable evidence of both 
dramatic skill and versatility. 

An amusing situation occurred when on an occasion he played Dandie 
Dinmont to Sims Reeves Guy Mannering. The great tenor had sung 
his song in the wood scene and given his " HuUoa ! " Dandie Dinmont 
cue to enter. But the audience, as usual, insisting upon an encore, Mr. 
Reeves gave the " Pilgrim of Love," and with the beautiful mellow notes 
made his exit. Dandie Dinmont, from well off the stage, approached the 
footlights with the exclamation, which was indeed his part, " Where's 
that fellow that was holloaing here just now ? " The house fairly 
rocked with laughter, followed by a rousing round of hand-clapping and 
cries of " bravo ! " 

A favourite part with Mr. George Chute was that of Tom Meredith 
in " Flying Scud," Mr. George Thorne being Old Boots, and in this 
performance both were seen at Astley's Theatre, London, and in several 
provincial centres. 

Elected president of the Arts Club, of which he had been an active pro- 
moter, Mr. Chute, of breezy and splendid physique, purposeful, was also an 
ardent lover of all out of door pastimes or occupations, he being amongst 
the earliest of the members of the Ariel Rowing Club, and of the Naval 
Volunteer Reserve, in which force he attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, 
and subsequently resigning that branch of the service, he joined the ist 
Gloucestershire Rifles, and therein attained similar rank. 

Initiated into Freemasonry in February, 1885, he was at the time of his 
death S.D. in the Jerusalem Lodge, of which his father, and subsequently 
his brother became W.M. 

Up to the autumn, 1887, Mr. Chute had maintained his well-known 
robust appearance, but at this time a serious and cruelly neglected cold 
led to lung troubles, and Dr. Shingleton Smith ordered him to Davos 
Platz. 

But little good resulting, he returned to England, although not to 
Bristol, and on May i8th, 1888, the popular joint -manager of the Princa!« 
sailed from Plymouth on a visit to his elder brother, Dr. Henry Chute, 

146 



The Bristol Stage 



at King William's Town, South Africa, and there died, on August iSth, 
at the early age of thirty-seven years. 

Having in 1884 married Miss Adelaide Chippendale, Mr. G. M. Chute 
left one daughter, Mazzarina. 

In the Church of St. Stephen will be seen a beautiful window in stained 
glass, designed by Mr. Havard Thomas, and erected on the initiative of 
the Arts Club, Mr. Chute having attended this church with considerable 
regularity, and frequently reading " the lessons " during the services 
there. 



H7 



CHAPTER XVIII 

A.D. 1888 

MR. JAMES MACREADY CHUTE, as sole proprietor and man- 
ager, abandoning local dramatic'productions, relied entirely upon 
touring companies — of which there was now no scarcity — ^with panto- 
mimes, for his future menu. In this latter branch of theatrical fare he 
achieved remarkable success, proving exceptionally keen in his search for 
new and desirable stage talent, and possessing unquenchable energy as 
regarded mise -en-scene. 

The reopening, on September loth, 1888, revealed Mr. Arthur 
Roberts, with Misses Julia Warwick and Annie Halford, in the " Old 
Guard," Carl Rosa Company producing " La Juive," " Little Lord 
Fauntleroy " ; next " Jim the Penman," with Mr. D'Estrae Guinness, 
and then the Kendals, producing on one evening Mrs. Campbell -Praed's 
play "The Two Friends," whilst Mr. Wilson Barrett introduced us to 
" Ben-my-Chree." 

The Bristol Histrionic Society, on behalf of the Commercial Travel- 
lers' Benevolent Institution, played " Henry Dunbar," characters being 
undertaken by Messrs. Frank Gibaud, Arthur Varley, Spencer Ford, 
A. J. Baker and Harry Eastwood. 

" Robinson Crusoe," Miss Grace Huntley singing " White Wings," on 
a raft, and " Cuchee Coo " at the footlights, will not readily be forgotten 
by those who witnessed it, and until February 23rd, 1889, they had the 
opportunity of doing so. 

On March nth Mons. Maurius produced for the first time on any 
stage Procida Bucalossi's opera " Delia." M. Maurius, who was at the 
Prince's whilst the fire^curtain question was being discussed, remarked, 
" Ah ! yes. All fly, from the stage and from the seats. All, except the 
man who has to let down the fireproof curtain ! Where is that hero ? 
I would not do it." 

D'Oyly Carte Company, with " Yeomen of the Guard," for the first 
time here, and the inimitable Mr. George Thome as Jack Point. Grundy's 
" Arabian Nights," and then Pettitt and Grundy's " Bells of Hazle- 
mere," Mr. Chas. K. Chute as John Silkstone, and a return of the " Yeo- 
men of the Guard," with Mr. Walter H. Fisher as Leonard MeryU, 

Following upon the improvement in exits, etc., considerable altera^ 

148 




To face p. 148.] 



The Bristol Stage 



tions now preceded the great reconstruction scheme of 1902, the hand- 
some entrance, lift-seats in the upper circle, etc., being carried out 
during the recess of 1889. 

On Thursday, August ist. Miss Wallis commenced a three nights' 
engagement with "As You Like It." During the rehearsals of this 
favourite play, in London, Mr. John Ryder being the producer and our 
old fellow-citizen, Mr. Charles Arnold, stage-manager, Miss Wallis, with 
a probable eye to the picturesque, suggested to Mr. Arnold that it would 
be nice, if in the Forest of Arden the characters could take their refresh- 
ment under and about the trees, rather than in the conventional manner. 
" I hardly know," replied Mr. Arnold, dubiously, " you see, it is a Shake- 
spearean direction ' a table set out,' but if you wish I will ask Mr. Ryder." 
" Yes, please do," responded the fair tragedienne. Mr. Ryder, at that 
time accredited the foremost place as producer of such plays, was likewise 
famous for a vocabulary of language more forcible than polite. In fact, 
he probably had but one compeer in either capacity, Mr. Charles Harris, 
whose productions ran on different lines. So Mr. Arnold crossed to the 
other side of the stage, where Mr. Ryder was giving some instructions, 
and repeated the idea expressed by Miss Wallis. " Certainly not ! it's 
not a bUnking picnic," rephed Mr. Ryder, or in words to that effect. Mr. 
Arnold, returning to the fair Rosalind, purposed saying " Mr. Ryder does 
not think it would be popular," but before he was enabled to utter a 
syllable. Miss Wallis remarked, " That's the worst of Mr. Ryder, he is so 
rude ! " The lady " star " had overheard the lurid comment on her 
suggestion, from the hps of her producer ! 

On Bank HoUday Miss Bella Pateman with two old friends of ours, i.e. 
Mr. Russell Crawford and Mr. Robert Nelson, produced for the first time 
here Sims & Pettitt's drama " Master and Man," the same authors' " In 
the Ranks " following. That very excellent Shakespearean actor, Mr. 
Osmond Tearle, was responsible for a capital week of repertoire, after 
which came a novelty, the Carl Rosa light opera company, producing 
" Paul Jones," a delightful work, by Planquette, and represented by an 
excellent company, headed by Miss Camille D'Arville and Mr. Michael 
Dwyer. 

Van Biene and Lingard's company provided Offenbach's opera " Fal- 
sacappa," done into English as " The Brigands," this being prior to its 
production at the Avenue Theatre, London. The company contained 
MUe. Agnes Delaporte and Misses Geraldine St. Maur, Daisy Baldry and 
Marie Luella, with Messrs. HaUen Mostyn, Horace Lingard, George 
Honey, Frank Wensley and R. Morand ; Mr. W. C. Levey conducted the 
augmented orchestra. Sydney Grundy's farcical comedy " Mamma " 
followed, there being as exponents Mrs. George Loveday and Messrs. 
John Bannister, Percy Meynall, George Cecil Murray, etc. 

The Carl Rosa Company, introducing Meyerbeer's " UEtoile du 
Nord" with Miss Georgina Burns, " Lohengrin," with Mr. Barton Mc- 

149 



The Bristol Stage 



Guckin, and " Carmen " with Mile. Zelie de Lussan, in the principal 
characters, came next. 

Mr. Charles Sugden, as Dr. Glynn, in the breezy farcical comedy " The 
Balloon," Mr. Thomas Thome, with Mr. Cyril Maude, and Miss Sylvia 
Hodson, in "Joseph's Sweetheart," and then Mr. and Mrs, T. W. 
Robertson, in Pinero's masterpiece " Sweet Lavender." 

Mr. J. L. Toole brought us two new plays, " The Don," and " The 
Butler," and still this prince of jokers was not happy in his repertoire. 
" What I want," he said, " to take to Australia, is something with a 
snap ! " "A snap, how do you mean ? " came the question. " Well, 
something on these Hnes. A newly married couple return from the 
honeymoon and settle in a strange flat. During the evening the hus- 
band is called out by telephone, and says that he may be late in returning. 
He isn't ! Opening the door with his latch-key, the low turned light in 
the apartment is still sufficient to reveal the embracing forms upon the 
couch. " My wife," he cries, " in the arms of another man ! " and 
drawing his revolver, shoots both dead ! Turning on the light to gaze 
upon his work, he starts back in horror, " Great heavens," he cries, " the 
a^^rong -flat ! " 

" Cinderella " was a pantomime that caught on immediately, and by 
March 1st, 1890, when it was compulsorily given a back seat, it had been 
witnessed by upwards of 150,000 people. Miss Nellie Murray was Cin- 
derella, Miss Fanny Wentworth the prince, and Miss Emily Lyndale 
Dandini. Male characters were in the hands of Messrs. J. W. Handley, 
Fred Williams, Edwin Barwick, and that prince of comedians, then in his 
early days, Mr. Edmund Payne, who played Peter. Everybody was 
delighted, but the proud manager, in the course of his little speech, said 
that next year he hoped to go one better, and in response to the cry 
" You can't ! " replied " I'll try ! " 

Mr. J. H. Grahame appeared in Tree's success " A Man's Shadow " 
(this being its first provincial production) on March 3rd, 1890, and later 
came Mr. John Hart's opera company with " Carina." 

On the afternoon of April 22nd, 1890, there was a dehghtful reunion 
enjoyed by the social circle of Mrs. James Macready Chute, who had 
transferred her " At Home " from her residence at Abbeymeade to the 
more available scene afforded by the Prince's, and upwards of one hun- 
dred guests were enabled to admire the beautifully arranged and palm 
bedecked drawing-room into which the stage had been converted. A 
quite attractive programme of music had been arranged. Miss Kate Payne, 
Miss Christine Chute, and Mr. Montague Worlock each contributing 
vocal numbers, Mr. Theo. Carrington violin solos, and Miss Chute a con- 
certo for violin and orchestra, the latter composed of selected executants 
under the direction of Mr. George R. Chapman. Among the guests then 
present was Miss Clara Butt, who delighted both hostess and fellow 
guests by favouring them with a song. 

150 




The Bristol Stage 



Mr. Arthur Roberts brought his company in " Guy Fawkes, Esq.," 
and Mr. Richard Edgar his company in " Aunt Jack," whilst Miss Minnie 
Palmer in " My Sweetheart " closed the season until Whitsuntide, when 
" My Jack " occupied the stage. " The Bungalow," with Miss Edith 
Rosenthal and Miss Sallie Turner, Messrs. Sidney Harcourt, R. Cecil 
Beryl, Henry Dana and Fred Wright, junr., followed ; and next came 
"The Red Hussar," followed by F. A, Scudamore's "Dangers of Lon- 
don." Commend me to Mr. Scudamore for striking titles, others of his 
that I remember being " Rags and Bones " and " Scithors to Grind ! " 
D'Oyly Carte's Company with the " Gondoliers " brought us on June 
23rd, 1899, our fellow-citizen Mr. George Temple, he being the Duke 
of Plaza -Tora. 

Mr. Augustus Harris's burlesque company, which appeared on Septem- 
ber 29th, contained quite a galaxy of stars, these being Lady Dunlo, 
Misses Grace Huntley, Agnes Delaporte, Kitty Loftus, Daisy Baldry, 
Alice Lethbridge, Violet Malvern and Alice Carlton, together with Messrs. 
Victor Stevens, Harry Fischer, Whimsical Walker and Nicholas Carter. 
The burlesque " Venus," which they introduced, was magnificently 
staged and proved very attractive. How much of the success was due to 
the presence of " Our Gracie " in the cast I cannot say, but from her 
nightly reception I can with confidence regard her as a tidy make -weight, 
for the tuneful numbers provided by Mr. John Crook notwithstanding, 
the audience still wanted to hear her pantomime ditties, and so she 
introduced " Cuchee-coo." 

Miss Huntley, mayhap, was influenced as were a pair of " knock- 
abouts " a few years earlier in our history ! A couple of jingling rhyme 
lines had been entrusted them in order to bring their act into the picture, 
but even strenuous Brandon Hill study failed to fix them in their minds. 
" Look'ee here, boss," said one of them, " they lines are a bit clas'cal ! 
We don't touch the clas'cal. If you want a success, take my tip, get right 
away from the clas'cal. There's nothing, you bet, clas'cal in our show ! " 
There wasn't ! If I remember rightly, they calmly " stepped " from 
roofs and house fronts some fifteen feet high, on to the stage, much as one 
would step from one ordinary stair to another, and as they had suggested, 
though not " clas'cal " they were quite a success. 

The Carl Rosa Company, now under the managerial direction of 
Messrs. Augustus Harris and H. Bruce, with Mr. T. H. Friend as man- 
ager, Messrs. E. Goossens and Claude Jaquinot conductors, and H. 
Brooklyn as stage-manager, in the first week of their engagement gave two 
performances of Gounod's " Romeo and Juliet," and during the second 
week produced Frederick Cowen's original opera " Thorgrim," the com- 
poser occupying the conductor's seat in the orchestra, both of these works 
being performed by the company for the first time. 

" Faust up to Date," Van Biene's company, proved very popular, Mr. 
Edmund Payne playing Mephistopheles ; Mr. Louis KeUeher, Valentine ; 

151 



The Bristol Stage 



Miss Flo Bilton, Faust ; and Miss Amy Augarde, Marguerite. Miss Kate 
Vaughan was here with " John Jasper's Wife " and " How it Happened," 
from November loth to 15th; " Ruy Bias" burlesque, with music by 
Meyer Lutz, Miss Ada Blanche in the title role, Miss May Chichester the 
Queen, and Miss Gomez Sandrez, drew good houses, after which Mr. Ben 
Greet appeared as the Abbe Dubois, in " The Village Priest," a play by 
Sydney Grundy, and on December 24th Mr. Chute produced his pan- 
tomime. " Aladdin " had been the subject of the first Park Row pan- 
tomime, since which scenic display and other details had made a great 
advance, and Mr. Chute had expressed the hope that he might " go one 
better " than even the success of the previous Christmas. That he did 
so, there were none to deny. Those who remember " Wink the Other 
Eye " will conjure up Miss Grace Huntley as Aladdin. Mr. H. C. Arnold 
was the Widow, Miss Elsie Irving princess, and Miss Violet Evelyn, with 
her delightful banjo playing, was a most popular Pekoe. 

" Our Flat," and Alice Atherton in " Our Daughters," were followed 
by " Faust up to Date," with Misses Rita Presano, Alice Burnett, Amy 
Augarde and Amy Broughton ; Messrs. Edmund Payne and Louis Kelle- 
her. May 4th, Mark Melford's " Flying from Justice," with Miss 
Augusta Haviland as Mrs. Bearing. 

" Bootle's Baby," Miss Maggie Bowman being in her original part, 
was here on June 1st ; and the Carl Rosa Light Opera Company produced 
Walter Slaughter's opera " Marjorie " on the 8th, " The Royal Oak," 
from Drury Lane, which followed, being represented by an excellent 
company. 

During the autumn of 1891 U Enfant Prodigue was produced here, but 
this was, as yet, hardly provincial fare, more popularity being secured by 
the three-act farce " Jane," with Miss Nemmie Hall and Mr. J. G. 
Grahame. 

On September 21st Mr. Henry Irving and Miss Ellen Terry paid a 
welcome visit, producing " Ravenswood " and " Nance Oldfield," Miss 
Terry's son — Mr. Gordon Craig — being in the company, as were also Mr. 
Terris, Mr. Alfred Bishop, Mr. Haviland and Miss Amy Roselle, the 
three last named artistes giving an especial Bristol flavour to an otherwise 
strongly Bristol cast. 

An excellent three -act farce, " The Solicitor," followed, the author, 
Mr. J. H. Darnley, appearing in the title role. Miss Kate Vaughan again 
appeared in the " Dancing Girl," but with an introduced dance, for its 
title had misled numbers who had previously gone to see the famous 
dancer and had been disappointed at finding no Terpsichorean effort 
on view. 

The Carl Rosa Company performed for the first time in Bristol not 
only Balfe's opera " The Talisman," but Auber's " Le Domino Noir." 
The Gaiety burlesque " Miss Esmeralda " was in the hands of Little 
Florence, as Quasimodo, Misses Madge Rockingham, Maggie Duggan, 



The Bristol Stage 



Marion Huntley, Lila Doyle and others, with Messrs. James Danvers, 
Clifford Campbell and Wellesley Smith. It was a thoroughly appreci- 
ated programme. "A Million of Money" from Old Drury was suc- 
ceeded by the burlesque " Ruy Bias," and that by " Orpheus and " Eury- 
dice." Mr. J. L. Shine was Orpheus, and Miss Grace Huntley, Eurydice. 

Mr. Wm. Calder drew capital houses to witness his famous representa- 
tion of " Rip Van Winkle," whilst, during the following vyeek, Mr. Wilson 
Barrett added to his repertoire, by the first performance on any stage of 
" Jenny the Barber," a comedietta from his pen, in which Miss Maud 
Jefferies appeared. The Bristol Histrionic had a special night, after 
which the theatre closed for rehearsal of Geoffrey Thome's pantomime 
" Dick Whittington," 1900. 

Miss Marie Luella was the hero and Mr. Ted Lauri a remarkable ex- 
ponent of the Cat, Mr. W. H. Rawlins an exceptionally good Alderman, 
and Mr. Edmund Payne at his very best as Idle Jack. Miss Mabel AUen, 
Alice, making a huge hit with "Ta-ra-raa-boom-de-ay," and in the still 
essential knock -about business, Messrs. Ludlow and Clark were " all 
there ! " The harlequinade, a somewhat moth-eaten item now, was, 
however, unusually bright, being well devised by Drury Lane's clown, 
Mr. Ted Lauri, senr. Dick Whittington continued to " turn again " 
until March 5th, 1892, after which came the ever welcome D'Oyly Carte 
Company, now including Misses Margaret Cockburn, Dorothy Vane and 
Kate Forster, with Messrs. George Thome, Richard Clarke, Fred Bil- 
lington, Thomas Redmond, etc. ; and during this visit the company 
produced Edward Solomon's Indian opera the " Nautch Girl." in the 
lyrics of which our whilom fellow -citizen Frank Desprez had a hand. 

On March 28th an admirable company appeared in that delightful 
opera " La Cigale," and the following week Miss Florence St. John, as 
" La Mascotte,*' occupied the first three evenings, the latter part of the 
week being devoted to Planquette's comedy opera, " Rip Van Winkle," 
Mr. Auguste Van Biene appearing as Rip and Miss Florence St. John as 
Gretchen ; Mr. George Honey was likewise in the cast. 

" The Young Recruit " proved quite an amusing opera, as manipulated 
by Mr. John Crook, and as represented by Messrs. Harry Nicholls, J. L. 
Shine, etc., with Miss Wadman (the young recruit). Miss Effie Clements, 
and other capable artistes. The " New Wing," " Joan of Arc " bur- 
lesque, and the " Late Lamented " farce, followed in turn. 

A splendidly successful week succeeded, the Renads appearing in their 
absurdity " Le Voyage en Suisse" and on the last evening, June 25th, 
1892, Mr. Chute took his benefit. Miss Clara Cooper and Mr. J. C. Gra- 
hame appearing in " Marriage Bells," " Teddy " Payne giving the panto 
song, " What 'cher, knocked 'em in the Hotwell Road," and the Renads 
concluding the programme. 

Miss Emily Augarde and Mr. Edmund Payne appeared in " Carmen 
up to Date." " Niobe, all Smiles " followed, Gilbert and Cellier's opera 

153 



The Bristol Stage 



the " Mountebanks " succeeding ; but neither the author without 
Sullivan, nor the latter without his librettist -ever met with any full 
measure of success here in opera. 

