Posts Tagged ‘Queen Victoria’

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The Royal Hand Bell Ringers and Glee Singers

May 27, 2013

The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers and Glee Singers (fl. 1868-1902), English campanologists, in the costume of the time of Edward IV, circa 1470
(cabinet photo; Elliott & Fry, London, probably 1887)

The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers was the brainchild of Charles J. Havart, secretary to the Poland Street Young Men’s Teetotal Society, Soho, London, who recruited Duncan Septimus Miller (1839-1906), who since boyhood had been an enthusiastic hand-bell ringer. Under the name of the Poland Street Hand-Bell Ringers, they made their first appearance in 1866.

Miller stands at the centre of the above photograph; he is surrounded by his colleagues, J.H. Williams, A. Berridge, and two of C.J. Havart’s sons, Walter John Havart (1844-1904), a former warehouseman, and Henry Havart (1846-1905), a former woollen draper’s assistant. While Miller and the Havart brothers were permanent members of The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers, others joined and left over the years, the unusual number being five.

Osborne, Isle of Wight, Thursday, 14 April 1870
‘TEMPERANCE HAND-BELL RINGERS AT OSBORNE. Mr. Duncan S. Miller and his friend, who have, for the benefit of various philanthropic institutions, given a great number of entertainments in London and the provinces on their 50 hand-bells, attended at Osborne yesterday, in obedience to her Majesty’s command. They are to be at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Tuesday next to illustrate a lecture by Mr. Spurgeon on the subject of ”Bells,” when Mr. Thomas Hughes, M.P., is to preside.’
(The Morning Post, London, Friday, 15 April 1870, p. 5f)

‘GREAT INTERNATIONAL TEMPERANCE EXHIBITION.
‘Under the patronage of the Right Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, M.P., and many others.
‘The first ever held in any country, Agricultural-hall, Islington.
‘Soda water, ice making, cocoa and coffee machinery in motion, new novel beverages.
‘Floral arcade and fountains, drum and fife band, organ recitals, Royal Hand Bell Ringers, in the evening.
‘Admission 1s.; evening 6d. Open from 10 to 10.’
(The Times, London, Tuesday, 23 August 1881, p. 1b, advertisement)

‘AS BEFORE the CZAR and CZARINA, the King and Queen of DENMARK, T.R.H. the Prince and Princess of WALES, at Fresdensborg Castle last September, the ROYAL HAND BELL RINGERS and GLEE SINGERS for Garden Parties, at Homes, Receptions, &c., in brilliant Old English Costumes. Programme submitted by DUNCAN S. MILLER, Conductor, 16, The Terrace, Kennington-park, S.E.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 28 May 1888, p. 4 d)

‘THE ROYAL HAND-BELL RINGERS and CONCERT PARTY, Duncan S. Miller’s original, and by far the most proficient party. The bells are manipulated to produce a melodious and charming softness for the drawing room or an effective fortzando [sic] suitable for the garden. Five performers. Costume temp. ”Queen Bess.” Write for programme of special music and Jubilee Chimes to Secretary, 17, Kennington-terrace, S.E. Accept no others.’
(The Times, London, Tuesday, 15 June 1897, p. 1c, advertisement)

‘THE ROYAL HAND BELL-RINGERS.
‘Last evening the above clever company of hand bell ringers, consisting of Mr. Duncan S. Miller, the conductor, Mr. Havart, Mr. W.J. Havart, Mr. A. Berridge and Mr. G. Kendall opened a three nights’ visit at St. Julian’s Hall. Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather the attendance was large. After a few introductory remarks from Mr. Miller the performance commenced with a number of selections on the handbells which were beautifully played. Amongst these were ”The Huntsman’s chorus, Der Freischuitz,” ”Memories of Elsinore,” and ”The village bells and chimes, introducing several hymn tunes.” These were very warmly applauded. During the first part four of the bell-ringers, accompanied on the pianoforte by the firth, sang the old Georgian glee, ”The tinker,” in capital style. Mr. George Kendall, who has a most pleasing voice, sang the humorous song ”The human hand.’
(The Star, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Tuesday, 6 February 1900, p. 2d)

For further information, see, Clifford B. Anderson, ‘The Vampire Squid: Abraham Kuyper on Public Entertainment,’ Gordon Graham, editor, The Kuyper Center Review, vol. III, ‘Calvinism and Culture,’ Michigan, 2013.

