Alice Belmore Cliffe in Richard III

Alice Belmore Cliffe 1865 – 1943

Birth: 1865, 24th January in St Paul, Kensington and Chelsea, London

Death: 1943, 31st July in Flushing, Queens, New York

Alice Maude Belmore Garstin was born to the great actor George Benjamin Belmore and his wife, actress Alice Maude Mary Ann Cooke.  They lived in Wimbledon in Surrey, and moved to Lambeth in London while Alice was still young.   As a child Alice Belmore played in the nearby Battersea Park with her brother Herbert Belmore, the youngest of her siblings.  Her family was a large one, with four brothers and two sisters, all in the acting and stage performance professions.   As actors they were used to travelling to theatres all around the UK, and at 14 Alice travelled to New York from Liverpool on the ship ‘City of Chester’.

Little Alice Belmore Garstin

Little Alice Belmore Garstin

Paul Lionel Alice and Lillian Belmore

Front: Paul Belmore Garstin. Back: Lionel, Alice and Lillian

Alice entered the theatrical profession as a young girl, and shared the stages of London and the UK with such renowned actors as Henry Irving, Wilson Barrett, Ellen Terry and Charles Wyndham. She also had a long and successful US career in Broadway theatre, where her first US important role was in Sir Anthony.

Alice was also a member of Actors Equity, and the Actors Fund charity organisations.

In 1884, Alice had her first important role in the Wilson Barrett company production of Claudian, at the Theatre Royal in Birmingham.  She stared alongside her sister Lillie Belmore, her brother Lionel Belmore, and their mother Alice Cooke, and also her husband to be, Henry Cooper-Cliffe.

Claudian

Claudian, with Wilson Barrett, Lionel, Lillian and Alice Belmore, Alice Cooke and Henry Cooper-Cliffe.

In 1887 the Wilson Barrett Company sailed on board a ship called the Alaska, across the Atlantic towards Liverpool.  Among them were Alice, her sister Lillie and Henry Cooper-Cliffe.  While at sea, the company performed the play ‘The Colour Sergeant’ in aid of charity, with programmes giving the address of the ‘theatre’ as ‘Atlantic Avenue’.

Alice Belmore married Thomas Henry Cooper-Cliffe in 1887, July, at the age of 22, at St. James’ Church in Clapham.  Henry was 25, and an actor in productions by Wilson Barrett and Henry Irving,  Alice and Henry lived in Battersea, London.

Henry Cooper-Cliffe

Henry Cooper-Cliffe

1890

  • The People’s Idol, at Olympic Theatre, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe, brothers Lionel and Paul Belmore, sister Lillie Belmore, and mother Alice Cooke. Produced by and also starring Wilson Barrett
  1. Alice and Henry had their first child in 1891, Anges Maude Coope- Cliffe.
  • The Stranger, at Olympia, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe, sister Lillie Belmore and brother Paul Belmore
  • The Lights of London, at Olympia, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe, and brothers Lionel and Paul Belmore
  • Tommy, at Olympia, London, alongside brother Paul Belmore
  • A Yorkshire Lass or A Toll of Drums, alongside brothers Lionel and Paul Belmore
  • Ben-My-Chree, at Olympia, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe and sister Lillie Belmore
  • Hamlet, at Olympia, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe and brother Lionel Belmore
  • The Acrobat, at Olympia, London, alongside husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe and brother Paul Belmore

Alice and Henry travelled together to New York on the ship ‘City of Berlin’ from Liverpool in 1892. They sailed back to Liverpool the next year on the ‘Arizona’, then to New York again in 1894 on the ‘Germanic’.  In 1895 they returned to Liverpool again on the ‘Germanic’ with a company of actors, and later the same year went to Boston, Massachusetts on the ‘Pavonia’ with their four year old daughter.

The Germanic, White Star Line

On an occasion shortly before the end of the run of ‘The Silver King’, a Wilson Barrett production, the Prince of Wales entered Alice’s dressing room while she was on a break.  The story goes as follows, as printed in The New York Times in 1896:

“One of the most humorous incidents that ever happened to me, was one evening shortly before the termination of the run of ‘The Silver King’. Having a ‘wait ‘ of half an hour, I was seated in my dressing room, snatching a hasty repast of oysters and ‘stout’, and looking over a new part which had just been handed to me. I had just left Mr. Barrett on the stage to finish the act, when I heard a knock on my room door.

“’Entrez!’ I exclaimed; when the door was pushed open, and you may imagine my astonished and trepidation when I saw the Prince of Wales quietly enter, smoking a cigarette, and quite unattended.

“’Ah, Miss Belmore,’ he said; ‘I hope you will pardon this intrusion on your privacy. I was on my way to Mr. Barrett’s room, as I thought; but must have made a mistake.’

“’Mr. Barrett is on the stage at present,’ I replied; ‘but he will be upstairs in a few minutes, when the act is over. May I offer you a chair?’

“’Many thanks,’ he added, ‘but perhaps you object to smoking?’

“’Not at all, sir.’

“Whereupon he seated himself quite affably. I was all in a flutter, for it had just occurred to me that the Prince had dropped in for a quiet drink.

“I had nothing to offer him, although my own empty ‘pewter’ on the table told its own tale. Suddenly I remembered that Mr. Barrett always kept a private decanter in his room. So I made a move toward the door, and asked the Prince if he would kindly excuse my absence for a few moments. He politely opened the door for me, and I darted into Mr. Barrett’s room.

“’Quick!’ I said, to his man. ‘Give me the brandy, two glasses and bottles of soda.’

“The startled dresser at once complied with my request, and then I hastened back with my loot. I thought I noticed a merry twinkle in the eyes of my visitor as I deposited my drinkables upon the table.

“’If Mr. Barrett had been present,’ I said, ‘he would have asked you to take a drink. May I take that stupendous liberty?’

“My future sovereign, who was shaking with laughter, promptly replied:

“’Why, that is exactly what I have come for.’

“He then insisted upon helping both of us, and he opened the bottles of soda quite cleverly. Soon I heard Mr. Barrett ascending the stairs, and saying to someone who was with him, ‘Come along, old man and have a drink in my den.’ I felt uncommonly queer. The Prince heard all, and was enjoying the scene intensely. Presently we heard Mr. Barrett ordering his man to prepare the drinks, and when the poor fellow had told him all about my felonious visit, he knocked at my door, and shouted at me savagely:

“’Alice, what have you done with my brandy and soda?’

“I quietly opened the door, and will not attempt to describe the horrified look of the popular actor, when he recognised the illustrious personage who was emptying his glass with evident enjoyment. If ever Mr. Barrett’s knees shook, they shook then. I thought the scene very funny, however. As for the Prince, he was now fairly convulsed with laughter.