Haddon Chambers' " Idler," with Miss Fairbrother, Miss Florence 
Cowell and Mr. Charles Cartwright, preceded the Carl Rosa Company, 
producing for the first time here Bizet's " Diameleh," Mascagni's " Cav- 
alleria Rusticana," Meyerbeer's " Prophet," Verdi's " L'Amice Fritz," 
and the last-named composer's " Aida," finely staged. 

Mr. F. R. Benson gave a striking production of " A Midsummer 
Night's Dream," extra musicians and a full choir being brought into 
requisition. Mr. H. Beerbohm Tree followed, and accompanied by Mrs. 
Tree, Mrs. E. H. Brooke, Misses Rose Le Clerq, Henrietta Leverett and 
Lily Hanbury, Messrs. H. Kemble, Fred Terry and others of the Hay- 
market Theatre, produced "Peril," "The Dancing Girl," "The Ballad- 
monger," and " Hamlet." 

Mr. John Hare was accompanied by Miss Kate Rorke and Mr. Charles 
Groves, the programme including "A Quiet Rubber," "A Fool's Para- 
dise," " The Cronies," etc., the Burns-Crotty Opera Company following 
with " Cinderella." 

The ever-popular nursery story, " Babes in the Wood," formed the 
subject of the pantomime 1892-3, a remarkable feature of the production 
being the representation of the " Babes " by the Sisters Webster, two 
young ladies of from seventeen to twenty years of age, and perfectly de- 
veloped save in stature, but possessed of the apparent physique and facial 
appearance of children of six to seven years only. Their knowledge of 
stagecraft and their vocal powers made the performance quite unique, 
and it formed a topic of conversation in all quarters throughout the run of 
the pantomime. To dissociate them from the " babes " they represented 
was by no means an easy accomplishment, and on an occasion, one of the 
pantomime ladies of normal proportions said in the green-room, " I wish 
you children would not talk so much ! " " Children ! " responded one 
of the midgets, " children do not have these," indicating her nicely de- 
veloped chest, " and children don't get married next April, as I am going 
to do ! " 

The pantomime was, however, cast with exceptional strength through- 
out, and gave an early indication of the study of the round peg in the 
round hole which characterized many of Mr. J. M. Chute's pantomimes 
in the days to come. There were Misses Grace Huntley, Marie Mon- 
trose, Flo Doyne, Lily Landon, Janet Lloyd, Fanny Wright, and Hettie 
Chattell, with Messrs. Chas. E. Stevens (" Pity to Waste it "), George 
Honey and J. WiUiams, Fred Eastman and Walter Summers, " the man 
who broke the Bank at Monte Carlo." The sylvan scenery by Mr. W. R. 
Coleman, and " Toyland " with its ballet of dolls, by Mr. G. D. Hall, 
were nightly occasions of popular demonstration, the pantomime running 
till 4th March, 1893. 

154 



CHAPTER XIX 

A,D. 1893 

" T IBERTY HALL," with Mr. J. C. Grahame and Mr. Robert 

I J Brough, proved very attractive in March ; at Easter, Miss Marie 
Montrose and Mr. C. E. Stevens were here in " Bonnie Boy Blue," and 
following them, Henry Arthur Jones's play, " The Middleman," was 
staged. Van Biene in the " Broken Melody " attracted large audiences, 
and the season closed with " Haddon Hall." 

In August Miss Cissie Grahame introduced her triple-bill venture, 
" The Highwayman," " A Commission," and " A Pantomime Re- 
hearsal " being submitted, and Miss Isabel Bateman produced for the 
first time on any stage " The Slave Girl," dealing with plantation epi- 
sodes. During the week ending October 14th Carl Rosa Company in- 
troduced Leon Cavallo's '' Pagliacci " for the first time in Bristol, Mile. 
Zelie de Lussan as the heroine, and Messrs. Barton McGucken and Alec 
Marsh likewise in the cast ; also, for the first time in England, Mascagni's 
new opera " The Rantzano," with Miss Marie Duma and Messrs. Hed- 
monot and Rhys Thomas. 

Mr. J. L. Toole was here with Barrie's " Walker, London," and D'Oyly 
Carte Company with " The Vicar of Bray." " The Forty Thieves," by 
Geoffrey Thorn, with beautiful scenery by Mr. E. W. Coleman and 
delightful costumes by Mr. Howard Russell, Miss Annie Halford, Ganem, 
Miss Hetty Chapman, AbdaUah, Miss Daisy Baldry, and subsequently Miss 
Henrietta Turner, Morgiana. The Harlows constituted the beast of 
burden, and Mr. Harry Collier, for his benefit, produced from amongst 
the principals, a ladies' harlequinade ! the pantomime being played until 
March 3rd, 1894. During its run the theatrical and variety professionals 
then in Bristol gave at the Exhibition (temporary) building on what now 
constitutes Colston Avenue, a Charity Fete, which proved highly popular. 

" The Second Mrs. Tanqueray " was introduced to a Bristol audience 
by Mr. C. L. Latham's company on April 2nd, and in April " The Other 
Fellow," by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Edgar's company. 

On April 30th, 1894, Mr. Arthur Rousbey, the baritone who had been 
so remarkably successful in the Gilbert-Sullivan operas, brought his own 
company constituted for performance of grand opera in English, and at 
popular prices of admission ! He was accompanied by many fine operatic 



The Bristol Stage 



vocalists, amongst whom were Mesdames Julia Lennox, Agnes Molteno, 
A. S. Wintworth, St. Austell, Montgomery, F. S. Gilbert and Frank 
Onslow, the operas produced being " Bohemian Girl," " Cavalleria 
Rusticana," "Faust," " Fra Diavolo," " Pagliacci," and " Maritana," 
and the orchestra being under the direction of Mr. E. Goossens, junr. 
During the following week " The Lady Slavey " was seen for the first time 
in Bristol, Misses Kitty Loftus and Edith Rosenthal, and Messrs. Keino 
Johnston, T. W. Volt and W. W. Walton, being amongst the principals. 

" Ups and Downs of Life " preceded the musical comedy " Cinder- 
ella," with Misses Emille Herve, Ivy Ambrose and Maud Boyd, Messrs. 
Fred Wright, jnr., Walter Groves and Eric Thorne in the cast;- but the 
great sensation consisted in the introduction of the Kilanyi Tableau 
Vivants, from the Palace Theatre. Next came " Utopia, Limited," by 
Gilbert and Sullivan, and then Mr. Chute's annual benefit, with Miss 
Marie Montrose as Nan, in " Good for Nothing," and Mr. Ben Greet's 
company in the comedy of " Money." 

Mr. Arthur Roberts, with Miss Florence Schuberth and Messrs. Eric 
Thorne and Charles E. Stevens assisting, produced Crook and Moncton's 
lively burlesque, " Claude Duval," for the first time on any stage ; the 
comedy, " The New Boy," next being introduced to Prince's audiences, 
by Misses Marion Lind, Ida Liston and Gladys Ffolliott, with Messrs. 
Herbert Standing, and R. Morand, on September 3rd and following 
night. Then came Miss Marie Montrose in " Little Christopher Col- 
umbus." 

On September 17th Mr. Henry Irving, supported by Miss Marion 
Terry, Miss Annie Hughes and Miss Genevieve Ward, appeared as 
" Becket," and on the 21st and 22nd, as Corporal Gregory Brewster in Mr. 
A. Conan Doyle's " Story of Waterloo," which was then performed at the 
Prince's and for the first time on any stage, these two characters repre- 
senting, to my mind, the pick of the Irving repertoire. The other char- 
acters in " Waterloo " were sustained by Miss Annie Hughes, Mr. Fuller 
MeUish and Mr. Haviland. The engagement was enormously successful. 

Mr. Victor Stevens in his own burlesque, " Randolph the Reckless," 
followed, after which came Mr. Edward Compton and Mr. Wilson 
Barrett, the latter of whom introduced " The Manxman," 

Mr. Comyns Carr sent a powerful company under the direction of Mr. 
W. H. Vernon, for the representation of Sydney Grundy's " Sowing the 
Wind." Mr. Vernon filled his original part (as played at the Comedy 
Theatre) of Mr. Brabazon, Mr, Laurence Cantley his, as Ned Annesley ; 
Mr. Fred Emery was the Mr. Deakin, and Miss Lena Ashwell, Rosamund, 

MR. W. H. VERNON.— The son of Mr. Darbell, of Clarence Place, 
St. Philip, this gifted fellow-citizen was born October 6th, 1834, his first 
stage appearance at the Theatre Royal being on May ist, 1862, he repre- 
senting the character of Evergreen in Morton's famous comedy " Speed 
the Plough," the occasion being a performance by amateurs, organized ^s 

156 



The Bristol Stage 



I 



an expression of sympathy with Mr. J. H. Chute, consequent upon the 
serious loss he had sustained owing to the destruction by fire of the 
Theatre Royal, Bath. 

Mr. Vernon joined Mr. Chute's stock company in 1866, and during the 
several seasons that he continued amongst us appeared — and let me say at 
the outset, with invariable success — in characters so variable in their his- 
trionic requirements, as to possibly establish a record amongst popular 
comedians. So impressive was his performance as Caliban in the " Tem- 
pest," at the opening of the new theatre in Park Row, that upon the fall 
of the curtain, and previous to his quitting the stage, both Mr. James 
Bennett (Prospero) and Mr. J. H. Chute hastened to congratulate 
him. 

Leaving Bristol, Mr. Vernon became a member of Miss Herbert's 
splendid company at St. James's Theatre, London, and later returned to 
the same house when under the management of Mr. George Alexander. 
But other London theatres had the benefit of his histrionic skill, and as a 
creator of parts, notably the comedy, as Mr. Brabazon in " Sowing the 
Wind," the Globe, where he achieved a triumph in Byron's comedy, 
" Cyril's Success," and also at the Strand, where he appeared in Grundy's 
fine play, " Mammon," his Mr. Chinnery I regarded as his greatest stage 
achievement. 

Some years later Mr. Beerbohm Tree reproduced this play under the 
title of " A Bunch of Violets," but none whom I have met who had wit- 
nessed both performances recognized any advantage to the piece, other 
than, possibly, in its title. 

Throughout that wonderful tour undertaken by Miss Genevieve Ward, 
in which was visited every English-speaking country in the world, Mr, 
Vernon's Sir Horace Welby, in " Forget me Not," and Henry St. John, in 
" The Queen's Favourite," were commented upon in eulogistic terms. 

Mr. Vernon died in London, December 4th, 1905, and the Daily 
Telegraph in the course of a graceful appreciation, expressed the opinion 
that he " just missed being great." I cannot accept even this narrow 
reservation, as it is my well-considered conviction that, as an actor, Mr. 
Vernon was great ! AH that he missed was that glamour with which the 
actor-manager is surrounded — or in which he clothes himself ! 

Neither am I alone in my estimate of this popular Bristolian's ability, 
for Miss Genevieve Ward, with sixty years' experience of the actors of all 
nations, wrote me at the close of 1917 : "I quite agree in your estimate 
of our old friend, W. H. Vernon, and his versatility exceeded that of any 
other actor I ever saw." 

Mr. George Alexander, with the St. James's Company, comprising 
Misses Irene Vanbrugh, Evelyn Millard, and Granville, together with- 
Messrs. Herbert Waring, H. V. Esmond, A. Vane-Tempest, Arthur 
Royston and A. Bromley-Davenport, appeared in " The Masqueraders " 
and " The Second Mrs. Tanqueray," this engagement being succeeded 



The Bristol Stage 



by the Drury Lane drama " The Prodigal Daughter," which contained 
the sensation of the race for the Grand National. 

Mr. Augustus Harris's Covent Garden Itahan Opera Company was here 
for six nights, being succeeded by Mr. F. R. Benson's fine production of 
" Julius Caesar," Mr. Benson impersonating Mark Antony ; Mr. Louis 
Calvert, Brutus ; and Mr. Frank Rodney, Cassius ; whilst Mr. Oscar Asche 
was seen as Meterlus. 

Mr. J. L. Toole, accompanied by those veteran partners in his joys and 
sorrows, Messrs. John Billington, George Shelton and Miss Eliza John- 
stone, produced for the first time in Bristol Ralph Lumley's play, " The 
Best Man," with which he had made a success in London ; and on Satur- 
day, December 22nd, Mr. Chute produced his 1894-5 pantomime, " Bo- 
Peep." This was from the pen of Mr. Fred Locke, a well-tried author of 
provincial pantomimes, indeed he laid claim to upwards of 250 such, the 
Bristol locals and the lyrics being supplied by our fellow-citizen, Mr. 
Percy Clarke. Messrs. W. E. Coleman, G. H. Holmes, J. Cox and assist- 
ants were responsible for the scenery, Mr. Howell Russell for the costume 
designs, and, of course, Mr. G. R. Chapman for the music. 

The cast was altogether excellent. Miss Isa Bowman being an ideal Bo- 
Peep, and Miss Grace Huntley the bonniest of Boy Blues. The sisters 
Belfry were Tommy Tucker and Margery Daw, whilst Miss Ray Maskell, a 
wonderful dancer, played Mary, Mary, quite contrary ; Miss Louisa 
Peach sang finely as the Fairy Queen, Miss Lily Shaw, ditto, as the Evil 
Genius, and there were a heap of other well-fiUed lady characters. Mother 
Hubbard was Mr. Harry Fischer ; Johnny Horner, Mr. BiUy Seward ; Old 
Dog Tray, Master Freddie Farren ; Bon-Ton were the acrobats, and the 
Little Levite troupe, the chief fun producers and representatives in the 
harlequinade. Until March 2nd, 1895, the Christmas fare never lost 
its savour ! 

On March nth " A Gaiety Girl " was performed for the first time in 
Bristol, and that by an excellent company, amongst whom were Misses 
Edith Kenward, Francis Earle, Violet Neville and Kate Brazier, Messrs. 
-Templar-Saxe, Sam Wilkinson, Pemberton Peach, W. Grove-Watson 
and W. Er Gregory. 

Mr. W. G. Wills' admirable play, " A Royal Divorce," was represented 
by Miss Edith Cole as Josephine and Mr. J. N. Clynds, Napoleon. Mr. 
Willie Edouin and powerful company were seen in " Quong Hi, the 
Heathen Chinee," after which Mr. J. F. EUiston presented " In Old Ken- 
tucky," with its four race-horses and exciting race. 

" A Life of Pleasure," the latest Drury Lane drama, followed, and for 
Whitsuntide, Mr. Louis Calvert came with Burnand's famous drama, 
" Proof." " Go-Bang," its successor, was a rattling farcical comedy, in 
which Mr. Harry Grattan and Mr. Fred Storey were seen in their original 
parts. 

Mr. Laurence Irving, on June 17th, produced the drama, adapted by 

158 



The Bristol Stage 



him in collaboration with Mr. Seymour Hicks, " Silas Ruthyn," and on 
June 24th the Savoy opera " The Chieftain," with Miss Florence St. 
John, constituted the attraction. 

On the Wednesday, during the last-named engagement, Madame Sarah 
Bernhardt gave a performance of Marguerite Gautier in " La Dame aux 
Catfulias." Prices of admission were : dress circle and stalls, 15J. ; 
balcony, los. 6d. ; upper circle, 5J. ; pit stalls, 6s. (early doors, Js.) ; 
pit, p. (early doors, 4/.) ; gallery, 3/. Private boxes, five, four, and 
three guineas. 

On the following Monday (July 1st, 1895), Mr. Chute made his annual 
appeal ; the programme, however, was of quite an unusual type for such 
occasions. 

" The Gay Parisienne," by George Dance, was performed on August 
19th, and the farcical comedy, "Tom, Dick and Harry," succeeded it. 

Miss Isabel Bateman introduced next to Bristol Pinero's " Profligate." 
Subsequently Miss May Yohe appeared in " The Circus Girl," after 
which Mr. Mackintosh was seen as Mr. Richard Cato in " The Case of 
Rebellious Susan," a delightful comedy by Henry Arthur Jones, Misses 
Purcell, Nina Boucicault and Helen Ferrers being also in the case. 

In " His Excellency," W. S. Gilbert's opera from the Lyric, there were 
Misses Madeleine Gallon, Alice Aynsley Cook, and Marjorie Garthorne, 
Mr. Charles Weir and Mr. Robert ■ Courtneidge, Mr. Ernest Vousden 
conducting the orchestra. The following week was devoted by Mr. 
Wilson Barrett to performances of " The Sign of the Cross," which was 
then being seen here for the first time. 

So also was the farcical comedy the " Passport," by B. C. Stephenson 
and W. Yardley, and performed by Miss Cicely Richards and Mr. Charles 
W. Garthorne. 

The Adelphi drama, the " Fatal Card," the work of Haddon Cham- 
bers and B. C. Stephenson, was represented by an excellent company, 
amongst whom were Mr. G. W. Anson, Mr. E. Story-Gofton, and Miss 
Emily Miller. 

" Princess Ida," Gilbert and Sullivan's popular opera, which during the 
past ten years had been on the shelf, was revived by the D'Oyly Carte 
Company, with considerable success, and the following week was devoted 
to Mrs. Bernard Beere in " Fedora," " As in a Looking-glass," and 
" Adrienne Lecouvreur," whilst the last item on the engagement list 
prior to the pantomime was that of Mr. Edward Terry, who appeared in 
a round of characters (two each evening), prominent amongst which was 
H. J. Byron's comedy, " Weak Woman," in which he played his original 
part, Captain Ginger. On Thursday, December 12th, Mr. Terry pro- 
duced, and for the first time on any stage, a comedy intitled " Q. Q.," 
by H. T. Johnson. 

" Cinderella," by Fred Locke, and with lyrics by Percy Clarke, was the 
pantomime of 1895-6, and being the first in which it had been possible 

159 



The Bristol Stage 



to associate electric light effects with the corps de ballet, etc., it became 
known as the " Electric pantomime." The method adopted, although 
the best that electrical science had then made possible, was of so primitive 
a nature that at a later period it would have provoked yells of derisive 
merriment from all parts. Each fairy was weighted to earth by an 
electric cable attached to her waist, and as, holding above her head a 
half-hoop of silvery foliage, she dragged after her this extraordinary tail 
possessing almost the diameter of a half-penny. Dance, there was none ; 
vdth the formidable appendage it was a case of non possumus ! but at the 
psychological moment the current was transmitted, and the floral bowers 
illuminated, wdth a multitude of little lamps for blossoms. As I have 
suggested, the method at the present time would be regarded as an 
absurdity, but even in 1896, the effect upon the audience was " electric ! " 

The company engaged proved to be far in advance of any yet seen upon 
the Bristol stage. Misses Bessie Wentworth, Karit Barry, Frances Earle, 
Eva Gandee, Laura Thompson, Maude Leighton (Mrs. T. W. Thomp- 
son) and Evie Green, Messrs. G. P. Huntley, William H. PoweU, Jerrold 
Manville, W. T. Thompson, and Frank Dix, together wdth the Almonti 
troupe, constituted a great cast. A great hit was secured by the charm- 
ing rendering of " Say Au Revoir," by Miss Evie Green, the Fairy Queen, 
and which never failed to gain a warm encore. This success was probably 
the foundation of the prosperous career upon which the fair artiste 
entered, her impersonation of Dolores in " Floradora " being universally 
acclaimed, but on September lith, 1917, she expired at the residence of 
her father, in Southsea, her native town. 

Other highly appreciated musical numbers in Cinderella were " Polly 
on her Gee-gee," " This is a Chorus Song," " Houses in Between," " Loui- 
siana Loo," " Honey come listen to me," " Looking for a Coon like me," 
" Twinkle Star " (the topical duet by Bessie Wentworth and T. W. 
Thompson) ; the Trilby burlesque by Mr. T. W. and Miss Laura Thomp- 
son, and the Transformation Scene were also attractive items. Previous 
engagements notwithstanding, Mr. Chute somehow arranged to keep 
" Cinderella," which never flagged, on the boards until March 14th, 
1896. 

It was during this successful run that the " Flying Matinee " was in- 
stituted here, the first being that of Mr. Arthur Bourchier, who, with 
both Miss Violet and Miss Irene Vanbrugh, appeared in " The Chili 
Widow" on January 15th, and the next that of Mr. Comyns Carr's 
company, Miss Winifred Emery, Esme Beringer, and Rose Leclercq, wdth 
Messrs. Leonard Boyne, Cyril Maude and J. G. Grahame, in Sydney 
Grundy's "The Late Mr. Castello," two fine matinee performances 
beyond question. 

" An Artist's Model " was produced on March 23rd, and with a very 
strong " George Edwardes " company, which included Misses Maud Boyd, 
Ethel Hope, and MiUicent Pyne, with Messrs. Walter Groves, Leonard 

160 



The Bristol Stage 



Russell and Walter Clifford, attracted large audiences, to whom the 
" Trilby " song recently introduced appealed strongly. 