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Whimsical Walker

April 28, 2013

Whimsical Walker (1850/51-1934), English clown
(photo: unknown, probably 1915/16)

‘Dear Girls and Boys –
‘How many of you have never seen a pantomime? Not many, I imagine, for the funny business between clown and pantaloon with which all proper pantomimes still conclude has always strongly appealed to the hearts of the children. I wonder if any of you have seen Whimsical Walker, the world’s most famous living clown. For some years he has been appearing regularly in the pantomime at Drury Lane Theatre, and because he is also appearing in the Trans-Atlantic British-made film comedies I have published his portrait, and feel sure a few facts about his adventurous career will interest you.
‘Mr. Walker was born at sea on July 5th, 1854, and first appeared before the public at Burnley as a tiny clown who emerged from a carpet bag carried by another member of the company. In 1872 he was engaged for the famous Sanger’s Circus in Westminster Bridge Road, London (as a boy ”Uncle Tim” saw and enjoyed many shows there), where a stage performance was given in addition to the circus. Mr. Walker admits that his stage efforts were so bad that he was sacked every night, but always re-engaged because of his skill in the circus. In 1874, and important period in his career, he was engaged by Charles Hengler to appear at his circus in London, where he was christened ”Whimsical Walker,” and for fourteen winter seasons he appeared there regularly. (”Uncle Tim” also enjoyed himself on rare occasions at Hengler’s, which stood on the site of the present Palladium.) In America Mr. Walker appeared with other circuses, including the great Barnum and Bailey shows, and was also commissioned to purchase the famous elephant Jumbo from the Zoo at a cost of £1,000.
‘Jumbo was an enormous success in America, many single day’s takings amounting to as much as £3,000. The cast was poured into great wooden casks and sent to a bank in New York.
‘In 1882 Whimsical Walker opened a theatre of his own in new York with a pantomime called Three Wishes. Its success brought temporary misfortune, for the top gallery dropped a bit when filled with people, a stampede followed, and actions for damages reduced poor Mr. Walker to the clothes he wore and a few dollars. He had to borrow money to return to Liverpool, where he was again engaged by Mr. Hengler.
‘On boxing Day, 1882, feeling in need of a refresher, Whimsical Walker chartered a horse at 7 a.m., and started off for a gallop. Before he had travelled far, however, the horse stumbled and fell, and the clown sustained a fractured leg, which laid him up for five months.
‘In a singularly adventurous career, this is the only serious accident he has ever suffered.
‘On February 20th, 1886, Whimsical Walker was honoured by a Command Performance to appear with his singing donkey before her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. In commemoration of this visit the queen presented Mr. Walker with the beautiful diamond tie-pin which he is wearing in the [above] photograph.
‘In 1904 the great clown embarked for Australia for a long tour there, but on landing at Melbourne he was cabled for by Mr. Arthur Collins, of Drury Lane Theatre, and he returned immediately. The fact is that Whimsical Walker had been appearing every season in the Drury Lane harlequnade since 1890, and the reason for his sudden recall was that, owing to the death of Herbert Campbell, and the absence of Dan Leno from the cast, Mr. Collins felt that he could not possibly do without the popular clown as well.
‘I hope these details have not bored you. The subject fascinates me. I should like to write a big book about Mr. Walker’s life. Oh, I’ve forgotten to tell you that the first of these films in which he is now appearing on the screen is called The Knut and the Colonel, so mind you look out for it.’
(Uncle Tim, ‘The Young Picturegoer,’ Pictures and the Picturegoer, London, weed ending Saturday, 12 February 1916, pp. 463 and 464)

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April 28, 2013

Whimsical Walker (1850/51-1934), English clown
(photo: unknown, probably 1915/16)

