Posts Tagged ‘St. James’s Hall (London)’


Bromley Booth, English violin virtuoso

March 29, 2015

Bromley Booth (1869-1944), English violin virtuoso
(photo: unknown; postcard no. 2638A in the Rotary Photographic Series published by the Rotary Photographic Co. Ltd., London, circa 1908)

William Bromley Booth, who was born in Doncaster, was a member of a noted musical family from Yorkshire. His parents were George Booth (1831-1917, one of the sons of Edward Booth, a professor of music of Leeds), an organist and professor of music, and Mary Elizabeth (née Bromley, 1838-1903). His brothers were the pianist and concert promoter, George Edward Booth (1868-1954) and Edward Charles Booth (1872-1954), who played both ‘cello and piano and who later became a novelist.

Bromley Booth made his first public appearances when quite young but it was not until 29 October 1897 that he made his London debut at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly. He appears to have retired in 1933, before, on 29 June that year, his violin was sold by auction at Puttick & Simpson, London. During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Service Corps. He died on 28 June 1944 at Peniston Cottage, Scalby, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.


Birchmore & Lindon’s Gay Cadet Pierrots, Bournemouth, circa 1920

November 30, 2013

Birchmore & Lindon‘s Gay Cadet Pierrots (active about 1910-1930), Bournemouth, Dorset, south England
(snapshot photo: unknown, Bournemouth, circa 1920)

Tom Birchmore and Surrie Lindon both had experience in minstrel, pantomime and variety shows before they became a team about 1910 and established their Gay Cadet Pierrot shows, which took place during the summer months between about 1910 and 1930 on the beach at Bournemouth.

Birchmore, an American whose real name was Tom Moore, had spent some time in the late 1880s and 1890s with the Moore & Burgess Minstrels at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, London. He was also sometime with the Mowhawk Minstrels. He made at least one recording, for the Jumbo label, A28035/6, about 1910.


Ernest Linden, American minstrel and female impersonator, sometimes billed as ‘The Burlesque Queen of Song’

November 25, 2013

Ernest Linden (active 1870-1887), American minstrel and female impersonator, sometimes billed as ‘The Burlesque Queen of Song’
(photo: H.S. White, 264 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1875)

‘Three of the finest female impersonators ever seen in this country [the United Kingdom] were Fred Dart in 1870, Frank Pieri in 1875, and Ernest Linden who was with the company [Moore and Burgess Minstrels] from 1879 to 1885. His singing voice was not of exceptional strength, but sufficient for the serio songs he adhered to. His speaking voice was of a contralto quality; extremely graceful in all his movement and quite a humorist, he had just the requisite touch of burlesque in all his business that made it so supremely clever and entertaining. Few female impersonators could wear their frocks with the same grace as Linden; these brilliant concoctions were usually made by Worth of Paris. This fact was advertised and they were the admiration of all the ladies present.’
(Harry Reynolds, Minstrel Memories, London, 1928, p. 124)

* * * * *

Philadelphia, Monday, 26 September 1870
‘AT THE ARCH STREET OPERA HOUSE, Ernest Linden, the female impersonator, will appear for the first time this evening, in conjunction with other attractions.’
(The Daily Evening Telegraph, Monday, 26 September 1870, p. 5b)

New Memphis Theatre, Memphis, May 1872
‘Duprez & Benedict’s minstrels, the best troupe that has visited Memphis for a long while, are doing a fine business at the theater. Last night the theater was well filled, and the audience enthusiastic in their praises of the performance. The ballads of Messrs. Frank Dumas and G.B. Harcourt are nearly all new and beautiful, and are among the best we have ever heard, and never fail to convulse the audience with laughter. The falsetto singing of Mr. Ernest Linden is always highly appreciated, while his ”get up” is not interior in style and gorgeousness to that of any operatic singer on the stage. The Messrs. J. Fox and W. Ward are the most artistic clog dancers and acrobats that have ever appeared on the boards of the Memphis Theatre, and their performances never fail to elicit a hearty encore. Altogether the performance is most excellent, and should not fail to draw a crowded house nightly.’
(The Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Thursday, 9 May 1872, p. 2b)

