They fell in love, although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth first met during the filming of The Faust Fantasy in 1934/35

Anne Ziegler, the widow and singing partner of Webster Booth, died in Llandudno, North Wales, on 13 October 2003, at the age of 93. Her death brought an end to an era in British entertainment before and after the Second World War. Her death brings an end to an era for me also.

I was seventeen when I first met them at the end of 1960. They were already middle-aged, in the same age group as my parents, their top-flight stage career in Britain behind them. I was too young to have seen them at the height of their fame, but even then I thought them a shining couple, as I still do over fifty-nine years later.

Although I was too young to have seen them on stage in the days of their great success in the forties and early fifties, I believe their success was due to the wonderful blend of the voices, creating a special, instantly recognisable sound, and their contrasting good looks, she beautifully gowned, he in full evening dress. Above all, they were instantly likeable with charming personalities, and possessed an elusive ability to make people adore them.

In their day, in the thirties, forties and fifties, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were stars of stage, screen, radio, concert halls and variety theatres, and made over a thousand 78 rpms, either as duets or solos. Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and  Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.

Webster became a Mason, and was a proud member of the Savage Club, where he often sang at their legendary Saturday night entertainments. These entertainments were arranged by Joe Batten, the eminent sound recordist and producer at Columbia Records. When Webster had something important to do he always wore his distinctive striped Savage Club tie to bring him luck. While still in his early thirties, Webster was made a Life Governor of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and  Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.

By the time he met Anne Ziegler during the filming of the colour film Faust in 1934, he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior. He had divorced his first wife, Winifred Keey in 1931 after she had deserted him and their small son, and married Paddy Prior, a talented dancer, comedienne and soubrette in October 1932. The couple’s marriage was  happy in the beginning and they appeared together in several concert parties, the Piccadilly Revels, Scarboroough in 1933 and Sunshine at Shanklin in 1934.

Shortly after he met Anne Ziegler he took the lead in an ill-fated production of Kurt Weill’s A Kingdom for a Cow at the Savoy Theatre. His leading lady was the well-known French singer Jacqueline Francel. In Anne and Webster’s joint autobiography, Duet, he said that the play was probably ahead of its time in its handling of complex social issues, which made it too heavy for audiences of the day, who expected lighter fare in musicals. Apart from the unusual subject matter, rehearsals were stormy and the direction contradictory, so despite Weill’s pleasing music and a strong cast, the play closed after just three weeks. The London Dramatic Critic from The Scotsman gave the piece a good review, and mentioned that “Mr Webster Booth as the hero also deserves praise for his fine singing”.

Webster and Paddy Prior, his second wife.

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Sadly, his marriage did not last after he met Anne. Paddy divorced him, naming Anne as co-respondent. He and Anne were married on Bonfire Night in 1938. Webster Booth soon formed a duet partnership with his wife in addition to his extensive recording, film, oratorio and concert work.


Webster was contracted to HMV for over twenty years and recorded more than a thousand solos, duets, trios and quartets. His lighter recordings include selections from Ivor Novello musicals with Helen Hill, Olive Gilbert and Stuart Robertson; Theatreland at Coronation Time with South African soprano Garda Hall, and Sam Costa; excerpts from Snow White with Nora Savage, conducted by George Scott-Wood, the composer of Shy Serenade. He made many anonymous recordings as a member of the HMV Light Opera Company. He was the “with vocal refrain” on a series of records made with Carlos Santana and his Accordion Band on the Brunswick label, and on a record of Chappell Ballads with Jack Hylton’s band. Carlos Santana was one of the many aliases used by Harry Bidgood. His better known alias was Primo Scala, the leader of another accordion band, but he did many other things like conducting film music and arranging music and while he was still at school he had written the music for his school song.

His recordings of the late nineteen-thirties and nineteen-forties encompassed oratorio, opera and ballads, as well as duets with Anne. Webster’s more serious recordings were often under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, Lawrance Collingwood, Basil Cameron or rwick Braithwaite with the Hallé, the Liverpool Philharmonic or the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. His recordings with piano accompaniment were nearly always with the eminent accompanist Gerald Moore.

Webster enjoyed telling the story of a particular recording session with Gerald Moore. They had one more song to record before the session ended. The song was Phil, the Fluter’s Ball, and Gerald Moore suggested that they should see how fast he could play it and how fast Webster could sing it with clear diction. This was no problem for the finest accompanist in the world and for a singer who had spent four years performing Gilbert and Sullivan with the D’Oyly Carte Company. His oratorio recordings are particularly fine. The solos in Samson from the moving recitative O loss of sight and the following aria,Total Eclipse, to the fiery Why does the God of Israel sleep?, with its unrelenting Handelian runs, demonstrate how easily he moved from one mood to another, always singing with flawless technique and clear diction.

He made recordings with other distinguished singers of the day in operatic ensembles, such as the quartet from Rigoletto, with Noel Edie, Arnold Matters and Edith Coates, to the trio from Faust with Joan Cross and Norman Walker. He sang duets with soprano Joan Cross and baritone Dennis Noble from La Bohème and the Miserere from Il Trovatore with Joan Cross. He recorded duets with the baritone Dennis Noble from the Victorian and Edwardian Excelsior and Watchman, what of the night? to the brilliant extended scene in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He recorded the duet in Madame Butterfly with Australian soprano Joan Hammond.

When Joan Hammond first arrived in England from Australia, she had a sweet lyrical soprano voice. She sang her first Messiah in England with Webster as tenor soloist under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham. But by the time they recorded the Madame Butterfly duet, several years later, Joan Hammond had become a dramatic soprano and her voice was very much bigger than it had been when she first arrived in England. Joan had to stand much further away from the microphone than Webster in order for the sound engineer to get the balance for the duet right. Webster also sang excerpts from Carmen with the Sadler’s Wells chorus and orchestra, with Dennis Noble, and with Nancy Evans, Anne’s old friend from Liverpool, as Carmen.

At the beginning of the Second World War, he recorded The Lost Chord at the Kingsway Hall in London, accompanied by the organist Herbert Dawson. As they were reaching the end of the song, the All Clear siren sounded, which meant they had to redo the recording to cut out the sound of the siren. There had been no air raids at that early stage of the war so presumably the sirens were being given a trial run. The blitz was yet to come and would destroy Webster’s beloved Queen’s Hall.

ANNE ZIEGLER (1910 – 2003)

Anne was born Irené Frances Eastwood in Liverpool on 22 June 1910. 
From over two hundred other hopefuls she was chosen for the part of Marguerite for the film, the Faust Fantasy: no doubt her blonde good looks and charming personality counted for nearly as much as her attractive lyric soprano voice. It was in the making of this film, which commenced shooting in December 1934, that she met Webster Booth, playing opposite her as Faust.

During the making of the film they fell in love , although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior, and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage to Winifred Keey. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.

During those intervening four years, Anne was an overnight success on radio in The Chocolate Soldier, sang in a concert party in 1935 called  Summer Smiles during the summer season at Ryde, an engagement she did not really enjoy much. There she acquired her first devoted fan, a girl aged 15, who kept in close touch with her for the rest of her life. 

 She played principal boy in her first pantomime, Mother Goose, at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool, which starred George Formby. In this pantomime she met Babs Wilson-Hill, the principal dancer in the show, who was to remain her closest friend for most of her life. During the 1936 pantomime season she and Babs appeared in another highly successful pantomime, Cinderella, in Edinburgh, this time with the Scottish comedian Will Fyffe as the star attraction.

Anne and Webster were both extremely popular and prolific broadcasters on the BBC, as well as the various European commercial broadcasting stations geared to the British market, such as Radio Lyons, Radio Luxembourg, Radio Normandy and Radio Eireann. Glancing through copies of The Radio Pictorial, commercial radio’s equivalent of The Radio Times, one sees frequent articles about them. Radio stars in the thirties obviously held the equivalent status of pop stars today.

Despite Anne’s success on stage and radio, recording companies had not shown any interest in putting her voice on record. She made a test recording of the Waltz Song from Merrie England in 1935, a recording which Webster managed to obtain from HMV. Eventually she did make a few solo recordings and sang in a Noel Coward medley with Joyce Grenfell and Graham Payn, but the bulk of her recordings were duets with Webster. My favourite solo recording of Anne’s is Raymond Loughborough’s A Song in the Night, which she sang on a Pathé film short in 1936.

Webster went to New York with her, hoping to find some stage work of his own, but, despite his great voice, he did not make any impact on the cut-throat American musical world. He attended various auditions in New York as an unknown, while in England he was already an established performer in oratorio, recording, films, and the West End stage. He returned to England, crestfallen at his lack of success, and resumed his numerous engagements. Anne, in the meantime, was hailed as a Broadway star and offered a film contract in Hollywood, with the idea that she would be the successor to Jeanette McDonald. The offer was tempting, but she turned it down to return to England and marry Webster Booth when his divorce from Paddy Prior was made final.

For most of her life Anne maintained that marriage to Webster meant more to her than any Hollywood contract, although in later years she sometimes reflected on what her life would have been like had she accepted the contract and become a Hollywood star.

Even before Webster’s divorce was made final they formed a duet partnership on stage, in addition to their solo work. From April 1938 they were singing together for Clarkson Rose. This is an advert from September of 1938, the month before Webster’s divorce was finalised.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 7-september-1938-with-twinkle.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 7-september-1938-azwb-pier-music-pavilion..png

Their first duet recording was made in the year after their marriage in 1939 –  If You were the Only Girl in the World, with A Paradise for Two on the flip side. Before this official recording she had sung with him as an anonymous soprano voice in a radio series in 1937 called The Voice of Romance. In this series he too was anonymous, but by this time, most people would have recognised his distinctive voice.

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In 1940 they accepted an offer from agent Julius Darewski to join the variety circuit. The money was good and they were well received on the variety halls, always doing their act without the aid of a microphone. If Webster Booth’s voice filled the Albert Hall when he sang the tenor part in Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha in Native American dress under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, the same voice, in harmony with his wife’s, filled the variety theatres from the London Palladium to all points of the United Kingdom.

They were the epitomé of glamour and romance. He was tall, dark and handsome. He was always in immaculate evening attire, she in a range of crinoline gowns, some designed by Norman Hartnell. Their act was interspersed with what seemed like off-the-cuff banter, but every word and move was meticulously planned, and the lighting plot carefully worked out for the most telling impact.

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Apart from the usual operatic arias and musical comedy duets, Anne and Webster sang and recorded a number of ballads, arranged as duets, and an interesting and difficult arrangement of Chopin’s famous Nocturne in C sharp minor, arranged by Maurice Besley. As often as not Webster would arrange the duet part himself if none had been written.


Jean Collen  COPYRIGHT 2005

Updated April 2019.