‘Dear Girls and Boys –
‘How many of you have never seen a pantomime? Not many, I imagine, for the funny business between clown and pantaloon with which all proper pantomimes still conclude has always strongly appealed to the hearts of the children. I wonder if any of you have seen Whimsical Walker, the world’s most famous living clown. For some years he has been appearing regularly in the pantomime at Drury Lane Theatre, and because he is also appearing in the Trans-Atlantic British-made film comedies I have published his portrait, and feel sure a few facts about his adventurous career will interest you.
‘Mr. Walker was born at sea on July 5th, 1854, and first appeared before the public at Burnley as a tiny clown who emerged from a carpet bag carried by another member of the company. In 1872 he was engaged for the famous Sanger’s Circus in Westminster Bridge Road, London (as a boy “Uncle Tim” saw and enjoyed many shows there), where a stage performance was given in addition to the circus. Mr. Walker admits that his stage efforts were so bad that he was sacked every night, but always re-engaged because of his skill in the circus. In 1874, and important period in his career, he was engaged by Charles Hengler to appear at his circus in London, where he was christened “Whimsical Walker,” and for fourteen winter seasons he appeared there regularly. (“Uncle Tim” also enjoyed himself on rare occasions at Hengler’s, which stood on the site of the present Palladium.) In America Mr. Walker appeared with other circuses, including the great Barnum and Bailey shows, and was also commissioned to purchase the famous elephant Jumbo from the Zoo at a cost of £1,000.
‘Jumbo was an enormous success in America, many single day’s takings amounting to as much as £3,000. The cast was poured into great wooden casks and sent to a bank in New York.
‘In 1882 Whimsical Walker opened a theatre of his own in new York with a pantomime called Three Wishes. Its success brought temporary misfortune, for the top gallery dropped a bit when filled with people, a stampede followed, and actions for damages reduced poor Mr. Walker to the clothes he wore and a few dollars. He had to borrow money to return to Liverpool, where he was again engaged by Mr. Hengler.
‘On boxing Day, 1882, feeling in need of a refresher, Whimsical Walker chartered a horse at 7 a.m., and started off for a gallop. Before he had travelled far, however, the horse stumbled and fell, and the clown sustained a fractured leg, which laid him up for five months.
‘In a singularly adventurous career, this is the only serious accident he has ever suffered.
‘On February 20th, 1886, Whimsical Walker was honoured by a Command Performance to appear with his singing donkey before her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. In commemoration of this visit the queen presented Mr. Walker with the beautiful diamond tie-pin which he is wearing in the [above] photograph.
‘In 1904 the great clown embarked for Australia for a long tour there, but on landing at Melbourne he was cabled for by Mr. Arthur Collins, of Drury Lane Theatre, and he returned immediately. The fact is that Whimsical Walker had been appearing every season in the Drury Lane harlequnade since 1890, and the reason for his sudden recall was that, owing to the death of Herbert Campbell, and the absence of Dan Leno from the cast, Mr. Collins felt that he could not possibly do without the popular clown as well.
‘I hope these details have not bored you. The subject fascinates me. I should like to write a big book about Mr. Walker’s life. Oh, I’ve forgotten to tell you that the first of these films in which he is now appearing on the screen is called The Knut and the Colonel, so mind you look out for it.’
(Uncle Tim, ‘The Young Picturegoer,’ Pictures and the Picturegoer, London, weed ending Saturday, 12 February 1916, pp. 463 and 464)

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The Tyrolese Minstrels

March 16, 2013

The Tyrolese Minstrels, from a photograph taken by Richard Beard, by desire of H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent
(from The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 6 December 1851, p. 699)

THE TYROLESE MINSTRELS.
‘The company of artistes who sing the music of the Tyrol comprise Mdlle. Margreiter, Simon, Holaus, Veit, Ludwig Rainer, and Kleir. Their performances commenced on the 28th ult. at the St. James’s Theatre, under the patronage of the Duchess of Somerset. The Tyrolese Minstrels have sung at Windsor Castle and Frogmore House, in the presence of her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent; and recently at the Pavilion, Brighton, before the Duchess of Gloucester. Testimonials of the Master and Comptroller of the Royal Households, expressive of the gratification of the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent, have been granted to the singers, and they are also bearers of testimonials from the Emperors of Russia and Austria, the Kings of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wirtemberg, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, &c. Nothing can be more picturesque than the costumes of the Tyrolese Minstrels, and nothing can be more curious and original than the harmonised melodies which they interpret; amateurs who are curious in studying musical nationalities, will find suggestive matter in listening to the music of the Tyrol.
‘This singing troupe are natives of the valley of Tullerthal; they came to England to see the Great Exhibition. Two of this company belong to the Rifleman corps of the Tyrol, and are decorated with silver medals from the Emperor of Austria. The bass singer, Herr Holaus, has travelled with the celebrated Rainer family through the United States of America, where they have met with the greatest success. M. Rainer, the son of the celebrated Rainer family, is in possession of a Tyrolean belt presented from George IV. to his father. The belt has in front the Royal arms, and is of the most handsome workmanship.’
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 6 December 1851, p. 669)