“’Miss Belmore is a delightful hostess’, he said, ‘and I have enjoyed my visit immensely.’

“With profuse apologies, which only increased the Prince’s merriment, Mr. Barrett then escorted our royal visitor back to his box. I feared that I had got into an awful scrape, but I was not banished or otherwise punished because I took the daring liberty of inviting the best friend and patron our profession ever had to take a stolen drink.”

  1. Sailed from Cape Town with her daughter Agnes aboard ‘The Greek’.
  • Burmah, American Theatre, New York

1897

  • The Sign of the Cross, at Lyric Theatre, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore and brother Paul Belmore

Alice and Henry had their second child in 1898, Doris Cooper-Cliffe.

  1. Sailed alone from New York to London on the ‘Manitou’.
  • The Silver King, at Lyceum, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore and brother Paul Belmore
  • Man and His Manners, at Lyceum, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore and brother Paul Belmore
  • The Sign of the Cross, at Lyceum, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore and brother Paul Belmore
  • The Deemster, at Lyceum, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore and brother Paul Belmore
  • The Colour Sergeant, at Lyceum, London, alongside brother Paul Belmore
  • The Manxman, at Lyceum, London, alongside sister Daisy Belmore
  • Othello, at Lyceum, London, alongside brother Paul Belmore
  • Hamlet, at Lyceum, London, alongside brother Paul Belmore

In 1901, Alice, Henry and their daughters are registered as living in Streatham, London on the England and Wales Census.

  1. Arrived in London on the ‘Minneapolis’ alone, from New York.

Minneapolis

  • Richard III, in London

1905, Travelled to New York from Liverpool with Henry and a company of actors on the ‘Arabic’.

  • Lucky Durham, at Knickerbocker Theater, New York, with Henry Cooper-Cliffe
  • The Brighter Side, at Knickerbocker Theater, New York, with Henry Cooper-Cliffe
  • Back to the Land of the Living, at Savoy, London
  • The Man Who Was, at New Amsterdam Theatre, New York, with Henry Copper-Cliffe
  1. Travelled to the US twice from Liverpool. To Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, alone on the ‘Haverford’, and to New York on the ‘Carmania’ with a full company of actors, including her husband Henry and her brother George.
  • The Jury of Fate, at Shaftsbury , London, alongside brother Lionel Belmore
  • Sir Anthony, at Savoy Theatre, New York
  1. sailed alone to Philadelphia on the ‘Haverford’ from Liverpool again. Alice’s UK home address is now in Teddington, London.
  • King Lear
  • Hamlet
  • Merchant of Venice

Arrived in Liverpool via Queenstown, Ireland from Philadelphia, on the ‘Haverford’ with Henry in 1908. Then went back to Philadelphia with Henry again on the ‘Merion’.

  1. Arrived in Liverpool via Queenstown, Ireland from Philadelphia, on the ‘Friesland’ with Henry. Travelled from London to Quebec with Henry on the ‘Sicilian’ before entering the USA via the Canadian border. Then went to Liverpool via Queenstown, Ireland from Philadelphia, on the ‘Lucitania’ alone.
  • Barber of New Orleans, at Daly’s Theatre, New York, with Henry Cooper-Cliffe and Lionel Belmore
  • Herod, at Lyric Theatre, New York, with Henry Cooper-Cliffe and Lionel Belmore
  1. Arrived in New York on the ‘Philadelphia’ from Southampton with Henry and their daughters.
  • The Girl Who Took the Wrong Turning, at Aldwych, London, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville

Alice and Henry settled in New York in 1911, although they still frequently travelled between the US and UK, with work and family now on both sides of the Atlantic.

  1. Sailed to London from New York on the ‘Minnewaska’ with Henry Cooper-Cliffe and Lionel Belmore.
  • The Monk and the Woman, at Lyceum and Princes Theatres, London, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville
  • Oliver Twist, at New Amsterdam Theatre and Empire Theatre, New York
  • Ben-My-Chree, at Princes Threatre, London, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville

Dickens Centenary Celebrations New Amsterdam Theatre

In December 1912, Alice participated in the Stage Society of New York’s plans to evade the ban on performing drama on Sundays.  As there had been threats from the police to arrest all concerned if a performance occurred on a Sunday in the Lyceum Theater, the three one-act plays that were planned commenced after midnight, effectively Monday morning.  Alice was in Nocturne, the first of the performances.  A police inspector was in the invite-only audience, but no arrests were made.

1914

  • The Adventures of a Lively Hussy
  • Lady Betty, at England Theatre

1915

  • Her Forbidden Marriage, at Lyceum, alongside brother-in-law Gilbert Heron, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville
  • Between Two Women, at Lyceum, London, alongside brother George Belmore, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville
  • The Shop Soiled Girl
  • Treasure Island, at Punch & Judy Theatre, New York
  • Robinson Crusoe, at Lyceum, London alongside brother George Belmore, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville

1916

  • Screen Struck
  • The Girl Who Wrecked his Home
  • Women and Wine, at Lyceum, London, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville
  • Monte Cristo, at Lyceum, London, produced by Walter and Frederick Melville

1918

  • Seven Days Leave, at Park Theatre, with Henry Cooper-Cliffe
  • My Pigeon Past, at Edinburgh Royal Lyceum

1919

  • Penny Wise, at Belmont Theatre and Punch & Judy Theatre, New York

Alice worked on the radio in California, with regular programmes such as Bob Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Sherlock Holmes series.

1920

  • Paddy the Next Best Thing, at Shubert Theater, New York
  • No More Blondes, at Maxine Elliot’s Theatre, New York

Paddy the Next Best Thing - Alice Belmore-Cliffe

1922

  • Fanny Hawthorne, at Vanderbilt Theatre, New York
  • Radio try out “Tons of Money”

1923

  • Windows, at Garrick Theatre, New York
  • The Failures, at Garrick Theatre, New York
  1. This year also included an Atlantic crossing to Liverpool.
  • The Mongrel, at Longacre Theatre, New York

1925

  • Hay Fever, at Maxine Elliot’s Theatre, New York
  • Androcles and the Lion, at Klaw Theatre, New York

1926

  • The Chief Thing, at Guild Theater, New York

1928

  • Major Barbara, at Guild Theatre, New York

1929

  • Meet the Prince, at Lyceum Theatre, New York
  • Michael and Mary, at Charles Hopkins Theatre, New York

1930

  • The Stepdaughters of War, at Empire Theater, New York

1931

  • I Love an Actress, at Times Square Theatre, New York
  • Hay Fever, at Avon Theatre, New York

1934

  • Rain from Heaven, at John Golden Theater, New York
  • The Wooden Slipper, at Ritz Theater, New York
  • Dream Child, at Vanderbilt Theatre, New York

1935

  • The Taming of the Shrew, at Guild Theater, New York
  • Flowers of the Forest, at Martin Beck Theater, New York

1937

  • Madame Bovary, at Broadhurst Theatre, New York. Part of Benn W. Levy’s American Tour.

