Cigarette card for the week ending
Saturday, 6 December 2008

Violet Friend (b. about 1880),
English music hall, musical comedy and
pantomime comedienne, actress, dancer and singer

Violet Friend

Violet Friend

(photo: unknown, possibly Hana, London, late 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Violet Friend was issued about 1900 in England in one of Ogden's Guinea Gold series.

'Our Cheltenham correspondent telegraphs that a wedding of more than ordinary interest was celebrated at St. Woolos' Church, Newport, on Wednesday afternoon, when the bride was Miss Violet Friend, who first appeared in Cheltenham as ''principal boy'' in the Christmas pantomime, and then danced and sang herself into the heart of a young and well-to-do Cheltonian, who is the son of highly-respected former residents of the town. The engaging actress to whom Mr. Alan Sidney James Crawford was married on Wednesday has already gained a good position on the burlesque stage. Mr. Crawford was often a visitor to the pantomime during its fortnight's stay in Cheltenham, and the frequency with with he handed valuable presents to the heroine was noted by the curious, and quickly formed the principal topic of society conversation in the town. On Sunday the company moved to Newport, where the pantomime is now being produced, and where the sequel to the Cheltenham romance was seen in the marriage by special licence of Miss Friend and Mr. Crawford.
'Our Newport correspondent says:- The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Percy Mortimer, and was attended by a number of the artistes engaged at the Lyceum. The best man was Mr. Dan Thomas (''Dame Dorking''), whilst the bridesmaid was Miss Adelaide Aylmer (''Princess Pansy''). The wedding was celebrated in a quiet manner, and Miss Friend will appear as usual in Puss in Boots in her impersonation of Jack Grist.
'Miss Friend told a Star reporter who interviewed her that the character suited her exactly - it was so like her own romance. When her present engagement with Mr. Phillips is ended she will join Mr. Yorke Stevens' Little Miss Nobody touring company in the part now being played by Miss Grace Leigh at the Lyric Theatre [London]. She is an enthusiastic sportswoman, her special hobby being rifle shooting, at which she has taken several prizes. With regard to her marriage, she stated that she met Mr. Crawford some years ago, and renewed his acquaintance at Cheltenham during the run of the pantomime.'
(Western Mail, Cardiff, Thursday, 12 January 1899, p. 6f)

'CRAWFORD - FRIEND. - Jan. 11th, at St. Woolos Church, Newport (Mon.), Alan Crawford to Violet Friend, both members of Puss-in-Boots company, Lyceum, Newport.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 January 1899, p. 14b)

'MISS VIOLET FRIEND, who is rapidly making headway on the variety boards, having secured contracts at the Oxford, Metropolitan, and on the Moss and Thornton tour, will sail to-day from Southampton on board the St. Louis for New York, where she will fulfil an engagement at Koster and Bial's. She was the kind permission of Miss Kate Lawrence, a great personal friend, to sing that popular lady's songs in the Empire City, and she will also maker features of Chirgwin's ''Blind Boy'' and of a song breathing amity between Brother Jonathan and John Bull. Miss Friend had her first theatrical experience in London at Terry's, in King Kodak, and was engaged by the late Sir Augustus Harris as second boy at Drury-lane - a contract that she did not fulfil in consequence of his lamented death. She understudied Miss Evie Greene in L'Amour Mouillé at the Lyric, and has fulfilled pantomime engagements under the management of Howard and Wyndham. She is an excellent rifle and revolver shot, and a capital whip. She will have as compagnons de voyage the recently married Duke and Duchess of Manchester. She will return to fulfil contracts in March next.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 24 November 1900, p. 22d)

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© John Culme, 2008