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Paddy Prior and Webster
Anne and Webster (1957)


Here is a copy of a letter sent from “Madeleine” who was on holiday on the Isle of Wight during the summer of 1934. She sent the letter and photograph
below to her friends Lily and Phil, who must have been
fans of Webster Booth.
Dear Lily and Phil,
Thought you would like a Photograph of Webster. We
went to see Sunshine the night before last – they were
great. The weather up to now has been very fine with a
strong wind blowing. I must say I like the Island very much, and I am enjoying myself very much indeed.
Best love to you both,

November 1923 Professional debut in Yeomen of the Guard with D’Oyly Carte.
1930 West End Debut at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Webster Booth as the Duke of Buckingham in his West End Debut 16 April 1930
Webster Booth as the Duke of Buckingham in his West End Debut 16 April 1930 with Lilian Davies.
1933 Scarborough
1 February 1933- Galashiels Concert with Garda Hall and George Baker. 1 February 1933 This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019-03-14_213832.png Webster in The Invader with Buster Keaton (1934) Irené Eastwood in Holst’s The Wandering Scholar in Liverpool (1934) This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019-05-27_103847.png This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 12-october-1934-by-appointment-1934.png
February 1935 Radio People Anne
The Invader (1934) with Buster Keaton,
A Kingdom for a Cow (Kurt Weill) 5 July 1936, Savoy Theatre with Jacqueline Francell
1936 The Robber Symphony
The Robber Symphony (film) with Magda Sonja
11 December 1935 Samson and Delilah, Hastings Choral union, Whiterock Pavilion.
December 1935
1935 Anne’s first Panto: Mother Goose Liverpool.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 10-april-1936-wb-good-friday-messiah-royal-albert-hall.png Webster’s first Good Friday Messiah – 10 April 1936. Hallé Messiah 17 December 1936
December 1936
Cinderella in Edinburgh, December 1936 with Will Fyffe. 11 February 1937
Hiawatha, June 1937
Hiawatha, June 1937
Hiawatha, June 1937
February 1938
Saturday Night Revue film “I love the moon”.
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 1938
November 9 1938
December 17 1938
6 January 1939 concert, WB, Flotsam and Jetsam, Chesterfield
Concert Chesterfield 6 January 1939



Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler spent a large part of their early careers singing in restaurants, hotels and cafés. Many of these establishments were owned by J. Lyons and Company, forebears of the attractive food fundi, Nigella Lawson.  Neither enjoyed singing in these establishments because they were obliged to sing over the conversation of diners, the bustle of waiters and nippies, the clatter of dishes, and in an atmosphere pervaded with the mingling smells of food, drink and tobacco. If you think that these places were the intimate cabaret venues one might find today, think again. Many of these restaurants and cafés were capable of seating 2000 people, most of whom were not paying close attention to the musical entertainment on offer, regarding it as mere background music.

Lyon’s Corner House, Piccadilly

Not only did Webster sing in Lyon’s Restaurants and Cafés, but he was often called upon to sing at Masonic, staff and livery dinners. Webster himself was a Mason and there were Masonic Lodges attached to the Savage Club and the Concert Artistes’ Association. He was an active member of both and in the 1950s he and Anne were joint presidents of the CAA for several years. I thought that entertainers at Masonic dinners would be limited to men, but women also entertained there. Webster particularly remembered Betsy de la Porte, the South African singer, as a fellow soloist. She took her knitting with her to keep herself busy as she waited to perform. There were close connections between particular restaurants and hotels and various Masonic Lodges. The Skelmersdale Lodge held their meetings at Verrey’s Hotel, Hanover Street from 1926 to January 1928, after which they moved to another hotel.
Webster’s second wife, Paddy Prior, a comedienne, soubrette and mezzo-soprano, whom he married in October 1932, began entertaining at such dinners when she was not otherwise occupied in seaside summer shows, musical comedies, early television or pantomimes. Early in 1927, she appeared at the Skelmersdale Lodge Masonic Ladies’ night at their meeting place at Verrey’s Hotel, Hanover Street, apparently evoking much laughter amongst the guests with her turn. In 1928 she appeared at Anderton’s Hotel, Fleet Street, the hotel where the Magic Circle held their meetings and which had close associations with the printing profession. The inaugural dinner of the London Press Club had been held there in 1882. She entertained at a Printers’ Charity Concert with other performers, and in 1929 she performed for the Electrotypers & Stereotypers’ Managers’ and Overseers’ Association at Frascati’s Restaurant, Oxford Street.
In January 1928 there was a dinner of the Gallery First Nighters’ Club at the Comedy Restaurant, Panton Street, Haymarket, with Miles Malleson as  guest of honour, where a number of well-known artistes provided the entertainment, including George Metaxa, Webster Booth and Tom Howell (the leader of the Opieros, with whom Webster was working at the time) and a similarly lavish dinner for the Daily Mirror and Sunday Pictorial staffs at the Holborn Restaurant, Kingsway also featured Webster Booth. 

Paddy Prior entertains the Masons.

A photo of Paddy Prior taken some years after her divorce from Webster Booth.

Paddy Prior entertained at Beale’s Masonic Hall, Holloway, while Webster, who was still calling himself by his full name, Leslie Webster Booth, appeared at a variety of Lyons Cafes, such as the Popular Café in Piccadilly, which seated 2000 diners, the Empress Rooms, and the Corner House in the Strand. The Lyons restaurants catered for different social classes. The Trocadero was luxurious and expensive, while other restaurants were more economical. Within the same venue there were often multiple restaurants, some more expensive than others.

The Trocadero

Webster met Anne Ziegler during the filming of The Faust Fantasy at the end of 1934, and this meeting was instrumental in ending Webster’s short marriage with Paddy in

Webster and Anne in a scene from The Faust Fantasy (1934/1935)

Even in the 1930s when Webster was making a name for himself on record, radio, in the West End, Oratorio, and on film, he was still entertaining at dinners and at benefit concerts, such as one at the Finsbury Town Hall on 6 March 1930 for the Clerkenwell Benevolent Society, where South African soprano, Garda Hall was one of the other entertainers. Charles Forwood was the accompanist at this concert. Ten years later, Charles Forwood would become the regular accompanist for Anne and Webster in their variety act. In February 1931 Webster and Gladys Ripley (contralto) sang at a dinner for the Hardware and Metal Trades Musical Society at the Cannon Street Hotel. A month later he sang at the Holborn Restaurant for the Entre Nous Club, with comedienne, Suzette Tarri and comedian, Arthur Askey as fellow artists.
I would imagine that entertaining at dinners was more congenial than singing above the general hub-bub in a public restaurant or café, as those attending the arranged dinner would have a specific time set aside to enjoy the entertainment, and this would not have been while waiters were collecting dirty crockery or serving the next course.

The first time that Webster and Paddy Prior appeared together was at a concert for the Bellingham Club on 30 April,1932. They were married on 10 October of the same year. In January 1933 Webster sang at a meeting of the Henley Lodge, held at the Connaught rooms, which had been the headquarters of the Freemasons since 1717.  After a long summer season with Paddy at Scarborough with the Piccadilly Revels later that year, Webster was entertaining the Railway men at the North End Hall, Croydon and for St Dunstan’s at the Regal Kinema, Beckenham. The Lea Valley Growers Association held their annual dinner at the Abercorn Rooms on 1 November with Webster, Bertha Wilmott, Mario de Pietro, and other entertainers, and Webster entertained the Masons of the Welcome Lodge at the Adelaide Galleries on November 15th. On 21 December The Old Friends Society held their ladies festival at the Hotel Victoria. Once again Webster was one of the performers. In the early 1930s he was the guest artist at the New Year’s Annual Gathering of the Luton Industrial Co-operative Society, situated at 3-5 Hastings Street, Luton. 


Irené Frances Eastwood had changed her name to Anne Ziegler in 1934 when she arrived in London from Liverpool in 1934 to sing the top voice of the octet in the musical play, By Appointment, which starred the famous soprano, Maggie Teyte. The show was not a success and closed after three weeks. Her father had lost his money in the collapse of the cotton shares so Anne decided to stay on in London to try to forge a career there rather than return to Liverpool and add to her father’s financial woes. She found work singing in Joseph Lyons’ venues, and continued this work, on and off, for two years. She sang at the Regent Palace Hotel, Glass House Street, the Popular Cafe in Piccadilly, The Strand Corner House, the Trocadero, the Café de la Paix, the Café Monico, Piccadilly Circus, the Piccadilly, and the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch. She often worked on the same bill as Leslie Hutchinson, “Hutch” at the Cumberland and with tenor Harry Welchman.
On 20 February 1936 Webster and Paddy Prior contributed to the musical programme at the ladies’ festival of the Hendon Lodge, held at the Piccadilly Hotel and the pair entertained again in April when the Lyric Lodge of Instruction met at Gatti’s Restaurant. Later that month he sang for the annual dinner of the London Meat Trades’ and Drovers’ Benevolent Association at the Connaught Rooms. It demonstrates Webster Booth’s versatility that, on 10 April 1936, he was the tenor soloist in the Good Friday Messiah at the Albert Hall.
On 24 April 1936 he and Paddy attended a big society wedding of Reginald Cave, the son of the Reverend Cave of Handsworth and Vera Holdsworth at the Reigate Parish Church. Webster sang an aria from Mendelssohn’s St Paul, Be Thou Faithful Unto Death during the signing of the register and also sang a number of songs during the reception afterwards. If Paddy had known about his liaison with Anne at that time she must have found it painful and embarrassing to listen to her husband singing that particular aria in the light of what she knew. Be Thou Faithful Unto Death (Mendelssohn)
On 29 April Webster entertained at the annual dinner of the London Commercial Chess League at the Northumberland Rooms, Trafalgar Square, along with Leonard Henry. The last engagement Webster and Paddy worked together was at the 84th Annual Dinner of the City Musical Union at the Holborn Restaurant on April 30 1936, attended by 500 people. He had met Anne Ziegler during the filming of The Faust Fantasy at the end of 1934, and this meeting brought Webster’s short marriage with Paddy to an end in 1938.

 At the end of May 1936, he and Paddy went to the wedding of their friends, Violet Stevens and Bryan Courage and attended the reception at Frascati’s, the last time they were out together as a married couple. I presume that they made an effort to avoid appearing at joint engagements in future. They both continued to perform at dinners, many connected with the Masons, although, by this time Webster was a regular broadcaster, oratorio soloist and film actor. In January 1937 he sang at the annual dinner of the Ham and Beef National Trade Association at the Holborn Restaurant and at the City Musical Union, this time at the Cannon Street Hotel, and at the Charrilock Social Club dinner at the Trocadero in March. 

Webster and Anne before divorce was finalised (1938)


Webster started singing with Anne in 1937 and literally burnt his boats as far as Paddy was concerned when he went with Anne to New York where she had been booked to appear in the musical, Virginia at the Center Theater there. They were married on 5 November 1938. Not long after their wedding in November, on 17 December Webster sang in a noted performance of Messiah, conducted by Thomas Beecham at the Queen’s Hall in the afternoon. 

That evening he and Anne sang at a banquet to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the Clan Line at the Victoria Hotel. I am grateful to Bernie Furlong for allowing me to share his photos of the menu here.


Paddy joined ENSA at the outbreak of war. In 1947 war she immigrated to Australia. Ironically, while Paddy was entertaining the troops in various theatres of war, Anne and Webster rose to great fame as romantic duettists on the variety stages of the UK, but eventually immigrated to South Africa in 1956.
The Booths returned to the UK in 1978 and in December 1979, were invited to present a Sunday afternoon concert at the Cumberland and were given a week’s luxury accommodation there to commemorate their appearances there early on in their careers.
Jean Collen 2010 ©
Updated 20 November 2018


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ROMANCE IN RHYTHM – National Programme Daventry, 4 January 1936 20.30 GERALDO AND HIS ORCHESTRA (By permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd.) with WEBSTER BOOTH, ANGELA PARSELLES, THE GERALDETTES and THE TOPHATTERS
This evening Geraldo, who has won fame for his Dancing Through and Chateau de Madrid, is to give the first of three broadcasts under this title. Much as Frank Black did in Five Hours Back Geraldo aims at showing what good melodies lie hidden in the modern dance tune, usually sacrificed to the accentuation of the dance rhythm. In these shows listeners will hear how a large orchestra such as Geraldo’s can convert the slightly monotonous native rhythm of a dance tune into the big sweeping phrases of a symphony.

ROMANCE IN RHYTHM was a weekly series of programmes in which Webster Booth featured regularly with an assortment of other singers. I have not included every programme in the series – only the ones in which different singers appeared.

