Billie Burke and the Ziegfeld Folies #wwwblogs #actress #moviestar

Born in 1884 in Washington DC, Mary William Appleton Burke was called Billie after her father, an American clown of Irish descent who appeared in Barnum and Bailey’s circus.  After an early childhood touring the US and Europe, Billie’s family settled in London where she had the opportunity to visit the theatres.  Her ambition to be an actress was achieved when, at the age of 18, she appeared in George Edwardes’ musical “The Schoolgirl” with Edna May and Marie Studholme.  But Billie Burke’s real fame came in 1907 when she returned to the States to star in musical comedies on Broadway.

The Ziegfeld Girls were a more relaxed version of the Gibson Girls of the early 20th century.  Billie joined this group of showgirls who looked very similar in appearance and in stature. They were beautiful young women with many young male admirers.  They danced in complete synchronization, wearing costumes designed by the Russian fashion designer Erté.  Inspired by the Folies Bergère, the Ziegfeld Follies, the creation of Florence Zeigfeld, were a series of stunning revues which incorporated the best of Vaudeville and the Broadway shows.

Ziegfeld’s common-law wife Anna Held was a Ziegfeld girl, but she divorced him in 1913 for his infidelity with another Ziegfeld girl, Lillian Lorraine and early the following year he married Billie Burke.  Three years later their daughter Patricia was born and they moved into a 22 acre estate with a mansion of 19 rooms and a swimming pool. They kept a herd of deer, two lion cubs, an elephant and many other animals.

The Ziegfeld Follies continued on Broadway until 1931 and Florenz Ziegfeld died in 1932. The Follies became a radio programme in 1932 and 1936.  Many of the girls left the show to make wealthy marriages.  Billie continued to appear stage comedies and in film.

“I never was the great‐actress type,” she remarked years later. “I generally did light, gay things. I often had cute plays but never a fine one.”

Much of the wealth of Florenz and Billie had gone in the stock market crash of 1929 so it was lucky that Billie was able to move successfully from silent movies to spoken film roles.  Her success continued into the 1950s and her last appearance was in 1960.  She is perhaps most famous for her performance as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz” originally released in 1939.  She died in Los Angeles on May 14th 1970, aged 84.

The disappearance of Mabel Love #Edwardian actress #wwwblogs

Mabel Love, a beautiful child star from a theatrical dynasty caused consternation in 1889 when she suddenly disappeared in the middle of London.  The Star newspaper reported, “The Disappearance of a Burlesque Actress.”  Only 14 years old, she was described as, “of fresh complexion, with light grey eyes and fair hair, curling and hanging loose over the shoulders. She was wearing, when she left home, a black and white striped fish-wife skirt, Oxford patent shoes, black plush hat and feathers, and a terra-cotta coloured cloak trimmed with white fur round the collar and cuffs and with large metal buttons.”

She had already been on the stage for two years, appearing in the first play version of “Alice in Wonderland,” in a Christmas pantomime at Covent Garden and had recently been contracted by George Edwardes at the Gaiety to dance in the burlesque "Faust up-to-date".  A very pretty girl, she had many admirers and a great deal of pressure.

But she had been spotted by several people after leaving her parents house in Arundel Street, The Strand with her payment from The Gaiety Theatre.  Luckily she was traced a few days later in Dublin and returned to Euston Station to crowds of admirers.

Article from "The Era" newspaper 
Mabel was the granddaughter of entertainer and ventriloquist William Edward Love and the daughter of actress Kate Watson (Love). Mabel's father was the brother of Robert Grant Watson, who served in the diplomatic service and had held the posts of First Secretary to the British Embassy in Washington, and Charge d'affaires in Japan.

Sadly Mabel still suffered from a distressed state of mind as a few months later she made a suicide attempt.

Mr Vaughan showed great sympathy for her and gave her the following advice.

Subsequently she was able to return to her career and no more dramatic events were recorded.  By the age of 20 she was even more popular with the public as well as young Winston Churchill and Edward the Prince of Wales.  She appeared in musical comedy and burlesque and when photographer Frank Foulsham produced postcards of her, they widely bought and sent.

In 1913 Mabel gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Mary, later called Mrs Mary Lorraine.  There is mystery about Mary’s father but she was acclaimed for her bravery during the second world war. Originally an actress like her mother, she became a secret agent for the SOE in France and was captured and tortured by the Gestapo.  After the war she suffered from mental health problems and died in poverty unaware that her mother had left her a substantial legacy.

After retiring, Mabel Love continued to enjoy visits to the theatre. She moved into an hotel in Weybridge with her best friend Vesta Tilley and died there in 1953 at the age of 78.

More tales of scandal on the Edwardian stage:

Jean Alwyn the lady Harry Lauder

The notorious Maud Allan

Lily Elsie the most photographed woman in the British Empire

The murder of William Terriss

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge #travel #photography

Cee’s Which Way challenge is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, steps, signs, etc. we move from one place to another on.  You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride on them, as long as the specific way is visible.  Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.

And here is our latest journey back through Spain.

Three boys migrated to Canada

This is a little of the story of George, Albert and Walter Tickner.

