Stories from the past of people and places. Local history, family history, social history, nostalgia.
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Reblog: The Belle of Mayfair
On Lost in a Good Bookthe story of The Belle of Mayfair, a contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been a popular choice for artists. It has also been transposed into other settings such as the film West Side Story showing the New York street gangs of the late 1950s.
In April 1906 a musical called The Belle of Mayfair opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. This was also based on Romeo and Juliet in the current time, Romeo being played by the renowned actor Farren Souter.
“The most photographed
woman in the British Empire”
Looking through my collection of Postcards of Edwardian
actresses the most striking model is undoubtedly, Lily Elsie. Her looks and demeanour immediately reminded
me of the present day actress Rachel Weisz and if you google those two names
together you will find many people agree.
She was born Elsie Hodder in Leeds in 1886. Her mother (Charlotte) Elizabeth Hodder was
an unmarried dressmaker. In 1891,
Elizabeth Hodder married William Cotton, a theatre “luggage man.” Elsie became a child star in the Manchester music
halls, under the name, “Little Elsie” and her mother accompanied her. Although painfully shy, the quality of her
singing was remarkable. Aged 10, she
starred in a production of Little Red Riding Hood which toured the
country. Her first performance in London
was in 1898.
By the 1901 census, she had adopted the name Lily Elsie and
aged 17, she joined George Edward’s company at Daly’s Theatre. As she was prone to gigg…
My first year of teaching started in September 1972. I was given a class of 41 seven year olds in
an old lofty Victorian school. The walls
were tiled and the windows started above my head, so bright colourful displays
were essential. After a year’s postgraduate “training” in teaching 8 to 12 year olds I felt very unprepared for
this mixed ability group. With no
classroom assistant or any other help, it was quite difficult to hear the
children reading regularly. There was a
large blackboard and an enormous box of coloured chalk, the remains of which I have
to this day! From time to time I wheeled
in a tall TV on wheels to Watch BBC Schools “Merry-Go-Round,” making sure my
timing was accurate since we had to watch it live. On Teaching Practice I managed to jam the
Banda machine (Spirit Duplicator) so that an engineer had to be called, so I
was cautious now, but I loved to use different colour masters to make
interesting worksheets and the smell reminded me of pickled cockroaches…
Every day I love to look at the old photographs which Lynn Heiden uploads to Twitter and Facebook as they give us a fascinating window into the past. Often she is able to trace details of the lives of the people in the photographs, using census returns, trade directories etc.but sometimes there just aren't enough clues. I was particularly struck by this group of unknown children so just for fun I thought I'd make up character sketches of them.
Teddy was born early in the century, a much loved second
child after the death of his brother.
Photographed, age 2, he is yet to be breeched so his mother has dressed
him in a spotless, lace edged frock, cleaned and pressed by the maid, but he
can’t resist trying to slip off his uncomfortable shoe. Later his sister Muriel will be born, but he
will always be his mother’s favourite and she is so glad, that just as he is
about to be sent to France to fight, the “war to end all wars” ceases. Sadly he decides to become an army officer…