Lydia Yeamans in London, Edinburgh and Dublin, 1886-1888

January 2, 2015

Lydia Yeamans (Lydia Annie Yeamans, 1857-1929), Australian singer and actress, who in 1886 married her Canadian-born accompanist, Frederick James Titus (1857/1861?-1918), after which she was known as Lydia Yeamans Titus.
(boudoir photo: James Robinson, 65 Grafton Street, Dublin, probably June 1888, captioned: ‘MISS LYDIA YEAMANS, The ”Sally in our Alley.”’)

The Trocadero, London, July 1886
‘Miss Lydia Yeamans, described as the ”New York comedy vocalist,” is an artist of original style, and there is a freshness about her method which is pleasing. She infuses much crispness and smartness into the delivery of her songs, and has a good and well-trained voice. Her first song, ”I wish I had a baby,” greatly amused the audience; her second, ”Who has not heard of Grogan?” was sung in a Highland plaid dress, and accompanied with a brisk dance; and her last appearance, in burnt cork and a white wig, was decidedly successful, chiefly owing to her clever banjo-playing and her sweet and sympathetic singing of ”Sally in our alley,” in which she gave some high notes with particular truth and power.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 July 1886, p. 8a)

Collins’s music hall, London, July 1886
‘Miss Lydia Yeamans, who is termed correctly enough the American musical serio-comic. Our variety programmes are strong just now in American serio-comics, and it must be said in their favour that they possess a finish and refinement of style that their English sisters lack. Miss Yeaman’s voice is good, and sounded well in a rendering of ”Sally in our Alley,” to which song she vamped a banjo accompaniment. It is true she added a ”turn” or two to Carey’s music, which may well be sung as originally written; but the audience forgave her blacking her face and heartily cheered her. We may remind Miss Yeamans that when ”Sally in our Alley” was written the Negro as a melodist was not known to civilisation.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 July 1886, p. 8b)

‘WANTED, Halls on Sharing Terms, immediate and onward, for Miss Lydia Yeamans’ (The ”Sally in our Alley”) Operetta Party. Splendid Display of Printing – Lithographs and Photographs. Address, F.J. TITUS, care of ”The Era” Office, 49, Wellington-street, Strand, London.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 1 October 1887, p. 20c, advertisement)

Moss’s Varieties, Edinburgh, week beginning ‘There was a very large audience here on Monday, when that justly celebrated vocalist Miss Lydia Yeamans made her first appearance here. Miss Yeamans has a sweet, flexible voice and a captivating style, and her rendering of a number of popular ballads was loudly applauded. Mr. F. Yeamans [sic] ably accompanied on the piano.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 April 1888, p. 16c)

‘Important Starring Tour. The Only and Original MISS LYDIA YEAMANS, F.O.S., the New Jenny Lind, the ”Sally in our Alley,” Supported by Mr. Fredk. Yeamans [i.e. Frederick J. Titus], Pianist and Accompanist, in their Entertainment, at once chaste, charming, and captivating. Fredk. Yeamans Esq., Edinburgh, May 1st., 1888. Dear Sir, – I have much pleasure in stating that the success of Miss Yeamans during here sojourn her [sic] of two weeks has been phenomenal. Your entertainment is one of the best and most refined I have ever seen. Yours faithfully, H.E. Moss. Rounds of applause for the brilliant playing of Fredk. Yeamans. Sold and Only Authorised Agent, Mr G.H. Macdermott, 130, Strand, London.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 5 May 1888, p. 23e)

Star Music Hall, Dublin, June 1888
‘DAN LOWREY’S VARIETY THEATRE … To-night. To-night. To-night. The Phenomenal Success of Variety Theatres, The Jenny Lind of the Age. MISS LYDIA YEAMANS, the unrivalled Australian Songstress, whose appearance throughout that Colony and chielf American cities have caused wild enthusiasm. Miss LYDIA YEAMANS, The greatest vocal actress on the stage. Hear her sing ”Sally in our Alley.” Worth going 100 miles to hear. Miss LYDIA YEAMANS…… To-night at 9.30, Accompanied by the accomplished Pianist, Mr Fred Yeamans… .’
(Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin, Monday, 4 June 1888, p. 4a)

Star Music Hall, Dublin, June 1888
‘Miss Lydia Yeamans is still an immense favourite.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 23 June 1888, p. 18b)

* * * * *

There are several recordings on YouTube of Henry Carey’s ‘Sally in our Alley,’ including one by Walter Glynne, recorded in London in 1929.

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