Emerson’s California Minstrels, The Opera House, Wheeling, West Virginia, December 1976
‘… Ernest Linden is indeed the burlesque queen of song, and won shouts upon shouts of applause from the audience… .’
(The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling, Saturday, 16 December 1876, West Virginia, p. 4d)

‘Ernest Linden is having a dress built which will cost between four and five hundred dollars when finished. For a detailed description of it we must refer our readers to some of the Miss Nancies of the press.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 25 November 1877, p. 2b)

‘The following description of Ernest Linden’s new dress may interest our lady readers; White satin princess en train; elegantly embroidered vine, commencing at the back and running round train, composed of pansies, forget-me-nots and daisies. Wheat worked in gold and other pretty flowers. All worked in bright colors. The front is worked in one large bouquet of beautiful flowers and birds of Paradise. Bottom of dress slashed in blocks, edged with pink satin, and filled with white and pink French lace; round train boxed pleating, piped with pink. Sleeves, Marie Antoinette. Square corsage, fitted with crape lace. A band of white satin embroidered for neck, edged with lace. Gloves, stockings and slippers embroidered to match.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 9 December 1877, p. 2b)

‘Ernest Linden has a wardrobe that a princess might envy. He does not depend upon his clothes for success, however, as his female impersonations are wonderful simulations of femininity. – Philadelphia Mirror.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 19 May 1878, p. 2c)

Hague’s Minstrels, ‘The Original Slave Troupe,’ St. James’s Hall, Lime Street, Liverpool, England, August 1878
‘Mr. Hague’s latest addition to his company – Mr. Ernest Linden – is a great acquisition. His representation of the ”burlesque prima donna” is an undoubted success. His make-up is clever and tasteful, and his vocalisation natural and artistic.’
(The Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool, Wednesday, 7 August 1878, p. 6e)

‘Hague’s Minstrels at the Colston Hall, Bristol, England, April 1879
‘… The second part of the entertainment was as varied and as interesting at the first. Mr. Ernest Linden, who is styled the ”Patti of the Minstrel Stage,” was immense in his burlesque in personation of a Prima Donna, and his wonderfully flexible voice and powers of humour won for him an enthusiastic encore… .’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Monday, 14 April 1879, p. 3e)

The Moore and Burgess Minstrels, St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, London, Thursday, 18 September 1879
‘On Thursday evening the Moore and Burgess Minstrels entered upon the fifteenth year of their marvellously successful entertainment … A new artiste of great merit, Mr Ernest Linden, appeared as a coloured prima donna with great success. Mr Linden was arrayed in a magnificent costume by Worth, of Paris, and his scene was extremely amusing and effective… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 21 September 1879, p. 3d)

The Moore and Burgess Minstrels at the Colston Hall, Bristol, England, Saturday, 9 December 1882
‘Messrs. Moore and Burgess’s Minstrels, who make it their boast that for seventeen years they have never ”performed out of London,” but who, in consequence of the St. James’s-hall, Piccadilly, which has been their home for so many years, being temporarily closed for repairs and alterations, are now making a provincial tour… . Mr. Ernest Linden, the ”burlesque Queen,” convulsed his hearers by his intensely comic interpretation of the song ”Awfully Awful.”’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Monday, 11 December 1882, p. 3c)


Dalton Baker (1879-1970), English baritone, organist and vocal teacher

October 6, 2013

Dalton Baker (1879-1970), English baritone, organist and vocal teacher
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1908)

William Henry Baker (later known as Dalton Baker) was born in Merton, Surrey, on 17 October 1879. He was one of the several children of William Baker, a labourer/bricklayer, and his wife, Charlotte Emma, daughter of William Dalton, a silk printer, who were married at Merton Parish Church on 21 May 1876. Beginning his career as a choirboy, Baker studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won a scholarship for singing. Billed as a pupil of Frederick Walker (1835-1913), professor of singing at the RAM, he appears to have made his debut on 11 November 1901 at Bechstein Hall, London, in a concert performance of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel given by pupils of Agnes Larkcom (The Times, London, Tuesday, 5 November 1901, p. 1d). He followed this on 5 February 1902 by his inclusion in a St. James’s Hall Ballad Concert in a programme which included Margaret Cooper, Ben Davis, Kennerly Rumford, Maurice Farkoa and others (The Times, London, Thursday, 30 January 1902, p. 1d).