1938

  • The Greatest Show on Earth, at Playhouse Theatre, New York

1939

  • Dear Octopus, at Broadhurst Theatre, New York

Alice’s husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe died in 1939 at the age of 76.  Alice described their marriage to each other as 52 years of happiness in a letter to younger relatives.

1941

  • The Doctor’s Dilemma, at Shubert Theater, New York
Alice Belmore in The Doctor's Dilemma

The Doctor’s Dilemma

1942

  • The Three Sisters, at Ethel Barrymore Theater, New York

Alice Belmore-Cliffe  Three Sisters Ethel Barrymore

Alice Maude Belmore-Cliffe and Judy Anders in The Three Sisters

Alice Maude Belmore-Cliffe and Judy Anders in The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters became Alice’s final play, which ran until April 1943.  The same year in July Alice Belmore died at the age of 78 in the Park West hospital in New York after a brief illness.  At this time she resided at 245 West Fifty-first Street.  Survived by daughter Doris Cooper-Cliffe, who was now named Doris Wallace.

Alice Belmore Orbituary

Alfred Belmore 1897 – 1914

Birth: 1897, in Strand, Western Central London, England

Death: 1914, killed in action during World War I

Alfred Belmore was born in the Strand area of London, as the fifth and final child of actors George Belmore and Jessie Danvers. George Belmore died a year later, and so Gilbert Heron became Alfred’s stepfather.

Alfred was known to all as Reg, or Reggie. Although his whole family was involved in the theatre, World War I broke out as soon as Reggie finished school, and he immediately joined the Machine Gun Corps, Royal West Kent Regiment. He was killed in battle in 1914. The name Reginald was passed onto a son born in 1921 of one of his sisters, Jessie Belmore.

Alfred Belmore

Bertha Belmore

Bertha Cousins Belmore 1882 – 1953

Birth: 1882, December 20th in Manchester, Lancashire, England

Death: December 15th 1953, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Born to William Henry Cousins and Mary Anne Pearce, both from Burnage, a suburb in Manchester.  Bertha didn’t come from a theatrical family, and so pursued an acting career initially without the advantage of influential connections.

In 1889, Bertha first appeared on stage as one of the ‘Six Sunbeams’, a juvenile touring troupe. They sang, danced, and recited from fairy tales.  Bertha used to play the xylophone while standing on a box.

1890, toured with the John Tiller Girls around Great Britain, and around Europe with ‘Harwood’s Juveniles’ as a progression from the Six Sunbeams.  Her professional acting debut was at age 8 at Princes Theatre, Manchester, in the children’s Christmas pantomime Robinson Crusoe.  For many seasons Bertha would perform in pantomimes as the principal boy.  Over the course of seven years, Bertha would also appear in leading variety theatres as one of the ‘Belmore Sisters’.

In June 1905, Bertha married actor Herbert Belmore, born in 1875, a son of the great actor George Benjamin Belmore and actress Alice Cook.  Herbert’s brothers and sisters all had stage performance careers also.  Bertha and Herbert met on the stage.  However, for reasons of health, Herbert had to move to America, and Bertha followed a year later, which initiated her long acting career in the US.  Herbert also continued to act and be a stage manager, although not to the same degree of success and fame as his wife.

Bertha Caricature 1  Bertha Caricature 2  Bertha Caricature 3  Bertha Caricature 4

1910

  • As You Like It, on the Schenley lawn in Pittsburgh

1911, toured America with the Ben Greet’s Pastoral Players, known a repertoire that included Shakespeare.  Bertha also played many of the Bard’s heroines in William Faversham’s Repertory Company.  Additionally she was in Florenz Ziegfeld’s ‘Ziegfeld Follies’ touring shows with W. C. Fields and Will Rogers for three years.

Ziegfeld Follies

1912

  • Julias Ceasar, at Lyric Theatre, Bertha’s New York debut performance, with William Faversham.

1920

  • Irene, at Empire Theatre, a musical comedy by James Montgomery. Bertha’s debut performance in London.

1923

  • The Sporting Thing to Do, at Ritz Theatre, a play by Thompson Buchanan. Also starred her husband Herbert, who was also the stage manager for this performance.
  • Grounds for Divorce, at Empire Theatre

1925

  • Ziegfeld Follies, Ohio Theatre and New Amsterdam Theatre with W. C. Fields.

1927

  • The Cradle Snatchers, at His Majesty’s

1929

  • Whispering Gallery, at Forest Theatre. Play by Percy Robinson and Terrence de Marney.

1930

  • Show Boat, at Casino, New York. Adapted from a novel by Edna Ferber.  Although Bertha had a successful audition for the role of Parthy Ann Hawkes, her commitments in Australia, along with an error in foresight as to how popular Show Boat would be from just reading the script, meant that she was unable to take the role straight away. Eventually took over from Edna May Oliver in the role.

Show Boat

1931

  • Let’s Ask the Lacks, in New York

1932

  • The Warrior’s Husband, at Morosco, New York. This play was later remade as By Jupiter (more details below, in 1942).  Incidentally, it also starred Katharine Hepburn, and started her legendary career after a break-out performance, whereas prior to this she had not been very successful as an actress.
  • Showboat, New York, Zeigfeld’s final production

Show Boat 1932

1933

  • Going Gay, a UK movie musical, directed by Carmine Gallone
  • Happy, a UK movie musical comedy, based on a play. Directed by Frederic Zelnik.
  • Keep It Quiet, a UK movie directed by Leslie S. Hiscott.
  • Kiss me Goodbye, movie ?

1934

  • “Yes Madam?” at the London Hippodrome, a musical comedy. “Miss Bertha Belmore’s sterling art simmers on an elderly spinster’s hob before boiling over in Edwardian song and dance”.
  • Reunion in Vienna, at Lyric Theatre, London. Bertha had to smoke cigars in every act of this production.  As she wasn’t used to even smoking cigarettes, she almost fainted in the final act, and the production team had to find specially made milder cigars so Bertha could continue with the role.
  • Are You a Mason, a UK movie comedy based on a play, directed by Henry Edwards.
  • Blossom Time, a UK movie musical romance, directed by Paul L. Stein
  • April Blossoms, movie
  • Over the Garden Wall, a UK movie based on a play, directed by John Daumery.

Bertha Belmore Yes Madam 1934

1935

  • You Never Can Tell, a UK movie
  • Royal Cavalcade, a UK movie drama
  • Be Careful, Mr. Smith, a UK movie comedy directed by Max Mack.
  • So You Won’t Talk, a UK movie comedy, directed by William Beaudine.