FRED HARTLEY AND HIS NOVELTY QUINTET – Regional Programme London, 8 January 1936 21.00 with WEBSTER BOOTH (Tenor) Memories of Schubert (All arrangements by FRED HARTLEY)

 MUSICAL MOMENTS – Regional Programme Midland, 15 January 1936 20.35

22nd February 1936 – SONGS FROM THE SHOWS, NO. 42, Contrasting Composers 6: Franz Lehar, Howard Talbot, Nat D. Ayer, and Arthur Schwartz Finale; with W. H. Berry, Jean Colin, Webster Booth, Sylvia Cecil, Marjorie Stedeford, Fred Conyngham and the Three Ginx, the BBC Variety Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Hyam Greenbaum: at the pianos, Harry S. Pepper and Doris Arnold; compère, John Watt.
Tonight four composers of very different types and periods are to be contrasted. One – Franz Lehar , representing romantic music, from The Merry Widow waltz to You are my heart’s delight. Two –Howard Talbot , representing old musical comedy. He wrote the music for The Mousmé and The Arcadians with Lionel Monckton. Three –Nat D. Aver, representing old-time revue. He wrote the music for The Bing Boys, which was the rage in London during the War, with song hits like Baby Bunting and The only girt in the world. Four – Arthur Schwartz, representing new-time revue. He wrote numbers in The House that Jack Built and Stop Press, to say nothing to writing the music for the newest revue of all, Follow The Sun, which opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on February 4.

29 January 1936 – Nottingham Post – Broadcast. 
WHATS IN A NAME? or ROMANCE IN RETROSPECT, another musical mélange with Raymond Newell, Webster Booth, Mavis Bennett-Levin, Jack Wilson, BBC Midland Revue Chorus and Midland orchestra.



Friday 21 February 1936 20.00  Songs from the Shows: No.42: Contrasting Composers: 6 BBC National programme

Franz Lehar, Howard Talbot, Nat D. Ayer, and Arthur Schwartz – Finale Cast:
W. H. Berry, Jean Colin, Webster Booth, Sylvia Cecil, Fred Conyngham, The Three Ginx, The BBC Variety Orchestra and Chorus, Conducted by Hyam Greenbaum.
At the Pianos, Harry S. Pepper and Doris Arnold. Compere, John Watt
Tonight four composers of very different types and periods are to be contrasted.
One – Franz Léhar, representing romantic music, from The Merry Widow waltz to You are my heart’s delight. 

Two – Howard Talbot, representing old musical comedy. He wrote the music for The Mousmé and The Arcadians with Lionel Monckton.

Three – Nat D. Aver, representing old-time revue. He wrote the music for The Bing Boys, which was the rage in London during the War, with song hits like Baby Bunting and The only girl in the world.
Four – Arthur Schwartz, representing new-time revue. He wrote numbers in The House that Jack Built and Stop Press, to say nothing to writing the music for the newest revue of all, Follow The Sun, which opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on February 4. Listeners will remember the first-night broadcast.

THE OLD BALLAD CONCERTS – 5Regional Programme Northern Ireland, 26 February 1936 20.15 WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor), MALCOLM McEACHERN (bass), THE GRESHAM SINGERS, THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA
Leader, MONTAGUE BREARLEY, Arranged and conducted by STANFORD ROBINSON (From Regional)

Regional Saturday 8.30 ROMANCE IN RHYTHM Geraldo and his Orchestra, with Webster Booth

Olive Groves, Carlyle Cousins, the Romantic Young ladies, and the Tophatters, compered by Leslie Mitchell. 


10th March 1936 Scottish National – 8.30 ROMANCE IN RHYTHM: Geraldo and his Orchestra (by permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd); with Webster Booth, Olive Groves, the Radio Three, the Romantic Young Ladies, and the Tophatters; compered by Leslie Mitchell.
ROMANCE IN RHYTHM – GERALDO AND HIS ORCHESTRARegional Programme London, 20 April 1936 20.00


MIRIAM LICETTE (soprano), WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor) MARY ABBOTT (pianoforte) – Regional Programme Midland, 15 June 1936 21.30
                                                                Miriam Licette 

ROMANCE IN RHYTHM – GERALDO AND HIS ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 7 July 1936 20.00 (By permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd.) with OLIVE GROVES, WEBSTER BOOTH, THE RADIO THREE, THE TOP HATTERS and THE ROMANTIC YOUNG LADIES. The Programme announced by the Television Announcers ELIZABETH COWELL, JASMINE BLIGH and LESLIE MITCHELL
Geraldo backed a winner in Dancing Through; he has hacked another in Romance and Rhythm. It was his own idea, and so well has he carried it out that this is the eleventh edition. Olive Groves, whose voice is always so effective on the air, has been in all but the first two broadcasts, when she was already working. Webster Booth has missed only one, when he was singing in Hiawatha at the Royal Albert Hall. The Romantic Young Ladies, the Top Hatters (men), and those well-known favourites the Radio Three (girls) all contribute to the singing of the great jazz numbers past and present that Geraldo has collected.

A feature of the programme is that the three Television Announcers are to be on the air together for the first time.                       Olive Groves

23rd July 1936 – Geraldo and his orchestra come before the microphone again on the Scottish National wavelength at 8.0 with ROMANCE IN RHYTHM. This programme will be compered by Leslie Mitchell, and Esther Coleman, Webster Booth, the Radio Three; the Romantic Young Ladies will also take part.

6.0 ROMANCE IN RHYTHM with Geraldo and his orchestra, compered by Leslie Mitchell, with Esther Coleman, Webster Booth, the Radio Three, The Top Hatters, The Romantic Young Ladies, and Arthur Tracey, the Street Singer.

FRED HARTLEY AND HIS NOVELTY QUINTET (SERIES) with WEBSTER BOOTH – National Programme Daventry, 4 August 1936 18.39. Souvenirs of Song No. 36 (All arrangements by Fred Hartley )

 18th August 1936 6.30 THE TUNE YOU HEARD: A Selection of Original Tunes from recent Midland Productions; presented by Martyn C Webster; with Marjery Wyn, Webster Booth, the Southern Sisters, and the Revue Orchestra, conducted by Reginald Burston, from Midland.

CHARLES ERNESCO AND HIS QUINTET (SERIES) with WEBSTER BOOTH – National Programme Daventry, 21 August 1936 18.30

SHREWSBURY CARNIVAL CONCERT – Regional Programme Midland, 6 September 1936 21.00 from the Granada Theatre, Shrewsbury
GARDA HALL (soprano), WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor), RONALD GOURLEY (entertainer), THE ALFREDO CAMPOLI TRIO                                                       Garda Hall

A HUNDRED YEARS OF OPERETTA – National Programme Daventry, 22 October 1936 18.40
 21st November 1936 – A concert by The BBC Theatre orchestra (Conductors: Jean Gilbert and Harold Lowe) Tessa Deane (Soprano), Webster Booth (Tenor). 
THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 21 November 1936 20.15 
Leader, MONTAGUE BREARLEY, Conducted by HAROLD LOWE, Music by Jean Gilbert conducted by The composer. TESSA DEANE (soprano) WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor), ORCHESTRAL Selection: The Lady of the Rose
TESSA DEANE, WEBSTER BOOTH AND ORCHESTRA, Duet from Katja the Dancer, ORCHESTRA Selection: The Girl in the Taxi.
 27th November 1936 –Scottish 4.0 INCIDENTAL TO A PLAY: A Programme of Songs and Selections from the Legitimate Stage; devised by Douglas Moodie; Musical arrangements by Harry Bidgood; produced by William MacLurg, with Raymond Newell, Irene North, Webster Booth, Elsie French, Ivan Samson, and Douglas Moodie; Jack Clarke (Piano)
A WISP OF LACERegional Programme London, 27 November 1936 16.00 A Miniature Musical Play – Story, lyrics, and music by VIVIEN LAMBELET. Cast with Gustave Ferrari, Sydney Russell, and others.
Harry Bidgood ‘s Septet and a Section of the BBC Chorus under the direction of Harry Bidgood. Production by William MacLurg. A programme broadcast each Friday to listeners at home and in the Empire.
Lady Rosemary: Vivien Lambelet
Sir Julian Garde and The Highwayman: Raymond Newell
Lord Charles Melton: Webster Booth
Maryon: Irene North and Gustave Ferrari, Sydney Russel
MESSIAHRegional Programme Midland, 15 December 1936 19.30 The Oratorio by Handel from the Albert Hall, Nottingham – Part I THE NOTTINGHAM HARMONIC SOCIETY, STILES ALLEN (soprano), MARY JARRED (contralto), WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor), WILLIAM PARSONS (bass), HAROLD DAWBER (organ)

William Parsons (bass)

HEDDLE NASH and MARIA ELSNER IN GYPSY LOVENational Programme Daventry, 31 December 1936 21.20

Freely adapted for Broadcasting from the English Libretto by Basil Hood.
Lyrics by ADRIAN Ross; Music by FRANZ LEHAR.
Violin solos by Rae Jenkins, The BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra
Conducted by Stanford Robinson. The production by Gordon McConnel. Gypsy Love will be broadcast again tomorrow in the Regional programme at 8 45
Ilona,Dragotin’s Daughter: Maria Elsner
Jolan, Dragotin’s Niece: Helen Crerar
Jozsi, a Gypsy Musician: Heddle Nash
Dragotin, a Rumanian Noble: Horace Percival
Jonel, betrothed to Ilona: Webster Booth
Katejan, a Shy Young Man: Dudley Rolph
Lady Babby, an English Lady: Ursula Hughes
Andor, an Innkeeper: Alfredo Tomasini
Zorika, a Gypsy Girl: Doris Gilmore


1st January 1937 8.45 GYPSY LOVE: (Repeat) Freely adapted for broadcasting from the English Libretto by Basil Hood: Lyrics by Adrian Ross; Music by Franz Lehar; produced by Gordon McConnel, with Maria Elsner, Heddle Nash, Helen Crerar (by permission of Sidney Carroll), Horace Percival, Webster Booth, Dudley Rolph, Ursula Hughes, Alfredo Tomasini, Doris Gilmore; Rae Jenkins (Violin Solos); the BBC Revue Orchestra.