In addition to many other such appearances, Dalton Baker joined several other former RAM students, including Harold Montague, to form The Scarlet Mr. E’s concert party whose members dressed as 18th Century highwaymen, complete with masks (The Stage, London, Thursday, 4 March 1954, p. 6).

Baker and his wife emigrated to Canada in October 1914, where he worked until his retirement in 1956.

* * * * *

‘Eminent English Baritone Announces Program of Rare Interest.
‘A fine program of songs and arias by representative British composers has been chosen by Dalton Baker for his recital in the music hall of the Toronto Conservatory of Music on Tuesday evening, the 23rd inst. [February 1915]. Mr. Baker, who has recently joined the vocal faculty of the Toronto conservatory of Music, comes to Canada, with a most enviable reputation as a concert and oratorio singer. Between the years 1903 and 1913 he was principal baritone at the great festivals of Birmingham, Gloucester, Sheffield, Bristol, Hereford, etc., besides singing frequently at Royal Albert Hall, Royal Choral society, Promenade, Chappell Ballad, London, Choral Society, Bach Choir and other concerts. His program fro the 23rd embraces songs and arias by Purcell, Handel, Parry, Elgar, Stanford, Coleridge-Taylor, Sullivan, Mallison, Healey Willan, Frederick Austin and others. Healy Willan, F.R.C.O., will assist at the piano.’
The Toronto Sunday World, Toronto, Sunday, 13 February 1915, p. 10b)


The Serenaders

September 28, 2013

two members of The Serenaders (active early 20th Century from about 1900), English ‘masked singers,’ who specialised in song scenas and other refined entertainment for the music hall stage, at fetes, special events and private functions
(photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1902)

‘A very agreeable and successful entrainment was given on Monday after noon, April 21 [1902], at St. James’s Hall, under the direction of Ashton’s Royal Agency, by The Serenaders, a troupe of masked singers, two ladies and three gentlemen, who have latterly proved popular at Cowes [Isle of Wight] and other places. Black satin, sequins, hoods, cloaks, big hats, and so on, are among the paraphernalia of their picturesque and romantic attire, and The Serenaders may fairly be classed with The Japs, The Follies, The Musketeer Concert Party, The Scarlet Mr. E’s, and similar organisations. The present troupe comprise a capital baritone, a very acceptable tenor, a high soprano, a pleasing contralto, and a gentleman pianist. They opened their programme on Monday with an introductory quartet, ”The Serenaders,” written by Alan Otway, in which familiar melodies were made use of wherewith to characterise the various singers. Other pieces arranged as quartets were the popular ”Tell Me, Pretty Maiden,” from Florodora, and its parallel, ”’A ,” from The Silver Slipper. The baritone gave ”In the shade of the Palm” as an encore for ”The Sweetest Flower that Blows”; the tenor also had to choose another song after his refined rendering of Goring Thomas’s ”Ma Voisine,” the charming quartet from ”The Daisy Chain,” ”Foreign Children,” was brightly sung; and other items were ”Across the Sill Lagoon” (tenor and baritone), ”Love’s Nocturne” (contralto and baritone), Eckert’s florid ”Echo Song” (for soprano, of course), and the well known ”A Regular Royal Queen,” from The Gondoliers. Appropriate dancing and business enhanced the effect of The Serenaders’ excellent performances. They were assisted by Mr. Charles Capper, who whistled as beautifully as ever (accompanied by Mr. Victor Marmont), and by Miss Helen Mar. That clever lady, besides giving several of her amusing American stories, was heard in a pathetic little piece about a game of hide and seek played by a lame lad and his aged grandmother, and imitated a girl reciting ”Curfew shall not ring to-night!” No doubt The Serenaders will have abundant opportunity of further proving their quality during the Coronation season. They had a numerous and highly appreciative audience on Monday.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 24 April 1902, p. 18c)