Bertha Belmore Royal Cavalcade 1935

1936

  • In The Soup, a UK movie, directed by Henry Edwards. A comedy based on a play.
  • Broken Blossoms, a UK movie drama based on a novel by Thomas Burke, adapted by Emlyn Williams and directed by John Brahm. A remake of D. W. William’s silent film masterpiece, known sometimes as The Yellow Man and The Girl, from 1919.
  • Give Me a Ring, a play at the London Hippodrome that was also filmed with Bertha and released as a movie production called Give Her a Ring, directed by Arthur B. Woods. Hippodrome performances were well known for featuring dancing girls.

1937

  • Big Business, at the London Hippodrome. Also starred Bobby Howes and Vera Pearce.  One press article said “The way Vera Pear skimmed along the main on Thursday evening was an eye-opener. While this superb artist’s genius is for attack, that of Miss Bertha Belmore is for defence. She stands in the centre of these musical comedies immune from assault, like one of my Uncle Toby’s outworks. She is the lidless-eyed dragon of all the proprieties, and I can think of no higher praise than that Dame Madge Kendal would have approved of her. Is it conscious or subconscious imitation which makes Miss Belmore wear dresses of the exact shade of puce, and occasionally break into the same heliotropic smile? Whatever the reason, the resemblance is complete down to the Parma Violets in the bun.”    The show had extra scenes added to it during its run, with Bertha given a “first-class song-and-dance number, Flannel Foot, all to herself”.
  • Please Teacher!, a play at the London Hippodrome with Bobby Howes and Vera Pearce who became regular co-stars with Bertha. Vera and Bertha were joint headmistresses, with Bertha described in the press as “amusingly dragon-like”, who intimidated Bobby, which became a recurring theme in their work together. It was filmed as a movie production the same year, also with Bertha, directed by Stafford Dickens.
  • Keep it Quiet
  • Virginia, at Center Theatre, New York
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • Oh! You Letty, at Palace Theatre London, a musical comedy with husband Herbert Belmore
  • Over She Goes

Bertha Belmore Big Business1937 Berhta Belmore Please Teacher  Berhta Belmore Please Teacher 1934

1938

  • Queer Cargo, a UK movie directed by Harold D. Schuster. Also known as Pirates of the Seven Seas.
  • Over she Goes, a UK movie musical comedy based on a play, directed by Graham Cutts.
  • Hold My Hand, a UK movie based on a play, directed by Thornton Freeland.
  • Convict 99, a UK movie comedy directed by Marcel Varnel.
  • Weddings are Wonderful, a UK movie directed by Maclean Rogers.
  • Yes Madam?, at London Hippodrome, a musical comedy alongside Bobby Howes and Vera Pearce once again. Bertha’s husband Herbert was the producer.
  • Bobby Get Your Gun, at Adelphi Theatre, London
  • Let’s Make a Night of It, a UK movie directed by Graham Cutts.

Bertha was asked what was the biggest disappointment in theatre?  Her reply was “I think it was over Night Must Fall. Emlyn Williams, a great friend of mine, had written the part of Mrs. Bramson especially for me. He said he used to write the lines with me in mind. I was playing in Yes Madam at the time and we had another six months to run, so of course I wasn’t available. I went to the midnight performance of Night Must Fall, and after it was over I said to my husband, ‘Get a taxi and let’s go home.’ ‘What’s the matter? Are you feeling ill?’ he asked. ‘Never mind, get a taxi,’ was all I could say! And I went home and cried for hours!  Such a wonderful part in a grand play, and I had missed it! The fact that Dame May Whitty played it so marvellously probably made me feel even worse! But that’s the theatre. You have to take the rough with the smooth.”

1939

  • Discoveries, a UK movie musical showcasing new talent, based on Carroll Levis’ radio programme of the same name.
  • Yes Madam, a UK movie directed by Norman Lee, based on the Hippodrome play which Bertha also starred in.

1940

  • Nap Hand, at Aldwych, London
  • Johnny Belinda, at Belasco’s Theatre, New York
  • She Couldn’t Say No, a US movie directed by William Clemens, based on a play.
  • The Midas Touch, a UK movie directed by David MacDonald

1941

  • Would be Gentleman, at Touring Theatre
  • Pirates of the Seven Seas F?

1942

  • By Jupiter, at Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York. A Broadway musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart based on The Warrior’s Husband, a play by Julian Thompson in 1931, where Bertha played the same role.  A dance routine between Bertha and Ray Bolger,  the lead of the show, is one of the biggest highlights.  For a while, possibly only in pre-production, this play was also called “All’s Fair” in early press materials. “Bertha Belmore as an Amazonian dowager stops the show with her lively dances and robust jokes”.
  • Heart of a City, at Henry Miller’s Theatre New York, by Leslie Storm

Bertha Belmore Shubert Theater 1942 Bertha Belmore By Jupiter 1942 Bertha Belmore By Jupiter  Bertha Belmore By Jupiter 1942

1943

  • By Jupiter, at Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York
  • The Naked Genius, at Plymouth Theatre, New York. A comedy by Gipsy Rose Lee

Gipsy Rose Lee's The Naked Genius

1944

  • Rhapsody, at Century Theatre, New York, an operetta by Fritz Kreisler

1945

  • The Would-Be Gentleman, on tour
  • Marriage is for Single People, at the Schubert Theatre and New Haven and Wilbur Theatre, New York. “Bertha Belmore gives veteran skill to a farcical matron assignment”. The play is described as an “Amusing Cartoon” by reviewer Warren Storey Smith, who goes on to say “Known to fame is Bertha Belmore, who most capably assumes the role of Mrs. Sibyl Hecuba, mother of Playwright Reginald, whose proposal to Lottie is one of his numerous and celebrated pranks, and who finally resolves the difficulties and complications of the plot by another one that will not be revealed here”.

1946

  • Antigone and the Tyrant, at Court Theatre, New York. Adapted by Lewis Galantiere from the play by Jean Anouilh. Also starred Cedric Hardwicke.

1947

  • Peace Come to Peckham, at Princes Theatre, London. A comedy by R. F. Delderfield. Featured Lionel Blair in an early role.
  • The Late Christopher Bean, at Civic Theatre, Chicago. By Sidney Howard.

Bertha Belmore Peace Comes to Peckham 1947

1948

  • Rosalie, a Civic Light Opera production in Pittsburgh

Bertha was quoted in a Pittsburgh local newspaper as saying, about her favourite play ‘By Jupiter’ “I stopped the show every night when I did a tap dance. I was 60 at the time”. The day before this was printed, the article also states that Bertha and her co-star in ‘Rosalie’ Jackie Gleason proved that between them they could lift her car, an Austin.

