Programmes and Adverts (1949 – 1950)

1949 was not a very happy year for the Booths. Anne had to be admitted to hospital early in the year and Webster’s good friend, Tommy Handley died suddenly in January of that year. The great Wagnerian tenor, Walter Widdop died in September. In October, Edwin Booth, Webster’s father was taken ill at a Birmingham concert where Anne and Webster were singing and died there, only a few days after his eighty-third birthday. The family managed to keep the news from Webster and Anne until after the concert although they were worried because they had noticed that the family seats had been vacated.

1949 was not a very happy year for the Booths. Anne had to be admitted to hospital early in the year and Webster’s good friend, Tommy Handley died suddenly in January of that year. The great Wagnerian tenor, Walter Widdop died in September. In October, Edwin Booth, Webster’s father was taken ill at a Birmingham concert where Anne and Webster were singing and died there, only a few days after his eighty-third birthday. The family managed to keep the news from Webster and Anne until after the concert although they were worried because they had noticed that the family seats had been vacated.

13 January 1949 Funeral of Tommy Handley.
Webster and Leslie Bridgmont at Tommy Handley’s Funeral, Golders Green Crematorium.
Memorial Service at St Paul’s – 9 February 1949. Tommy Handley Memorial Choir record The Long Day Closes and God be in My Head
21 April 1949
8 July 1949 Jersey Concert
Singing at a broadcast (1949)
7 September 1949 Funeral of Walter Widdop

17 October 1949 Death of Edwin Booth, Webster’s father.
Edwin Booth’s will. Irene Constance Louise Booth was Edwin Booth’s second wife.

2 December 1949 Anne.
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5 January 1950
12 January 1950 Town Hall, Cheltenham.
22 March 1950 Central Hall, Derby.
Concert with Charles Forwood at the piano.

Concert with Charles Forwood at the piano.
9 April 1950

There was a great protest about this Sunday evening concert in Kirkcaldy. Even when the concert went ahead, the criticism of it was very bad! I wonder whether the bad crit was because the concert had taken place on a Sunday.

May 1950

9 July 1950
23 September 1950 Cheltenham.
24 October 1950
14 November 1950. Hull concert at Tivoli.
Anne and Webster


The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook has acquired most of the recordings made by Webster and Anne. Until we come across some of the missing recordings (only about 10 sides to go now) I am creating medleys for the group. Most of them last about half-an-hour and feature AZ-WB recordings and recordings by related artists

I did an interview about Webster and Anne with Clare Marshall on Radio Today on 28 April 2013. You can listen to it here.

The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook has acquired most of the recordings made by Webster and Anne. Until we come across some of the missing recordings (only about 10 sides to go now) I have been creating medleys for the group. Most of them last about half-an-hour and feature AZ-WB recordings and recordings by artists associated with them. Click on the links to listen to them and please let me know what you think of them.

Going through these medleys I see that not many people have listened to them. Although I enjoy compiling the medleys, just as I enjoy listening to them myself, it seems that I am fighting an increasingly losing battle in trying to promote the recordings of Webster, Anne and related artists. I will add more medleys if any interest is shown in the ones I have uploaded here.

August medley featuring Alfredo Campoli (violin), Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler and, Charles Ernesco  

Albert Sandler (violin), Anne and Webster, Rawicz and Landauer (piano)

20 May 1944, Harold Fielding Concert at Albert Hall

Gwen Catley, Webster Booth, Dennis Noble
C3369 Rigoletto/ Caro Nome/Dearest Name/Verdi, Gwen Catley, La Bohème/ In a Coupé/ Puccini, with Webster Booth/ Dennis Noble; Rigoletto, Hallé Orchestra, Warwick Braithwaite, Holdsworth Hall,

Manchester 29 August 1942

Broadcast 4 December 1927 Some of the songs featured – most by Webster Booth, one by Jan Peerce (A Dream) 
A Good Friday selection Webster Booth sings “Abide With Me”, two arias from “Messiah” and “There is no Death”. He sang his first Good Friday “Messiah” at the Albert Hall on Good Friday, 10 April 1936
Four songs for St George’s Day. I Leave My Heart in an English Garden, England, Mother England, There’s a Land, The English Rose. Each song has been shared before.
Webster Booth, Alfredo Campoli (violin)
Alfredo Campoli and Webster Booth combine in a medley for violin and voice. Tell me tonight/Ah sweet mystery of life

