Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 21 September 2002

A random selection of cuttings
from newspapers and magazines

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The fire at Saville House, Leicester Square, London, 1865

‘By this misfortune the entire company of the Music Saloon, known as the Odéon, have been deprived of employment, and suffers the additional loss of dresses and properties. A complete ballet troupe was attached to the establishment, and a considerable number of vocal and instrumental performers. The waiters and various attendants have all suffered by the calamity, and those persons benevolently inclined can forward any subscription to P. Dujoncquoy, New York Hotel, Leicester-street, Leicester-square; William Price, 54, St. Martin’s-lane; Joseph Michalski, 21, Ryder’s-court, Leicester-square; Robert Lemon, Lemon’s Hotel, Cranbourne-passage, Leicester-square; Arthur Dejonge, hat manufacturer, 44, Great Windmill-street, Piccadilly; or to the Committee, daily sitting from eleven to five, at the Black Swan, Ryder’s-court, Leicester-square.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 12 March 1865, p.14c. Saville House was the former home of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-1751).)

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An evening at the Eastern music hall, Limehouse, London, 1865

‘Miss Emma Kerridge, "with her eyes like diamonds sparkling and her richly-flowing hair," has migrated to this part of the world, no doubt to the intense delight of susceptible youths who haunt the locality in search of amusement. The Warne Family represent the acrobatic interest; Wood and Son are the Niggers; Jerry, of the same name, the Irishman for the time being; Miss Phoebe Lauri, the principal danseuse; Miss Bullen and Mr. Young, the soprano and tenor; Edgar Wilding and Miss Butler, the comic and serio ditto; and Messrs. Simpson and Johnson, appear with their sagacious dogs.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 23 April 1865, p.12b)

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Miss Russell at the Oxford music hall, London, 1865

Miss Russell

Miss Russell
(photo: Disdéri, London, circa 1867)

‘It is just possible that many amateurs are not so well acquainted with the music of Donizetti’s Adelia as his Lucia di Lammermoor, and their profound ignorance of the former work need exist no longer, for a selection is given under Mr. Jonghmann’s direction. Miss Russell is again seen in her place of honour among the vocalists, a fact which can only be acceptable to all the frequenters of the Hall. She appears in [selections from] Orphée aux Enfers, The Brother and Sister, and in Adelia aforesaid, giving unbounded satisfaction to the public, and proclaiming herself an excellent vocalist in everything she undertakes. There are four clever frères here now - two Talliotts [gymnasts and trapezists] and two Stonettes [acrobats], besides a frère and soeur D’Auban [dancers], in their way difficult to surpass. Madame Ramsden [dancer], Little Bob [‘nigger’ delineator and dancer], and the very little pianiste, Miriam, are still here.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 June 1865, p.12c)

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‘Madame Lucile’ (Lady Duff Gordon),
court and theatrical dressmaker, London, 1912

Lady Duff Gordon

‘Madame Lucile’ (Lady Duff Gordon, 1863-1935)
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1911)

‘In the dressmaking world the name of Madame Lucile is one with which to conjure. It conceals the identity of Lady Duff Gordon, one of the survivors of the ill-fated Titanic, who, beginning in a small way, soon developed an enormous connection by reason of her enterprise, cleverness, and wonderful taste. It was she who introduced the idea of "emotional gowns," which were first worn on the stage by Mrs. Brown Potter, herself a society actress. From the stage, the idea was taken up in private, and for a time had a great vogue. Now, in addition to her other establishments, Lady Duff Gordon has comparatively recently opened an establishment in New York, where her authority is so great that one of the chief newspapers prints an article from her pen regularly every week.
(from ‘The Lady of Quality, Titles in Trade,’ Every-Woman’s Encyclopaedia, The Amalgamated Press Ltd, London, circa 1912, vol.44, pp.5305 and 5306)

Lucile Ltd, Hanover Square

‘The unpretentious shop whence emanate the wonderful creations of Lady Duff Gordon’;
the headquarters of Lucile Ltd, Hanover Square, London.
(photo: Record Press, London, circa 1912)

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A growing desire for artistry and thought in the theatre, London, 1926

‘For the people who are tired of the average West End productions, there is one excellent piece of advice - don’t go to them. There is a growing desire for artistry and thought in the theatre - something more than the incredibly dreary farces and musical comedies which nowadays constitute "the theatre" - and this demand is being fairly well catered for by what are known as "little" theatres; by some of the play-producing societies; by a few enthusiastic amateurs; and by one or two of the so-called "commercial" managements.
‘These are the enterprises which should be helped by those playgoers who persistently cry out for better plays. Here they will find sincere efforts being made to escape from the worst in modern drama. New plays are produced, old plays are revived, genuine attempts are made to discover fresh talent among English and foreign talent - here is the real theatre for those who love it and know the joy that is to be found in it.
‘Therefore, the people who want a higher standard of drama must help to secure it. Obviously this is best done, not by bewailing the present-day conditions of the stage, but by giving all possible support to the actors, actresses, and producers, who are really trying to develop what they honestly believe is the best in the theatre. How many playgoers, when the opportunity comes for seeing an intelligent play, really make an effort to see it? Very few - the majority "really must go" - and that is about all that happens. There most certainly is a growing public for what may be termed the "intellectual" drama, and they must, if they are to have what they want, help those who are trying to foster its growth.’
(S.T.H., ‘Take Your Choice,’ The Theatre World and Illustrated Stage Review, London, March 1926, p.7)

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© John Culme, 2002