1949

  • The Browning Version, at Coronet Theatre, New York. A one-act tragedy. Also starred Louis Hector, the ex-husband of Bertha’s niece Jessie Belmore, playing a pompous headmaster.
  • A Harlequinade, at Coronet Theatre, New York. A one-act satiric farce, performed in the same evenings as The Browning Version. Both plays were originally written by Sir Terrence Rattigan, a great dramatist of the 20th  The press said “The ever popular Bertha Belmore also has a field day in “A Harlequinade,” as Dame Maud Gosport. She won salvos of applause from her devoted fans”, and “Bertha Belmore is Dame Maud, and plays with imposing displacement in a grand manner that makes lines sound funnier than they are”.  Louis Hector starred in this also.
  • The Morey Amsterdam Show, a US TV series
  • Caesar and Cleopatra, at The National Theatre, New York. Written by George Bernard Shaw in 1898 and first staged in the UK in 1901. A comedy that is a prequel to Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.  Also starred Lili Palmer as Cleopatra and Cedric Hardwicke as Julius Caesar, who was also the director of the show.  Bertha is described in the press as “something extra special in the role of Cleopatra’s lady-in-waiting”

Caesar and Cleopatra  Caesar and Cleopatra  Caesar and Cleopatra

In 1950, Doris Wallace, the daughter of Alice Belmore Cooper Cliffe (sister of Bertha’s husband Herbert) and Henry Cooper Cliffe, died in an elevator accident on March 1st at Grand Central Station in New York.  Bertha and Herbert Belmore flew out in order to take custody of Clifford Wallace, Doris’ sixteen year old son. Although Clifford’s father had divorced Doris a long time prior to the incident and had nothing to do with Clifford for at least a dozen years, Bertha and Herbert had to fight Clifford’s father in court in a custody battle.

Bertha said “The boy’s father never supported him or made any attempt to see him during the last 10 years. My husband, who was his mother’s uncle, and I, love him very much and want him to live with us. We have no children, and will treat Clifford as our own”. Doris’ parents had originally objected to the marriage between her and Clifford’s father.

Clifford Wallace Jr.

1950

  • The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, a US TV series. This live dramatic series featured original stories and adaptations of novels and plays during its eight year run. During the first year, the show was sponsored by the Actor’s Equity Association and featured adaptations of Broadway plays and musicals.
  • The Trap (Three Blind Mice), a US TV series, with Leslie Nielson
  • Blue for a Boy, at Theatre Royal Nottingham, and His Majesty’s Theatre London. Bertha’s last West End performance.

Bertha Belmore in Blue for a Boy 1950

1951

  • Gigi, at Fulton Theatre, New York, with Audrey Hepburn. Based on Colette’s 1945 novel of the same name.  Bertha’s final major stage role.  For her performance she was awarded the American Theatre Award.  The New York Herald Tribune said “Miss Belmore is five-carat all the way”.
  • The Web, TV series. Live dramas based on stories by members of the Mystery Writers of America.
  • Studio One, a US TV series that won several Emmy awards.
  • The Ford Theatre Hour, a US TV series sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.
  • Martin Kane, Private Eye, US TV series

1953

  • So You Won’t Talk F?

Bertha’s recreational interests included motoring, golf and swimming.  She had a home in Long Island, New York, and also in Knightsbridge, London.

She used to appear many times in small, informal shows at Cherry Grove on the Great South Beach in South Carolina. Once she had a musical written about her reign as the president of the Cherry Grove Art Project, called ‘Berthe of a Nation’.

Bertha died just a few days short of turning 71 in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, one year after her husband Herbert had died in New York.  She had suffered terrible injuries from a fall down marble steps while on holiday with a long-time friend Mrs. Florence Carless.  Unfortunately her body was held in a mortuary for several months and not returned to Long Island and the grave of her husband due to a bill of £1,200 for treatment and embalming at the hospital.  Although Bertha’s estate was estimated to be worth over £50,000, a flaw in America’s legal system meant no money was available immediately, resulting in much communication between relatives, friends, lawyers, the British Consulate and associates in London and across the Atlantic to try and resolve this.

Bertha Belmore New York Times

Lillian Belmore

Lillian Belmore

Birth: 1872, in England

Death: 1901, January 17th, in Warwickshire, England

Lillian Belmore Garstin was the sixth  child of the great 19th century actor George Benjamin Garstin, stage name George Belmore, and his wife from a family of circus performers and proprietors Alice Maude Mary Ann Cooke. She was preceded by three brothers and two sisters, the first of which, George Belmore, was born 9 years before in 1863. In June 1875, they were joined by a younger brother who would be the final child.

In 1875, Lillian’s father died of illness at just 45 years of age while in the United States. However, with Lillian and her siblings all still young, and in some cases at various stages of school education, they and their mother Alice were all in London when this occurred, and unable to attend their father’s funeral in New York. Instead a ‘performance and testimonial benefit’ was arranged in London, attended, organised and contributed to by many famous actors and people involved in theatre who knew and worked with George Benjamin Belmore.

lillie Belmore photo   lillie Belmore photo

A Life in Theatre

In 1884, at age 12, Lillian made her first appearance on stage in a small part in ‘Claudian’ with the Wilson Barrett theatre company, at the Princess’ and Olympic theatres in London. Story by Henry Herman. This was with several members of her immediate family in the cast. William Lionel Belmore, an older brother. Alice Belmore, an older sister, Alice Cooke, Lillian’s mother, and also Henry Cooper-Cliffe, who wasn’t part of the family at the time but later married Alice Belmore.

Lillian Belmore Claudian

Olympic Theatre

Olympic Theatre

1887

  • The Golden Ladder.

A short time after this, Lillie Belmore (her professional stage name) was playing important parts at the Criterion theatre and elsewhere, later re-joining Wilson Barrett’s group full time.

Lillian Belmore The Sketch 1901

In 1889, Lillie travelled across the Atlantic ocean with the Wilson Barrett company of actors from Liverpool to New York. This was on a ship called ‘City of New York’. Their tour of the USA took them to Boston for three weeks.

  • Ben-My-Chree at Tompkins’ Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York. A dramatization of Hall Caine’s “The Deemster”. Also starred Wilson Barrett, Lillie’s brothers Lionel and Paul, her sister Alice and Alice’s husband Henry Cooper-Cliffe. Lillie took over the role of the harvest festival “Corn Queen” called Kittie from Lila Garth, who fractured an ankle early in the performance’s run.
  • The Silver King, at Tompkins’ Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York. Also starred Wilson Barrett, Henry Cooper-Cliffe, and Lillie’s mother Alice Cooke.
  • Nowadays, at Tompkins’ Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York. Written by and starring Wilson Barrett. Henry Cooper-Cliffe had a role in this play also.
  • The Good Old Times, at Olympic Theatre, London.