On Monday, March 30th, the Bristol Histrionic, from the ranks of 
which quite a number of veteran amateur " sock and buskinites " had 
disappeared, gave a performance in aid of the War Veterans Fund, and 
attracted a full audience. The play, " Trilby," was staged on April 20th, 
Miss Ruggles as Trilby, Mr, Laurence Irving, Svengali, Mr. Edmund 
Gurney, Taffy, and Mr. Arthur Helmore as the Rev. Thos. Bagot. 

The Arthur Rousbey Company, during a return visit, produced for the 
first time in Bristol the opera of " Mercedes," whilst Mr. Milton Bode, 
whose company followed, introduced under similar circumstances the 
Basil Hood-Walter Slaughter musical comedy " Gentleman Joe," Mr. 
Frank Danby as the hansom cabby, and Miss Emmeline Orford as Emma, 
the superior slavey. 

Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, appearing here for the first time since their 
return from America, reUed upon " The Queen's Shilling," " Lord and 
Lady Guilderoy," " A White Lie," " The Ironmaster," and " A Scrap 
of Paper." Prices of admission were advanced, and I am disposed to 
think unfortunately it was so ; at any rate, Mrs. Kendal had something 
to say as to an apparent absence of enthusiasm in the city of her early 
triumphs. 

After the " Shop Girl " came " East Lynne," Mr. Fosbrooke receiving 
a warm welcome on being recognized as Justice Hare, a character which 
he had represented upwards of 2,000 times. 



MR. WILLIAM FOSBROOKE, or to give him his correct name, 
William Wooldridge, that of Fosbrooke being adopted for stage purposes, 
was born in London, in the year 1830, and at the early age of fifteen years 
was already on the stage. 

Bradford, under Mr. Leclercq, was his initial dive, his elder brother 
being in the company, and from there Bristol's old favourite went to Hull, 
Mr. Rignold, senr., being the manager of the theatre, and from that rival 
seaport he came to Bristol towards the close of Mrs. Macready's manage- 
ment. My earliest recollection of him is of the middle fifties as Mr. 
Marks, in " Uncle Tom's Cabin," and equally vivid is the picture of his 
pantaloon, a character he invariably filled up to the accident I have else- 
where described. In the pantomime opening he was, moreover, gener- 
ally to be found, and quoting only from that of " Beauty and the Beast," 
with Miss Carlotta Addison, at the Theatre Royal, to the production of 
the same subject in 1877-8 at the Prince's, shows a fairly large experience 
in Bristol pantomimes. 

But Mr. Fosbrooke was otherwise an actor who in his time played many 
parts, and although I feel constrained to admit that in some of these, 
such as Jim Dalton, the Dougal, etc., I never pretended to be an admirer 

161 I. 



The Bristol Stage 



of his, in characters wherein he reflected his own kindly nature and 
domesticity — for unlike the profession generally, Mr. Fosbrooke was at 
no time a devotee to Bohemianism — I always regarded him as facile 
■princeps, and those who witnessed his performances as Dan Puffy, Moses 
Israel, Jimmy Sparrow, and so on, or in " Domestic Economy," will 
easily follow me in my suggestion. 

With the exception of a brief season in London, taken at the earnest 
invitation of Miss Henrietta Hodson, when she became proprietor of the 
Royalty Theatre, Mr. Fosbrooke was a member of the Bristol Company 
from 1852 until it was disbanded, and even up to 1886 was in all, or nearly 
all, of the dramatic productions of the Brothers Chute. He had toured 
with Mr. Barry Sullivan and also with Miss Bateman, and had long held 
his position in Mr. Pitt Hardacre's " East Lynne " Company. It was 
whilst thus engaged at Manchester he was taken ill, and following upon 
an operation, he expired on October 26th, 1898, Mr. Charles Kean Chute, 
who was likewise in the company, being with his father's old friend and 
servant at the last. 

Interred in the picturesque God's acre attached to the parish church 
at Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, his resting-place is marked by a handsome 
white marble scroll, suitably inscribed and which was " erected to his 
memory by a few of his ardent admirers," this memorial being unveiled 
on May 27th, 1905, by Mr. James Macready Chute. 

Although Mr. Fosbrooke became pretty bald early in life, it was a cir- 
cumstance known to few, and a secret that he would have withheld from 
playgoers generally, practically at the cost of his life. With his brown 
curly wig and a clean shaven face " Funny Fozz " looked almost boyish 
even when really advanced in life. I remember an occasion during the 
old days when a certain amount of stage spoof, such as forestalling each 
other's lines, used to mark the last performance of the pantomime, there 
was a general assault and removal of wigs, not a few of the wearers proving 
to be as bald as our old comedian. Each wig experienced capture, save 
one ! — Mr. Fosbrooke clasping his both hands above his head, had defeated 
all comers. 

The Bank Holiday of 1896 occurred so early in the month of August as 
the 2nd inst., the drama, " The Girl I Left Behind Me," being staged ; 
the musical comedy, "The French Maid," immediately following. Mr. 
Charles Warner was seen in his most famous impersonation, Coupeau, in 
" Drink," and one might readily omit the comma after the Coupeau so 
far as the play itself was concerned ; still it was the topic of the day and 
drew large audiences, but the farcical comedy a " Trip to Chinatown " 
seemed a pleasant change. " Rosemary," by Louis N. Parker and Murray 
Carson, with the latter as Sir James Thorndyke, was a quietly attractive 
production, and during the week the company presented for the first time 
on any stage a play by Malcolm Watson, the " Haven of Content." 

" The Medical Charities " ever appealed to the Bristol theatre man- 

162 



The Bristol Stage 



agement, for a.d. 1756 a performance at Jacob's Well produced for the 
Infirmary funds j^50 zs. lod., and in 1766 the profits arising from the first 
performance at the Theatre in King Street were devoted to the same 
cause. A grand festival, in connection with St. Paul's Church, realized 
j^202 13^. 6d. at Easter, 1803. There were, however, numerous other 
contributions, and on Monday, November 2nd, 1896, the amateurs of the 
city commenced a week of performances for the benefit of the local 
medical charities, and an exceedingly fuU list of patrons gave evidence of 
the citizens' appreciation of this no small undertaking. " The Sorcerer " 
and " The Mikado" were the musical items, whilst Sheridan's comedy, 
" The Rivals," did dramatic duty. Amongst the exponents were Drs. 
F. Richardson, Lionel A. Weatherly, Ogilvy, Preston King, and Walsh. 
On April i8th following, the amateurs again appeared, as presently 
recorded. 

" All Aboard," with Miss Isa Bowman, Mr. Charles E. Stevens and Mr. 
George Carroll in their original London parts, was introduced to Bristol, 
and during the following week the comic opera entitled the " Black 
Squire " was similarly given a first show here by the Hogarth " Les 
Cloches " Company. 

November 23 rd witnessed the production at the Prince's of the strik- 
ingly romantic play, " The Prisoner of Zenda," Mr. Yorke Stephens as 
Rudolph, Mr. Charles K. Chute as Wolfgang, and Mr. Frederick Powell 
as Colonel Sapt; and the following week that of "On the March," Thos. 
S. Murray, Horace Mills, and Stratton Mills making merriment for all 
and sundry. The Carl Rosa Company, which now included Mile. Zelie 
de Lussan, Miss Kirkby Lunn, Miss Bessie Macdonald, Miss Alice Esty 
and Miss Rita Elandi, with Messrs. Brozel, E. C. Hedmondt, Alec Marsh 
and Robert Cunningham, played a very successful week. Another 
benefit for the Crimean Veterans was given by the amateurs, and then 
followed the pantomime. 

" Robinson Crusoe " created for the season 1896-7 something of a 
pantomimic epoch, notwithstanding the Christmas annual had already 
settled down into what was, practically, an event of assured success. 
Wilton Jones was the author, Percy Clarke wrote the lyrics. HoweU 
Russell, designer of costumes ; Mr. W. R. Coleman, with Mr. W. J. Cox, 
were scenic artists ; Mr. Henry Turner, stage-manager ; and Mrs, Henry 
Turner, ballet-mistress. This pantomime first introduced the TiUer 
Troubadour Troupe of dancers, also the Haytors. The company com- 
prised Misses Bessie Wentworth, Elaine Ravensberg and Stella St. Audrie, 
as amongst the ladies ; Messrs. Walter Sealby, Stratton Mills, Frank Dix 
and Henry Wright being amongst the " gents." 

Mr. H. Beerbohm Tree, with whom was Miss Kate Rorke, Miss Jessie 
Warner, Miss Frances Ivor, and our whilom fellow-citizen, Mr. Arthur 
Holmes-Gore; also Messrs. Lionel Brough, Gerald du Maurier (who 
played Rosencrantz), F. P. Stevens, Edgar and Lincoln, at advanced 

163 



The Bristol Stage 



prices of admission, experienced a finely successful week, producing 
" Trilby," " Bunch of Violets," " Hamlet," etc. 

On the concluding day of the engagement (March 13th, 1897) Mr. H. 
Beerbohm Tree was entertained at luncheon, the fine dining-room of the 
Liberal Club being fully occupied by a thoroughly representative assembly 
of citizens, 

" The Star of India," by Sims and Pettitt, preceded the Kendal's week. 
They played " A Scrap of Paper," and introduced to us both Allen Up- 
ward's play, " A Cruel Heritage," and Sydney Grundy's " The Greatest 
of These." 

A capital comedy company, amongst which were Misses Carlotta 
Zerbini, Queenie Leighton, Marie Illington and Gertrude Fisher ; 
Mr. Alfred Maltby and Mr .Arthur Willerby, appeared in the farcical 
comedy, " A Night Out " ; and on May 1 7th, 1 897, that delightful Japanese 
opera, " The Geisha," was heard in Bristol for the first time. Miss 
Minnie Hunt proved charming in the title role, whilst the work was 
otherwise admirably cast, Misses Margaret Warren, Carrie Kavanagh, 
Lena McNaughton, and Maud Bowden being amongst les demoselle, and 
Mr. Reddick Anderson (as Reginald Fairfax), Bertie Wright, John M. 
Hay and John Humphries amongst the male impersonators of the char- 
acters. 

" The American Belle " followed, and then came Max O'Rell in his 
farcical comedy, "On the Continong" ; andon June 21 st,»i 897, Mr. Walter 
Sealby (so recently Mrs. Crusoe) made quite a success as Mrs. Murphy in 
" A Trip to Chicago." This being the period of the Diamond Jubilee 
celebration, there was also an impressive performance of the National 
Anthem, the solos being rendered by Miss Julia Kennard, Miss Kate 
Whittard and Mr. J. Mundy, the full orchestra being enriched by a 
military band; whilst on the concluding night of the engagement, Mr. 
Chute taking his benefit, the solos of "^God Save the Queen " were sung 
by Miss Clara Butt, who also, during the course of the evening, deHghted 
the audience with " The Lost Chord." Mr. Sealby had to voice his pan- 
tomime hit, " At My Time of Life," Mr. Arthur Hayman singing the 
Jubilee song, " God bless Victoria," 

During the autumn Little Tich appeared for six nights in " Lord Tom 
Noddy," and on September 27th Miss Constance Moxon and Mr. Tom 
Craven were seen in the latter's musical play, " The Ballad Singer." 

The Carl Rosa Company, now showing a considerable change of per- 
sonnel, consisted, amongst the principals, of Misses Rita Elandi, Thea 
Dorre, Cecile Lorraine, Lily Heenan, Bessie Macdonald and Kirkby 
Lunn, with Messrs, Brokel, Umberto Salir, Charles Tilbury, Guiseppe 
Maggi, and William Dever, produced, for the first time in Bristol, Puc- 
cini's romantic^opera, " La Boheme," the other^works]^heard during the 
week being " ll Trovatore," " Faust," " Tannhauser," and " Mignon." 

An excellent combination was that brought by Mr. William Greet 

164 



The Bristol Stage 



with George Dance's musical comedy, "The New Mephisto," there being 
of its number Misses Nellie Murray, Jenny Richards, the Sisters Cossell, 
Misses Ruby Hallier, Laura Clairight, Peggy Campbell and Ethel SaHs- 
bury ; as also Messrs. Mark Sheridan, Albert le Fre, Alfred Donohoe, 
George Sinclair and W. Ellis. The musical director was Mr. Ernest 
Vousden, who, rightly or wrongly, I assumed to be a son of the veteran 
composer and entertainer of my youth, Mr. Valentine Vousden. 

" My Girl," from the Gaiety, with Miss Hetty Chapman in her 
original character, the Mayoress of Porthampton, and Mr. W. H. Downs 
in his, of John Fahee, drew good houses ; and then we had an excellent 
week with an exceptionally strong company in "Toto and Tata," a 
musical comedy under the direction of our own manager, Mr, Chute, and 
produced by Willie Edouin. The twin brother and sister (Toto and Tata) 
were played by Miss Marie Montrose, and it was in this production that 
with the Military Cadets around her we heard her sing " The Dandy 
Fifth." Mr. E. J. Lonnen headed the list of comedians, amongst whom 
were, however, Mr. Walter Groves, Mr. Roland Cunningham, etc. 

"Red Riding Hood" put in an appearance on December 23rd, 1897. 
Mr. William Wade was the author, but otherwise there was no change 
from 1896 in the departmental responsibility for the 1897 annual. Red 
Riding Hood was Miss Laura Thompson ; Boy Blue, Miss Emmeline Or- 
ford ; Miss Muffit, Miss Ada Willoughby ; and other characters were ably 
represented. Mr. G. P. Huntley was irresistible as the Dame, "Tut- 
tut " ; Mr. Frank Danby was the Baron \ Mr, W. T. Thompson, Johnny 
Stout ; Ernest Shand, Jimmy Green ; and the Brothers Inda as a couple of 
footmen were very diverting. In this pantomime, which was brought to 
a close with a brief harlequinade, one obtained an early impression of the 
" movies," by reason of Bosco Irving's animated photographs. March 
1 2th, 1898, saw its final performance. 

It was succeeded by " Two Little Vagabonds," after which was pre- 
sented "Under the Red Robe," Miss Muriel Wylford and Mr. Henry 
Renoufs being seen in the principal characters. 

On Monday, April i8th, there was a second week venture by the 
Amateurs, on behalf of the Bristol medical charities, the programme 
consisting of " Gondoliers," " Arrah na Pogue," and " Mountebanks." 
The following week was occupied by " The Ballet Girl," in which Mr. 
John Humphries appeared as Eugene Taradelle ; and subsequently, Miss 
Emma Hutchinson introduced Henry Arthur Jones' comedy, "The 
Liars." 

" La Poupee " was an immediate success ! Miss Stella Gastelle as 
Alesia and Mr. Eric Thome as Hilarius. 

On June 13th Mr. J. L. Shine produced, prior to its production in 
London, the three-act farce, " Tommy Dodd"; and as the author of the 
famous song of that name, Mr. Ernee Clark, was a well-known licensed 
victualler of our city, it had some special recommendation for patronage. 

165 



The Bristol Stage 



Miss Eva Moore, Miss Cicely Richards, Miss Katie Lee and Miss Grace 
Noble graced the ladies' characters ; and Messrs. J, L. Shine, J. L. Mackay, 
Bertie Wright and Frank Macdonnell gave them all support. 

Mr. Cecil Beryl's company, with " Bilberry of Tilbury," was a most 
efficient one, there being Misses Margaret Warren, Amy Augarde, Jenny 
Owen and Carlotta Zerbini, with Messrs. Ernest Shand, W. J. Manning, 
Stratton Mills and Templar Saxe ; whilst on the Saturday was a flying 
matinee production of " The Second Mrs. Tanqueray," with Mrs. Patrick 
Campbell and Mr. Forbes Robertson. 

Mr. Chute took his benefit on Monday, June 27th, 1898, relying upon 
" The Area Belle," in which pantomime favourites appeared, with Miss 
Marie Hylton as Penelope; and "Dr. Bill," with Mr. J. G. Grahame and 
Mr. Milton Bode in the cast. Miss Minnie Hunt also appeared, receiving 
an enthusiastic encore in " The Jewel of Asia." 



166 



CHAPTER XX 

A.D. 1898 

THE J.P.," with Mr. Lionel Rignold, " The Transit of Venus," 
with Miss Marie Montrose and Mr. J. F. McArdle, the " Belle 
of New York," and then came the " Dove Cot," with Mr. James Welch, 
each being presented in Bristol for the first time, the last-named engage- 
ment ushering in that of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. 

" The Little Minister " was followed by Mr. Wilson Barrett, after 
which Sidney Jones's excellent musical play, a " Greek Slave," was the 
attraction, the Misses Coralie Blythe, Minnie Hunt, Alice Barnett and 
Maud Boyd, together with Messrs. Harrison Brockbank, Horace Mills, 
Rhys Thomas and W. H. Rawlins giving assurance of an adequate repre- 
sentation. 

The farcical comedy, " Oh ! Susannah," which was an attraction at the 
Royalty Theatre in London, was next produced in Bristol for the first 
time, as was also that remarkable play, the " Cat and the Cherub," which 
preceded it, this being, I fancy, the first of the Chinese plays to be per- 
formed in this country. It was pretty creepy, as appears to be the vogue 
of Chinese drama, but admirably acted by Miss Mary Brougham, Mr. 
Laurence Cantley, Mr. H. Gomer May, and others. " The Runaway 
Girl," " One of the Best," " White Heather," and the St. James's play, 
by R. C. Carton, the "Tree of Knowledge," brought us to the 1898-9 
pantomime, " Sinbad the Sailor," of which William Wade was the author, 
the lyrics being by our fellow-citizen, Mr. Frank Dix, whilst Mr. W. R. 
Coleman was the scenic artist. 

Its exponents were Miss Lelia Roze (who had previously been seen at 
the Theatre Royal), Miss Minnie Leverentz, and Miss Isabel Dillon, to- 
gether with Messrs. Walter Sealby, who scored in " At My Time of Life," 
J. F. McArdle, H. C. Barry and Walter Bellonini, the last-named as 
steward of the tempest-tossed and realistically rocking ship, giving a mar- 
vellous exhibition of plate throwing, and also introduced his clever dog- 
circus as a wind-up to the pantomime ; March 4th witnessed the last 
performance. 

The latest Savoy production, " The Lucky Star," by Ivan Caryll, 
followed, but once again we found Savoy, Gilbert and Sullivan an essen- 
tial triumvirate for the production of " Savoy" enthusiasm. 

167 



The Bristol Stage 



" The Three Musketeers," with Mr. Charles Warner and Miss Sidney 
Crowe, gave quite an old time enjoyment of this clever play. 

In June " The Only Way " was produced for the first time here, as 
indeed, it was in the provinces, Mr. William Haviland giving a delightful 
reading of Dickens' famous hero, whilst Lucy Manette was as charmingly 
enacted by his wife. Miss Amy Coleridge ; the powerful character. The 
Vengeance, being also most impressively represented by Miss Augusta 
Haviland. Mr. Martin Harvey was still playing Sidney Carton in 
London. 



MR. WILLIAM HAVILAND was a Bristolian, Miss Augusta Havi- 
land being his sister, son and daughter of Mr. Fred Irwin, a well-known 
landlord and lover of the drama, he having been for some years a member 
of the Bristol Histrionic Society. The resemblance of his name to that of 
Irving suggested to Mr. William Irwin the desirabihty of seeking some 
other for stage purposes, and the North Somerset Yeomanry, of which 
both his father and himself were troopers, being commanded by Captain 
Haviland, and " Haviland " coming trippingly from the tongue, he 
adopted it, as did his sister. 

Both Mr. and Miss Haviland have appeared at the Prince's subsequent 
to the performance just mentioned, he being in the cast on Mr. Forbes 
Robertson's production there of that fine play " For the Crown " ; whilst 
in addition to these important engagements he had, in turn, been chief 
lieutenant to Mr. Martin Harvey, Mr. Beerbohm Tree, and other well- 
known actors, whilst he had also taken part in no less than four " com- 
mand " performances at either Sandringham or Windsor, King Edward 
being in residence. 

More than one breakdown in health had acted adversely in regard to 
his professional engagements, and had arrested a practically assured 
career of prosperity, until conviction came that it was useless to continue 
in hope of reasonable recovery. Mr. Haviland then relinquished the 
stage and proceeded to join his (second) wife. Miss Edith Latimer, in New 
York ; and in that city, at the age of fifty-seven years, he died, September 
20th, 191 7 

July 3rd brought the spring season of 1899 to a close with Mr. Chute's 
benefit, Mr. Harry Paulton appearing in " Niobe," whilst Miss Katie 
Barry, George P. Huntley and J. F. McArdle completed an acceptable 
programme. 

