Herbert Darnley and company on tour during 1917/18 in the United Kingdon in Mr Mayfair

August 2, 2014

Herbert Darnley (1872-1947), English actor manager, song writer, composer and playwright, on tour in the United Kingdom in 1917/18 in Mr Mayfair, a musical comedy written by himself and Wal Pink. The piece was first produced at Leamington Spa on 10 September 1917 before the tour began at the Hippodrome, Willesden, north London on 15 October; the original cast included Herbert Darnley and Dan Leno Jr. (top photo, respectively centre and far right), Violet Parry, Wyn Blundell, J. Spry-Palmer, Line Hicks, Basin Hambury and Iris De Villiers. The cast list dates from the same tour.
(photos: unknown, 1917)

Herbert Darnley, whose real name was Herbert Walter McCarthy, enjoyed a busy career, both as a performer and writer. He began his theatrical career in the late 1880s on the music hall stage as one of the Darnley Brothers (Albert and Herbert), patter and sketch comedians, singers and dancers; they also appeared in a number of pantomimes. He afterwards appeared as an actor on his own account as well as producing plays and sketches and continuing his work as a writer and composer, particularly of songs and material for music hall performers like Dan Leno, for whom he co-wrote ‘No More Fancy Balls for Me!‘ and ‘The Tower of London,’ and alsoAda Reeve. Darnley himself made a number of recordings for Berliner and The Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd between 1900 and 1903, including ‘My Next Door Neighbour’s Garden‘ (which owes a good deal to Gus Elen’s ‘If it Wasn’t for the ‘Ouses in Between’). In spite of his talent and efforts Darnley was not financially successful and found himself in the Bankruptcy Court in 1909 and again in 1917. He died after a long illness at his home in Clapham, south London, on 6 February 1947.

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The Richmond Hippodrome, Richmond on Thames, Surrey, originally the Richmond Theatre and Opera House is now known as the Richmond Theatre.


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