Lillian Belmore Tompkins fifth avenue theatre

Fifth avenue theatre 1899

Fifth Avenue Theatre in 1899

1890

  • Kitty Grey, at The Vaudeville Theatre.
  • The People’s Idol, at Olympic Theatre. With brothers Lionel and Paul, sister Alice, and mother Alice Cooke also performing.
  • The Silver King, at Olympic Theatre. Also starred her brother Paul Belmore.
  • The Stranger, at Olympic Theatre. Also starred her brother Paul Belmore.
vaudeville theatre london

Vaudeville Theatre

1891

  • Cecelia, at Gaiety Theatre. Possibly also starred Lille’s mother Alice Cooke.
  • Tommy, at Olympic Theatre.
  • Ben My Chree.
  • Father Bunoparte, with Lillie’s mother Alice Cooke.
  • Chatterton, at Gaiety Theatre. With Alice Cooke.
  • The Acrobat, at Olympic Theatre. With Lillie’s brother Paul Belmore.
  • The Miser.
  • The Crusader, at Avenue Theatre.
  • The Reckoning, at Globe Theatre.
  • On an Island, at Avenue Theatre.

Lillie Belmore good old gaiety

1892

  • Niobe, at Prince’s Theatre, Bristol. Written by Harry Paulton. This show ran two seasons with Lillie, with the second taking place during 1893 through to early 1894. Some considered Lillie’s ‘Audrey’ in this to be her best performance.
  • Custom House, at Vauderville Theatre. Also starred her brother George Belmore.
  • The Noble Art, at Terry’s Theatre.
  • The Postman, at the Strand Theatre.
  • Clairette, at Opera Comnique in Liverpool. This was Lille’s first performance in this city.

Lillian Belmore Niobe   Lillian Belmore Niobe

Terry's Theatre

Terry’s Theatre

Terry's Theatre

Terry’s Theatre

1893

  • Don Juan, at Gaiety Theatre

gaiety theatre   Interior Gaiety Theatre 1868   gaiety theatre strand

Mr. George Edwardes, proprietor of theatre groups and manager of Gaiety Theatre, saw Lillie Belmore and arranged for her to be in his acting companies. The Gaiety Theatre was traditionally known for burlesque farces, but was about to try hosting more story-driven comedy dramas.

George Edwardes

George Edwardes

Good old gaiety George Edwardes

George Edwardes

1894

  • The Shop Girl, at Princess’ Theatre and Gaiety Theatre, with the Wilson Barrett company. A musical comedy by H.J.W. Dam, that achieved more than 500 performances, which was a record at the time for this type of show. It was written in the entertainment press that “Miss Belmore’s scenes with Arthur Williams invariably provoked roars of laughter”. It followed on from a series of shows that included The Dancing Girl, A Gaiety Girl, and The Wrong Girl, and succeeded by the shows My Girl, The Circus Girl and The Runaway Girl.
  • As You Like It, at The Prince of Wales theatre, a play performed by women only. Later in the year this show transferred to Gaiety.
  • Chatterton.

the shop girl cast photo   the shop girl cast photo   Shop Girl poster   Shop Girl photo   Lillie Belmore The Shop girl poster   Lillie Belmore the shop girl   Shop Girl photo   Shop girl drawing   The Shop Girl   Charles Appleby shop girl

H J W Dam

H J W Dam

1896

  • Gay Parisienne, at the Duke of York theatre in London. This musical comedy in two acts premiered at the Opera House in Northampton in 1894. In London it ran for 396 performances, and later it toured abroad.
  • My Girl, at Gaiety. The show transferred to Theatre Royal in Birmingham later.
birmingham theatre royal

Birmingham Theatre Royal

1897, Lillie sailed to South Africa with the touring George Edwardes company, and returned via the West Indies, arriving in Southampton, England.  The ship on the return journey was called The Atrato, and was a Royal Mail package transport ship. She was with her brother Herbert Belmore, and her husband Charles Claude William Wallace.

1898

  • The Forty Thieves, at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. A Children’s Pantomime that commenced on Boxing Day night. Written by Arthur Sturgess and Arthur Collins. This show also starred the successful music hall comedians and actors Dan Leno and Johnny Danvers, who had become related to Lillie via the marriage of her elder brother George Belmore to Jessie Danvers. Lillian played the part of Cogia. On the opening night, The Forty Thieves was under-rehearsed.

Lillian Belmore Cogia   forty thieves   Lille Belmore Forty Thieves Drury Lane Theatre programme   Dan Leno Theatre Royal Drury Lane Forty Thieves

Dan Leno Johnny Danvers herbert Campbell

Dan Leno, Johnny Danvers and Herbert Campbell

1900

  • Kitty Grey, at Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, and King’s Theatre, Glassgow. A musical comedy directed by George Edwardes.
  • Cinderella, in Liverpool.

Lillian Garstin Belmore died in 1901, on the 17th of January, at just 29 years of age. Heart disease was the cause. Shortly before this, she was engaged to play the part of Arethusa in Cinderella at the Prince of Wales theatre in Birmingham, but due to illness she had to withdraw from doing so after a few performances, even though she had brought success to the play. Although still young, Lillie had achieved a 17 years long theatrical career.

Lilllie died

The Late Lillian Belmore

In the Harborne Parish Churchyard the remains of Miss Lillie Belmore were laid to rest, named as Lillie Wallace. The funeral procession started at the Hen and Chickens Hotel in Birmingham, where Lillie had been staying. One striking emblem among the floral tributes, of which there were about fifty, had an inscription made from violets that said ‘To Niobe’, in reference to Lillie’s role in the 1892-1894 play of the same name.

Not much is known about Lillie’s family life beyond the Belmores. It doesn’t appear as though she had children, and the date of her marriage to Charles Claude William Wallace is not known. She did sign her name as Mrs. Charles Wallace sometime near 1890.

letter Lillian Wallace

In 1950, in the United States, her brother Herbert Belmore and his successful actress wife Bertha adopted Clifford Wallace. Clifford was said by Bertha to a newspaper to be the son of Herbert’s niece Doris Wallace, who died in an elevator accident, which would make Doris a daughter of Lillie.  Yet the Wallace name came from Clifford Wallace’s father, who abandoned Doris and Clifford. A possibility is that Clifford was descended from someone else in Charles Claude William Wallace’s family, possibly one of his brothers, and the relationship was simplified when it went to print.  While Bertha and Herbert cared a great deal for young Clifford Wallace, it doesn’t appear as though the Belmore and Wallace families had much to do with each other beyond their connection with Lillian. Sadly Herbert and Bertha Belmore died in 1952 and 1953 respectively, so their time with Clifford wasn’t long either.