" The Adventure of Dame Ursula," vnth. Misses Ida Molesworth and 
Alice Ingram, Messrs. J. jG. Grahame and J. R. Crauford, was seen here 
in September. 

In November " The Manoeuvres of Jane " was performed, it being 
during the week of this engagement that Queen Victoria visited the city 
for the purpose of opening the Jubilee Convalescent Home on Durdham 

168 



The Bristol Stage 



Down, whilst two days prior to that event the death of Mr. S. M. Chute 
occurred. 

MR. STEPHEN MACREADY CHUTE.—" Steve," as he was in- 
variably known to his large circle of friends, was the fourth son of Mr. 
J. H. Chute, being born at Bath on August 27th, 1852. For many years 
he had been the chief of the publicity department of the Prince's Theatre, 
and was widely known, not only in the city itself, but throughout many 
miles of the surrounding country. 

In somewhat earlier life Mr. Stephen Chute had also been a familiar 
figure, as a member of the Ariel Rowing Club, the Volunteer Naval 
Reserve, as well as on the cricket field, where his appearance was always 
greatly appreciated, for he played an useful innings, and was in this, as 
in all things, a sportsman ! 

Latterly his health had not been good, and at the age of forty-seven 
years, at Knowle, where he had long resided, he passed away on No- 
vember 14th, 1899. 

Mrs. S. M. Chute was formerly Miss Goodier, a member of the com- 
pany in Theatre Royal days, retiring, however, when she married ; whilst 
their son, Mr. George Chute, is another well-known member of the 
family, having been for some time past the assistant manager at the 
Prince's Theatre. 

Mr. W. S. Penley having appeared in a " Little Ray of Sunshine," and 
Messrs. Charles Glenney and Horace Lingard in " Why Smith Left Home," 
the Drury Lane drama, " The Great Ruby," was staged. 

During the rehearsals of the pantomime, the Bristol Choral Society 
gave a performance in aid of the South African War Fund, promoted by 
Bristol's first Lord Mayor, Sir Herbert Ashman. 

" Aladdin " was produced on Saturday, December 23rd, Miss Ada 
Reeve appearing in the name part ; Miss Worth as the princess ; Mr. Frank 
Danby, the Widow Twankey ; Mr. John Humphries, Abanazar ; and Mr. 
Bertie Wright, Washee-Washee ! " Aladdin " held the'boards until March 
1 2th, 1900, Mr. Wilson Barrett and Miss Maud Jeflferies appearing on 
the following Monday. 

Neither authors nor dramatic stars had been greatly in evidence until 
the opening of the past decade, and indeed until even a later date — more- 
over, there continued a vast preponderance of musical plays of some 
caUbre or other, a position that continues at the present time. But " it 
was ever thus ! " or rather so it had been from the epoch of the extrava- 
ganza, upwards of fifty years ago. 

Dramatists were, however, becoming far more numerous, dramatic out- 
put more extensive, the majority of these efforts being destined, however, 
only to fret their little hour upon the stage, and then to be ocen no more ! 
Not always by any means was it that they lacked interest either, for I 
have in mind quite a number of truly excellent playsi— or so I regarded 

169 



The Bristol Stage 



them, deserving of a far happier fate. Apparently, however, they were 
" caviare to the general," and so. found their places, quite undeservedly 
on the sheH, or in the waste-paper basket. 

Writing towards the close of the eighteenth century, the author of 
" Memoirs of the Bristol Stage " is mightily severe upon the public taste, 
which subsequent to the first four years of the Theatre Royal (1766- 
1769) had led to the deflection of the stage from its legitimate purpose. 
Revievdng the more distant past and those four years, he says : " It will 
be seen that the managers of the theatre relied entirely on the legitimate 
drama for support. The sterling works of our old English bards were 
found sufficient to draw overflowing houses. Very few new pieces are 
amongst the list — no modern Tom Thumb tragedy, no farce called, by a 
misnomer, comedy ! nor had the monster melodrama (that ridiculous 
substitute of sound for sense, wherein the author, when at a fault for 
appropriate language in which to convey his meaning, has recourse to a 
flourish of music) appeared on our boards — no Bartholomew Fair exhibi- 
tions then disgraced the stage ; but Tempora mutantus et Nos mutamur 
in illis ! Let it not, however, be supposed that I mean to cast any re- 
flection on our present managers of theatres for these strange innovations : 
by no means ; they are not to be blamed, since — 

"The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give," 

and one cannot sufliciently admire the taste of this enlightened age in 
which that wretched, vulgar piece, called " Tom and Jerry," has drawn 
much better houses than the immortal productions of Shakespeare or 
Otway ! " 

And then he asks this question : — 

" Had Powell and Holland lived to this present time, how would those 
great actors have blushed to see themselves mixed up with rope-dancers, 
■pugilists, horses, and dogs ! " 

May we not add, " How would they fancy themselves in Revue ? " 

Mr. Charles Frohman presented " The Christian," with Miss Lily Hall 
Caine and Mr. Henry Renouf in the leading parts ; and Mr. Charles Cart- 
wright, accompanied by Miss Sydney Fairbrother, appeared in " The 
Middleman." " The Rose of Persia," by Basil Hood and Arthur Sulli- 
van, performed by the D'Oyly Carte Company, made way for a fine pro- 
duction of " Midsummer Night's Dream," with Mr. F. H. Macklin as 
Bottom, the Weaver, 

On May 21st Mr. Arthur Holmes-Gore appeared in the " Case of Re- 
beUious Susan," another of the Baring Bros.' matinees being given on the 
24th, and that with great success. 

The season closed on June 25th, when Mr. Chute took his benefit ; Mr. 
Charles Sugden and Mr. Charles Kean Chute appeared in " Jim the 
Penman." 

170 



The Bristol Stage 



" Kitty Grey," a musical comedy which subsequently enjoyed a pros- 
perous career in London and elsewhere, was a Prince's production, the 
weight of the humour being laid on the shoulders of Mr. G. P. Huntley. 
Beyond this, however, the cast proved of an exceptional character, even 
for a George Edwardes' company, there being Misses Evie Greene, Lilian 
Belmore, Mabel Love and Ethel Sydney, with Messrs. Harry Monkhouse, 
Fritz Rimma, and Maurice Farkoa. Next came the production of 
" Florodora," Miss Amy Augarde as Dolores. 

A " Message from Mars " ensued, and then three nights of the " Pri- 
soner of Zenda," and for the first time in Bristol "Rupert of Hentzau." 

MR. CHARLES KEAN CHUTE.— It was in "The Prisoner of 
Zenda " that Mr. C. K. Chute had last appeared upon the Bristol stage, 
whereon both he and his wife, Miss Sybil Claridge, had on several occasions 
been so warmly welcomed. The youngest son of Mr. J. H. Chute, 
" Charlie," a name of appreciation by which everybody called him, had 
early taken his place in the ranks of those who " fret their hour upon the 
stage," and throughout his career had made steady and consistent advance 
in his profession. An early impersonation of his was Geoffrey Ware, in 
" The Silver King," which he jokingly claimed to be the principal part, 
as all the characters were constantly referring to him, and as Geoffrey 
Ware was the foundation of the play. Later he was cast for the Spider, 
and was regarded by many as the best exponent of that subtle part since 
Mr. Willard, who created it. 

Of a bright, manly temperament, Mr. Chute was a favourite with all 
who knew him. He died in London, on January 26th, 1905. 

On Thursday, November ist, Messrs. Baring Bros, repeated their 
musical matinee venture, bringing Misses Ada Reeve and Connie Ediss, 
Messrs. Huntley Wright, Frank Lawton, Mervyn Dene and Frank Boor. 

" Lady Huntworth's Experiment " was succeeded by Mr. Forbes 
Robertson, who made his first " star " appearance here on Monday, 
November 12th, in "Hamlet," and on the 13th in "The Devil's Dis- 
ciple," a play by George Bernard Shaw. " The Messenger Boy," with 
Miss Sybil Arundale and Mr. Bertie Wright in prominence ; the " Gay 
Lord Quex," as diagnosed by Mr. Maurice Manchinet ; and next " San 
Toy," wdth Miss Maggie May. " Lord and Lady Algy " preceded the 
production of " Dick Whittington," which event took place on Saturday, 
December 22nd, 1900. The character of Dick was undertaken by Miss 
Millie Hylton ; " Pussy " by Arthur Lupino ; Idle Jack, Mr. Ernest Shand ; 
Alice, Miss Lydia Flopp ; Tommy Turner, Miss Bessie Featherstone ; 
whilst the TUler Troupe was once again included in the cast. 

Success was undiminished until March 2nd, 1901. 

The features of the Irving-Terry week were " Robespierre," " Nance 
Oldfield," and " Waterloo." 

" Lady Windermere's Fan " was next staged, with Miss Marion Terry 

171 



The Bristol Stage 



Miss Gertrude Burnett and Mr.T. B.Thalberg; "Mrs. Dane's Defence " 
following, with Evelyn Weaden and Mr. Henry Neville in the cast. 

The Moody-Manners Opera Company, a fine combination, including 
Signor Gheraldi, John Child, Charles Manners, Dillon Shallard, Charles 
Magrath, E. C. Hedmouth, and Willie Dever, with Madame Alice Esty, 
Zelie de Lussan, Nedda Morrison, Maud Baker, Lucile HiU, Lily and 
Fanny Moody, performed " Faust," " Lohengrin," " Tannhauser," 
" Flying Dutchman," and " Bohemian Girl." 

" My friend the Prince " preceded the " Lady of Ostend " ; whilst 
" Dream Faces," a comedietta, with Miss Carlotta Addison in her original 
character, and the comedy, " Our Flat," with Mr. J. R. F. Graham, 
constituted Mr. Chute's benefit programme. 

Mrs. Patrick Campbell appeared in " Lady Tetley's Divorce," she 
being supported by Mr. Gerald du Maurier ; and on September 23rd the 
" Silver SHpper " was brought to the Prince's from the Lyric Theatre ; 
" The Wilderness," from the St. James's Theatre, following. 

SuUivan's Opera, the "Emerald Isle," was presented with Misses AUce 
Aynsley Cook, Jessie Rose, and Ethel Stuart Barker, Messrs. Dillon 
Shallard, Sidney Bracey and Mr. R. Morant in the principal parts, and 
after a week with Carl Rosa's Company, Mr. E. C. Hedmondt being seen 
in " Siegfried," and Miss Lucilla Hill in Gounod's " Cinque Mars," Mr. 
Forbes Robertson, accompanied by Mr. William Haviland, produced for 
the first time in Bristol " For the Crown," and Ian Robertson's " A Play 
in Little," as items of the week's programme. 

The former of these two plays, a beautifully poetic work, afforded Mr. 
Haviland what was probably his most convincing opportunity of dramatic 
representation. 

Cecil Raleigh's drama, " The Price of Peace," from Old Drury, was 
presented well, Mr. Henry George as the Earl of Derwent ; after which 
came the comedy," Second in Command, " from the Haymarket, and 
then " Withered Leaves." During the week of the last named, another 
of the successful musical matinees organized by Messrs. Baring Bros, 
was given. 

" The Babes in the Wood " was the subject selected for the pantomime, 
amongst the principal performers therein being Misses MiUie I^egarde, 
Annie Purcell, Nelly and Daisy Stratton, Lihan Piercy and Nellie Christie, 
the last named, as Topsy, becoming a great favourite with the audience. 
There were also Messrs. Horace Mills, Wilkie Bard, and Foster Courtenay, 
Two scenes of especial charm for the purpose of such a subject were 
" Doll Land," by George Jackson, and " A Rose Garden," by T. E. Ryan. 

For Monday, March 3rd, Mr. Chute had arranged a benefit perform- 
ance of the pantomime on behalf of the Fund of the Crimea and Indian 
Mutiny veterans, and one of the most deUghtful episodes of that occasion 
was the appearance in the Doll Land scene of some eighty to ninety of 
these heroes assembled on the stage. Mr. Chute's cheque towards the 

172 



The Bristol Stage 



cause was for £,12Z l$s. \d. The last performance was on March 15th, 
but on February loth, 1892, Mr. Charles Wyndham and Miss Mary Moore 
had given a flying matinee visit, appearing in " David Garrick." 

" When we were Twenty-one " brought us Mr. J. C. Grahame, and 
" English Nell " Miss Florence St. John, as Nell Gvsyn. In the " Casino 
Girl " Company were Misses Isa and Maggie Bowmah and Gabrielle Ray. 

"The Man from Blankleys" was followed by "The Toreador"; "The 
Private Secretary," and " Box and Cox " brought Miss Augusta Havi- 
land, as Mrs. Stead and Mrs. Bouncer in these respective plays. 

For Mr. Chute's benefit " The Geisha " was performed, and Mr. 
Wilkie Bard sang some of his popular pantomime ditties. 

In returning thanks that night for their continued patronage, Mr. 
Chute prepared the audience for structural alterations previous to the 
re-opening. 

THE NEW PRINCE'S.— No detailed description of the change 
brought about could so adequately impress the minds of old playgoers as 
can an inspection of the Prince's of the present day, a delightful home of 
drama, elegant, commodious, comfortable, and, in the main, convenient. 
Beyond this interior reform was a complete renovation of the front ele- 
vation, the parapet being surmounted by classic figures representing 
Tragedy, Comedy, Orpheus, and Terpsichore; but the atmosphere 
rendering these somewhat insecure as time progressed, they were re- 
moved July 17th, 191 5. Otherwise, the design of Mr. Frank Matcham 
remains unaffected. 

A very interesting item in the Prince's Theatre of to-day is to be en- 
countered at the foot of the staircase leading to the dress circle, etc., 
smoking lounge and refreshment room, in a tribute of the great Macready, 
executed in Carrara marble, and bearing the following inscription : — 

TO WILLIAM CHARLES MACREADT 
in commemoration of his Management of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 

in the Seasons 1837-8, and 1838-9 

when his personation of the characters, his restorations of the text and his 
illustration by the best intellectual aids of the historical facts, and poetical 
creations 

of the plays of 

SHAKESPEARE 

formed an epoch in theatrical annals alike honourable to his own genius and 
elevating In Its influence upon public taste. 

This Testimonial is presented by the lovers of the National Drama. 

The Prince's Theatre now affords seating accommodation for 1,769 

173 



The Bristol Stage 



persons: stalls, 57; dress circle, 103; balcony, 122; fauteuils, 137; 
upper circle and amphitheatre, 300; pit, 518; gallery, 500; whilst 
32 can be accommodated in the private boxes. 

In response to an invitation issued by Mr. and Mrs. Chute, some four 
to five hundred theatre patrons visited the theatre on the Saturday pre- 
ceding the opening of the autumn season, in order that the effect of the 
reconstruction might be contemplated with greater leisure, and it is 
indeed superfluous to record their unanimous verdict; whilst of those 
who had seen service in the cause in the Theatre Royal days were Mr. 
James Sheering, who for fifty-seven years had been box-keeper at the 
theatres : firstly to Mrs. Macready, then through each succeeding 
management. Mrs. Shapcott, the mistress of the theatre wardrobe, an- 
other old and faithful servant, having likewise entered upon her duties 
under Mrs. Macready, and that so far back as October 21st, 1852, it 
required but a few weeks to bring her to her jubilee in that position, 
which fine record of service she was able to complete, for it was not until 
after the production of " The Sleeping Beauty," the pantomime of 
1904-5, that she was succeeded in the wardrobe management by her 
daughter ; and Mrs. Milward, who died in the following November, had 
for upwards of thirty-two years been housekeeper at Park Row. I re- 
member an occasion when Mrs. Milward became the central and most 
striking figure on the stage, although I forget in which of the pantomimes 
this occurred. In the finale of a transformation scene there issued from 
the back of the stage the traditional tableau of Britannia, helmeted and 
with trident in hand, surrounded by representatives of the Navy and 
Army, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the entire group being 
brought down to the footlights. Mrs. Milward personated Britannia. 

The Savoy Company opened the ball in the new surroundings on 
August nth, 1902, by performing for the first time out of London the 
comic opera, "Merrie England" ; and next Edna May made her introduc- 
tory bow to a Bristol audience in the character of Edna Branscombe in 
" Three Little Maids," the Caddie therein being capitally impersonated 
by Mr. Bertie Wright. " The Silver Slipper ' followed, with Miss Lily 
Elsie, Miss Irene Verona, etc., in the company. 

" The Little French Milliner " " The Christian King," and then came 
" H.M.S. Irresponsible," wdth Mr. Arthur Roberts in the last named, 
preceding the Carl Rosa Company, their new production being " Tristan 
and Isolda," with Mr. E. C. Hedmond and Miss Lucile Hill in the name 
parts. 

" My Lady Molly " Company, with Miss Sybil Arundale and Miss 
Decima Moore, was here at the beginning of December, and was followed 
by Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, in whose company were now Miss 
Mabel Hackney and Mr. Laurence Irving. 

It was during this engagement that death claimed Mr. G. R. Chapman^ 
the Prince's popular conductor. 

174 



The Bristol Stage 



MR. GEORGE CHAPMAN was born in London, September 4th, 
1840, his father likewise being a musical conductor. As early as 1858 he 
found his way to Bristol, and although practically self-taught was in- 
cluded amongst the theatre violinists upon such occasions as during the 
engagements of Madl. Rudersdorff and other famous operatic vocalists, 
when an augmented orchestra was required. It was during this early 
experience that he met Miss Kate Mandlebert, who in 1861 left our city 
in order to join her sister, Miss (Lizzie) Mandlebert, who had become a 
great favourite at the Grecian Theatre, London. 

Mr. Chapman then reverted to his native heath, and after engage- 
ments at the then popular Cremorne Gardens, and then Standard 
Theatre, as also subsequent to their marriage, the young couple returned 
to Bristol under a joint engagement, Mr. Chapman then taking his seat 
as repetiteur. It was at the opening of the New Theatre Royal that Mr. 
Chapman was first appointed conductor of the orchestra, the increasing 
deafness of Mr. Salmon resulting in missed cues, etc. At such times as 
the old gentleman recognized that something had gone wrong, it was his 
custom to indulge in a stamping upon the orange-box, or what it was 
that formed his footstool, hoping to convey to the audience that the 
fiasco was that of the musicians and not his own. 

Not until 1868 had Weston-super-Mare known the charm of a high- 
class promenade band ! but by a little manipulation of dates, to which Mr. 
J. H. Chute became a willing party, Mr. Chapman was enabled in that 
year to accept the commission to provide one, a very early engagement 
of his for the purpose being that of Mr. George Webb, who came from 
across the Bristol Channel, he being retained for the New Theatre 
orchestra, and also for the ist Gloucestershire Rifle Volunteers band, 
of which Mr. Chapman was then bandmaster, and to which latter position 
Mr. George Webb succeeded. 

For D'Oyly Carte, Mr. Chapman conducted " The Pirates of Pen- 
zance " throughout a provincial tour. 

Seated in his ofllicial chair, Mr. G. R. Chapman was an autocrat ; his 
method, however, was in the direction of cynical pain at shortcomings, 
rather than that of the fortiter in re, for I have seen him at rehearsal, 
when some unfortunate instrumentalist has gone astray, quietly lay his 
baton upon the desk, and stare absently upon the stage, whereon was 
nothing to claim his attention. Then — " the last eight bars of the 
previous movement, please ! " and after a moment or so for the bars to 
be discovered, all else would proceed like marriage bells, and as though 
nothing had interrupted. 

Mr. George Russell Chapman, to give the conductor's baptismal be- 
longing, was from top to toe a sportsman ! Cycling, cricket, rowing (he 
was a member of several cycling as also of the Ariel Rowing Clubs), rural 
walks, paper-chases, and, indeed, all out-door sports and recreation came 
his way. He was also an energetic " governor " of the Arts Club, and 

175 



The Bristol Stage 



responsible for many of the delightful musical nights at that unique 
institution ; and so also did he dearly love a quiet hand of whist. 

Qxxick in temper, a characteristic as readily recognized by himself as by 
others, Mr. Chapman was as speedy to forget and forgive. 

Many entertaining and amusing anecdotes I could relate in which my 
old friend played a leading part, but here is one very much apropos of the 
work upon which I am now engaged. At one of the visits of the Carl 
Rosa Opera Company, Mr. Eugene Goossens, sen., being the conductor, 
the stage band in " Faust," by missing the cue about half a beat, and not 
recognizing the fact until they faced the footlights, the soldiers' chorus 
was virtually " all over the shop." Probably the walls of the Prince's 
never echoed to such a sound hissing from the auditorium as ensued, and 
that not even as a characteristic compliment to the villain of a play. 
Upon the occasion of the next visit, Mr. Goossens somewhat naturally 
being on thorns, the position was reversed, and few operatic encores have 
been more unmistakable than that which compelled the soldiers' band to 
make its re-entry and again complete the number. Mr. George R. 
Chapman, being an excellent trombone player, had donned the stage 
uniform costume and led his musicians in triumph, both on to and off 
the stage. 