Webster Booth
Beneath Her Window – a Serenade Medley Webster Booth (Voice), Herbert Dawson (organ), orchestra conducted by Walter Goehr. Recorded in 1938 HMV C3051
July Medley: Hugo Rignold, Webster Booth
July Medley: All the world is waiting for the sunrise (Seitz), played by P. Sears from YouTube, Castles in the air (WB), Dance of the Wooden Dolls, Side by Side (Melville Gideon from the Co-optimists), Always (WB), Poor Butterfly (Hugo Rignold), Drinking song (WB).
June medley: Gypsy Moon, Still as the night, Loch Lomond, We’ll Gather Lilacs, Ivor Novello medley, Waltz Medley, ‘Tis the Day, featuring Alfredo Campoli, Anne and Webster, Fred Hartley, Rawicz and Landauer, Kathryn Rudge.
Medley to celebrate the eightieth wedding anniversary of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. 5 November 1938 Anniversary Medley


Harold Williams, Malcolm McEachern and Webster sing a medley to commemorate Hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day (2018)

Harold Williams, Malcolm McEachern, Webster Booth
December 2018 Medley – Alfredo Campoli, Webster Booth, Rawicz and Landauer, Harold William and Malcolm McEachern
Campoli, Webster Booth, Rawicz and Landauer, Harold Williams, Malcolm McEachern in a selection for December  December Medley
A few romantic songs recorded in the 1930s and 1940s sung by Webster Booth. Restored from 78rpm records by Mike Taylor. My Love and I Stand Alone, Pale Moon, Come Back My Love to Me, Sweet Melody of Night. Romantic Songs sung by Webster Booth


Anne and Webster playing with pets, Smokey and Woofenpoof in their garden (1953)
Christmas 2018 medley: When Big Ben Chimes, The Holy City, The Little Road to Bethlehem, Silent Night (with Anne Ziegler), The Star of Bethlehem, O, Come All Ye Faithful. Christmas Medley (2018)
January medley 2019 Alfredo Campoli, Webster Booth, Rawicz and Landauer

January Medley – 2019: Webster Booth, Alfredo Campoli, and Rawicz and Landauer perform the January medley. Eric Coates selection, Everywhere I go (WB), Poeme (Fibich), Sylvia (WB), Fledermaus (R&L), I Bless the Day (WB) January Medley – 2019

Webster Booth (1937)
Webster Booth Birthday medley 2019: La Serenata (Salon Music)

Sylvia WB, Homing WB, On Wings of Song (instrumental), The Nightingale WB, On wings of Song WB, Moonbeams Dance (Carroll Gibbons)

February medley 2019

Serenade (Frasquita) WB, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Japie Human), Just for Today (WB), Fascination (JH), Show Me the Way (WB), Dreaming (Salon Orchestra)

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Webster and Japie Human.

My Star (Bassett Silver) BBC Home Service broadcast. My Star (Bassett Silver) sung by Webster Booth on Music Hall (BBC Home Service broadcast) 26 April 1949.

March Medley – Alfredo Campoli, Anne, Webster, Fred Hartley Poupée Valse Alfredo Campoli, Slumber Song (Schumann) AZ, Arioso (Bach) Campoli, I love thee (Grieg) WB, My Star (Bassett Silver) WB, Mystic Beauty (Fred Hartley):

Medley featuring Alfredo Campoli, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. Softly awakes my heart (AC), Bless this house (WB), The Poplar Tree (AZ), Gypsy Moon (AC), You are my heart’s delight (WB), Tell Me Tonight (AC).

Songs I Like, by Webster Booth. 14 September 1938. Broadcast. Not all the songs from the broadcast have been located.

Morgen (Strauss)/Come into the Garden, Maud (Balfe) Recorded in January 1945 HMV C3418. Webster Booth, accompanied by Ernest Lush and Alfredo Campoli. Both records restored by Mike Taylor.

Song of the Vagabonds (WB), Smilin’ Through (WB), Laat Ons nie van Liefde Weer Praat nie (WB/AZ), Showboat medley (Billy Mayerl), Just a Little Love, a Little Kiss (WB), Shine Through My Dreams, Love is My Reason (WB)

April 2019 medley: Scipio march (Mortimer), Let Me Dream in Your Arms Again (WB), Love is My Song (WB), Demande et Reponse (Albert Sandler), Stay with Me Forever (WB) (If You are There) Scottish medley (Debroy Somers)

May 2019 Loch Lomond medley (Debroy Somers) Love is the key to all glory (AZ/WB) Greensleeves (WB), Gay Vienna (Robert Naylor) Sweethearts/One Day When We Were Young (WB) Dear Miss Phoebe selection ( Parr-Davies) I am grateful to Mike Taylor for several of these fine restorations.