  9th January 1937 – Tomorrow – At 6.30, No 11 of VICTORIAN MELODIES will be presented by Nora Gruhn, Webster Booth, and Appleton Moore, with the BBC Revue Chorus and Theatre Orchestra.
WILD VIOLETSRegional Programme Midland, 1 February 1937 20.00 A Musical Comedy Operetta by Bruno Hardt-Warden, Music by Robert Stolz. Adapted for Broadcasting from the English Version by Holt Marvell , Hassard Short , Desmond Carter, and Reginald Purdell
The BBC Chorus and Girls of Midland Revue Chorus,
The Revue Orchestra Conducted by Reginald Burston
Production by Martyn C. Webster.
Paul Hoffmann: Webster Booth
Otto Bergman: Frank Drew
Erik Schmidt: Gordon Little
Madame Hoffmann: Dorothy Summers
Yvonne Dupres: Vera Ashe
Liesil: Marjorie Westbury
Mitzi: Mary Pollock
Lena: Elizabeth Mooney
Augusta: Vivienne Chatterton
Hans: Ernest Butcher
Algernon Rutherford: John Lang
Mary: Sylvia Welling
Dr Franck: Stuart Vinden
Carl Hoffmann: John Bentley
Greta: Barbara Helliwell
Narrator: Hugh Morton
MASCULINE FAME ON PARADENational Programme Daventry, 9 February 1937 20.15 A Satirical Revue of Yesterday’s Heroes. Book and Lyrics by Joan Young;  Music by Nene Smith. Additional Numbers – Cavaliers and Roundheads and King John by Ronnie Munro John Rorke, Webster Booth, Geoffrey Wincott, Max Kirby, Middleton Woods, Brough Robertson, Cyril Fletcher, Stanley Hoban, Commere, Joan Young. The BBC Variety Orchestra and BBC Male Voice Chorus conducted by Charles Shadwell. At the Theatre Organ, Reginald Foort, Solo violin, Rae Jenkins, Arrangements by Ronnie Munro, Produced by Douglas Moodie.
THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY’S CONCERT – Regional Programme London, 11 February 1937 20.15 from Queen’s Hall, London.THE HUDDERSFIELD CHORAL SOCIETY, ISOBEL BAILLIE (soprano) ELSIE SUDDABY (soprano) WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor) GEORGE HANCOCK (baritone), THE LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, Conducted by MALCOLM SARGENT. (Sole Lessees, Messrs. Chappell and Co., Ltd.)
I REMEMBERRegional Programme Midland, 24 February 1937 21.00Presented by Percy Edgar
Marjorie Westbury (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Cuthbert Ford (baritone), The BBC Midland Revue Chorus and The Revue Orchestra, Conducted by Reginald Burston
25 February 1937 Later Webster Booth sings in a concert with the BBC Theatre Orchestra.
10.20 The BBC Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Stanford Robinson with Webster Booth (tenor)
IVY ST. HELIERRegional Programme London, 23 March 1937 19.45 and DAVY BURNABY in Let’s Sing Something ENTRE NOUS, Irene Eisinger (soprano), Arnold Matters (baritone) Webster Booth (tenor) Esther Coleman (contralto), The Pianists Gwen Williams, Wilfrid Parry, The Comperes: Ivy St. Helier and Davy Burnaby
Production by Gordon McConnel.
3 April 1937 Scottish National Sunday 7.0-7.50 VICTORIAN MELODIES; NO 13: A Musical Sequence; produced and conducted by Mark H. Lubbock, with Webster Booth (Tenor), Appleton Moore (Baritone), the BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra.
17 April 1937 – Tomorrow At 9.5 Heinz and Robert Scholz will give a recital on two pianos; after which Webster Booth will sing with the BBC Variety Orchestra.
9.40 The BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell; Webster Booth (Tenor) Arthur Sandford (Solo Pianoforte); Robert Hanlon (Solo Flute). 
CONCERT  – Regional Programme London, 24 April 1937 19.30The Railway Clearing House Male Voice Choir
Janet Howe (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Ernest Lush (solo pianoforte), Conductor, Stanford Robinson from the Kingsway Hall.
MOZARTRegional Programme Midland, 28 April 1937 19.40A Musical Biography – No. 4, Vienna, Earlier Years
Arranged and Presented by Eric Blom and Leslie Heward, 
Noel Eadie (soprano), Marjorie Westbury (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Geoffrey Dams (tenor), The Griller String Quartet: Sydney Griller (first violin); Jack O’Brien (second violin);  Philip Burton (viola) ; Colin Hampton (violoncello), The BBC Midland Orchestra led by Ernest Element, Conducted by Leslie Heward.
Illustrations will be drawn from the following works:
Allegro moderato 1 (String Andante Quartet) Allegretto ma non tropppo (K. 421) Finale, Act II, Seraglio (K. 384)
Constanze, NOEL EADIE
Andante ] (Haffner Symphony) Minuet (K. 384)

I REMEMBERRegional Programme Midland, 10 May 1937 19.30 Presented by Percy Edgar with Olive Groves (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Harold Casey (baritone) The BBC Midland Revue Chorus and The BBC Midland Orchestra, Conducted by Reginald Burston. This programme will recall the songs, tunes, and type of entertainment that were popular about the time of the accession and Coronation of Edward VII. Except that the period drawn upon will be more restricted, it will follow the general lines of the I Remember programme broadcast in February.

  14th May 1937 Scottish National Programme Songs I like Webster Booth (tenor)
 VICTORIAN MELODIES No. 15National Programme Daventry, 23 May 1937 21.05 A Musical Sequence
Produced and conducted by Mark H. Lubbock, 
with Webster Booth (tenor) and Harold Williams (baritone)
The BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Montague Brearley
THE TUNE YOU HEARDRegional Programme Midland, 9 June 1937 20.00 A Pot-Pourri of numbers from Midland Shows with Webster Booth, Marjorie Westbury, The Midland Revue Chorus and The Revue Orchestra, Conducted by Reginald Burston, Compere, Hugh Morton, The programme devised by Martyn C. Webster.

AMERICA CABARET AND BROADCASTS 1937. While Anne starred in Virginia as Anne Booth in New York, Webster did a few broadcasts with Will Rogers and sang at the Rainbow Room, New York.

 20th September 1937 – 7.35 Webster Booth, with the BBC Revue Chorus.
24th September 1937 LIONEL AND CLARISSA – National Programme Daventry, 24 September 1937 16.00 a Comic Opera in a Pastoral Setting; written in 1768 by Isaac Bickerstaff; music by Charles Dibdin; adapted for broadcasting by Ursula Branston, music arranged by Alfred Reynolds; produced by William MacLurg, with Arthur Fayne, Foster Richardson, Webster Booth, Gordon Little, Frank Drew, Brember Wills, Kathleen Burgis, Jessica Page, Barbara Cochran-Carr, Colleen Clifford; orchestra led by Victor Olof, conducted by Jack Clarke.
Sir John Flowerdale: Arthur Fayne
Colonel Oldboy: Foster Richardson
Lionel: Webster Booth
Mr Jessamy: Gordon Little
Harman: Frank Drew
Jenkins: Brember Wills
Clarissa: Kathleen Burgis
Lady Mary Oldboy: Jessica Page
Jenny: Barbara Cochran-Carr
(Empire Programme)
Isaac Bickerstaff’s pastoral comic opera, Lionel and Clarissa, was written in 1768 and produced at Covent Garden the same year with music by Charles Dibdin. Lionel and Clarissa is a typical late eighteenth-century piece. It obviously belongs to the world of She Stoops to Conquer and the comedies of Sheridan, and the characters -the earnest tutor who falls in love with the gentle heroine while teaching her astronomy, Colonel Oldboy, the sporting squire, and his foppish son – are all conceived in the convention of the period.
In adapting the piece for broadcasting, Ursula Branston has worked from the text used in Nigel Playfair ‘s production at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, in 1925. Alfred Reynolds ‘s arrangement of Dibdin’s music, made for that production, will also be used.
THE BBC VARIETY ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 30 September 1937 22.30 Leader, Frank Cantell, Conducted by Charles Shadwell, Webster Booth (tenor), Robert Hanlon (Solo Flute)
HERO AND HEROINE National Programme Daventry, 24 October 1937 21.05  A Programme of Songs and Duets from Famous Operettas, with Hella Langdon (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor) and The BBC Theatre Orchestra.  The programme arranged and conducted by Stanford Robinson.
THE CREATIONRegional Programme Midland, 6 November 1937 19.30 by Haydn with Nora Gruhn (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Walker (bass) The Derby Choral Union, The City of Birmingham Orchestra, Leader, Alfred Cave, Conducted by Harold Gray from the Drill Hall, Derby.
FRENCH OPERA BOUFFERegional Programme Midland, 4 December 1937 21.10A programme selected from the works of famous composers of French Comic Opera.
Marjorie Westbury (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Gabriel Lavelle (baritone), The BBC Midland Singers – Chorus Master, Edgar Morgan, The BBC Midland Orchestra Led by Ernest Element Conducted by Reginald Burston
28th December 1937 Fred Hartley and his Sextet, Webster Booth (tenor). All arrangements by Fred Hartley.

THE VOICE OF ROMANCE – Webster Booth appeared as the supposedly anonymous  Voice of Romance with Fred Hartley’s sextet. The sextet included Hugo Rignold (violin), George Melachrino (clarinet) and Fred Hartley (piano). The Voice of Romance featuring Webster Booth


HOLIDAY IN EUROPENational Programme Daventry, 9 January 1938 21.30 A pot-pourri written for broadcasting by Julius Buerger, with Gaby Valle (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Rae Jenkins and his Schrammel Quartet, The BBC Chorus (Section C) The BBC Theatre Orchestra Leader, Tate Gilder, Produced and conducted by Stanford Robinson. This programme pictures in an hour’s non-stop music a holiday to fit with an itinerary including Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Tyrol, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Berlin, and Russia

 THE STOKE-ON-TRENT CHORAL SOCIETYRegional Programme Midland, 12 February 1938 19.30 Kate Winter (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Stanley Pope (baritone), David Franklin (bass), The City of Birmingham Orchestra, Leader, Alfred Cave, Conducted by E. C. Redfern from the Victoria Hall, Hanley. Parts 1 and 2 of The Childhood of Christ by Berlioz

Stoke-on-Trent Choral Society, founded in 1909, has given concerts regularly for eighteen seasons. On two occasions the choir has sung under the baton of Sir Henry Wood. The two hundred members of the Society are connected chiefly with the pottery industry. Their enthusiasm can be gauged from the fact that many of them live as far as twelve miles away from the hall where the rehearsals take place.

 THE BRISTOL ROYAL ORPHEUS GLEE SOCIETYRegional Programme Western, 17 February 1938 20.10 Conductor, Graham Harris.  Webster Booth tenor) from the Colston Hall , Bristol

THE LIFE OF OFFENBACHNational Programme Daventry, 27 February 1938 21.25 – A pot-pourri of music by Jacques Offenbach devised by Julius Buerger. Production by Stanford Robinson. Geoffrey Dunn , and Rex Haworth, Ruth Naylor (soprano), Pauline Maunder (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Richard Watson (bass). Narration written and spoken by Wilfrid Rooke Ley. The BBC Chorus (Section C) , The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Tate Gilder, Conductor, Stanford Robinson.

28th February 1938 Regional 9.15 I REMEMBER, presented by Percy Edgar; Marjorie Westbury (Soprano); Webster Booth (Tenor); The BBC Midland Orchestra and Singers.

KATINKA Regional Programme Midland, 19 March 1938 21.00 -A Musical Play – Book and lyrics by Otto Hauerback, Music by Rudolf Friml. Adapted for the microphone by Reginald Burston and Martyn C. Webster, The Midland Revue Orchestra, Leader, Norris Stanley. The Midland Revue Chorus. Conducted by Reginald Burston, Production by Martyn C. Webster. Boris Strogoff, Russian Ambassador to Austria: John Lang, Katinka, his bride: Helen Crerar, Petrov, an old servant to Boris: Stuart Vinden, Varenka, Katinka’s maid: Dorothy Summers Tatiana, Katinka’s mother: Mary Pollock, Ivan Dimitre, Katinka’s former sweetheart, Webster Booth, Thaddeus Hopper, a wealthy American: Fred Duprez, Halif, a Circassian slave-trader: Warwick Vaughan. Knopf, manager of the Cafe-Turkoisin-Vienna: Clive Selborne, Arif Bey, warden of Izzet Pasha’s harem: Lester Mudditt. Olga (Nashan), first wife to Boris: Dorothy Paul, M Pierre, porter at Hotel Riche, Constantinople: Warwick Vaughan, Mrs Helen Hopper, Thaddeus Hopper’s wife: Marjorie Westbury.