A bitter easterly wind, coupled with a November fog, resulted in a 
sharp attack of pneumonia, from which he died on December loth, 1902, 
at the age of sixty-two years. 



176 



CHAPTER XXI 



c 



A.D. 1902 

'INDERELLA," with its beautiful scenery, the ball-room, by 
K. J. McLennan, in which one saw the grand ballet of fans ; the 
castle gardens, by George A. Jackson, with its electrically illuminated 
fairy coach for Cinderella ; and the great scene of the wedding fete, by 
T. E. Ryan, with costumes designed by J. Howell Russell, will not readily 
be forgotten. Yet Mr. Chute's mind had not been easy during its pre- 
paration, for Mr. Howard Russell's health had suffered greatly. So also 
had that of Mr. Henry Owen, the master carpenter, who since 1867 had 
produced such striking effects in both pantomime and drama, and, sad to 
relate, this was the last of the Christmas productions in which he contri- 
buted to its success. Mr. Owen died at the close of 1916. Then again 
it had been a near thing that the wedding scene itself had not been 
conspicuous by its absence rather than by its charm, for shortly before 
the production of " Cinderella," Mr. Ryan's studio in Walworth Road, 
London, was burnt to the ground, much scenery for Drury Lane and 
provincial pantomime being totally destroyed. Luckily, Mr. Chute had 
issued his commission for Cinderella's wedding scene immediately upon 
the success of Mr. Ryan's " rose garden " in the previous pantomime, so 
the complete scene had been painted and then stored at the Shaftesbury 
Theatre. Cinderella was represented by Miss Nora Brocklebank ; the 
Prince, Miss Florence Lloyd ; Dandini, Miss Daisie Wallace ; Peter, Will 
Evans ; and the Baron, Mr. J. Humphries. Mr. Clement Locknane 
conducted the orchestra, and, with a special performance for the " Lord 
Mayor's Hospital Fund," at which Miss Helen Mar assisted, the panto- 
mime ran until March 7th, 1903. There had been Mrs. Brown Potter 
at a matinee. Mr. and Mrs. Kendal followed, and on their opening 
night, with "The Elder Miss Blossom," Mr. G. R. Chapman first 
occupied the conductor's seat in the orchestra, he being accorded a warm 
welcome from all parts of the house. Then there was a flying matinee, 
with Dan Leno. 

The spring season wound up with Sir Francis Burnand's amusing 
comedy " Betsy," Mr. Chute taking his benefit on June 29th with W. G. 
Wills' " Chatterton," placed in the hands of amateurs, these including 
Mr. R. W. Andean, soon to blossom into an accomplished professional. 

177 M 



The Bristol Stage 



Mr. Richard W. Andean must be grouped with many other Bristol 
citizens who have made good upon the stage. Long a member of the 
D'Oyly Carte Company, he has also visited the Dominions, and in the 
English provinces has been successful in comedies that have demonstrated 
no little versatility in his methods. 

Sir Francis Burnand's comedy, " Saucy Sally," with Mr. Laurence 
Brough and Miss Eva Chapman, followed and completed the programme. 

Mr. Forbes Robertson in " The Light that Failed " was accompanied 
by Mr. Sydney Brough, and on September 21st Miss Marie Tempest paid 
her first visit to our city, securing a triumph in the " Marriage of Kitty," 
after which amusing comedy " The Eternal City," by Hall Caine, held 
possession of the stage. 

The " absolute farewell visit of Mr. George Edwardes' Company " in 
"San Toy" was threatened for the week commencing October 12th, 
1903. But little things like these, in the theatrical world " gang aft 
agley." There was an excellent cast, though — Misses Marie Studholme, 
Minnie Hunt, Violet Lloyd, Alice Lethbridge and Louie CoUier, Messrs. 
Horace and Stratton Mills, Colin Coop, Herbert Clayton and W. H. 
RawHns. 

The Carl Rosa Company produced Giordeno's opera, " Andre 
Chenier," whilst the following week introduced Justin Huntley 
McCarthy's romantic play, " If I were King," this being succeeded by 
J. M. Barrie's " Quahty Street." 

" Cousin Kate," with Miss Madge Mcintosh, and an amateur night 
in behalf of the Commercial Travellers' Schools, brought us to Mr. 
Hickory Wood's pantomime " Puss in Boots." There was a truly 
excellent company of artistes, amongst them being Misses Lil Hawthorne, 
Minnie Hunt, Jenny Edgar, Nellie Stratton, Eva Chapman and Fanny 
Maitland ; Messrs. Wilkie Bard, Frank Danby, Martin Adeson, W. D. 
Hurst (who played Puss), and Griffin and Dusois, fun-workers. Until 
March 1 2th the pantomime held sway during the evening, but towards 
the end of January three consecutive mornings were devoted to per- 
formances of the whimsical dream, " Alice in Wonderland." 

It was at this time that there was a strong movement towards the 
banning of children being engaged on the stage, and the Bristol Board of 
Guardians appeared quite ready to go even further, for upon receipt of 
Mr. James Macready Chute's customary invite to the workhouse children 
to visit a pantomime matinee, by thirty-two voices to nineteen that 
august body refused permission. Truth, in its comments, says : " The 
report states that a similar invitation to the imbeciles was accepted. No 
doubt the manager of the theatre will admit under this head the thirty- 
two Bumbles responsible for depriving the children of an afternoon's 
innocent amusement." 

Oh ! by the way ! I must not forget that before the Bristol panto- 
mime company dispersed, they indulged in football at the Rovers' 

178 



The Bristol Stage 



ground. The result was £^2^ towards extinguishing the Infirmary debt. 
I never heard what the " Guardians " thought of that ! 

On February 8th, 1904, Miss Mary Moore presented " Mrs. Gorringe's 
Necklace." " A Chinese Honeymoon," on April 4th, and during the 
week commencing May 2nd Mr. E. S. Willard with his intense impersona- 
tion, " The Cardinal," and Barrie's delightful comedy, " The Professor's 
Love Story," drew large and admiring audiences. These constituted this 
excellent actor's last appearances in Bristol. 

Miss Ada Reeve brought " Winnie Brooke, Widow," and for Whitsun- 
tide Mr. Charles Frohman sent " Sherlock Holmes," with Mr. Julian 
Royce in the name part, whilst on June 6th Henry Irving, accompanied 
by Miss Mabel Hackney and Mr. Gerald Laurence, commenced a week's 
performance, presenting " Waterloo " and " The Bells," " Merchant of 
Venice," "Louis XI," and " Becket." When the distinguished actor 
visited our city in March, 1867, a complimentary luncheon had been 
given him at the Liberal Club, under the presidency of Mr. E<-G. Clarke, 
and to mark the continued appreciation of Sir Henry's transcendent stage 
abilities, which was entertained in the home of his youthful days, a similar 
function was arranged to take place at the Royal Hotel on June loth, and 
here, with Mr. Goodenough Taylor in the chair and Mr. George E, 
Davies in the vice-chair. Sir Henry Irving was surrounded by an assembly 
of admirers whose presence tested the capacity of the banquet hall to its 
utmost limit, very many would-be participators being unable to secure 
tickets. Amongst those present were the High Sheriff of Bristol and Mrs. 
Greville Edwards, the Bishop of Clifton, the Master of the Society of 
Merchant Venturers and Mrs. Allan McArthur, Rev. H. J. Wilkins, M.A., 
and, needless to state, a very extensive contingent of those associated 
with the drama and its companion arts. 

At this function Sir Henry was seated in the handsome chair which 
had been provided for the Victorian Prince Consort upon the occasion in 
1843 of his visiting the city for the purpose of christening the s.s. Great 
Britain, the leviathan of the period which had been designed by J. K. 
Brunei, and at a cost of j^ioo,ooo built by the Patterson Bros, at Bristol. 
Long in the possession of Mr. Hugh Conway (author of " Called Back "), 
it had been bequeathed by him to Mrs. Villiers, and by that lady kindly 
lent for this auspicious occasion. Amongst others present at that his- 
toric launch was Sir Henry Irving, his father, then resident at the top of 
Picton Street, having taken him, at the age of five years, to witness that 
event which all Bristol had turned out to be present at. 

The menu and toast list provided at the Royal Hotel luncheon was, in 
more ways than one, a work of art, its title page representing Sir Henry 
Irving in one of the last and most striking situations of Becket, " I go 
to meet my King," whilst the following graceful lines appearing within 
its pages were from the well-known pen of our fellow-citizen poet, Mr. 
F, E. Weatherley :— 

179 



The Bristol Stage 



" Let other hands the laurel bring 

To crown thee on the stage. 
Let other lips thy homage sing, 

First actor of the age ! 
We bring a flower that will outlive 

The summer and the snow, 
Rosemary — for remembrance. 

That will not let thee go I " 

During the period devoted to the repast a selected orchestra, under the 
direction of Mr. Fred Chapman, deputy- conductor at the Prince's (Mr. 
George Chapman being seated at the festive board), assisted digestion 
with some delightful music, and in the course of post-prandial pro- 
ceedings Mrs. Villiers recited a three scenes poem, penned for the occasion 
by Pattie E. Varnam Coggan, of Somerton, Mrs. VUliers, it may be 
remembered, took part vnth. Mr. Sims Reeves in light opera on his 
appearance at the Prince's in 1869, but may possibly be more readily 
recognized as Miss Ada Jackson, a favourite vocalist of the Clifton concert 
platform, her elder sister. Miss Jane Jackson, being even better known as 
an accomplished ■pianiste and as the bride at his first marriage of Mr. 
Roekel, the composer. 

Speeches were not many, but, as Jacky says in Charles Reade's " Never 
too Late to Mend," " a good deal wdse," the chairman proposing the 
toast of Our Guest, Sir Henry Irving responding in a graceful and cul- 
tured strain, the vice-chairman giving the Drama, and Mr. James 
Macready Chute making reply. 

The spring season at the Prince's terminated with " A Marriage of 
Convenience," Mr. F. R. Benson and his company giving, at a matinee, 
the Orestean trilogy of " Aeschylus," which our old friends, the panto- 
mime knock-abouts, might have regarded as very nearly approaching 
" the class'cal." 

For Mr. Chute's benefit, on July 4th, Miss Haidee Gunn appeared as 
" King Rene's Daughter " and Mr. Arthur Holmes-Gore in " Just Like 
CaUaghan." 

July 15th welcomed Mme. Sarah Bernhardt in "La Dame aux 
Camelias," the prices of admission being : stalls, 12/6 ; dress circle and 
fauteuils, 10/6 ; balcony, j /6 ; upper circle, 5/- and 4/- ; pit, 2/6 ; 
gallery, l/- ; private boxes, three and two guineas. 

The autumn season was inaugurated by " Sweet and Twenty," Messrs. 
George Miller and Lionel Glenister being to the fore, and next came 
Henry Arthur Jones' comedy, " Whitewashing Julia," with one of the 
Bristol stage's children. Miss Kate Bishop, she being accompanied by her 
distinguished daughter. Miss Marie Lohr. 

Miss Louie Freear preceded Miss Ellen Terry, supported in repertoire 
by Miss Audrey Campbell and Rutin Britton, Messrs. Alfred Bucklaw, 
John Willes, Matheson Lang, Harcourt WilUams and others, 

180 



The Bristol Stage 



"The Money Makers," having amongst its exponents Miss Muriel 
Ashwynne and Miss Mary Griffiths in their original parts, with Miss 
Florence Terry and Mr. Allen Thomas also in the cast, was the following 
attraction, and proved itself a delightfully bright one. 

Next came Mr. Forbes Robertson and Miss Getrude EUiott in " Mice 
and Men " and " The Light that Failed," and on October 3rd Mr. and 
Mrs. Kendal, producing for the first time in Bristol " Dick Hope " — not 
the pick of their repertoire by any means. 

Mr. Tree's company, representing " The Darling of the Gods," was 
quite a powerful one, embracing as it did Misses Lilian StaflFord, Augusta 
Haviland, Lorraine Stevens, Sybil Glynn and Isma Foldi, Messrs. G. W. 
Anson, Alexandra Calvert, Huntley Carter, Lang, Kennerley Jones, Ralph 
Hutton, Robert Gray, etc. A week with Benson's company followed, 
and then came Miss Stella Gaspelle and Eric Thorne in " Amorelle," 
Tuesday giving opportunity for a complimentary benefit matinee to Mr. 
Fred. Chapman, whose health had given way, and vacating his many 
years' seat in the orchestra, he was following that gifted contingent with 
which the Prince's Theatre had favoured Australia, amongst whom, I 
remember, were Mr. George Rignold, Mr. and Mrs. George Gordon 
(Miss Marion Jones), Mr. W. H. and Miss Minnie Harford, and Mr. 
E. W. Coleman, the three last-named gentlemen being of our most 
successful comic actors. 

The musical play, " The Cingalee," was introduced here in November, 
Miss Florence Smithson and Mr. Frank Danby being amongst its ex- 
ponents. Miss Lena Ashwell following with " Marguerite " and " Mrs. 
Dane's Defence " ; after which was one of the most deUghtful engagements 
of the season. Miss Evie Greene, Miss Adrienne Augarde, Mr. Courtice 
Pounds and Mr. Holbrook BHnn taking part in Ivan Caryll's charming 
light opera, " The Duchess of Danzic." 

Miss Julia Neilson and Mr. Fred Terry in " Sunday " were followed 
by " Little Mary " company. The 1904-5 pantomime was entitled 
'' The Sleeping Beauty," written by Mr. J. Hickory Wood, whose bap- 
tismal name, by-the-by, did not contain the " Hickory " — that was a sug- 
gestion of his wife, whilst searching for a distinctive fore-name. Lyrics 
wer'j by Mr. J. Dudley Smith, scenery by Messrs. George Jackson, Ernest 
Howard and E. H. Ryan, the company consisting of Misses Zena Dare, 
Maud Darling, Anita Penrose and Lil Hawthorne, with Messrs. David 
Miller, Charles Arnold and George Miller. Before the Bristol panto- 
mime companies dispersed, there was again a dramatic and licensed 
victuallers carnival at the Rovers' football field, which realized the hand- 
some sum of ;^225 towards extinguiehing the debt existing upon the 
Royal Infirmary. 

During its run, however, there had been three matinees with " Alice 
in Wonderland," Mr. Arthur Bouchier and Miss Violet Vanbrugh had 
appeared in the " Walls of Jericho " (a fine play), Mrs. Langtry and 

181 



The Bristol Stage 



Leonard Boyne in " Mrs. Bering's Divorce," and Mr. George Alexander 
with Miss Lilian Braithwaite, brought a novel programme, of w^hich the 
" Flower o' the Rose " was the chief item. 

Israel Zangwill's comedy, " Merely Mary Ann," was the next novelty, 
and in this Mr. George Belmore and Miss AUce Esden awoke old memories, 
" The Duke of Killicrankie " follovdng ; whilst at Easter Mr. Martin 
Harvey produced the " Breed of the Treshams " and also essayed 
" Hamlet." " Beauty and the Barge " brought Mr. Blake Adams and 
also Miss Mary Griffiths, and the second edition of " The Orchid," Mr. 
George Gregory and Mr. E. W. Coleman. There was a matinee, with 
Madame Sarah Bernhardt in " La Sorciere," Mr. Chute wdnding up the 
season on June 24th, under the customary patronage, and giving his 
audience " Who's Who," with Miss Maud Darling, Miss Eva Chapman 
and Messrs. George Miller, Stanley Cooke and Lionel Victor, this being 
followed by Mr. Brandon Thomas in a recitation, and concluding vdth 
his wonderfully successful comedy, " Charley's Aunt." 

For the funds of St. Augustine schools Mr. Arthur Holmes-Gore on 
July 1 8th gave a novel performance, consisting of an amusing episode 
entitled " The Fatal Stocking." It contained two characters only, these 
being represented by Miss Lillian Rogers and himself. The other item 
was a playlet from his own pen, entitled " In the Arena," and in this he 
was supported by his daughter, who was making her debut. 

Early in the autumn season a theatrical novelty in " A Trip to the 
Highlands " brought Miss Isa Bowman and Mr. Harry Fischer, and in 
September a rattUng musical comedy, " The Prince of Pilsen," in which 
Mr. John Humphries and Mr. William Pringle kept the audience in a 
roar of laughter. 

Ellen Terry followed, appearing in a comedy by J. M. Barrie, written 
for her use and entitled, " AUce, Sit by the Fire," the following attraction 
being a pantomime trifle also written by Mr. Barrie and entitled, 
" Pantaloon." This, however, required some memory of the harle- 
quinade pantomimes to be entirely appreciated, either in its plot or 
methods, but to such amongst the audience as were thus posted, it 
appealed as a dramatic gem. Columbine was Miss Pauline Chase ; 
Harlequin, Hubert Willis ; Clovm, Lichfield Owen ; Pantaloon, A. S. 
Homewood ; and the child. Miss Geraldine Wilson. 

Mr. John Hare, after an absence of thirteen years, was welcomed in 
some of his long-time favourite parts. He also produced " Julius 
Sterne," a play by Sydney Grundy, and further Eccles in " Caste," in 
which comedy he had been the original Sam Gerridge. Personally, I 
disliked the change. Some time subsequently I saw " Caste," vdth John 
Hare as Eccles, on a film, and I wondered whether, could Tom Robertson 
also see it, he would recognize his play or approve the new finale. Evi- 
dently papa Eccles had not retired " to Jersey, where spirits are cheap," 
in the laudable attempt to " drink himself to death in a twelvemonth," 

182 



The Bristol Stage 



for he was standing at the side of a cot and nursing Hester's baby. Some- 
how the picture appeared incomplete, for Sam Gerridge and the Marquise 
should have been bending over in appreciation, or executing a fas de deux 
at the back of the scene, whilst Polly and Hawtree indulged in a mild 
flirtation, 

Mr. Tree's production of " The Tempest " came next, revealing in 
Mr. G. W. Anson a fine exponent of the character of Caliban. Miss 
Marie Studholme in " Lady Madcap " followed. 

" Mother Goose," with Wilkie Bard, Edward Lewis, Marriott Edgar, 
Bros. Grifiiths, Rich and Rich, and Fred Conquest, the last of whom 
made a pubUc conquest as a marvellously clever Goose, had also an excel- 
lent troupe of lady artistes in Misses Lily Morris, Nina Wood and Happy 
Fanny Fields. Large audiences assembled at each representation, these 
continuing until the evening of March 17th, 1906, no less than ninety- 
seven performances having been given. 

In February a special matinee on behalf of Sir George White's ^^50,000 
Bristol Royal Infirmary scheme, and, as the result had been enabled to 
send Sir George a cheque for £,'^2j i6s. 2d. 

Mr. Bouchier and Miss Violet Vanburgh had given a matinee with 
" Brother Officers " ; and Mr. Charles Wyndham, having in his company 
Miss Mary Moore and Marion Terry, being seen at another in " Captain 
Drew on Leave," 

Mr. Forbes Robertson next, again appearing in " Mice and Men " (a 
great performance), and also in a new play by Madeliene Lucette Ryley, 
entitled " Mrs. Grundy " ; Mr. Martin Harvey followed with " After 
All," the subject of which was suggested by " Eugene Aram," the next 
attraction being the " Spring Chicken," in which appeared Misses Irene 
Verona, Gertrude Gillian, Nellie Lonnen and Gertrude Glyn, Messrs. 
L. W. Harris, Nelson Keys, Duncan Kaye and George Gregory. 

" Sergeant Brue " was the Easter attraction, this giving way to a semi- 
local production of " Romeo and Juliet," the chief parts being in the 
hands of Miss Haidee Gunn and Mr. Rosner. 

MR. CHARLES ARNOLD.— Our fellow-citizen in this production 
filled the humble role of Montague — his name did not appear in the cast, 
the part being undertaken at the eleventh hour owing to the non-arrival 
of an actor. This was Mr. Arnold's last appearance upon the Bristol 
stage, the boards of which he had trodden since the '6o's. 

A conscientious actor at all times, he held the especial regard of Mr. 
Barry SuUivan, Mr. W. H. Vernon, and the Rignolds. 

Previous to his joining Mr. Chute's company he was engaged as a law- 
writer, and up to the end of his life wrote absolutely hke " copper-plate." 
Towards the close of his histrionic career Mr. Arnold suffered severely 
from a weak heart, and retired to Southend-on-Sea, where he expired 
July 2nd, 1917. 