Alice Esther Belmore

Alice Esther Belmore 1888 – 1917

Birth: 1888, 21st October in St. Saviour, Southwark, Lambeth, London, England

Death: 1917, November in London, England

Alice Esther Belmore was born in 1888, a talented daughter and the second of five children to George Belmore and Jessie Danvers, both of whom came from established theatre families. The early death of her successful father George Belmore in 1899 encouraged her mother to use her family ties to further her daughter’s career in the theatre. It was around this time that Alice was successfully introduced to the Royal Masonic Music School for Girls. As a teenager Alice Esther become a successful theatre actress, and early on in her professional career she was cast in major roles in the West End. She played Sophie, in Back to the Land, 1905 at the Savoy theatre, and Kitty in Ben-My-Chree, 1909 at the Prince’s Theatre; a clear testimony to her talent and her charisma. As Alice’s popularity increased, she went on to appear in a series of successful productions at London’s Lyceum Theatre, mounted by Walter and Frederick Melville, popularly known as the Melville Brothers. Both brothers were authors and producers in many of London’s Victorian and Edwardian theatres including The Lyceum in the West End. Alice’s biggest Lyceum successes included The Monk and the Woman, and Women and Wine, both produced in 1912. Alice Esther went on to play Mercedes in Monte Cristo in 1913, and Lucy in Her Forbidden Marriage, 1915. In later productions Alice is worked with her step-father, her mother Jessie’s new husband Gilbert Heron.

aliceesther1

Alice showed a great range as an actress, appearing in a variety of Shakespearian roles as well as many of the popular melodrama and contemporary comedies of the period. Alice regularly appeared alongside other members of both her father’s and mother’s extended families in popular Christmas pantomime spectaculars at the Lyceum. In the very early years of the British film industry Alice began appearing in films made for the British Empire Films Company. Titles included The Shop Soiled Girl, Screen Struck, and the Female Swindler. Once again Alice demonstrated her talents, but this time on celluloid, quickly establishing herself in major film roles. From around 1915 Alice was in a string of films produced by Frederick Melville’s production company in their London Studios of the time.

Alice Ester Belmore Lyceum

Well known as she was for her acting, she was also a popular and prominent part of the Belmore dynasty. She was loved by the family for her kindness, her natural intelligence and her warm personality. Alice remained, until her sad death, a good daughter, a supportive sister and always a loyal and popular aunt. Although there is little known about Alice’s personal life.

Alice Esther Belmore

After years working on the stage with the Melville family, British Empire Films, started by Frederick Melville, employed Alice as a star actress in the company. The British industry was in its infancy in the early years of the twentieth century, and although it was small in comparison with its American cousin, it became quickly successful and very popular with British audiences prior to the outbreak of The Great War.

Frederick and Walter Melville

The Melville Family

Alice Ester Belmore

From the age of 16 Alice had a great relationship with the Melville family, a family of musicians, academics, producers and actors. The brothers Frederick Melville and Walter Melville were very keen playwrights and immediately took a shine to Alice’s talent and charm. They shared the proprietorship of the Lyceum Theatre in The Strand, putting on their own plays, and staging elaborate pantomimes. Of the work they wrote themselves, they became best known for writing what became known as ‘Bad Women Dramas’. These were plays about women who would make terrible life choices or cause trouble in some form. The brother’s interest in Alice’s career played an important part in her success in three of Alice’s major roles, Monte Cristo, The Monk and the Woman, and Her Forbidden Marriage.

aliceesther4

Alice Belmore Her Forbidden Marriage

Sadly, at the height of her powers as an actress Alice Esther Belmore’s career and her life was cut short. In 1919 and at the young age of 29, Alice died while undergoing a simple operation. This was a loss for the theatre and for the film industry and a huge loss for her family. Alice Esther’s mother Jessie Danvers also lost two of her sons during the war years and the loss of such a beautiful daughter at so young an age must have been a terrible shock for all the family.

During her career Alice worked in pantomime, music hall, on the Shakespearean stage, as well as in both drama and comedy.

 

Life in Theatre:

1905

  • Back to the Land, at the Savoy theatre in Aldwych, at that time owned by the Melvilles.

On the 15th of July, 1909, Alice Ester married Victor Claude Rayment in Lambeth, London. Her stage named continued to be Alice Belmore. Her aunt, Alice Maude Belmore, usually went by the stage name of either Alice Belmore Cliffe or Alice Cooper-Cliffe, as she was married to a great actor Henry Cooper-Cliffe. Alice Belmore Cliffe’s acting career took her to Broadway, New York, so there wasn’t really any conflict of names.

1910

  • The Girl Who Took the Wrong Turning, at the Savoy theatre, as the lead character Sophie Coventry.

1911

  • The Girl Who Took the Wrong Turning, at the Willesden Hippodrome, as the lead character Sophie Coventry.

wrongturning640

1912

  • The Monk and the Woman, at Lyceum Theatre and Princess’ Theatre. A Fredk. Melville production, produced by both Melville brothers.
  • Ben-My-Chree, at Prince’s Theatre.
  • Women and Wine, at Lyceum Theatre. Written by Walter and Fredrick Melville.

1912 The Monk and the Woman

1913

  • Monte-Cristo, at Lyceum Theatre. Written by Walter and Fredrik Melville.
  • A Queen for a Wife, at Theatre Royal, Leeds. Written by Jack Denton.

A Queen for a Wife Alice Belmore

1915

  • Her Forbidden Marriage, at Lyceum Theatre. A Fred Melville production.  Also starred Gilbert Heron, Alice’s father-in-law.
  • Between Two Women, at Lyceum Theatre. Also starred her brother George Victor Belmore.
  • Robinson Crusoe, at Lyceum Theatre, as Captain Cutlass. Also starred her brother George Victor Belmore.

Alice Ester Belmore Her Forbidden Marriage

Alice Ester Belmore Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe Lyceum

1916

  • Robinson Crusoe, at Princess Theatre, as Captain Cutlass. This was a Christmas pantomime Also starred her brother George Victor Belmore. Written by Walter and Fredrick Melville.
  • Women and Wine, at Lyceum Theatre.
  • Monte-Cristo, at Lyceum Theatre.

 

Life in Movies

1916

  • Shop Soiled Girl, by British Empire Films. Adapted from a play by Walter Melville.  Alice’s name was the first billed. Directed by Leedham Bantock.
  • The Girl Who Took the Wrong Turning. Based on a play by Walter Melville.  Alice reprised her role from the 1910 stage version as Sophie Coventry.
  • Screen Struck, as the leading lady, by British Empire Films.
  • The Girl Who Wrecked His Home, by British Empire Films. Based on a play by Walter Melville.
  • The Female Swindler, by British Empire Films. Based on a play by Walter Melville.

In November 1917, Alice Ester died from an illegal abortion, at just 29 years of age.

