Posts Tagged ‘siffleuse’


Erroll Stanhope, ‘England’s Lady Whistler’

February 18, 2014

Erroll Stanhope (1872-1969), English siffleuse, musician and music hall and pantomime actress and singer, sometime billed as ‘England’s Lady Whistler’
(postcard photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1903)

Erroll [sometimes Errol] Stanhope (Erroll Augusta Stanhope Drake) was born on 20 February 1872, the elder daughter of Collard Augustus Drake (1843-1911) by his second wife Julia Annie (née Eales). Drake, better known as ‘A. Collard,’ was an accomplished flautist, a flute and piccolo manufacturer trading as A. Collard & Co., and author of Method of Practising the Flute (London, 1875). Miss Stanhope’s earliest public appearances seem to have been with her father. She later went on to feature in various pantomimes, including Babes in the Wood at the Alexandra Theatre, Sheffield, at Christmas 1899, and as Jack in Sweet Red Riding Hood, at the Kennington Theatre, produced on 26 December 1901. She also made numerous music hall appearances before her marriage in 1904 to the music hall singer, Whit Cunliffe (1876-1966).

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‘Miss Erroll Stahope rivals Mrs. Alice Shaw, the original belle siffleuse, in the gentle art of whistling. She has whistled, and the Sketch tells us, from babyhood. In those early days she whistled for her own amusement, now she purses her pretty lips and whistles for the delectation of the playgoing public. During the run of King Kodak at Terry’s Theatre [produced on 30 April 1894] Miss Stanhope whistled nightly ”‘Way Down the Swanee River,” as well as a whistling piece of her own composition. In one thing she beats Mrs. Alice Shaw – she whistles three notes higher; her register being from C natural to C sharp. By way of change Miss Stanhope, who does not look more than sweet seventeen in the Sketch‘s portrait, sometimes plays the flute, and is even suspected of a determination to learn the Scottish bagpipe when her engagements leave her the necessary time.’
(The Weekly Standard and Express, Blackburn, Saturday, 11 August 1894, p. 7f)

‘TO-MORROW (SUNDAY) AFTERNOON, at 3.30; doors open 2.30.
‘Organist, Mr. Alfred Hollins. Vocalists, Miss Beatrice Frost, Mr. Iver M’Kay. Violinist, Miss Cecile Elleson. Flute Quartette, Miss Erroll Stanhope, Messrs J. Radcliff, J. Lemmons, A. Collard. Accompanists, Mr. Henry J. Wood, Mr. Richard Rickard. Admission free; reserved seats, 6d., 1s., 1s. 6s., 2s., at Robert Newman’s box-office, Queen’s Hall, Langham-place.’
(The Morning Post, London, Saturday, 25 May 1895, p. 6b, advertisement)

Royal Pier Entertainments, Southampton, Hampshire, 3 August 1895,br> ‘… Miss Erroll Stanhope specially distinguished herself as a vocalist and siffleuse. Her song ”Little Miss Prim” was encored. Her whistling solos were perfection itself, and several encores followed.’
(The Hampshire Advertiser, Southampton, Saturday, 10 August 1895, p. 6a)

‘MISS ERROLL STANHOPE Theatre Royal, York. – ”Miss Erroll Stanhope is a young lady who has a diversity of attractions. As Daisy Madcap she sings and acts well; but, beyond that, she is able to whistle with a sweetness and brilliancy rarely met with in either male or female. On Saturday night she whistled Arditi‘s ‘Il Bacio’ [orchestral version with saxophone] with all the sweetness and brilliancy of execution which one would have expected from an accomplished piccolo player. The inevitable encore followed.” – Yorkshire Herald March 25th [1899]’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 28 March 1901, p. 2d)

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Mrs Alice Shaw is said to have made several cylinder recordings. One, with her twin daughters, entitled, ‘Spring-tide Revels,’ described as ‘A whistling trio novelty,’ was released in 1907 by Edison in the United States.


Mab Barton

May 16, 2013

Mab Barton (born about 1868), English siffleuse, ‘La premiere petite Siffleuse’ or ‘The Original Whistling Lady’
(photo: Karoly, Birmingham, England, circa 1890)

‘PRESENTATION. – Miss Mab Barton, the talented daughter of Mr Walter Barton, comedian, on terminating at the close of the Wheeleries Exhibition, Tynemouth, a special engagement, was the recipient of a very handsome silver-handled and ivory-bladed paper knife.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 June 1890, p. 15e)

‘MISS MAB. BARTON (Daughter of Mr Walter Barton, Comedian) concluded Engagement at the close of the Wheeleries Exhibition, Tynemouth, whistling Solos and Selections. Offers invited. Address, Old White Swan Hotel, Cloth-market, Newcastle.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 June 1890, p. 23d, advertisement)

‘Amongst the many entertainments which invariably find a resting place in Birmingham during the Christmas seasons is the ever-popular Pepper’s Ghost. This ghost is getting into years, but it is as amusing and versatile as ever. For the best part of a generation it has been roaming and country over, under the control either of its author, the late ”Professor” Pepper, or his successors. Now it is located in Birmingham for a short and, no doubt, judging from past events, a successful season. Last evening there was what might be termed a public rehearsal, and it gave a very good idea of what may be expected during the visit. A capital company of experienced artists has been engaged, and there should be nothing wanting in the special form of entertainment which they are taking part in. The principal item of the programme is a very admirable rendering of Dickens’s Christmas Carol, in which the dream of Scrooge is pictorially presented. His crabby, selfish, disagreeable nature is brought out in contrast to the warm heartedness of his nephew. Of course the ghost is that of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s dead partner. A better selection for the entertainment of children, and of adults, too, could not well be made. As Dean Stanley once said, the Christmas Carol is the finest charity sermon in the English language. All sorts and conditions of ghosts appear and disappear during the evening, and the funniest of them crop up in the new spectral farce, Muddlehead in a Fix. Mr. Harry Smith is Sergeant Muddlehead, and his experiences are made the vehicle for introducing nearly fifty ”lightening transformation.” Miss Mab Barton as a whistling lady has achieved considerable success up and down the country, and will no doubt be heartily welcomed on this her first visit to Birmingham. Altogether the proprietor of the entertainment has managed to provide over two hours’ very enjoyable diversion; and the programme has been so arranged as to meet the requirements of adults as well as juveniles. There will be morning performances on Friday and Saturday.’
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, Thursday, 25 December 1890, p. 5d)