183 



The Bristol Stage 



Mr. R. C. Carton's three-act farce, " Public Opinion," scarcely caught 
that of Bristol in its most liberal vein, and the powerful play, " Leah 
Kleschna," met with more favourable results. 

Mr. Lewis Waller with Miss Evelyn Millard, and in the company Mr. 
Frank Danby, experienced a week of enthusiasm whilst performing 
" Brigadier Gerard," the part fitting him like a glove. He also gave a 
fine rendering of a monologue play by Henry Hamilton, " Fortune's 
Fool." Mr. George Graves appeared in the " Little Michus," whilst in 
the " White Chrysanthemum " Messrs. W. H. Rawlins and Horace Mills, 
this preceding his " House in Order," in the cast of which was Mr. A. 
Alexander, another of Bristol's old-time stock company. 

Carl Rosa Opera Company, with Mesdames Doris Woodhall, Elizabeth 
Burgess, Grace NicoU and Ina Hill, Messrs. Edward Davies, Julius 
Walther, Arthur Winkworth and DiUon Shallard, was followed by Tree's 
production of " Oliver Twist," Misses Maudie Ray (Oliver), Marie Polini, 
Elsie Carew, Messrs. William Mackintosh (Fagan), Cecil A. CoUins, Tom 
Macfarlane and Max Montesole being chiefs in the powerful cast. 

Mr. Hayden Coffin and Miss Isabel Jay in the " Girl Behind the 
Counter," followed by Mr. James Welch in " When Knights were Bold " 
— which charmed by reason of its great originality and his fine interpreta- 
tion — and next Miss Mabel Love in the " Freedom of Suzanne," com- 
pleted what struck me as a splendidly booked autumn season of introduc- 
tions to our city, but I think that about this period it probably would 
have been difficult for the most favoured theatrical centre to have sur- 
passed the Prince's in a season's attractions. 

" Humpty Dumpty," 1906-7, excellent amongst recent productions, 
and achieved success. To Mr. Fred Conquest I award the palm, and, 
as comparisons are odious, I will simply say that his performance in the 
title role was as finished and attractive as had been his clever performance 
as the goose. Mr. Bert Gilbert, Mr. Horace Mills and " Carlton " were 
seen to advantage, the Griffiths Bros., posing as a lion and not a Jerusalem, 
as was their wont, were intensely humorous. Miss Sybil Arundale and 
Miss Maud Darling both became exceptional favourites during the run 
of the piece, which obtained a distinctly local flavour from the inclusion 
of Miss OUve CreUin, daughter of Mr. Harry Crellin and his wife, Miss 
Mary Ellen White, as Prince Spritely, and of Miss Winnie Volt, daughter 
of Mr. T. Volt and his better half. Miss NeUie Bouverie, as the Princess. 
Mr. Cyril Thompson was a fine Demon and Miss Hebe Bliss an excellent 
Fairy Queen. 

Bristol playgoers had by this time quite appreciated the convenience of 
the early queue at the theatre entrance, but to some of the excursionists 
who visited pantomime its regulations were not so familiar. Two 
Cardiffians, bent upon securing good seats, took their places at the end of 
the queue, which at an early hour had extended some distance down 
Park Street Avenue, and gradually, as the earher arrivals entered the 

184 



The Bristol Stage 



theatre, the two advanced until they were opposite the doors of the 
hotel. It was a rather unpleasant evening, so they decided to have 
" Just one " before taking their seats. They were but a minute or so 
gone, and on returning essayed to take up their old position in the pro- 
cession, but learnt to their dismay that they must conform with the 
regulation, and proceed to the rearmost rank. Ultimately they found 
themselves at the theatre doors, but only to be confronted with the 
ominous announcement, " House Full ! " 

The acting-manager, who chanced to be standing on the steps, heard 
them bewail their fate in having come from Cardiff only to meet with 
bitter disappointment. " We took our tickets over there a week ago, so 
as to be safe," he was told. " You did ; let me see them. Yes, that's 
all right. Balcony 41 and 42. Go right in ; your seats are patiently 
awaiting you." And such they found was indeed the case and that their 
half-hour in the queue and drizzling rain had been entirely unnecessary. 

Miss Ada Blanche followed the pantomine with "What the Butler 
Saw," then came the " Dairymaids," the " Blue Moon," and then " San 
Toy," with Horace Mills, Miss Olive Crellin as Dudley, and Miss Hebe 
Bliss in the cast. 

The production of " Peter Pan " proved a most successful venture, its 
twelve evening and four morning performances attracting ever-increasing 
audiences. Miss Zena Dare was Peter Pan ; Miss Ela May, Wendy ; 
Liza, Miss Mabel Lamont ; Nana, Mr. George Lupino ; Starkey, Mr. 
Stratton Mills ; Smee, Mr. G. W. Anson ; whilst Mr. DarUng and the 
pirate Hook were both represented by that fine actor, Mr. Lionel 
Mackinder. Take it all round, I have never seen Barrie's whimsical play 
more satisfactorily represented. Lionel Mackinder ! He was seen later 
in the year in " Our Miss Gibbs," and in the spring of 1908 " The Girls 
of Gottenberg," but neither earlier nor later in a character in which he 
so revelled as in that of Captain Hook. I can see him now, the personifi- 
cation of a boy's ideal pirate, standing with his back to the ship's mast, 
puffing vigorously at his pipe, and from his nostrils emitting veritable 
clouds of smoke. When in 1914 the call to arms found response in such 
unexpected quarters, there was no Britisher more ready to fight than he. 
Dyeing his moustache, although over military age, he " joined up." It 
was whilst cheering his comrades in the trenches by singing some of their 
favourite songs that he fell victim to the bullet of a Hun sniper, which 
took him in the throat. Of the 250 British actors to whom, in unveihng 
the memorial tablet in the vestibule of Drury Lane Theatre, in February, 
1919, the Bishop of London paid handsome tribute, none had been more 
ready, and few earUer in voluntarily risking the supreme sacrifice for the 
Empire and for civihzation than had Lionel Mackinder. 

Mr. Arthur Holmes-Gore — another excellent actor victim of the brutal 
war — was next seen in "A Message from Mars," and this (May i8th, 
/907), I am disposed to think, was his last appearance here, and on the 

IBs 



The Bristol Stage 



Friday of his engagement Madame Hading and her company appeared 
in " Frou-Frou." 

Mr. Seymour Hicks as " Scrooge," supported by Miss Zena Dare, 
closed the spring season, the theatre being reopened on Bank Holiday 
(August 5th) with " Amasis," Miss Winifred O'Connor, Messrs. Rutland 
Barrington and Lauri de Frece taking part, Mr. Leonard Boyne as 
" Raffles," " John Gladye's Honour," and next Mr. H. B. Irving, with 
Miss Dorothy Baird, in a round of his father's successes. 

" Peter's Mother " was succeeded by Mr. Lewis Waller, with whom 
was Mr. Shiel Barry, in " Robin Hood," and next by Mr. Forbes Robert- 
son in " Caesar and Cleopatra," that delightful comedy, " Mice and Men," 
" The Light that Failed," and " Hamlet." 

Miss Evie Greene was seen in " The Lady Dandies," whilst December 
2nd introduced us to G. B. S.'s dramatic works, " You Never Can Tell " 
and " John Bull's Other Island," both proving most attractive fare. 
Miss Kate Cutler in " AU-of-a-sudden-Peggy," and the customary 
amateur night, brought us to " Jack and Jill," a delightful pantomime 
made glorious by Misses Lily Morris, Maude Aston and Mabel Russell, 
Messrs. Tom E. Murray, George Miller, Nipper Lane, Fred AUandale, 
and H. Lupino. 

Mr. Arthur Bouchier and Miss Violet Vanburgh in " Simple Simon," 
Mr. Tree in " Trilby," Mr. Charles Hawtrey in " Dear Old Charlie," 
Mr. Cyril Maude, with whom were the Misses Winifred and Pollie Emery 
and Madge Titheradge, in " Fido," and Mr. Arthur Bourchier again, but 
accompanied on this occasion by Miss Marie Lohr, in " Her Father," 
gave evidence, by reason of the free patronage accorded each, how popular 
the flying matinee had become, and neither was the pantomime less 
successful than the " fliers," drawing as it did crowded audiences until 
March 14th, 1908. 

" The Girls of Gottenberg," finely cast, with Misses Dolly Castles and 
Coralie Blythe, Messrs. Fred Payne, George Gregory and Lionel Mackin- 
der, certainly kept the ball of laughter vein attraction rolling in fine style, 
whilst on March 23rd came Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, appearing in a new 
play, " The Whirlpool," a piece I liked very much. London was not, 
however, destined to judge of its merits, for even as this was the last visit 
of these accomplished actors to Mrs. Kendal's native city, so also did it 
mark their practical retirement from the stage. 

MR. W. H. KENDAL — or, to give him his correct name, William 
Hunter Grimston — was the son of an artist, and, although born in London, 
we of Bristol, as by his marriage association, have come to look upon him 
as of our own. Educated for the musical profession, he was more de- 
sirous of following his father's artistic views, and some of his sketches 
being seen by the manager of the Soho theatre (now the Royalty), that 
worthy granted young Grimston the free run of the house, both before 

186 



The Bristol Stage 



and behind the curtain. It was at that theatre that on April 6th, 1861, 
in the name of " Kendal," the young man made his first appearance on 
the ; age, the play being entitled, " A Life's Revenge." Later, Mr. 
Kendal migrated to a minor theatre at Birmingham and subsequently to 
the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, where for four years he remained a member 
of the stock company, playing parts ranging from pantomime demon to 
Shakespearean lead. Charles Matthews, who met him there, recom- 
mended him to Buckstone, whereupon he was engaged as a member of 
the Haymarket Company, there meeting with " Our Madge " — I should 
say, Miss Madge Robertson — and in 1869 they were married. Kendal 
was a delightful man, and in the height of his wife's and his own popu- 
larity had no particle of " side " about him. Indeed, as to his own 
merits he was especially modest, and tradition has it that when cast for 
a leading part at Buckstone's fashionable theatre, he said to Mrs. Kendal, 
" But I can't really act," the lady making reply, " Don't you worry about 
that. /'// act ; you look handsome," and, by Jove ! both could well play 
their respective parts. But if Kendal was not a great actor, he was a good 
one, and in " Diplomacy," " London Assurance," " The Whirlpool," etc., 
he was excellent. Born December i6th, 1843, he died November, 1917. 
Mr. Kendal Grimston, his only son, is musical conductor at the Play- 
house, London. 

A Drury Lane production, the " Prodigal Son," followed the Kendals, 
and then was next seen a remarkably satisfactory performance of " Mrs. 
Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch," Mrs. Madge Carr Cook as Mrs. Wiggs, 
Miss Louise Glosson as Miss Hazy, Miss Christine Rayner as Lovey Mary, 
Mr. Frederick Forrest, Tom Viney ; Mr. George Howard, Mr. Stubbins ; 
and Mr. Edward Coventry as Mr. Hunkerdunkus Jones, 

Miss Annie Hughes brought from the Criterion " The Mollusc," and 
Mr. Chas. Frohmann sent " The Hypocrites," Henry Arthur Jones' fine 
play, Mr. Leslie Faber appearing as the Curate and Miss Winifred Arthur 
Jones as Mrs. Wilmore, Mr. William MoUison and Miss Evelyn McNay 
following in Shakespearean plays. " Sherlock Holmes," with Mr. H, 
Hamilton Stewart, followed. 

Mr. Oscar Asche and Miss Lily Brayton, who next made their first 
appearances in Bristol as joint " Stars," were wonderfully successful 
during their week, presented " Taming of the Shrew " and " As you 
Like it." 

With the first visit of " The Merry Widow," " Miss Hook of Holland," 
of " The Gay Gordons," with Miss Zena Dare and Mr. Seymour Hicks in 
the cast of the last-named musical comedy, and Miss Phyllis Dare making her 
earliest appearance at the Prince's, playing Peggy in " The Dairymaids," 
the autumn was kept both merry and bright, other notable and welcome 
engagements being those of Miss Lena Ashwell in " Diana of Dobsons " 
and " Irene Wycherly," Bernard Shaw's " Arms and the Man " and 
" Man and Superman," Mr. Edward Terry in " Sweet Lavender," 

187 



The Bristol Stage 



" Kerry," " Liberty Hall," etc., Mr. George Alexander and Miss Irene 
Vanburgh in that excellent play, " The Thief," and Mr, F. R. Benson 
with a fine staging of " Midsummer Night's Dream." The auti nn of 
1908 had proved exceptionally deserving of a place in one's mem^ty. 

For some time Mr. Benson had entertained a great desire to introduce 
this production to the somewhat select theatrical audience of Great 
Malvern, as with the rendering of the whole of Mendelssohn's associated 
music, he felt that it was one of which he might indeed be proud. So, 
Mr. C. R. Chapman, owing to a week of opera there, being released at 
the Prince's, arrangements were made for him to proceed to Malvern and 
conduct the local orchestra, a combination which Mr. Benson had been 
informed would be available. 

Upon his arrival, Mr. Chapman discovered that the proposed orchestra 
consisted of the eight musicians who performed in the Abbey Gardens, 
and inter alia in the High Street — capable musicians enough in their 
sphere, but not too well constituted as an orchestra for Mr. Benson's 
purpose. However, he determined to make the best of the situation, so, 
having telegraphed to Bristol for a violin, he proceeded to the rehearsal, 
then learning to his consternation that of the local contingent but one 
(the trombone player) either spoke or understood English — all were 
Huns, every man Jack of them. His instructions were, therefore, per- 
force made to Herr Von Trombone, and by him, in guttural Teutonic 
accents, translated to his associates. All went well, though, at the 
performances, and, as indicated by the nightly increasing receipts, 
Malvernites recognized that they had their money's worth. 

On the Friday Herr Trombone waited upon the conductor and de- 
livered in his Anglo-German tongue the following pretty speech : "Mr 
Chapman, sir, I have come on behalf of the band to thank you for your 
great kindness and patience in conducting us. You are a great con- 
ductor, Mr. Chapman, sir, and you love and understand Mendelssohn, 
and how his music should be played. The band tell me to hope, Mr. 
Chapman, sir, that' you will come again to Malvern to conduct the music 
— and please may I send a deputy to-morrow night ! " 



CHAPTER XXII 

A.D. 1908 

" A LADDIN," the pantomime of 1908-9 was a good production. 

J~\. Miss Ouida Macdermott, Miss Deborah, Miss Topsy Sinden, 
Miss Florence Foster and Miss Daisy Wood being associated in the cast 
with Messrs, Bransby Williams, W. H. (Pip) Powell and Arthur Sutcliffe. 
I could not avoid the reflection that Messrs. Bransby Williams and 
Carlton should have exchanged pantomimes. 

" Tom Jones," a lively operatic work, brought Miss Florence Smithson, 
with Messrs. Ambrose Manning, Harry Welshman and George Elton, 
whilst the following week was especially attractive, Miss Lily Brayton and 
Mr. Oscar Asche producing, for the first time on any stage, Stanley 
Weyman's romantic play " Count Hannibal.'^ 

The week commencing March 22nd was devoted to the performance 
of " An EngUshman's Home " — not a great play, but presenting an 
object lesson which, together with the warning voice of Lord Roberts 
(Bobs), should have been more readily taken to heart by such of our 
rulers as had not their spiritual homes in Germany. 

Two veiy charming operas, hitherto unseen in Bristol, occupied the 
following fortnight, "The Dollar Princess," with Miss Kitty Gordon, 
Miss Hilda Moody and Mr. Robert Michaelis, preceding " Havana," with 
Miss Dorothy Ward and Messrs. George Gregory, T. C. Maxwell, Fred 
Allandale and Maitland Marler. • The naval play, " The Flag Lieu- 
tenant," followed hard upon. 

Madame Jane Hading, at a matinee, presented " L'Ave'nturiere." 

Mr. Charles Collette was seen in " My Awful Dad " and " Micawber," 
and with a return visit of Mr. Edward Morris, accompanied by Miss 
Dorothy Vernon in " The Dandy Doctor," the spring season of 1909 
came to an end on June 14th. 

In August the " Waltz Dream," a charming operetta by Oscar Strauss, 
was performed, and, whilst the orchestra consisted solely of lady instru- 
mentalists, Mr. Robert Evett appeared in his original part. Lieutenant 
Niki. 

" The Belle of Brittany," bringing Mr. George Graves, likewise in his 
original part. 

Mr. Forbes Robertson having taken a farewell with " The Passing of 

189 



The Bristol Stage 



the Third Floor Back," further musical weeks ensued. " King of 
Cadonia " preceded the Carl Rosa Company, this being succeeded by 
Miss Ada Reeve in " Butterflies," Miss Ellaline Terris with the " Dashing 
Little Duke " coming next upon the scene, and then " Merrie England," 
with Misses Ethel Quarr and Messrs. Powis Pindar, Rudolph Lewis, 
Reginald Crompton, Ernest Torrence, Edwin Bryan, Charles Childer- 
stone and Walter Passmore, each cast for their original characters. 

Ernest Carpenter's Lyceum Company in Hall Caine and Louis Parker's 
play, " Pete," and next the amateurs appeared in " Our Boys," and " A 
Winning Hazard " brought the season to the Christmas pantomime, 
" Mother Hubbard." This proved an admirably cast annual, Mr. Horace 
Mills being throughout " top hole," Mr. Fred Conquest inimitable as 
dog Fido, Mr. G. H. Elliott captured the public as Chocolate, other 
characters being entrusted to Mr. George Barrett, Miss Sydney Fair- 
brother, Miss Lula Valli, etc. There was no flagging of patronage until 
March 12th, 1910, when the curtain fell for the last time upon Mr. George 
Jackson's charming scene, introducing an electrical floral tableau. 

The year 1910, which comprised forty-eight weeks of theatrical enter- 
prise, was devoted (including pantomime during twenty-seven of them) 
to works of a musical character, the twenty-one remaining weeks at the 
disposal of the dramatic side of the picture contained a liberal sprinkling 
of weU-worn goods, such as " The Private Secretary," Benson and 
Compton Companies, etc. Yet the year was fairly typical of those sur- 
rounding it. 

Mr. George Alexander was here for a matinee with " The Importance 
of being Ernest " in February, and on April 4th was produced " The 
Little Damozel," Mr. Juhan Cross being amongst the performers, whilst 
with Mr. H. R. Benson, who followed, presenting amongst other plays 
" Winter's Tale " and " Julius Caesar," was Mr. John Howell — two old 
Bristol actors. 

Miss Pauline Chase as " Peter Pan " was followed by " Our Miss 
Gibbs," a diverting comic opera in which appeared Misses AHce Pollard 
and Marie Wilson, with Messrs. Lionel Mackinder and George Gregory. 
" Those Terrible Twins " preceded a capital week with Pelissier's 
" Follies," which novel entertainment brought the spring season to an 
end. 

The autumn season of 1910 opened on August ist with "Tantalizing 
Tommy," in the performance of which one saw Miss Nellie Lonnen, 
succeeded by "Mr. Preedy and the Countess," and later came "The 
Speckled Band," with Mr. C. W. Somerset as Dr. Rylett. " Smith " 
(Miss Cicely Stuckey), " The Dawn of To-morrow," in which Mr. C. 
Eric Dering appeared, preceded Mr. Fred Terry and Miss Juhan Neilson 
in the " Scarlet Pimpernel " and " Henry of Navarre." 

The Drury Lane drama, " The Whip," was an unusually popular 
attraction. Subsequently Miss Cicely Hamilton, supported by Miss 

190 



The Bristol Stage 



Olive Terry and Mr. Charles Thursby, performed in the " Pageant of 
Great Women," arranged by Miss Edith Craig (daughter of Miss Ellen 
Terry), and amongst the local talent of " Great Women " were Mesdames 
Young, Dove-Willcox and F. W. Rogers, Miss Winifred Cridland, etc. 

" The House of Temperley," in which Mr. Lionel Glenister played 
Captain Jack, preceded " Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," a story which reads 
well but proves none too welcome as a stage picture. The " Grotesques " 
for a week, the customary amateur night, and then " Jack Horner." 
This was the last pantomime personal to the efforts of Mr. James Macready 
Chute, and, indeed, its production marked the close of his long and 
successful management. How he succeeded in his determination to pro- 
duce this work was little short of a miracle, for, to use a well-known 
simile, he was " weak as a robin," his voice being so feeble as to necessitate 
the assistance of a megaphone in order to convey his instructions from the 
fauteuil which he occupied to Mr. Turner on the stage. 