Robert Naylor, Anne and Webster, Debroy Somers. May 2019 Waltz Time medley (Hans May) Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth (1945/1947) Albert Sandler on Violin.

Anne and Webster in the film “Waltz Time”
Mid-May Medley: Musette (Hartley), Come Back My Love (WB), Lehar medley (WB/AZ), Pomone Waltz (Albert Sandler), Show Me the Way (WB), Fledermaus fantasy (Rawicz and Landauer)
Medley 29 May 2019 Horse Guards Whitehall, Giannina Mia WB, No, My Heart will Never Sing Again, Autumn Dream (Sydney Torch), May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You (WB), White Horse Inn medley (Peggy Cochrane)
posted 19 days ago
Remembering Webster Booth on the 35th anniversary of his death on 21 June, and Anne Ziegler on the 109th anniversary of her birth on 22 June. Click on the link to listen to the anniversary medley.
Webster Booth (1936) Hornpipe medley: Hornpipe (Eric Coates), Say That You are Mine, Glow Worm Idyll (Paul Linke), Sylvia, The Whistler and His Dog (Harry Mortimer), Trees, Rendezvous (Brooklyn Ensemble) Danny Boy, Nights of Gladness (Harry Mortimer)
27 June 2019 medley – Down the mall (Charles Shadwell), May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You, There is no Death, A Love Song, (Charles Williams), Just for Today, Dusk (Armstrong Gibbs), Homing, Music Everywhere (Coates), Webster Booth and bands.
1 July 2019 Hornpipe medley: Hornpipe (Eric Coates), Say That You are Mine, Glow Worm Idyll (Paul Linke), Sylvia, The Whistler and His Dog (Harry Mortimer), Trees, Rendezvous (Brooklyn Ensemble) Danny Boy, Nights of Gladness (Harry Mortimer)
Irish medley 8 July 2019: Irish medley (Debroy Somers), The Snowy-breasted Pearl, Lullaby (Cyril Scott), Macushla, Trees (Julian Lloyd Webber). Irish medley with Webster Booth, Over to You (Eric Coates)



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


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


Tom Howell was then running a concert party called the Opieros – because they sang excerpts from operas on piers, as well as giving a fine selection of the usual song-and-dance turns. I decided to follow Henry’s advice. Then, during our four weeks’ leave from the D’Oyly Carte Company, Tom Howell’s tenor went down with shingles and, knowing I was ready to move, Tom wired me from Glasgow, where his Company were playing the park pavilions. I took the first train North, got an engagement, and wired D’Oyly Carte asking for my release. This was granted, and I signed on with Tom at the substantially increased salary of £6.10s a week.

tom-howell-back-wearing-boater-and-family-membersAn early photo of Tom Howell (wearing a boater) and family members.


Tom (left) in back row, his wife Hilda with baby daughter Myfanwy and other family members


Tom Howell and his wife Hilda September 1911.

In the nineteen-twenties there were Pierrot shows and concert parties at nearly every British seaside resort during the summer season from May to September. These shows had started in the late nineteenth century when a small troupe of male minstrels took up a pitch on the beach front, and the only payment they received after entertaining the gathered crowd was the money collected by a bottler, who went round the crowd to make a collection. These early minstrels were usually “blacked up” men in the style of the famous George Eliot, but by the turn of the century entertainers abandoned the practice of blacking up, were clad in Pierrot costumes and there were women included in some of the troupes of Pierrots.

By the twenties, the Pierrots had given way to the seaside concert party, and some of these performers even wore evening dress rather than traditional Pierrot costume. Some entertained the holiday crowds on a pitch on the beach, while others frequented pier pavilions and theatres. Bigger seaside resorts, like Blackpool, offered a variety of entertainment with top performers from the Music Hall circuit and by the thirties, this line-up included popular radio and screen personalities. At smaller resorts entertainment was more modest.

A concert party, usually run by a performing manager, would consist of a pianist, a comedian, a dancer, a soubrette and several straight singers. These performers were competent professionals who spent the colder months of the year at company, livery and Masonic dinners, in cabaret at large restaurants to the accompaniment of clattering plates and loud conversation, and, as Christmas approached, in provincial pantomimes. Most of them were unknown to the wider UK public, but became firm local favourites with holiday-makers who spent their week or fortnight’s annual holiday at the same resort, year after year. Straight singers would sing popular ballads and songs of the day and sometimes take part in skits with the comedian and other members of their party.