OVERTURE AND BEGINNERS, PLEASE! No. 2 – National Programme Daventry, 10 April 1938 21.50 A programme arranged and produced by Gordon McConnel in collaboration with Gwen Williams. Jean Colin (soprano), Esther Coleman (mezzo-contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Arnold Matters (baritone), Four Singers from the BBC Chorus, The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Tate Gilder


HERO AND HEROINENational Programme Daventry, 14 May 1938 21.35 A programme of songs and duets from famous operettas arranged by Gwen Williams and Stanford Robinson. The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Tate Gilder, Conductor, Stanford Robinson. Maria Elsner (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor).

ORGANESTRANational Programme Daventry, 27 May 1938 18.40 A Programme for Theatre Organ and Variety Orchestra. Presented by Charles Shadwell and Reginald Foort. Webster Booth (tenor).

THEATRE COMPOSERS No. 2National Programme Daventry, 26 June 1938 21.05  FRANZ LEHAR – The Man and his Music. A programme arranged by M. Willson Disher. Music selected by Mark H. Lubbock . Production by Gordon McConnel. Dennis Noble, Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth, Hella Langdon. Compere, Bertram Wallis. The Rae Jenkins Trio. The BBC Theatre Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra. (Leader, Tate Gilder ) Conductor, Stanford Robinson.

DANCE CABARETRegional Programme Western, 29 June 1938 20.45 from the Royal Bath Hotel Ballroom, Bournemouth. Claude Dampier, The Professional Idiot, Assisted by Billie Carlyle, Webster Booth, The Romantic Tenor, Davy Burnaby and Michael North, The Carlyle Cousins In Close Harmony, Al Bowlly, Britain’s Ambassador of Song, and dance to Billy Thorburn and his Music with Eddie Gurey.

Billy Thorburn , who provides the dancing in this programme allows no brass in his band, and conducts without a baton from his pianist’s stool.

Rarely before have so many famous artists been together in a West of England cabaret. Of special interest is the appearance of Webster Booth, the tenor who has delighted critics with his singing at Covent Garden this season in The Magic Flute and Der Rosenkavalier.

27th August 1938 – National  Sunday 11.30 Charles Ernesco and his Quintet, with Webster Booth

LANDMARKS IN ENGLISH MUSIC-2Regional Programme Midland, 6 September 1938 21.45 Purcell-1688 Arranged by Alexander Brent-Smith and presented by W. K. Stanton Marjorie Westbury (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Margaret Ablethorpe pianoforte) The BBC Midland Singers – Chorus Master, Edgar Morgan, The BBC Midland Orchestra. Leader, Alfred Cave. Conducted by Leslie Heward.

The illustrations are all by Purcell, except where otherwise indicated.

Trio, Sweet Tyranesse


MARJORIE WESTBURY AND MARGARET ABLETHORPE I attempt from love’s sickness to fly (The Indian Queen)




WEBSTER BOOTH, SINGERS, AND ORCHESTRA: How blest are shepherds (King Arthur)

MARJORIE WESTBURY, SINGERS, AND ORCHESTRA Thy hand, Belinda /When I am laid in earth, With drooping wings ye cupids come (Dido and Aeneas)

SINGERS AND ORCHESTRA :Soul of the World (Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day)

WEBSTER BOOTH AND ORCHESTRA : When a cruel long winter (The Faery Queen)

SINGERS AND ORCHESTRA: Hail, great parent (The Faery Queen)

MARJORIE WESTBURY AND ORCHESTRA Hark, the echoing air (The Faery Queen)

MARJORIE WESTBURY, SINGERS, AND ORCHESTRA: If love’s a sweet passion (The Faery Queen)

ORCHESTRA: Monkey’s Dance (The Faery Queen)

 SONGS I LIKERegional Programme Midland, 14 September 1938 20.30 Webster Booth (tenor)

Webster Booth began his career in the Midlands, where he sang in a church choir until his voice broke. He started business in an accountant’s office, but took up singing as a profession after having a successful audition with the D’Oyly Cartes in Birmingham. His contribution to Songs I Like will be repeated on the National wavelength tomorrow.

 THEATRE COMPOSERS No. 3Regional Programme London, 25 September 1938 21.05 – Andre Messager – The Man and his Music. A programme arranged by M. Willson Disher. Music selected by Mark H. Lubbock. Production by Gordon McConnel. Stella Andreva (coloratura-soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Morgan Davies (baritone), Linda Parker (soprano) Compere, Bertram Wallis. The Rae Jenkins Trio.The BBC Theatre Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra, leader Tate Gilder. Conductor, Stanford Robinson

28th September 1938 – Webster Booth sings with Charles Ernesco and his Quintet in the Scottish National programme at 6.25.

8.0 COFFEE AND MUSIC: an after-dinner entertainment presented by Doris Arnold, with Margaret Eaves, Webster Booth and Allan Paul.

10.0 MOVIE MELODIES: a selection of songs from the films, presented by Roy Speer, with Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth, Diana Clare, Sam Costa, with the BBC Revue Chorus, the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell.

HUGH THE DROVERRegional Programme London, 1 November 1938 20.30 or Love in the Stocks – A romantic ballad opera in two acts. Libretto by Harold Child. Music by R. Vaughan Williams . The BBC Theatre Chorus, The BBC Theatre Orchestra Leader, Tate Gilder, Conductor, Stanford Robinson. Narration written by Wilfrid Rooke Ley, spoken by Kaye Seeley Production by Stanford Robinson , in collaboration with Gordon McConnel , Rex Haworth, and Charles Groves. By the time Vaughan Williams had finished his first opera, Hugh the Drover, in 1914, he had written the Sea Symphony, the London Symphony, the song-cycle On Wenlock Edge, and the Tallis Fantasia. His attention was turned at that time to folk song. and Hugh the Drover is full of that kind of music.

Like Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Smetana’s Bartered Bride, Vaughan Williams’s  Hugh the Drover is a national opera. Its background is a great historical fact, the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon. The characters are the common people of the country, and the customs of folk life enter naturally into the story.

The Constable: Samuel Worthington, Mary (his daughter): Rose Alper, Aunt Jane (his sister): Gladys Palmer, John the Butcher (betrothed to Mary): Redvers Llewellyn, Hugh the Drover: Webster Booth, Turnkey: Powell Lloyd, Showman: Robert Irwin, Cheap Jack: Stearn Scott, Shell-Fish Seller: James Bond, Primrose Seller: Marjory Grant, Ballad Seller: Reginald Mitchell, Sergeant: John Hargreaves.

THE CREATION: 9th November 1938. Broadcast from Town Hall, Birmingham (from Webster‘s score)

GENERAL RELEASERegional Programme Midland, 14 November 1938 21.30, Songs from the current films with Marjery Wyn, Webster Booth, We Three. The Midland Revue Orchestra.Leader Norris Stanley, Conductor, Reginald Burston, Compere, Martyn C. Webster.

26th November 1938 – 7.0 HUGH THE DROVER, or LOVE IN THE STOCKS (Repeat)

THE HALLé SOCIETY’S CONCERTRegional Programme Midland, 22 December 1938 19.30 from the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Messiah, The oratorio by Handel -Part I. Isobel Baillie (soprano), Muriel Brunskill (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Keith Falkner (bass), The Hallé Chorus – Chorus master, Herman Brearley, The Hallé Orchestra  – Leader, Alfred Barker, Conducted by Malcolm Sargent.

9.5- During the Interval: The Messiah in the Industrial North, by WL Wilmshurst.

9.20pm MESSIAH, by Handel, Part 2. The Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Sargent: Isobel Baillie (Soprano), Muriel Brunskill (contralto), Webster Booth(tenor), Keith Falkner (Bass) from the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.


ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC – BBC Home Service Basic, 4 January 1939 22.35 played by the BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Tate Gilder ) Conductor, Stanford Robinson, with Gwen Catley and Webster Booth, Wilfrid Parry and Charles Groves (pianofortes) and the BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves )

 LAKMERegional Programme London, 17 January 1939 20.00 An opera by Leo Delibes, Libretto by E. Gondinet and F. Gille. English version by Claude Aveling, The BBC Theatre Chorus, the BBC Theatre Orchestra, leader Tate Gilder , conductor Stanford Robinson. Narration written by Wilfrid Rooke Ley. Production by Stanford Robinson in collaboration with Gordon McConnel , Rex Haworth , and Charles Groves. British Officers: Gerald: Webster Booth, Frederic: John Hargreaves, Nilakanta, a Brahmin priest: Harold Williams, Lakme, Nilakanta’s daughter: Stella Andreva, Mallika, Lakme’s attendant: Mae Craven.

 THE BBC ORCHESTRANational Programme Daventry, 29 January 1939 17.20 (Section E) Led by Marie Wilson, Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite. Webster Booth (tenor)

 CHARLES ERNESCO  AND HIS QUINTET –  National Programme Daventry, 22 February 1939 13.00 with Webster Booth.

Charles Ernesco studied the violin at the Guildhall School of Music under Max Mossel and got his first engagement at the age of twenty as an extra in the London Symphony Orchestra at the Leeds Festival of 1925. For five or six years he played at Covent Garden during the International Season. Then in 1934 he formed his popular Quintet, which still consists of its original members.

His vocalist, Webster Booth, is also no stranger to Covent Garden; as the tenor in Der Rosenkavalier last year, he scored a remarkable success. He is equally at home in concert-party work and in Handel, and listeners will specially remember his fine singing in such radio opera productions as Lakmé and Hugh the Drover.

 7th March 1939 8.0 GLAMOROUS NIGHT, a romantic play with music by Ivor Novello; lyrics by Christopher Hassall; orchestrations by Charles Prentice; radio adaptation by VC Clinton-Baddeley; produced by Hedley Briggs in collaboration with Mark H Lubbock and George Lestrange; technical production, Rex Haworth: Ivor Novello, Mary Ellis, Harvey Braban, Fanny Wright, Eric Anderson, Webster Booth as Lorenti, Robert Andrews, Minnie Rayner, Gerald Lawrence, Elisabeth Welch, Leo de Pokorny, and Eric Miklewood; The BBC Orchestra; Conductor Stanford Robinson.

11th March 1939 Scottish National (261.1 M) 6.50 JOHAN STRAUSS, 1825-1899. A Pot-pourri by Julius Buerger; Gwen Catley (Coloratura Soprano); Hella Toros (Soprano); Nancy Evans (Contralto); Webster Booth (Tenor); Denis Noble (Baritone); Pianists:- Wilfrid Parry, Arthur Sandford; Rae Jenkins and his Schrammel Quartet, the BBC Theatre Chorus; The BBC Theatre Orchestra; Conductor, Stanford Robinson.


1st April 1939 On Saturday at 9.40 Olive Groves, Webster Booth and Arnold Matters will tell the story of the ballad.
9.40 Saturday at 9.40. THE STORY OF THE BALLAD, with Olive Groves, (soprano) Webster Booth, (Tenor) Arnold Matters, (Baritone) with the BBC Theatre orchestra. Programme arranged and conducted by Mark H. Lubbock.

Sunday. 9.45 Charles Ernesco and his Quintet, with Webster Booth.

Friday 14 April 1939. 20.00 THE EXETER MALE VOICE CHOIR Conductor, W. J. Cotton . Webster Booth (tenor) from the Barnfield Hall, Exeter.

18th April 1939 7.45 GYPSY LOVE: Adapted for Broadcast from the English book by BasilHood, the original German libretto by A M Wilner and Robert Bodanzky; English lyrics by Adrian Ross; Music by Franz Lehar; Adaptation and production by Gordon McConnel, with Hella Langdon, BillieBaker, Dennis Noble, Rae Jenkins (Violin solos), Horace Percival, Webster Booth, Dudley Rolph, Evers, Kenneth Ellis, and Margaret Schlegel; The BBC Theatre Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Stanford Robinson.