Representatives of the chief characters were Misses Winifred Ward, 
Esta Stella, Doris Dean and Marion Edwards, Messrs. Albert Le Fre, 
Charles McNaughton, Alfred Wellesley, Fred Allandale and Ernie Mayne, 
the pantomime, which was from the pen of Mr. J. Hickory Wood, being 
in evidence until March 4th, 191 1. 

The Beecham Opera Company, which on March 13th presented 
that brilliantly, delightful work, Offenbach's " Tales of Hoffmann," 
during the earlier nights of the week must have wondered whether Bristol 
had ever heard of either the opera or its composer, for the house was 
practically deserted. The last three nights produced overflowing 
audiences, which could not, however, rectify the early loss, or, incidentally, 
induce Sir Thomas Beecham to retain Bristol in his itinerary. On 27th 
Mr. George Edwardes' Company appeared in " The Quaker Girl," the 
Easter attraction being the thrilling play, " Arsene Lupin," with Miss 
Lilias Earle and Mr. Percy Hutchinson in the chief characters. 

" The Girl in the Train " proved popular and well cast, Misses May 
de Sousa, Coralie Blyth and Louie Pounds sharing honours with Messrs. 
W. TaUeur Andrews, Eric Thorne, George Gregory and W. H. Rawlins. 

Much amusement was derived from the production of " The Brass 
Bottle," after which Miss Mary Dandridge and Mr. Mark Blow were seen 
in " Inconstant George," and then Miss Violet Vanbrugh in her great 
impersonation of Claire Forster, " The Woman in the Case." Miss 
Florence Lloyd, but recently seen here in pantomime, gave a most 
artistic rendering of the difficult part of Margaret Rolfe, and was very 
warmly applauded each evening. 

" Dolly Reforming Herself " was seen at the Prince's for the first time 
on June I2th, the autumn season of 191 1 opening with the comedy, "A 
Single Man," and on August 14th Mr. G. M. PoHni's company returned 
with " The Silver King." There was an interesting episode associated 
with this visit, for whilst the company was due at the Elephant and 

191 



The Bristol Stage 



Castle Theatre, London, on the following Monday, a local strike of 
carters made it appear inevitable that their wardrobe and the scenery of 
the play could not be forwarded. The contracting firm for theatre work, 
and which had brought the goods, protested that if any men were em- 
ployed for the removal, the strikers would certainly overturn the lorries, 
and possibly pitch their contents into the Floating Harbour. 

Poor PoHni, who was in ill health, and unusually low in funds, was 
distracted, having looked to the certainty of the London engagement to 
put him again in clover ; but Mr. Albert Knee, of Knee Bros., came to 
his aid, personally leading the horse of the first of the lorries, and his 
son that of the second. The route was fringed from end to end with the 
picket of the strikers, and as the two employers, and not hired labour, 
wended their way, a respectful touch of the cap from these men gave 
assurance that all was well, and no " carter's union " rule infringed. 
Polini, on reaching London, wrote Mr. Knee a. delightful letter of 
gratitude. 

Here is an amusing anecdote of earlier days, when Mr. PoUni was 
acting-manager for Mr. Wilson Barrett, a position which he held for 
many years, and which brought to him the acting rights of " The Silver 
King." Before going to Mr. Barrett's dressing-room with a return of 
the night's receipts, he was in the habit of putting a caraway, comfit, or 
a small peppermint into his mouth. One night, the business chat being 
at an end, and his acting-manager just opening the door to depart, Mr. 
Wilson Barrett thus recalled him : " I say, Polini, when you come again, 
for heaven sake come smelling of whisky ; I infinitely prefer it to the 
stench of peppermint ! " 

Pinero's " Preserving Panmurfe " followed, the latter preceding Mr. 
Lawjence Irving and Miss Mabel Hackney in " The Unwritten Law." 
Then " The Chocolate Soldier " was first introduced here, also " A 
" Butterfly on the Wheel," Miss Madge Titheradge appearing in the 
latter play. 

Mr. Martin Harvey in " The Lowland Wolf," " Pelleas and MeU- 
sande " and "Hamlet" came next, and a fortnight later Mr. H. B. 
Benson was " The Melancholy Dane ! " This double event threw one's 
mind back to the '6o's, when actors were offering in multitude, whilst plays 
were very few ! Somehow, I was impelled in these post Forbes Robert- 
son days — days of levity, I suppose — to associate the comment of the 
evening newspaper boy on witnessing Shakespeare's masterpiece, and who, 
upon the development of the final episodes, called to his pal, elsewhere 
in the gallery, " What a night for extra specials ! " 

MaeterUnck's "The Blue Bird" was extensively patronized, there 
being some half-a-dozen of the original Haymarket exponents in the case. 
Miss Julia Neilson (Mr. Fred Terry being ill) came, accompanied by Mr. 
Norman McKinnel, in " The Popinjay." 

Mr. Cyril Maude's matinee, with " Dad," was followed by Mr. Tom B. 

192 



The Bristol Stage 



Davis' pantomime, " Jack and the Beanstalk." There was an excellent 
company, including Misses Daisy Wood, Daisy Stratton, and Eleanor 
Wilson, with Messrs. Horace Mills, Edward Cridland, Jay Laurier, the 
Griffiths Bros., etc., the mise en scene, however, was not quite up to 
Prince's form ! 

A matinee, with Mile. Pavlova, the charming danseuse, as was antici- 
pated, filled the theatre in every part. On Shrove Tuesday there was 
another huge assembly at the Prince's, the occasion being a complimen- 
tary benefit to the popular but invalided manager. 

JAMES MACREADY CHUTE.— Born at Bath, July loth, 1856, 
this everywhere popular manager was the fifth son of Mr. J. H. Chute, 
and the last surviving of those who had associated themselves with the 
dramatic world. 

As with his elder brother George, his education was for some time 
entrusted to Dr. Hudson, the well-known principal at Manilla Hall, 
CHfton ; but subsequently, and for several terms, he was a pupil of Dr. 
Alcock, of Lord Weymouth's Grammar School, Warminster. 

His desire was to become a civil engineer, preferably in India. The 
government examination was tackled quite successfully, but by the 
Medical Board his physique was regarded as unequal to the requirements 
of that trying climate. 

Some years he spent in connection with the (then) Bristol and Exetei 
railway, of which Mr. T. W. Walton was general manager. 

Some little time after taking up the reins of theatre management (it 
was during 1881, I think), the strain had told upon his health consider- 
ably, and he was ordered a trip through the Mediterranean district, 
returning to Bristol from which, he felt — to use a popular phrase — as fit 
as a fiddle ! 

In 1886 Mr. Chute married Miss Abigail Hennessy, daughter of Mr. 
Joseph Hennessy, of Clifton, the marriage ceremony at the pro-Cathedral, 
conducted by Monsignor Clarke, being vsdtnessed by a large congregation- 
of friends and well-wishers ; the child of the marriage, a boy, Desmond 
Macready. 

Mr. Chute in 1891 — exactly a quarter of a century subsequent to a 
similar honour being conferred upon his father by brethren of the same 
lodge — was installed W.M. of the Jerusalem Lodge of Freemasons, and 
subsequently invested P.J.G.W. of the Province of Bristol ; whilst in 1907 
he occupied the presidential chair of the Bristol Hibernian Society, it 
becoming the pleasurable duty of the treasurer at the annual banquet, 
held at the Royal Hotel, to announce that the year's subscriptions to 
their deserving fund had created a record for the Society. I still have it 
in my mind that on this occasion the massive — and, indeed, mighty — 
goblet from which we, the assembled diners, whilst voicing " Success to 
the Hibernian Society," quaffed " Veuve Cliquot," was one presented 

193 N 



The Bristol Stage 



to the president's grandfather, and our old-time theatrical manager, Mr. 
William McCready, by the parish of St. Bridget, Dublin, for thus was it 
inscribed. 

In 1903, in order to commemorate the twenty-fifth year of his manage- 
ment, he was presented with a charmingly designed rose-bowl, to the 
purchase of which each and every employee had become an insistent 
contributor. And again, in 1895, when Mrs. Chute had presented her 
lord and master with a son and heir, a similarly spontaneous co-operation 
had provided a suitable souvenir for the little stranger's use some few 
years hence. 

And yet again, upon the celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Chute's silver 
wedding ! Mr. Chute was then, however, in feeble health, and the 
pleasurable, if brief, ceremonial of the previous occasions was omitted. 

He was Hon. Sec. to the Provincial Managers' Association, and their 
regret at his death was evinced in the floral tributes which arrived from 
all parts of the United Kingdom on the occasion of his funeral. 

With Mrs. Chute and their one son — bearing the family name of 
Desmond — born September nth, 1895, surviving him, Mr. Chute's 
death occurred at his residence, Abbeymeade, Tyndall's Park, on 
February 15 th, 1 91 2, the following Wednesday being devoted to his 
interment. The first part of the beautiful burial service was con- 
ducted by Canon Haigh, the Vicar, at St. Paul's Church, CHfton. 

The tomb at Arno's Vale, in which the casket holding his remains was 
laid, was that already containing those of both his parents. 

Mr. John Hart, who had during his friend's illness relieved him of 
many managerial anxieties, continued to assist Mrs. Chute in the manage- 
ment until February 15th, 191 3, when a limited liability company was 
formed, Mrs. James Macready Chute and Mr. John Hart being elected 
joint general managers, Mr. George E. Davies, J.P., chairman, and the 
services of Mr. J. Ellis Miller retained as resident manager and treasurer. 

THE PRINCE'S THEATRE, LTD.— The season opened on March 
4th with " What Every Woman Knows," a week of Ibsen, with a large 
audience of children brought to see " The Doll's House," and next " The 
Count of Luxembourg." The " Witness for the Defence " from St. 
James's preceded the Shaftesbury production " The Mousme," with 
Miss Florence Smithson, Mr. Dan Rolyat and Mr. Alfred H. Majilton 
in their original parts, Mr. Cyril Maude at a matinee introduced 
" Over— and What Then ? " 

A complimentary benefit was given to Mr. F. S. Green, late acting 
manager and treasurer, on his leaving for London, whilst subsequently 
the Bristol Amateur Operatic Society performed " Don " and " Trial by 
Jury " in behalf of the funds of the Gloucestershire Cricket Club. 

Bank Holiday saw " The Fire Screen," later engagements comprising 
" Priscilla Runs Away," " The Girl in the Train," " Fanny's First Play," 

194 



The Bristol Stage 



the cast embracing Mr. A. B. Tapping ; then came " At the Barn," and, 
from Drury Lane, " The Whip," appropriately enough followed by " A 
Member of Tattersalls," Mr. Rutland Barrington in his original character, 
Peter Perks. 

A farewell, by Mr. Forbes Robertson, with " The Light that Failed." 
Then came Mile. Anna Pavlova with full company of Russian dancers. 
" Kismet " preceded " Autumn Manoeuvres," a capital play, finely pre- 
sented, but since " out of bounds," as the public would judge it, after 
our Territorial's splendid efforts, as of " French's contemptible little 
army " ! The play, with admirable scenery by Mr. Alfred Terraine, was 
in the hands of Misses Marie Dainton, Maude Harris, Eileen McCarthy 
and Louie Pounds, with whom were Messrs. Robert Evett, Leonard 
Mackay, Edward Gass, A. Bromley Davenport, Willie Warde, Huntley 
Wright and Lionel Mackinder, this, by the way, being the final occasion 
upon which the last-named was seen by a Bristol audience. 

Mr. Laurence Irving and Miss Mabel Hackney (Mrs. Irving) appeared 
in a round of plays, " The Unwritten Law," " The Lily," and " The 
Barber of Seville " amongst the number. The sad fate of these two 
young and promising actors, who lost their Uves whilst on their home- 
ward voyage, owing to the collision of The Empress of Ireland mail steam- 
ship, on which they were travelling, whilst navigating the river St. Law- 
rence, is greatly to be deplored. 

Mr. Martin Harvey produced " Oedipus Rex," " Milestones," and 
" Bunty Pulls the Strings " followed, and then we saw Mr. Tom B. 
Davis's pantomime, " Dick Whittington and his Cat." 

Miss Dorothy Ward undertook the part of Dick, other characters being 
allotted to Miss Beatrice Collier and Messrs. Jack Hurst, William Pringle, 
Fame and Fortune, etc. The final performance was on March 1st, 1913, 
Miss Ethel Irving having during the previous week appeared at a matinee 
in the " Son and Heir." 

" Everywoman," with Mr. Edward Compton as Nobody, followed the 
pantomime ; then " Doormats," and next " Miss Hook of Holland," suc- 
ceeded by "The Dancing Mistress " and " The Schoolmistress," by Sir 
Arthur Pinero, in which Miss Winifred Emery and Mr. Dion Boucicault 
appeared, was produced at a matinee, as was " Open Windows," with Miss 
Irene Vanburgh and Sir George Alexander. 

"The Younger Generation" was followed by "The Pink Lady," 
Miss Hilda Vining and Mr. Fred Wright filling the more important 
roles. 

On May 3rd an instant success was Secured with Franz Lehar's opera, 
" Gipsy Love," amongst those more particularly responsible for this being 
Miss Blanche TomUn, Miss Avice Kelham, Miss Daisy Burrell and Messrs. 
Leonard Mackay, Ian Colquhoun, Kelso Henderson, and Lauri de Frece. 
" The Glad Eye " and Ibsen's plays followed. 

The theatre closed for the summer vacation on June 21st, 191 3, re- 

19s 



The Bristol Stage 



opening on August 4th with Miss Haidee Gunn and Mr. Frank Royce, 
who introduced to the provinces Sidney Grundy's clever play, " Business 
is Business " and Somerset Maugham's " Penelope," " The Turning 
Point," Mr. Rupert Lister, and " The Great Adventure," with Mr. Shiel 
Barry, son of the famous Gaspard, in " Les Cloches de Corneville," 
Michael Feeney, etc. " A Scrape of the Pen " and " Oh ! oh ! Delphine," 
preceded Sir George Alexander, introducing " Bella Donna," and this 
was the last appearance of the distinguished actor-manager on the Bristol 
stage. 

SIR GEORGE ALEXANDER, although not a Bristolian, could claim 
some interesting associations with the city during his youth and early 
manhood, having for some time been educated by Dr. Benham, a well- 
known schoolmaster of St. Michael's Hill, and with whose son. Dr. William fh^K^^ 
Benham, late chief medical officer at the Bristol County Lunatic Asylum 
— now better known as the Beaufort War Hospital — Sir George main- 
tained friendly relations until his friend's death. Education was con- 
tinued at Clifton College, and from there the distinguished actor had 
many admirers at his performances. Amongst the honours conferred 
upon him by his fellow countrymen was that of (hon.) LL.D. of Bristol 
University. 

Born on June loth, 1858, " Who's Who " states his birthplace to have 
been Reading, and in aU probability that information is correct ; still, I 
think that much of his youth must have been spent in Stroud, as in a chat 
with Mr. George R. Chapman some few years since Sir George related 
how, soon after securing his histrionic popularity, he entertained the 
desire to show Stroud — " My native town," he said — a really representa- 
tive performance of " Hamlet." For this purpose he engaged a company 
calculated to give as perfect a reading of the masterpiece as could be 
desired. Every seat in the hall was filled, but amongst the earliest patrons 
to secure a front row stall was a sports companion of his boyhood — one, 
moreover, who maintained the Zider country's characteristics to the full. 
He occupied the moments prior to the rise of the curtain with details of 
the exploits of " me and Jarge," and through the earlier acts was so 
embarrassing with his constant " braveo Jarge," that he had to be re- 
moved. 

For the first time during the performance Sir George was enabled to 
breathe freely. Presently, however, from the back of the hall came the 
familiar voice, " Braveo, Jarge, it be all right ! Oi be in again." 

Although I never regarded Sir George Alexander as a great actor, he 
was unquestionably a good one, and in " The Importance of being 
Earnest " and " The Prisoner of Zenda " his impersonation could hardly 
be excelled. During the concluding years of his generally fine manage- 
ment he produced a series of plays better suited to the morals of Mayfair 
and St. John's Wood than to Bristol. I was not alone in thinking this, 

196 



The Bristol Stage 



for upon the performance here of " John Glayde's Honour " Mr. Chute 
informed him that he would book no more such pieces. Possibly Sir 
George saw the position in the same light, for his reply was, " There are 
no more." 

Sir George Alexander — Samson being the family name, abandoned upon 
his association with the stage — died March 9th, 191 8. 

" Oh, I Say " was followed by Miss Ellaline Terris and Mr. Seymour 
Hicks in " Broadway Jones." Written by Mr. J. James Hewson, the 
pantomime " Robinson Crusoe " was staged with some telling scenery by 
Messrs, R. C. Oldham and D. G. Hall. This was the first Christmas 
production for which Mrs. James Macready Chute and Mr. John Hart 
assumed the responsibiUty. With Miss Dorothy Craske as Robinson, 
Miss NeUie Taylor as Pollie Hopkins, Bristol's favourite, Mr. W. H. 
Rawlins, the Will Atkins ; the Brothers Haytor, Friday and Saturday ; 
Miss Lilian Pollard, Miss Constance Caley, Messrs. Harry Dent, Fred 
Dark, the Astons and " Pip " Powell in the cast, the Christmas annual 
went bravely, and was welcomed as a pantomime redivivus ! 

There was a flying matinee by Mr. Tom B. Davis's company in " A 
Place in the Sun," Mr. Robert Loraine appearing as Dick Blair, and a 
further matinee by Miss Mary Moore in " Mrs. Gorringe's Necklace," 
the last performance of " Robinson Crusoe " being given on February 
28th, 1914. 

Mr. Robert Courtneidge's Shaftesbury Theatre success, " The Pearl 
Girl," was followed by " Where the Rainbow Ends," three matinee per- 
formances being given during the week, whilst on March 30th " Within 
the Law," a production from the Haymarket, was sent by Sir Herbert 
Tree, its producer, and Mr. Michael Faraday. 

Mr. Henry Arthur Jones' new comedy " Mary Goes First," was 
followed by the musical play, " The Girl who Didn't," which brought 
us face to face with some rare old favourites in Mr. T. W. Volt and Miss 
Nellie Bouverie (Mrs. Volt), the latter being the Sinbad of 1879-80. 

The Moody Manners Opera Company, with whom came Miles. Zelie 
De Lussan and Marian de Kleno, presented quite a novel programme, 
embracing Saint Saen's " Samson and Delilah," Wilhelm Kienzl's " The 
Pious Beggar," Mendelssohn's " Elijah," and Kienzl's " The Dance of 
Death," each of which was seen in Bristol for the first time, and in the 
last-named Miss Fanny Moody made her one appearance during the week. 
Of course, there was an evening with " Carmen," Zelie De Lussan, best 
of all Carmens, in the title part, and with " Faust," Mr. Charles Manners 
being the Mephisto of the occasion. Prices of admission were as usual, 
an opportunity which appealed, especially for the " old favourites " in 
the week's programme. 

In the "Marriage Market," a George Edwardes' production from 
Daly's, Mrs. Victor Jacobi had provided some exceedingly pretty num- 
bers, the cast, generally an efficient one, embracing Miss Nellie Taylor, 

197 



The Bristol Stage 



who filled the chief role, Mariposa Gilroy. Miss Nellie Taylor had not 
long relinquished the part of Polly Hopkins in the pantomime, and met 
with cordial recognition at her appearance. 

" Princess Caprice," a musical work from the Shaftesbury, preceded 
" The Ever Open Door," a drama by George R. Sims and H. H. Herbert, 
which had proved congenial fare at the Aldwych, It was effectively pro- 
duced here, and proved much to the taste of the popular parts of the 
house. 

" Lady Frederick," " All-of-a-Sudden-Peggy," and " The Toymaker 
of Nuremberg," and then Mr. Leonard Boyne appeared as Dr. Lucius 
O'Grady in the Irish comedy, from the pen of Canon Hannay (writing 
under the nom-de-plume of " George A. Birmingham "), " General 
John Regan." 

Cavaliere F. Castellano brought an excellent Grand ItaUan Opera 
Company, and the spring season of 1914 closed on June 20th. 

On August nth, 1914, Mr. Alexander Marsh introduced Sir George 
Alexander's success, " If I were King," which was followed by the farcical 
" Who's the Lady ? " Walter Howard's " Story of the Rosary " coming 
next, and subsequently " The Girl from Utah," with Mr. Horace Mills. 
Mr. Lewis Waller was accompanied by Miss Evelyn D'Alroy for his fare- 
well in " Monsieur Beaucaire," the week witnessing the production by 
them of a new play, " The Other Side of Love." " Grumpy," an 
excellent comedy, came next, and then " Sealed Orders " preceded " A 
Pair of Silk Stockings." In " Eliza Comes to Stay " Miss Eva Moore had 
with her Mr. H. V. Esmond and Mr. E. W. Garden, whilst from Novem- 
ber 1 6th "The Great Adventure," with Shiel Barry, constituted the 
week's programme. 