Professor Kenneth Morgan of Swansea contacted me recently to let me know that he had photographs of the Opieros Concert Party and individual photographs of Anita Edwards, the daughter of his great-grandmother’s sister, who had been a member of the Opieros in the nineteen-twenties. I was delighted to receive copies of these photographs, unfortunately, taken before Webster Booth joined the party in 1927, but Anita is featured in each one. It seems that she joined the Opieros in 1925 and remained with them until 1927.


Anita Edwards

Opieros with Anita Edwards. May, June 1925.

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Tom Howell’s Opieros was different from the majority of concert parties for although he employed light entertainers, he combined his strong baritone voice with a good tenor, contralto and soprano to present scenes from the opera, hence the name of his group – Opieros – a hitherto unlikely combination of opera and pier. The group also appeared in municipal parks providing entertainment for those who had not ventured to the coast.

Like the leader of the Opieros, Tom Howell from Swansea, and tenor Lucas Bassett from Pontypridd, Anita Edwards was also Welsh, born in Llanelli on 14 November 1900. Anita Edwards was a soprano, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music with Dr Charles Phillips. While she was a student she won many prizes, including the Rutson Memorial Prize and the Westmoreland Prize. While at the Academy she sang the principal roles of Manon in Massenet’s Manon opposite Welsh tenor, Manuel Jones and Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.


Opieros – Tom is in the centre, Anita Edwards(top right). Peggy Rhodes (later Vernon), contralto is bottom right.

 In 1924 she sang at a concert on Mumbles Pier, which also featured Frank Mullings, one of the foremost tenors of the day, and Idris Daniels of Pencader,  a popular baritone. Critics praised Anita particularly for her fine singing of One Fine Day from Madame Butterfly by Puccini. On Christmas night 1925, while on holiday from her tour with the Opieros, she sang in a concert at the Llewellyn Hall, Swansea. This concert comprised selections from various oratorios and featured Frank Mullings and the distinguished Australian baritone, Harold Williams, who was considered to be one of the greatest exponents of Elijah in Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah.

During her time with the Opieros Concert Party, she sang soprano solos and featured in the various operatic ensembles presented by the Opieros.  So far we have not found out what Anita Edwards did after she left the Opieros. She married Lionel Beaumont in Wandsworth, Surrey in 1949, and died in Carmarthen in mid-1986.


I was very pleased to hear from Nessie Poston of Little Bardfield, Essex recently. Peggy Rhodes had married a gentleman by the name of Vernon (Christian name unknown) who had worked at the London Palladium. Many years after she had sung in the Opieros, Peggy came to Essex as a widow to be a live-in companion to an elderly woman on a local farm. Eventually this lady died and her family found Peggy accommodation in an almshouse in Little Bardfield. She lived there until she died in Papworth Hospital and was buried in St Katherine’s Church, Little Bardfield where she had been a regular attender. Sadly, there is no memorial stone for her in the churchyard. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is st._katherines_church_little_bardfield_essex_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_130558-where-peggy-rhodes-is-buried..jpg

St Katherine’s Church, Little Bardfield.

Nessie was a good friend to Peggy, visiting her nearly every day and inviting her to Sunday lunch with her family.  Peggy was very fond of Nessie’s two children. This made up for the fact that her stepdaughter rarely visited her while she was alive although she lost no time in stripping the house of furniture after her death, claiming that the furniture had belonged to her father. She offered Nessie a memento because of her friendship with Peggy and Nessie chose the sauce boat which had been presented to Peggy by Tom Howells in 1926 when she was a member of the Opieros. 

Although she was no longer a member of the theatrical profession, she was always immaculately dressed, madeup, and very vivacious. It would be interesting to know what had happened to Peggy’s promising career. From the BBC Genome site I discovered that she had given exactly one recital in 1931 and appeared in several Variety programmes with Madge Stephens. There is no further mention of her appearing on the radio after 1935.  This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is peggy-rhodes-22-may-1931.jpg 1931.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is peggy-rhodes-4-may-1934.jpg May 1934. Webster had remarked in Duet, written in 1951: ” One of the best singers we had, for whom we all expected a great career, was Peggy Rhodes.” Thanks once again to Nessie Poston for shedding some light on Peggy Rhodes Vernon’s later life. 



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Peggy Rhodes is bottom right in the photo. Webster mentioned that she had a fine contralto voice and everyone expected her to make a great name for herself. 