Sunday 3.00 Orchestral and Vocal Concert; Excerpts from THE MAGIC FLUTE by Mozart; translation by EJ Dent; programme introduced by FH Grisewood, with Arnold Matters (Baritone); Lorely Dyer (Soprano); Webster Booth (Tenor); Norman Allin (Bass); Gwen Catley (Soprano); The BBC Theatre Orchestra; Conductor, Stanford Robinson.

16th May 1939.9.45 The BBC Theatre Orchestra: Conductor, Stanford Robinson: Webster Booth (Tenor); Cyril Smith (Pianoforte)

CONCERT Friday in May 1939, Mansion House, Dublin. Webster Booth was guest artiste at a concert which was broadcast on Radio Eireann.

21st July 1939 DANCE CABARET with Webster Booth, Ted Ray, Beryl Orde, and C Denier Warren comes from the Polygon Hotel, Southampton, at 9.30. Scottish National 9.30 DANCE CABARET : Ted Ray (Fiddling and Fooling); Webster Booth(Tenor); Beryl Orde (Impressions); C Denier Warren (Stage and film comedian); and Fred Ballerini and his Dance Band, from the Polygon Hotel Southampton.

26th August 1939 Scottish 9.50 The BBC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell, Webster Booth (Tenor)

3rd September to December 1939 – At the outbreak of war Webster Booth was appointed to the BBC staff as singer, together with Tommy Handley, Vera Lennox, Ernest Longstaffe, Sam Costa, Charles Shadwell, Doris Arnold, Betty Huntley-Wright,Leonard Henry and others.

6 September 1939 22.00 SONGS FROM THE SHOWS with John Rorke Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth,  C. Denier Warren, The BBC Variety Orchestra, Leader, Frank Cantell, Conducted by Charles Shadwell and the BBC Revue Chorus, Compere, John Watt . Songs from the Shows, a series first produced in 1931, like Tennyson’s brook, goes on for ever. True it changed its title sometimes to Songs from the Films, giving listeners a radio version of The Three Little Pigs in 1934, which paved the way for the Silly Symphonies.
The series embraced modern shows and went back to Hullo, Ragtime, to the old Gaiety favourites, and even farther. It broke out in sub series-theatres, composers-and maintained its popularity to such an extent that it still goes on. Whatever shows may be chosen tonight listeners may be sure that such artists as Betty Huntley-Wright , Webster Booth, John Rorke, and C. Denier Warren will put the songs over.

Thursday, 7 September 1939, 19.10 SWEET SERENADE. with Wynne Ajello, Webster Booth, The Five Serenaders,Presented by Douglas Lawrence. Conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart.

8th September 1939, 8.30 SING SONG, a programme of variety and community singing: produced by Ernest Longstaffe, with Leonard Henry, John Rorke, Gwen Lewis, Sydney Burchall, and Webster Booth and Betty Huntley Wright (duets), The BBC Revue Chorus, The BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Ernest Longstaffe.

Saturday 9 September, 1939. 17.30 MOVIE MELODIES. A selection of songs you remember from the films you saw.Sung by Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth,Diana Clare, Sam Costa, The BBC Revue Chorus with the BBC Variety Orchestra (leader, Frank Cantell ), conducted by Charles Shadwell, Presented by Roy Speer.

11th September 1939 8.30 VARIETY HALF HOUR. Presented by Archie Campbell, with Leonard Henry, Gwen Lewis, Arthur Sandford, Webster Booth, the BBC Revue Chorus, the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell.

13 September 1939, 15.00. SWEET SERENADE. With Wynne Ajello, Webster Booth, and The Five Serenaders. Presented by Douglas Lawrence.

Thursday 14 September 1939. 20.30. SONGS FROM THE SHOWS with John Rorke , Margaret Eaves , Webster Booth, and C. Denier Warren, The BBC Variety Orchestra (leader, Frank Cantell ), conducted by Charles Shadwell and the BBC Revue Chorus, Compere, John Watt

18th September 1939. 8.0 COFFEE AND MUSIC: an after-dinner entertainment presented by Doris Arnold, with Margaret Eaves, Webster Booth and Alan Paul.

22.00 MOVIE MELODIES. A selection of songs you remember from the films you saw sung by Betty Huntley-Wright , Webster Booth, Diana Clare , Sam Costa , the BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Variety Orchestra, (leader, Frank Cantell ), conducted by Charles Shadwell, Presented by Roy Speer.

23rd September 1939 7.15 THE BALLAD MONGER, brings to you songs old and new with Sidney Burchall, Wynne Ajello, Esther Coleman, Webster Booth, The Male Voice Quartet. At the pianos, Ivor Dennis and Alan Paul. Presented by Martyn C. Webster. The Ballad-Monger introducing songs old and new made his debut with the magazine programme Roundabout in May this year and became one of its most popular features. Tonight he is to appear in a programme on his own with a very strong support from popular radio favourites.

27th September 1939 10.45 WHERE THERE’S A WALTZ! A cavalcade of waltz music old and new; programme presented by Ronald Waldman, with Margaret Eaves, Esther Coleman, Webster Booth and Dudley Rolph; the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell. Programme presented by Ronald Waldman.

28th September 1939 7.45 SONGS FROM THE SHOWS, with Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge; Wynne Ajello; Webster Booth; Pat Taylor; Stanley Riley; and C Denier Warren; The BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell, The BBC Revue Chorus; compere John Watt.

29th September 1939 – 9.30 MOVIE MELODIES, a selection of songs from films, sung by Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth, Pat Taylor and Sam Costa; The BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell.

2nd October 1939 – 7.0 30 MOVIE MELODIES , a selection of songs from films, sung by Betty Huntley-Wright and Webster Booth; The BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell.

5 October 1939. 20.00 SONGS FROM THE SHOWS, with Evelyn Laye, Webster Booth, Sidney Burchall, C Denier Warren, Doris Hare, and the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell; the BBC Revue Chorus; Compere, John Watt.

10.45 A song recital by Webster Booth (Tenor)

6th October 1939 12.15 LOVE IN BLOOM, a programme of love songs sung by Webster Booth, Diana Clare, Betty Huntley-Wright, presented by David Porter.

Monday, 9 October, 1939. 20.00  Movie Melodies – songs you remember from the films you saw sung by artists you know including: Betty Huntley-Wright , Webster Booth , Alan Breeze, The BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Variety Orchestra (leader, Frank Cantell), Conducted by Charles Shadwell, Compere, David Porter, Presented by Roy Speer.

14th October 1939 21.30 Geraldo conducting the augmented BBC Variety Orchestra in a programme of popular music, with Webster Booth (Tenor).

16th October 1939 3.30 SWEET SERENADE, presented by Douglas Lawrence, with Wynne Ajello, Webster Booth, and the Orchestra.

16.30 MOVIE MELODIES The sixth and last edition of songs you remember sung by artists you know, including Betty Huntley-Wright, Webster Booth, Denny Dennis and the Cavendish Three, The BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Variety Orchestra (leader: Frank Cantell ), conducted by Charles Shadwell, Compere, David Porter, Presented by Roy Speer.

Wednesday, 1 November 1939, 22.40 SING IT THROUGH and don’t forget the chorus! Written by Ernest Longstaffe and Leonard Henry.No. 6 of the popular ‘ get together’ series with Leonard Henry and Webster Booth, The BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Variety Orchestra. Produced and conducted by Ernest Longstaffe

Wednesday, 22 November 1939. 10.30 SWING SONG with AH Morgans Rhythmic Sextet, Webster Booth and the Three Minx.

15.00 LOVE IN BLOOM. A programme of love songs sung by Webster Booth, Betty Huntley-Wright , Dorothy Carless , and Denny Dennis , with the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Hyam Greenbaum, Compere, James Dyrenforth, Presented by David Porter.

4th December 1939, Monday. 3.0 LOVE SONGS sung by Webster Booth, Betty Huntley-Wright, Dorothy Carless, and Denny Dennis. 

Wednesday, 27 December 1939, 9.00 SWEET SERENADE with A. H. Morgan ‘s Rhythmic Sextet, Webster Booth, and the Three Minx, Produced bv Leslie Bridgmont.


JEANNIE C © 2005

Jean Collen

© Updated in May 2017
Information from The Scotsman Archives
BBC Genome Project
The Times Archives

Updated 6 June 2016




                                                   GARDA HALL (1900 – 1968)

Today South African soprano, Garda Hall, is hardly remembered in South Africa where she was born, or in the United Kingdom where she lived for most of her life and had a distinguished career as a singer. The only reason why I know anything about Garda Hall at all is that Webster Booth mentioned that he had sung and recorded with her on several occasions.  Her descendant, Quentin Hall, who lives in Western Australia, has shared some of his extensive family research with me so I thought I would write a short article about his distinguished ancestor.

Garda Hall was born in Durban, Natal in 1900 in the middle of the South African War. Garda was given the unusual middle name of Colenso, presumably in commemoration of the Battle of Colenso in 1899. Her parents were George Ernest Hall (1869 – 1933), originally from Torquay, Devon, and Maude Kate Amy Breeds (1878 – September 1959). Quentin presumes that George and Maude married in South Africa rather than the UK and the Breeds surname suggests to me that Garda’s mother was a South African of Dutch origin, rather than British.

Garda moved from Durban to Pietermaritzburg when she was seven years of age and attended the private Girls’ Collegiate School there. Her father owned a bicycle shop in Pietermaritzburg called Hall’s –The Cycle Specialists and sold it to the Jowett family when the family settled in England. The cycling business remained Hall’s – The Cyclist Specialists until 1952 when Walter and his brother eventually changed the name of the business to Jowett Brothers.



Garda was not noted for her musical prowess at school. Apparently the music teacher told her that she was singing out of tune and asked her to leave the music class! It should be pointed out that some children who sing out of tune begin to sing in tune as they mature. Despite being good enough to be accepted at the Royal Academy of Music in 1920 and doing well there, several critics remarked on occasional lapses of intonation when she became a professional singer.

In 1920, she boarded the Norman Castle in Durban with her mother, who was 41 at the time.


They arrived in Southampton on 9 August 1920 and Garda began her vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London at the beginning of the new term in September, taking lessons with the renowned singing teacher, Frederick King who trained many notable singers including Norman Allin, Miriam Licette, Carmen Hill and Robert Radford. T. Arnold Fulton, the Scottish organist and choral director of the London Select Choir and the choir at St Columba’s Church in London where he was organist and choir master, acted as studio accompanist to Frederic King at the Royal Academy. Some years later Arnold Fulton moved to South Africa and taught singing based on the methods he had learnt from Frederic King.

Garda obtained the diplomas of ARAM and LRAM. Interestingly, she apparently trained as a mezzo soprano at the Academy, yet sang as a lyric soprano during her subsequent career as a singer. She was awarded the Gilbert Betjemann Gold Medal at the Academy for operatic singing in 1923.


Not long after she graduated, she sang at the first Grand Ballad Concert of the season at the Guildhall, Plymouth on 29 September 1923, and in 1925 she made a triumphant return to Pietermaritzburg and Durban and gave several successful recitals while she was there. The closing item which she sang at the Pietermaritzburg concert was Poor Wand’ring One from The Pirates of Penzance. I wonder what her disapproving music mistress at ;the Collegiate School thought about this! If she had left South Africa as a second-rate, sometimes out of tune mezzo, she had returned to the country of her birth as an engaging lyric soprano. At the time of her trip her parents were living in Winkelspruit on the South Coast of Natal, but by 1930 the whole family moved to 137 King Henry’s Road, South Hampstead, the address where Garda remained until her death in 1968.