In March 1903 the Local Government Board wrote to each Poor Law Union on the subject of the emigration of orphaned and deserted children.  Masters of the workhouses were instructed to prepare lists of children desirous of being emigrated.

 Children in Guildford Union Workhouse were asked if they wished to emigrate and in April 1903, the minutes of the Board of Guardians report that three brothers, George, Albert and Walter Tickner, wished to go to Canada.  They were sent to Nova Scotia, Canada on the SS Siberian which sailed from Liverpool on the 30th May 1903 and arrived in Nova Scotia, Canada on the 12th June 1903.

The Tickner brothers are listed in the 1901 census in the Guildford Union as paupers.  They were the children of Alfred and his wife, Elizabeth Glover, whom he married in 1890 at St John’s Farncombe, Surrey.  He was aged 24 and a labourer, son of James Tickner, also a labourer. Elizabeth was aged 22 and a machinist living in Busbridge, her father was Charles Glover, a dyer.  Alfred made his mark, Elizabeth signed her name. Their first child, Alfred Charles, was baptised at Farncombe on the 28th September 1890, but died aged ten months and was buried in Nightingale Cemetery, Godalming on the 13th July 1891. The 1891 census lists Alfred, Elizabeth and Alfred Charles living in Farncombe Street. Alfred was born in Godalming and Elizabeth born in Worcester.   Albert Tickner was born on the 22nd October 1893 and baptised at St John’s Farncombe on the 28th January 1894, Walter Charles was born on the 19th July 1895 and baptised at Farncombe on the 6th October 1895.  On the 6th October 1896 Alfred Tickner, was buried in Nightingale Cemetery, aged 30, a labourer of Bridge Street, Godalming. Three and a half months later a daughter, Beatrice Kate, was born on the 26th January 1897 and baptised on the 12th February 1897 at St Peter and St Paul Church in Godalming.

Elizabeth was left with a newly-born daughter and three boys.  In 1899 Elizabeth Tickner married Richard Symes (registered in Guildford).  A new marriage possibly meant there was no room for the boys and they were sent to Guildford Union Workhouse.

The brothers were sent to Canada, after at least 3 years’ residence in the Workhouse, as part of Dr Middlemore’s child emigration organisation. After a short time in the Middlemore Home in Birmingham, they were sent to a Receiving Home in Canada.  George was aged about 12, Albert about 9 and Walter about 8.  In 1872 John Throgmorton Middlemore founded the Children’s Emigration Homes after he saw poor children on Birmingham streets and felt they should have a better and healthier life abroad away from being paupers. In 1893 he started to send children to Nova Scotia and over 5,000 children were sent with Middlemore to Canada. The children came from local workhouses and reformatories in Birmingham and some children were sent by Guildford Union Workhouse. Many organisations participated in sending emigrants until government legislation stopped it in 1948.  In 2010 the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown apologised for the United Kingdom’s role in sending over 130,000 children to former colonies.

After a short time, George was placed with Forbes MacDonald in Upper River, Victoria County, where he was reported doing well; Albert was placed with John Franklin Forbes in Goshen, Guysborough County and after problems with his first placement, Walter’s second home was with Roderick McCharles of West Side, Middle River, Victoria County, a family who adopted him.

Like his father, Alfred Tickner, George died in his 30s.  He was married to Margaret McQueen and living in Cape Breton Island, when he succumbed to complications from diabetes and died on 12th May 1928.

Trees of the Algarve #photography #travel

These are some of the colourful and beautiful shaped trees to be seen in the Algarve.

Jacaranda Mimosifolia

Palm tree in fruit

Canary Palm

Welcome shade

Carob seed pods

Carob tree

Persian lilac


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Flowers of the Algarve

The wonderful thing about visiting the Algarve is that whatever time of the year it is there will be flowers.  It can be the yellows and pale mauve of Spring wild flowers or the vibrantly coloured cultivated flowers seen for almost the whole year.

Here are some of the cultivated flowers:-

 Stunning hibiscus bushes





Bottle Brush


And few of the wild flowers:-

Bermuda Buttercup (oxalis articulata)

Blue pimpernel

Convolvulus Morning Glory

 Cistanche phelypaea

Chrysanthemum coronarium grows wild everywhere in March and April

Easter in Portugal

Easter in Portugal is an important time for families with its own particular traditions.  One is the baking of loaves of Folar bread you will see in the shops at this time. These were originally connected to  godparents and their godchildren.  It was a custom for a goddaughter or godson to visit their godparents at Easter and ask for the Folar as a treat.  Godchildren give a present of violets or almonds to their godmothers on Palm Sunday.

The Folar da Páscoa is a kind of bread or cake, salty or sweet, depending where you are in Portugal. If it is from the North it is salty. In the Algarve, it is sweet, including sugar, cinnamon and caramel. The Folar da Páscoa is a symbol of brotherhood, friendship and reconciliation, and when covered with eggs, as in the South, it is also a symbol of fertility, rebirth and resurrection.

To read more about the Folar festival go to Becky's page

On Good Friday families will meet up for a meal of cod and vegetables according to Catholic tradition and the custom of the country to enjoy salted cod whenever possible.

On Easter Sunday they can return to meat traditionally Roast Lamb.

And the shops will tempt you with tasty food of all kinds for the Easter festival.