" The Land of Promise," by W. Somerset Maugham, followed Mr. 
Fred Terry and Miss Julia Neilson in " Sweet Nell of Old Drury " and 
"The Scarlet Pimpernel," whilst "Officer 666," with Mr. Percy 
Hutchison, preceded the pantomime " Humpty Dumpty," written by 
Messrs. Hickory Wood and R. C. Oldham, the latter being responsible 
also for the exceedingly charming scenery. Miss Dorothy Ward and Mr. 
Shann Glenville were the principals, and the popular production held the 
stage until the close of February, matinees being given by Miss Violet 
Vanbrugh and Mr. Arthur Bourchier with " The Double Mystery " and 
of " La Cloitre " by the Belgian players. 



198 



CHAPTER XXIII 



A.D. I915 



MR. H. B. IRVING followed the pantomime with " Searchlights," 
and then came Mrs. Hodgson Burnett's charming play " Little 
Lord Fauntleroy," the clever authoress devoting the whole of her fees to 
the Red Cross Fund. " The Chocolate Soldier " came next upon the scene, 
and then that remarkable play " Mr. Wu," both Miss Hutin Britton and 
Mr. Matheson Lang being seen in their original characters. " The Earl 
and the Girl " gave way to Bernard Shaw's " PygmaHon," the arresting 
expletive in which had led to its immediate reputation now coming from 
the Hps of Miss Dorothy Dix. ■ ' • 

" The Pearl Girl," from the Shaftesbury was followed by " Partners," 
whilst " The Road to Raebury " introduced Mr. Milton Rosmer and Miss 
Irene Rooke, and was followed by the St. James's production, " The Day 
before the Day," not however one of the most successful ventures of Sir 
George Alexander ; but " A Butterfly on the Wheel " was a telling Globe 
production by Lewis WaUer. 

Miss Eva Moore and Mr. H. V. Esmond were seen in " When we were 
Twenty-one," " On Trial " following, and preceding " The Spanish 
Main " with Miss Lily Brayton and Mr. Oscar Asche, whilst Mr, Law- 
rence Brough, with " The Green Flag," followed. " The Angel in the 
House " brought the return of Mr. H. B. Irving, he being accompanied 
by Lady Tree, this being succeeded by a capital comedy by Max Martin- 
dale entitled " Gamblers All." " The Cinema Star " from the Shaftes- 
bury arrived afterwards, and then " Betty," presented by an excellent 
company, " Peg o' my Heart " being billed for November 8th. 

" Find the Woman," by Miss Violet Vanbrugh, Richard Dexter being 
in the hands of Mr. Arthur Bourchier, came next, and was followed by 
" To-night's the Night " from the Gaiety. " The Light Blues," with 
Misses Dorothy Ward, Cicely Courtneidge and Rose Edouin, and Messrs. 
. Shaun, GlenviUe, Edmund Gween, Fred Lewis, etc., scarcely promised 
success for the Shaftesbury, whither it was bound for "production"; but 
" The Man who Stayed at Home," Mr. George Tully playing Christo- 
pher Brent, proved a pronounced success. 

" Goody Two Shoes " was the subject of the pantomime, chief among 
its exponents being Misses Sybil Arundale and Daisy Dormer, with Messrs. 
Lupino, Lane and Horace Mills. The annual ran right merrily until 

199 



The Bristol Stage 



March ist, 1916, a matinee with " Stop Thief " being given during its 
series of performances. 

" Quinneys " preceded " The Marriage Market," Miss Annie Saker 
and Mr. Walter Howard in " The Silver Crucifix," " More," " Tina," 
an Adelphi musical play, represented by Miss Dorothy Ward, together 
with Messrs. George Gregory and Vernon Davidson, whilst Mr. John 
Glendenning closed the season on June 17th with Mr. Edward E. Rose's 
play "The Rosary." 

The reopening was with " A Little Bit of Fluff," followed by " Ye 
Gods," " The Only Girl," from the Apollo, being next on the scene. 
Miss Violet Vanbrugh brought " Mrs. Pomeroy's Reputation," and 
"We Can't be as Bad as all That," and on October 23rd, 1916, " Mr. 
Manhattan " became the attraction, to be succeeded by " The Happy 
Day," wdth Mr. Horace Mills. 

" Kultur at Home," " Hobson's Choice," and " CaroUne," the last- 
named from the New Theatre, preceded " Cinderella," the annual 
pantomime. Mr. R. C. Oldham this year was not only responsible for 
a well-told story, but had provided the lyrics also, had designed the cos- 
tumes, and clothed the work in some charming scenery. Miss Queenie 
Wynne impersonated the heroine, Mr. Jack Pleasants as Muggles, Miss 
Louie Beckman, Prince ; Miss Hilda Eager, Fairy Queen ; and Mr. Dillon^ 
Shallard^erne the Hunter. The work was produced under the stage- 
management of Mr. J. Logan, a Bristol citizen, long associated with His 
Majesty's Theatre and the Coliseum, London. 

Miss Violet Farebrother followed in " Romance " ; next, quite appro- 
priately, came " A Kiss for Cinderella." From Wyndham's we received 
" The Old Country," and on March 29th came " My Lady Frayle," 
with Miss Phyllis le Grand and Mr. Arnold Richardson. The Adelphi 
scream, " High Jinks," brought Miss Dorothy Shale and Mr. Vernon 
Davidson, and was succeeded by a charming representation by Miss Mary 
Merrall and Mr. Franklin Dyall of the play " Daddy-long-legs." 

" The Maid of the Mountains " came from Daly's, and there was an 
acceptable bit of melodrama in " Tiger's Cub," admirably portrayed 
by Miss Elsie Hewitt and Mr. Sam Livesey. " Outcast " followed, 
with Miss Muriel Johnston. 

This was succeeded by " Strings," a pronounced change of programme, 
as was " Kick-in," not a football play, but a moderately good drama, 
with, for Enghsh, a meaningless title, the D'Oyly Carte Company next 
paying their customary visit, and this being the last occasion upon which 
the famihar figure of Mr. Fred Billington was seen in Bristol. He 
appeared as Shadbolt in " Yeomen of the Guard " on the concluding 
evening, and shortly afterwards died suddenly. 

Mr. Matheson Lang, in " Under Cover," preceded " The Aristocrat," 
from St. James's, with Miss Genevieve Ward in her original part. Sir 
George Alexander had purposed touring also in this, but his condition of 

200 



The Bristol Stage 



health had made it obvious to those about him that he would never act 
again. This gave rise to an awlovard situation, for the Duchess de 
Autevielle, the character represented hy Miss Ward, is presumedly 
guillotined at the conclusion of the second act, and at the St. James's it 
had been Miss Ward's custom to here bow^ her acknowledgments and so 
retire from the scene, leaving Sir George, who finished the play, to do 
duty upon the final fall of the curtain. I was engaged in a chat with the 
lady during the third act, assuming that her labours of the evening were 
at an end, when she observed " I must now get ready for the ghost." 
Probably I looked my want of comprehension, as she continued, " Some- 
body must take the call at the end of the play, and Sir George not being 
w^ith us, I have to do so ; being dead, however, I regard the appearance as 
that of my ghost." 

Quite an amusing play was " Anthony in Wonderland," which fol- 
lowed, Miss AUce Russon and Mr. Charles Troode being effective in their 
respective parts. " What a Catch " and " Young England " preceded the 
celebration of 

THE PRINCE'S JUBILEE.— To have been strictly in accordance 
with the calendar, this event should have been allocated to October 14th, 
but the programme of November 5 th offered a far more suitable perform- 
ance for such an occasion. The play was " Rosemary," a charming idyll, 
from the joint pens of Mr. Louis N. Parker and Murray Carson, and 
which had made a great impression when the latter, appearing as Sir 
Jasper Thorndyke, first brought it to Bristol in 1896. Besides being a 
really good actor, Mr. Murray Carson was a brave Briton, for like Lionel 
Mackinder, when the war broke out he camouflaged his fifty years and 
joined up. It was not his fate to die upon the field of battle, but it was 
v/hilst yet upon military duty, when commanding a detachment at Can- 
terbury camp. But to return to his delightful play ! Sir Charles Wynd- 
ham and Miss Mary Moore appeared in it at the Prince's, in 1903, and it 
• was then voiced as tlie pick of the basket of their repertoire. Sir Jasper 
on this (Jubilee) occasion was in the hands of Mr. Martin Harvey. 

There was a brief speech, appropriate to the occasion, from the Rt. 
Wor. the Lord Mayor, and to signalize the event each of the Prince's 
Theatre employees was in receipt of a douceur in the shape of an additional 
week's salary. They, on the other hand, had arranged a little surprise 
for Mrs. Chute, and upon the fall of the curtain on Saturday night the 
whole of those interested, from joint managing director downwards, were 
assembled upon the stage, and the managing directress, all unsuspecting, 
being lured to the rendezvous, after a few felicitous words from Mr. J. 
Ellis Miller, received at his hands the staff's " surprise packet " — a very 
handsome silver timepiece, together with a morocco-bound volume con- 
taining a memento address, as also the autograph signatures of the par- 
ticipators in this project. 

201 



The Bristol Stage 



The Prince's Theatre throughout the years of war extended a hearty 
welcome to the wounded of our brave defenders, , the proceeds of a Cin- 
derella matinee, February 20th, 1917, realizing £161 y. 6d. towards the 
Lord Kitchener Memorial Fund ; " Oh, I See," an amateur effort, capi- 
tally performed by members of the A.S.C. Tractor Department, Avon- 
mouth, brought ;^I44 Js. for the Inquiry Bureau Fund, and a M(ade) 
0(ur) iV(ation) 5(afe) matinee of "Old King Cole," January 29th, 1918, 
a further j^8 3 16s. id. for the same object ; whilst an amateur pantomime, 
" Aladdin," performed on February 20th by the " Jolly Waterman 
Concert Party," from the White City, realized j[,iy3 12s. iid. for the 
C.C. Fund of the Bristol T. & M. ; whilst the Jubilee celebration contri- 
buted to King George's Fund for Sailors, and in December, ;^200 to those 
of the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance Societies. 

In the September of 191 4, a steady stream of invalided soldiers having 
set in towards the Bristol War Hospitals, the Inquiry Bureau, a committee 
of voluntary workers, came into existence. Mr. Manny Epstein, the 
indefatigable organizer of the entertaining department, had been able 
to arrange invites for no less than 12,000 wounded heroes to visit the 
Prince's Theatre, whilst nearly 600 professional entertainments for the 
benefit of those as yet unable to leave their beds were given at the hos- 
pitals ! 

A most interesting feature of the Jubilee functions was the exceptional 
number of histrionic faces famiUar in by-gone years which one encoun- 
tered once more in our midst. In the recent production of " Cinderella " 
was Mr. J. F. McArdle, seen in " Sinbad " in 1898 ; Mr. E. W. Colman, 
who brought "What a Catch," was in " Cinderella " in 1883 ; Mr. E. 
Story Gofton, " Old King Cole," produced " Jack and the Beanstalk " 
in 1880, and was the Wolf of " Red Riding Hood " in 1885 ; Mr. T. W. 
Thompson and Mr. FredHaylor were in " Cinderella " in 1895, and Mr. 
George Miller, in " Old King Cole," played in " The Sleeping Beauty " 
1904, and in " Jack and Gill " 1907. With " Merrie England " came 
Mr. Horace Lingard, a Bristolian in Mr. Chute's Theatre Royal Company 
in 1858 ; in the " Aristocrat " was Miss Genevieve Ward, well on in her 
eighty-first year. With a vivacity which readily recalled the charm of 
her earlier years. Miss Ellen Terry, within a couple of months of her 
seventieth year, was performing at the Hippodrome. Moreover, Mrs. 
Bishop-Lohr — Miss Kate Bishop of the Theatre Royal Company in 1 860, 
but now retired from her distinguished stage career, favoured the Prince's 
auditorium, as did Miss Mary E. Griffiths, who took part in the perform- 
ance of the " Tempest " at the opening of the Park Row Theatre in 1867. 

" The Bing Boys are Here " was followed by " Seven Days' Leave," 
whilst " London Pride " preceded the pantomime " Old King Cole " 
above referred to. Miss Beatrice Allen proved a delightful Prince Ardent, 
the graceful dancing of Miss Renee Reel, the Princess, was most accept- 
able, and the great and humorous ability of both Mr. Arnold Richardson 

202 



The Bristol Stage 



and Mr. George Miller would have carried a much heavier burden to 
success. 

Very early in the year 191 8 came a special matinee " Mens," or, as the 
management aptly announced it, " M(ade) 0(ur) iV(ation) S(afe), Star " 
day, and of this " star " celebration I believe Bristol can claim the initiative. 
The day, a full one, with pageant of the heroes of Britain's " contemptible 
little army," many yet in khaki, some returned to civilian life, others 
(alas !) still dependent upon conveyances, proceeding through the leading 
thoroughfares, cheered by the thousands who had taken no part in the 
historic triumphs. To the Cathedral, for thanksgiving, then the Prince's, 
tea at the Art Gallery, and Hippodrome to wind up with. Seven hundred 
of the brave fellows gave unstinted applause to " Old King Cole," as did 
others of the vast audience to them. 

The spring season 1918 opened with " Toto," in which Miss Doris Lee 
and Mr. Louis Bradfield were seen ; " Wild Heather," a romantic play, 
with Miss Violet Graham and Charles Barrett in the leading parts, fol- 
lowed. " The Boy " was a musical comedy on unfamiUar lines, and 
popular Mr. Fred Terry, with whom was Miss Violet Farebrother, next 
playing an exceedingly successful week with " Sweet Nell of Old Drury " 
and the " Scarlet Pimpernel." " Carminetta " was followed by " Theo- 
dore & Co.," " A Southern Maid," a work of exceptional charm, finely 
represented and admirably produced, coming next. Of the principals 
engaged in this light opera, besides Miss Gracie Sinclaire and Messrs. John 
Doran, Tom A. Shale and William Spray was Miss Jessie Lonnen, who by 
descent we claim as of our own, she being the daughter of Mrs. E. J. 
Lonnen, the Emmie Inman who delighted her fellow-citizens and others 
around and about 1880. 

The following week witnessed the performance, for the first time on 
any stage, of " Money for Nothing ! " a camouflage title for " The Money 
Makers," presented i-psissima verba at the Prince's in 1904. 

" The Better 'Ole," with a remarkably convincing impersonation of 
" Old Bill " by Mr. Martin Adeson, proved an immediate and consist- 
ently extending attraction. 

" The 13th Chair," an American detective play, in which Miss Madge 
Titheradge appeared, as did Mrs. Patrick Campbell in December, was 
followed by " The Jeffersons," likewise of trans-Atlantic origin. From 
the pen of Vincent Douglas, whose age was stated to be eighteen years, 
the " Jeffersons " proved to be an admirably constructed and interesting 
comedy, the weight of which rested on Mr. J. L. Shine — who shone ! 

During the recess there was an amateur pageant in which many ju- 
veniles took part, upwards of ^^350 being contributed to the fund for 
" Waifs and Strays." 

The Bank Holiday of 191 8 brought " Bubbly," Miss Irene Vanbrugh 
following (at a matinee) with Sir J. M. Barrie's dainty playlets " The 
Twelve Pound Cook " and " Seven Women." 



203 



The Bristol Stage 



In " Betty at Bay " Miss Christine Silver gave a really delightful in- 
terpretation of the heroine's part, and was admirably supported by the 
other members of the company. 

The " Lilac Domino," produced at the beginning of October, was a 
work of undoubted merit, Mr. Harry B. Smith being responsible for the 
libretto and Mr. Charles Cavillier for the music. It was most effectively 
represented by the Misses Grace Gordon, Lillie Ansell, and Dorothy 
Craske, with Messrs. Jack Lennol, Frederick Granger and Thorpe Mayne. 
The Carl Rosa Company introduced " Madame Butterfly," and — for the 
first time in England (and probably the last in Bristol) — Philpot's opera 
" Dante and Beatrice." The concluding item of the week, " Maritana," 
was performed before a large audience, although from and including that 
evening, in consequence of the influenza epidemic, all places of amuse- 
ment were ruled " out of bounds " for the naval and military forces, whilst 
admission was refused to juveniles. A return of the " Maid of the Moun- 
tains " encountered the announcement of the Armistice ! 

Mr. Martin Harvey appeared in two new plays, the " Raparee Trooper " 
and the " Burgomaster of Stalemonde," the latter from the pen of Maeter- 
nich ; whilst a matinee during his engagement revived " Rosemary," and 
added £zoo to the funds of the Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance 
funds. " General Post " was staged on December 2nd, and most con- 
vincingly acted by Miss Psyche Le Mesurier and Miss Dorothy Thomas, 
Mr. George Goodwin, Mr. J. Knox, and Messrs. Ordey, J. Charles, J. 
Barker, Paul Laurence and Charles Seymour. 

The pantomime of " Sinbad," for the entire book and entirely charm- 
ing costume designs of which Mr. R. A. Oldham was again responsible, 
and for which Mr. Jackson, with Mr. Cox, had executed some capital 
scenery, was produced on December 23rd. The company worked with 
a will, the chief characters being assigned to Miss Daisy Wood, Miss 
Beatrice Hope, Miss Muriel Langley, Mr. Albert Le Fre, Mr. Edward 
Lewis, Mr. William Stephens, and Mr. John Morley. 



204 



INDEX 



Actors' salaries (1850-1860), 52 
Addison, Miss Carlotta, 67 
Alexander, Sir George, 196 
Arnold, Charles, 183 
Arts Club, The, 130 
As you like it, 30 

Balcony arrives, The, 116 
Barraud, Mark, 132 
Bath and Bristol, 29 
Blake, Mr., 17 
Brunton, J., 36 

Chapman, George, 175 
Chute, George Macready, 145 
Chute, Charles Kean, 171 
Chute, James Henry, no 
Chute, James Macready, 193 
Chute, Stephen Macready, 169 
Chute, The Brothers Macready, 
Chute, Mrs., 108 
Clarke, Mr., 16 
Cleveland, Miss, 55 
Coghlan, Charles, 60 
Conscious Lovers, The, 17, 25 
Conway, Hugh, 130 
Cross, Miss Emily, 80 

Early Doors, 124 
Elliston, Mr., 33 



Fisher, Walter Henry, 139 
Flitch of Bacon, The, 32 
Fosbrooke, William, 161 

Green, Mrs., 16 
Golden Fleece, 70 

Hallam, Miss, 16 

Hale, Mr., 15 

Haviland, William, 168 

Hippisley, John, 12 

Hodson, Miss Henrietta, 58, 64 

Jacob's Well, 12 
Jacon in Colchis, 70 

Kendal, W. H., 186 
King, Thomas, 15 

115 Lady of Munster, The, 69 

Macklin, Mr., 13 
Madem Dominque, 20 
Maid of Palaiseau, 38 
Mandlebert, Miss, 51 
Mattocks, Mr., 17 
Medea in Corinth, 70 
Melville, George, 48 
McCready, William, 34 
McCready, Mrs., 37 

205 



Index 



New Princes, The, 173 

New Stage, A., 141 

New Theatre Royal, opening of, 72 

Pahner, Mr., ij 

Perfection, 69 

Pitt, Mrs., 17 

Powell, William, 27 

Prince's Jubilee, The, 201 

Princes, The, 130 

Prince's Theatre, Ltd., The, 194 

Pritchard, Mrs., 14 

Pritchard, Miss, 16 

Refreshment Rooms, The, 123 

Rignold, George, 58 

Rignold, William, 56 

Rosco, Mr., 15 

Rough Diamond, A, 79 

Rouse, John, 136 

Roused Lion, The, 69 



Shakespeare, Wm., 1 1 
She Stoops to Conquer, 32 
Shuter, Mr., 28 
Spanish Lover, The, 32 
Stokes Croft Theatre, 19 
Sullivan, Barry, 82 

Tempest, 76 

Terry, Miss Ellen, 60 

Terry^ Miss Kate, 60 

Ward, Miss Genevieve, 125 
Watson, John Boles, 34 
Willes, Miss Louise, 87 
Wilton, Miss Marie, 44 
Winstone, Richard, 16 
Woodward, Mr., 14 

Vernon, W. H., 156 
Virtue Betrayed, 21 
Vollaire, 43 



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