Towards the end of that year Garda sang in Burnley in aid of the Police Convalescent fund. Two of her fellow artistes were distinguished singers of the day – Muriel Brunskill (contralto) and Tudor Davies (tenor). At a concert the following year, the critic remarked on her clean-cut articulation (in English and French) and her ability to sing a comfortable high E. However, he disapproved of “an almost continuous vibrato which adversely affected her intonation”. He suggested that she should work on her breathing to correct this fault – shades of that music mistress in Pietermaritzburg!

1926 was an auspicious year for Garda as she began recording for His Master’s Voice (HMV). One of her notable recordings was the Mozart Requiem with  the Philharmonic Choir and orchestra, conducted by Charles Kennedy Scott on 6 July at the Queen’s Hall.Other singers on the recording were Nellie Walker, Sydney Coltham and Edward Halland. She was also bridesmaid at the wedding of baritone Roy Henderson and Bertha Smyth in March. The couple had met when studying at the Royal Academy, presumably at the same time as Garda herself.

CHERRY RIPE (Arr. Lehmann)



DOWN IN THE FOREST (Landon Ronald)

During the twenties, Garda was making a name for herself as a popular concert singer, recording artiste and broadcaster, although critics were still concerned about her violent vibrato and doubtful intonation as opposed to her vocal good points of agility and wide range. She was singing with the finest singers of the day, as can be seen in this article of 1928:

Eminent singers (1928)

Advertisement for Bath Pump Room.

An Orchestral Concert – 5GB Daventry (Experimental), 15 January 1929 16.00(From Birmingham) THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO ORCHESTRA – Conducted by FRANK CANTELL.GARDA HALL (Soprano).

A BRASS BAND CONCERT – 2LO London, 25 May 1929 15.30 S.B. from Newcastle. Artists from the London Studio: GARDA HALL (Soprano), WATCYN WATCYNS (Baritone). The MARSDEN COLLIERY BAND Conducted by JACK BODDICE.

Famous Northern Resorts – 2ZY Manchester, 18 September 1929 20.00Scarborough – The SPA ORCHESTRA Conducted by ALICK MACLEAN.(Leader, PACK BEARD) Accompanist, S. HANLON DEAN Relayed from the Spa S.B. from Hull.GARDA HALL (Soprano)

On 6 March 1930 Webster Booth was establishing himself on record, radio, as the Duke of Buckingham in the West End production of The Three Musketeers, and as a tenor soloist in oratorio, but he was still entertaining at dinners and benefit concerts, such as one at the Finsbury Town Hall for the Clerkenwell Benevolent Society, where South African soprano, Garda Hall was one of the other entertainers. Charles Forwood, who was to become the permanent accompanist of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth when they went on the variety stage in 1940, accompanied at this concert.


The Wireless Military Band – National Programme Daventry, 22 April 1930 19.45 Conducted by B. WALTON O’DONNELL, GARDA HALL (Soprano)

An Orchestral Concert – Regional Programme London, 24 November 1930 20.35 A Cowen Programme – THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS. GARDA HALL (Soprano) and Orchestra Aria, Bloom on, bloom on, my Roses(The Rose Maiden) The Swallows, Cradle Song, A Birthday.

A newspaper cutting on 20 March 1930 reads as follows: The Clerkenwell Benevolent Society benefited to a considerable extent as a result of a concert at the Finsbury Town Hall on March 6. There was a generous provision of talent, among those to please a large and enthusiastic audience being Garda Hall, Doris Smerdon, Gladys Limage, Doris Godfrey, Hilda Gladney Woolf, Maidie Hebditch, Webster Booth, Ashmoor Burch, Charles Hayes, Fred Wildon and Lloyd Shakespeare, with Charles Forwood as accompanist. It is interesting that some of these names are still remembered today, while others are completely unknown.

Later  in that year, Garda returned to South Africa and her parents came to England on board the Gloucester Castle to make their home with her. For a short time they lived at 142 King Henry’s Drive, Hampstead, but later moved to 137 King Henry’s Drive, where she remained until her death in 1968.


THE BAND OF H.M. ROYAL AIR FORCE Regional Programme London, 2 January 1931 21.00 (By permission of tho AIR COUNCIL) Conducted by Flight Lieut . J. H. AMERS, GARDA HALL (Soprano)

An Orchestral Concert – National Programme London, 31 January 1931 19.30 GARDA HALL (Soprano), DALE SMITH (Baritone), THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA
Conducted by PERCY PITT

A Concert 5WA Cardiff, 20 March 1931 19.45 Relayed from THE Public HALL, BRITON FERRY. GARDA HALL (Soprano), JOHN MOREL (Baritone) BRITON FERRY I.L.P. MALE VOICE PARTY,Conducted by D. L. MORGAN. NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES (Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru) (Leader, LOUIS LEVITUS) Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE

The Gershom Parkington Quintet Regional Programme London, 1 May 1931 20.00 GARDA HALL (Soprano), HARRY ISAACS (Pianoforte).

The Children’s Hour – Regional Programme Midland, 7 October 1931 17.15 Songs by GARDA HALL (Soprano), WILLIAM JONES and his Banjo, A Tale of Spain and the Rolling Main, by ROBERT ASCROFT.


In March 1932 Garda took part in a broadcast of popular opera with another South African singer who had made a career in the UK, the contralto Betsy de la Porte. In the same year, she sang in a concert devoted to Viennese music at the Pump Room in Bath. The conductor was Edward Dunn, and baritone George Baker, Webster’s great friend and mentor, was the other soloist. Several years later, Garda suggested to Edward Dunn that he should apply for the position of musical director of Durban Opera. He was chosen from 200 candidates and remained in South Africa for the rest of his life. The last I heard of him was when he was conducting the Johannesburg Philharmonic Society and giving lectures on musical appreciation in the sixties.

In May 1932 Garda made a 12-inch recording of Musical Comedy Gems (1) and Musical Comedy Gems (2) with George Baker (C2412) of songs from The Chocolate Soldier, The Desert Song, Rose Marie and The Merry Widow.

                                                George Baker and Garda Hall


The B.B.C. Orchestra Regional Programme London, 22 July 1932 20.00(SECTION E) Led by MARIE WILSON, Conducted by B. WALTON O’DONNELL.GARDA HALL (Soprano).

Suitable Songs – Regional Programme London, 6 August 1932 21.15 (Part VII). Arranged and Produced by GORDON MCCONNEL. GARDA HALL, PARRY JONES, FOSTER RICHARDSON.  EDGAR LANE (Compere) WALTER RANDALL (Pianist) THE REVUE CHORUS and The B.B.C. THEATRE ORCHESTRA Leader, S. Kneale Kelley. Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS

Popular Opera-II National Programme Daventry, 28 December 1932 20.00 Scenes from Verdi, Humperdinck and Flotow. Produced by GORDON MCCONNEL.

Garda Hall (Soprano), Betsy de la Porte (Contralto), Jan Van Der Gucht (Tenor), Stuart Robertson (Baritone), Franklyn Kelsey (Bass), Mary Hamlin (Soprano), Gladys Winmill (Contralto), Doris Owens (Contralto), Rosalind Rowsell (Soprano) , Stanley Riley (Bass), Bradbridge White (Tenor), Victor Utting (Bass). Narrator, Ivan Samson. The Wireless Chorus (Section B) – Chorus-Master, Cyril Dalmaine. B.B.C. Orchestra (Section D) – Led by Marie Wilson. Conducted by Stanford Robinson

Victorian Ballads – Regional Programme London, 16 March 1933 19.30 withGARDA HALL (Soprano) and LEONARD GOWINGS (Tenor) accompanied by THE LESLIE BRIDGEWATER QUINTET.

THE B.B.C. THEATRE ORCHESTRA Regional Programme London, 15 May 1933 21.00 Leader, MONTAGUE BREARLEY. Conductor – STANFORD ROBINSON, GARDA HALL (Soprano)

On 22 May 1933, Frederic King, Garda’s singing teacher at the academy, died at the age of 80, and on 1 October of the same year, Webster was on the same bill as Garda Hall at the Palladium. Other performers on that bill were Debroy Somers and his band, Leonard Henry (compère), Raie da Costa (the brilliant South African pianist who died at an early age) and Stainless Stephen. Webster had also been booked to sing at the National Sunday League concerts at the Finsbury Park Empire, and the same artistes as those at the Palladium were due to perform at the Lewisham Town Hall later in October.

Raie da Costa plays in 1933.

A Popular Concert – Regional Programme Midland, 27 January 1934 19.15 Relayed from The Central Hall, Walsall. GARDA HALL (soprano), HENRY CUMMINGS (baritone), MARGOT MACGIBBON, (violin) FREDERICK JACKSON (piano)

Garda Hall and Trefor Jones to sing in "Creation".
Garda Hall and Trefor Jones sing in “The Creation” at the Caird Hall, Dundee with the Dundee Amateur Choral Union. Article: 3 January 1934.

A Part of THE CREATION – Regional Programme Scotland, 7 February 1934 20.45 (Haydn) THE DUNDEE AMATEUR CHORAL UNION GARDA HALL (soprano), TREFOR JONES (tenor), JOSEPH FARRINGTON (bass) THE SCOTTISH ORCHESTRA Conducted by CHARLES M. COWE. At the Pianoforte, M. MARSHALL BIRD. Relayed from The Caird Hall, Dundee

On 15 March 1934 Garda Hall sang in Torquay with the Municipal Orchestra there and the short newspaper article announcing the date pointed out that her father had been a Torquay man. She sang an aria from Die Fledermaus at the Queen’s Hall on the last night of the Promenade concerts on 6 October 1934, conducted by Sir Henry Wood.

THE TORQUAY MUNICIPAL ORCHESTRA National Programme Daventry, 27 March 1934 15.00 Conductor, ERNEST W. GOSS. GARDA HALL (soprano). Relayed from The Pavilion, Torquay (West Regional Programme)

Songs of Sir Frederic Cowen – National Programme Daventry, 2 April 1934 19.30 sung by GARDA HALL (soprano), HAROLD WILLIAMS (baritone) Accompanied by THE COMPOSER. GARDA HALL Songs about roses :Deep in a Beauteous Garden, The Sweetest Rose of all, Day Dreams, The Roses of Sadi, Blue Skies and Roses. HAROLD WILLIAMS Poems by Sir Walter Scott :Anna Marie, The Bonny Owl Border Ballad

THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 29 May 1934 21.20(Section C) – Led by MARIE WILSON. Conducted by JOHN ANSELL. GARDA HALL (soprano).

LESLIE JEFFRIES and THE GRAND HOTEL, EASTBOURNE, ORCHESTRA. National Programme Daventry, 2 September 1934 21.05 GARDA HALL(soprano) Relayed from The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne.

She sang an aria from Die Fledermaus at the Queen’s Hall on the last night of the Promenade concerts on 6 October 1934, conducted by Sir Henry Wood.
Promenade Concert – National Programme Daventry, 6 October 1934 20.00 Last concert of the season – Relayed from The Queen’s Hall, London (Sole Lessees, Messrs. Chappell and Co., Ltd.).GARDA HALL (soprano), ROBERT EASTON (bass), EILEEN JOYCE (pianoforte), THE B.B.C SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – Led by MARIE WILSON. Conducted by Sir HENRY WOOD

THE BOURNEMOUTH MUNICIPAL ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 18 November 1934 21.00 Conductor, RICHARD AUSTIN. GARDA HALL (soprano). Relayed from The Pavilion, Bournemouth

THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 24 December 1934 22.00 (Section E) Led by MARIE WILSON. Conducted by JULIAN CLIFFORD. GARDA HALL (soprano)

THE LONDON PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA – Regional Programme London, 26 May 1935 18.45  Conductor, RICHARD CREAN, GARDA HALL (soprano).