Alice Maude Mary Ann Cooke portrait

Alice Maude Mary Ann Cooke 1843 – 1911

Birth: 1843 in Glasgow, Scotland

Death: 7th June 1911 in Brixton, London, England

In 1862, on the 16th of April, Alice Cooke married George Benjamin Garstin in Tottenham, London.  His professional name as an actor was George Belmore, and he starred with Sir Henry Irving in performances around the world.

Astley's Amphitheatre in 1843

Astley’s Amphitheatre in 1843

 

William Batty, proprietor of Astley’s Amphitheatre which was a regular venue for the Cooke family’s circus performances, died on February 7th 1868.  On February 13th, Alice’s husband George Belmore was a pall-bearer at William Batty’s funeral in Kensal Green Cemetary.

1884

  • Claudian, at Theatre Royal Birmingham. Also starred her daughters Lillie Belmore and Alice Belmore, and Henry Cooper-Cliffe, Alice Belmore’s future husband.

‘The Era’ newspaper on Saturday, July 18th 1885 under the heading “Dramatic Performance at Teddington,” gave a very good review of Alice Belmore and her two daughters who were appearing in the same play.

1890

  • The People’s Idol, at Olympic Theatre, London, with her children Lionel, Paul and Lillie Belmore.

1891

  • Tommy, at Olympic Theatre, London. Also starred her son Paul Belmore.
  • Father Buonapaoste, at Olympic Theatre, London.
  • Chatterton, at Olympic Theatre. Also starred her daughter Lillie Belmore.
  • The Silver King, at Olympic Theatre. Also starred her son in law Henry Cooper-Cliffe (married to Alice Belmore in 1887).
  • The Lady of Lyons, at Olympic Theatre, with her children Paul and Lillie, and Henry Cooper-Cliffe.

1898

  • The White Heather, at Drury Lane, London.
  • Madame Sans Gene, at Lyceum, London, with Lionel Belmore and Henry Cooper-Cliffe.
Belmore Family, Alice Cooke in the centre.

Belmore Family, Alice Cooke in the centre.

1899

Alice Cooke wrote the below to her children.  It’s about her husband’s ancestry (and in turn that of Alice’s children) rather than her own. The letter is undated, and unfortunately is not backed-up by recorded facts, although it hasn’t been confirmed as false either.

“A Family Legend” by Mrs. G. B. Garstin

The Origin of the ‘Garstin’ Family

King George the 2nd had a Son, Frederick Prince of Wales. This son of his father has so serious a misunderstanding that he was banished from Court, & went to reside in Dublin, ultimately (still in disgrace) he inhabited Saville House Palace Leicester Square where he died. While in London he became enamoured of a young Lady of the name of Gascogne or Gascoyne who became his mistress, the law prohibiting Royalty from marriage save with Royalty. By this Miss Gascoyne he Frederick Prince of Wales had a Son, this Son, who for obvious reasons altered his name from Gascoyne to Garstin, was taken into the service of the Court during the subsequent reign, & held the post of Page or Usher of the Back Stairs (the same office held by Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence the illegitimate Son of William the 4th) and he was one of the party in the Embassy sent to Germany to bring over the Princess Charlotte the wife of George the Third. This man, the son of Prince Frederick of Wales married & had two Sons. One, the elder being our Grandfather, with a little money settled in London & married a Miss Rebecca Medder & ultimately by speculation on the Stock Exchange massed a large fortune. The other son was provided for by a Commission in the East India CUT service.

Prince Frederick, the father of our grandfather’s father, although the Prince of Wales, did not come to the Throne, as he died in the lifetime of his father King George the 2nd, but having latterly married, his Prince Frederick of Wales Son came to the Throne, who was King George the 3rd.

The last will of William Washington Cole, dated June 5th 1900, left an annuity of ten thousand dollars to Alice Belmore, the “daughter of my mother’s brother William Cooke”.  William Cole had amassed an incredible fortune during his lifetime though his American circus.

Edward Douglas Belmore

Edward Douglas Belmore 1892 – 1919

Birth: 1892 in Earlsfield, Wandsworth, London, England

Death: December 1919 in Kensington, London, England

Edward Douglas Belmore was born to George Belmore (son of George Benjamin Belmore) and Jessie Danvers in 1892, as their third child after George Victor Belmore and Alice Ester Belmore.  After two more children, Jessie Belmore and Alfred Belmore, their father died in 1899.  Jessie Danvers remarried soon afterwards to Gilbert Heron, who became Edward’s stepfather.  The whole Belmore family was in the acting profession.  Jessie came from a music hall family, while Gilbert Heron was also a writer and radio engineer.  They had two more children, Leo Danvers-Heron and Francis Andrew Heron.

Edward Belmore and his family lived at 4 Josephine Avenue in Brixton, a fairly large house.  Gilbert Heron’s mother was also there, along with a brother of Jessie Danvers and two domestic servants.

After school, Edward became an actor, performing on the stages of music halls.  To many he was known as Teddy.

1912

  • Driven from Home, at the Alexandra Theatre in Hull. A drama by Andrew Melville, of the Melville family that had a very close theatrical relationship with the Belmores. Edward played a character called Walter Hatherleigh, second on the billing.

Driven from Home

1913

  • Driven from Home, at the Mile End Empire in London. At this point the publicity stated that the play had been an enormous success at every principal town and city in the UK, and had been seen by over six million people.

Driven From Home 1913 Edward Belmore   Mile End Empire Edward Belmore

The Mile End Empire was a theatre with cinema facilities. Previously it was known as the Paragon Theatre, and the Genesis Cinema now occupies the site in Whitechapel, London.

Paragon Theatre   Mile End Auditorium 1928

Andrew Melville II (1882-1938), was a successful actor, theatre manager and producer.

Andrew Melville II

Andrew Melville II

On the 11th of April 1913 in Lambeth, Edward married Maude Amelia Jones (possibly with the surname Diamond also, just as the Belmores are also Garstins) , a previously unmarried woman who became Maude Amelia Belmore. They had a child called Douglas on the 9th of February 1914.

1914

  • A Queen for a Wife, at the Theatre Royal in Bristol. A romantic military play. Edward played a servant named Douglas.

A Queen for a Wife

In 1915 at age twenty three, Edward was in the British Army Regiment of the 14th Battalion King Royal Rifles.  At this time his registered postal address was care of The Stage at 16 York St. in Western Central London , although his wife lived at 12 Hafer Road, in Battersea, London.

Edward was caught in a gas attack during World War I, and discharged as “no longer physically fit for war service” on the 18th of August 1916.  A medical report explains how he was coughing up large quantities of blood.  Although he received treatment and survived to see the war end, he was too unwell to resume his acting career as a result.  He died in December 1918.  It appears Maude Amelie remarried to a man named Tripp in Wandsworth in early 1919.

war2   war1