Songs of the Seasons – Regional Programme London, 3 November 1935 17.30 By Frederic H. Cowen. GARDA HALL (soprano), JOYCE NEWTON (soprano), HAROLD WILLIAMS baritone). JOYCE NEWTON – Autumn : To a Flower. GARDA HALL – Winter : Snowflakes. JOYCE NEWTON  – Winter : The Snowstorm. HAROLD WILLIAMS – Christmas Time: The Wassailer’s Song. GARDA HALL AND JOYCE NEWTON Spring : Duets To Daffodils, Violets, GARDA HALL – Spring : The Swallows . HAROLD* WILLIAMS – Summer : Anna Marie. JOYCE NEWTON – Summer : Summer’s here. GARDA HALL AND JOYCE NEWTON – Summer : Duet Birds.

On 5 December 1935, Garda Hall, Webster and George Baker sang in a concert version of Gounod’s Faust and the Beggar’s Opera at the Playhouse, Galashiels on the Scottish Borders. The Galashiels Choral Society (concert master: Robert Barrow) and orchestra were conducted by Herbert More.

THE LESLIE BRIDGEWATER HARP QUINTET – National Programme Daventry, 8 December 1935 14.15 GARDA HALL (soprano).

Pleasure Gardens – National Programme Daventry, 15 May 1936 20.00 A Picture in Words and Music of London’s Old Pleasure Gardens at Vauxhall. Devised by JOHN F. RUSSELL and HOLT MARVELL. Music selected and arranged by ALFRED REYNOLDS. GARDA HALL (soprano), JAN VAN DER GUCHT (tenor), MORGAN DAVIES (baritone) A Section of THE BBC MEN’S CHORUS and THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA Leader, Montague Brearley ,Conducted by MARK H. LUBBOCK

THE BBC ORCHESTRA – Regional Programme London, 3 June 1936 21.30(Section C) -Led by MARIE WILSON, Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS. GARDA HALL (soprano) New Songs for Old Regional Programme London, 17 August 1936 20.00 Part 5. A Programme arranged and produced by GORDON MCCONNEL. VERA LENNOX, DENIS O’NEIL, GEORGE BAKER, GARDA HALL. Compere, CYRIL NASH . THE BBC REVUE CHORUS and THE BBC VARIETY ORCHESTRA. Conducted by CHARLES SHADWELL .

On 5 December 1935, Garda Hall, Webster and George Baker sang in a concert version of Gounod’s Faust and the Beggar’s Opera at the Playhouse, Galashiels on the Scottish Borders. The Galashiels Choral Society (concert master: Robert Barrow) and orchestra were conducted by Herbert More.Webster Booth at the height of his fame.

In 1936 Webster sang with Garda again on 16 September at a Shrewsbury Carnival Concert. Other performers were Ronald Gourley (entertainer) and theAlfredo Campoli Trio

Shrewsbury Carnival Concert – Regional Programme Midland, 6 September 1936 21.00 from the Granada Theatre, Shrewsbury. GARDA HALL (soprano), WEBSTER BOOTH (tenor), RONALD GOURLEY (entertainer) THE ALFREDO CAMPOLI TRIO 

Alfredo Campoli (2)
Violinist Alfredo Campoli

Child singer Ann Stephens with whistling by Ronald Gourley

Ann Stephens
Ann Stephens

I have been reading B.C. Hilliam’s autobiography Flotsam’s Follies (Flotsam of Flotsam and Jetsam) and discovered that Garda Hall sang in his song cycle, Autumn’s Orchestra. It was performed at the Queen’s Hall, with Garda Hall, Gladys Ripley, Heddle Nash, and Malcolm McEachern as vocalists and Albert Sandler as violinist.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam's follies

MARIE BURKE in Comic Opera VII – Regional Programme London, 18 September 1936 21.20 Songs and Scenas from three famous Comic Operas, Arranged and Produced by GORDON McCONNEL. 1 The Emerald Isle – Lyrics by Basil Hood, Music by Arthur Sullivan and Edward German. Veronique – English Lyrics by Lilian Eldee, (with alterations and additions by Percy Greenbank ), Music by Andre Messager  3. The Grand Duchess – English Lyrics by Adrian Ross, Music by Offenbach. DICK FRANCIS, GARDA HALL,JAN VAN DER GUCHT, MICHAEL COLE, BERNARD ANSELL and MARIE BURKE. THE BBC REVUE CHORUS and THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA. Conducted by ALFRED REYNOLDS.

THE BBC ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 17 October 1936 20.15 (Section C) Led by LAURANCE TURNER, Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS,GARDA HALL (soprano)

THE WORTHING MUNICIPAL ORCHESTRA – Regional Programme London, 22 November 1936 21.05 Leader, HARRY Lipman, Conductor, HERBERT LODGE,GARDA HALL (soprano)ARTHUR WAYNE (pianoforte) from the Town Hall, Worthing.

THE BBC ORCHESTRA –National Programme Daventry, 19 January 1937 18.25(Section E)  – Led by Laurance Turner, Conducted by Joseph Lewis, Garda Hall(soprano)

ALBERT SANDLER and THE PARK LANE HOTEL ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 14 March 1937 21.35 Garda Hall (soprano) from the Park Lane Hotel. At the pianoforte J. A. BYFIELD

SONGS FROM THE SHOWS No. 45 – Regional Programme London, 1 May 1937 18.00 Film Songs, No. 11. Garda Hall, Brian Lawrance, Evie Hayes, Sam Costa, The Three Ginx. The BBC Variety Orchestra and BBC Chorus – Conducted by Charles Shadwell. At the Pianos: Harry S. Pepper and Doris Arnold. Music arranged by Doris Arnold and orchestrated by Wally Wallond . Compered and produced by John Watt.

THE BOURNEMOUTH MUNICIPAL ORCHESTRA Regional Programme Wales, 2 May 1937 21.05Leader, Harold Fairhurst .Conductor, Richard Austin. Garda Hall (soprano) from the Pavilion, Bournemouth.

PASTORAL – National Programme Daventry, 8 July 1937 22.20 A Programme in Praise of Quiet Things. Music by Alan Paul. Verse and Prose selected by Ann Baker. Presented by William MacLurg. Garda Hall (soprano), Jean Pougnet (violin), David Martin (violin), William Primrose (viola) Anthony Pini (violoncello), Alan Paul (pianoforte)GARDA HALL AND QUINTET: Quiet The Lambs, Blessed Care, All my Treasures.

Pastoral is a programme of verse, prose, and music upon the themes of quiet and the countryside. The music throughout has been written by Alan Paul who will himself be at the piano for the first programme ever given of his own serious music.

Paul was born in Glasgow and was a student at the Glasgow Athenaeum, now called the Scottish Academy of Music, from 1917 to 1921, when he came to London to join the Royal College of Music. In his first year there he had to make some money to

help with his fees and left the college for four months to go on tour with Polly (sequel to The Beggar’s Opera). About a year ago he joined the BBC.

In May 1937 Theatreland at Coronation Time was released featuring Stuart Robertson, Garda Hall, Webster Booth and Sam Costa. The critic in Gramophone remarked, “Mr Booth sings gloriously, Mr Robertson defiantly, Miss Hall charmingly, while Mr Costa contributes a fleeting reminiscence of a more sophisticated and yet oh so simple entertainment.” The 12”78rpm, HMV C2903 cost 4/-. Click on the above link to hear the recording which has been restored by Mike Taylor.

MURDER IN THE EMBASSY – Regional Programme London, 4 August 1937 21.00  A Melodrama by Francis Durbridge with Incidental Music by Augustus Franzel. Ann Codrington, Ruth Beresford. A Gypsy Orchestra, conducted by Augustus Franzel, and The BBC Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Mark H. Lubbock. Production by Archie Campbell. Captain Michael Rostard, of the Westonian army, nephew of General Rostard: Jack Melford. Sir Charles Fanshaw, of the Foreign Office.: Norman Shelley
Benson, Sir Charles’s valet: Ernest Sefton
*Madame Vaskaya, a famous continental soprano: Garda Hall
Countess Elsa Sieler, daughter of Count Sieler: Jane Carr
General Rostard, Prime Minister and virtual dictator of Westonia: Henry Victor
Mr Hiram E Miller, of Detroit: Fred Duprez
Baron Von Klemm, the Westonian Ambassador.: Boris Ranevsky
Paul Vendorest, a servant at the Westonian Embassy.: .Paul Vernon
A Singer: Morgan Davies
Inspector Davis, of Scotland Yard: Edwin Ellis
Count Sieler, Dictator of Falkenstein: Ernest Sefton
Announcer: Barry Ferguson

  There is an entry for Garda Hall in Who’s Who in Music (1937): Hall, Garda ARAM, LRAM. Born Durban, educated at Royal Academy of Music. Betjemann Gold Medalist. Singing, Chamber music, oratorio, operatic. Recreation: gardening. Address: 137 King Henry’s Road NW3. Telephone: Primrose 4436

GEORGIAN MELODIES – National Programme Daventry, 6 February 1938 21.05  A Musical Sequence selected and arranged by Gwen Williams and Stanford Robinson. Garda Hall (soprano), Roy Henderson (baritone), An Octet from the BBC Chorus, The BBC Theatre Orchestra. Leader, Tate Gilder, Conductor, Stanford Robinson .

HALL, Garda - The Evening Telegraph and Post (Dundee, Scotland), Thur, Feb 24, 1938; pg. 6

Braza (violinist), John Turner (tenor) Garda Hall (soprano), Will Kings (entertainer). Dundee police concert. Evening Telegraph and Post, Dundee (February 1938)

Reverie (No. 6) – National Programme Daventry, 25 June 1938 22.15 – The BBC Theatre Orchestra, leader, Tate Gilder, Conductor, Stanford Robinson. Garda Hall (soprano), Freda Townson (mezzo-soprano) O would that my love?/The Harvest Field (Mendelssohn) Dôme épais (Lakmé) (Delibes) Already, shades of night/ Alas my chosen swain(The Queen of Spades)

MUSIC BY ERIC COATES – Regional Programme London, 9 June 1939 18.00 BBC Orchestra (Section E) Led by Laurance Turner, Conducted by the composer. GARDA HALL AND ORCHESTRA The Mill o’ Dreams, Back o’ the Moon, Dream o’ Nights, The Man in the Moon, Bluebells.Homeward to you, Your Name, Music of the Night.

C.E.M.A. CONCERT- BBC Home Service Basic, 3 October 1940 13.15  Organised in collaboration with a Miners’ Welfare Institute  Somewhere in the Midlands. Garda Hall (soprano), Dale Smith (baritone), Samuel Kutcher (violin), Accompanist, Harry Isaacs .

Garda continued singing during the war, often at CEMA concerts and in oratorio. She sang Messiah at the Albert Hall, Nottingham in December 1940.


27 March 1942


22 January 1943


The final cutting about Garda Hall appeared on 5 January 1945.

Sunday concert

I could find nothing more about her, apart from her entry in the Musicians Who’s Who in 1949, which was much the same as the 1937 entry. In 1945 she was 45 years of age so I cannot believe that she retired from singing at such an early age. Perhaps she taught singing after she retired from the concert platform, although there is no proof of this.  Her mother died in the late 1950s and she herself died on 7 June 1968. She did not marry. If anyone has further information about Garda Hall, I would be very glad to hear from you.


A Horse, a Singer and a Prince – two busy months in the life of Pietermaritzburg Bill Bizley

British Newspaper archive

Quentin Hall of Western Australia for genealogical research on his relative, Garda Hall

Jean Collen


Join: The Golden Age of Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler and Friends on Facebook.


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5 August 2014

Updated:  9 April, 2016.