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Sauce boat presented to Peggy Rhodes by Tom Howells in 1926. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gift-from-tom-howells-to-peggy-rhodes-1926-a.jpg


Webster Booth

Webster Booth had worked with Tom Howell’s brother, Henry (stage name, Henry Blain) in the D’Oyly Carte company from 1923 – 1927. When Henry heard that Webster was planning to leave D’Oyly Carte, fearing that he might remain in the chorus forever, waiting vainly to fill “dead men’s shoes”, he suggested that Webster should contact Tom, whose tenor had been taken ill. Tom employed Webster as a replacement and he remained with the Opieros until 1930, and also appeared in two Brixton pantomimes with Tom in 1927 and 1928.

Webster’s first appearance with the Opieros was in the Glasgow park pavilions where his salary in 1927 was £6.10s a week. Judging by notices in The Stage the party was very popular and the performers and their excellent accompanist, H Baynton-Power always received good notices. Peggy Rhodes, a promising contralto, was a member of the party for some time, as well as Walter Badham the humorist and Doris Godfrey, a child mimic.

Tom Howell died in the early nineteen-fifties. If anyone can tell me more about any members of the Opieros, please contact me.

Recently I heard from Tom Howell’s great-niece, Sarah Tongue, who was kind enough to send me family photos of the Howell family and give me some information about the family. Their surname was originally Howells, but the “s” was dropped later on. The siblings of Tom Howell were Henry Howell, born in 1895. He was a bass-baritone and sang with the D’Oyly Carte Company under the name of Henry Blain, David,  who died from wounds at the end of World War One, Arthur who served in the navy in World War One, Emlyn, the youngest brother emigrated to Australia, Jack, and their only sister Maud, and William Howell who was her grandfather. They had moved from Wales to Bournville in Birmingham where some members of the family worked at the Cadbury factory before World War One.

I am including a selection of the photos sent to me by Sarah, including some “mystery” ones which are, nevertheless, most interesting.

Sarah as a baby with her mother who was the daughter of William Howell, Tom’s youngest brother.


Among the photos in this collection is one of the Asaf and Powell’s Harlequinaders (below). Felix Powell, a Welshman, was the composer of the World War One hit, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kitbag. 


Another photo in the Howells’ collection is this charming one of Ernest Lord’s Excelsior Concert party dating from the early years of the twentieth century Agnes Singleton appeared with this group:

A contralto and elocutionist in Ernest Lord’s Excelsior Concert party in the early years of the twentieth century

Alice Singleton appeared with the Excelsiors as a contralto and an elocutionist in the early years of the twentieth century.


Tom and sister Maud and others while they were working for Cadbury’s, Bournville.

Tom served in the Navy during the First World War. Unlike David, he survived the war and was able to continue his theatrical career when the war ended.


An autographed photo of handsome David Howell who died from wounds sustained at the end of World War One.


Tom Howell in the navy during World War 1


Arthur Howell served in the Royal Navy during World War 1 and after the war became a painter and decorator. He was married to Maggie and died in the 1970s, some time after Tom, who died in 1952.

17 May 1918 Warlingham For the YMCA Hut Fund

Tom Howell’s sister, Sarah married the singer, Alf Jones. Sadly, she died of Spanish ‘flu at the early age of 34. Sarah was the great aunt of Sarah Tongue who kindly sent me these photographs. She was named after her great aunt Sarah.

Sarah Howell with brother Tom and unknown man
Alf Jones, husband of Sarah Howell. He too was a singer and signed this photo in 1917.
Sarah Jones with her baby, Reg. Sarah must have died in 1918 or 1919 after contracting the Spanish ‘flu.
               Palace Theatre, Reading. 27 October 1918.                                                                                 1919 Fundraising concert for the Middlesex Hospital with George Robey, The Gresham Singers, Edmund Gwenn, Tom Howell, Lily Langtry… 

 Tom was associated with the Redios before he started the Opieros. This party was under the direction of Wilby Lunn who did an interesting double act in the show with Connie Hart. The tenor Leonard Lovesey was in the party and no doubt he and Tom sang duets together, as Tom did later with Webster in the Opieros.  

The Redios (1924)

In 1922, the Opieros presented Tom Howell with a beautiful silver cigarette case with the names of the company engraved around the side of the case. I’m afraid only the names on the left side are visible: Chas Bailey, Billy Hunn? A.A. Cash…cigarette-case-from-cast-to-tom-img211


Tom Howell in Pierrot costume
Tom Howell, leader of the Opieros in Pierrot costume.

Leas Pavilion – 19th and 26th October 1925.

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Tom Howell's Opieros

8 May 1924 – The Opieros. A capital entertainment is given this week at the Penarth Pier Pavilion by The Opieros; the vocal talent being remarkably good. A leading item of a fine programme is the Prison Scene from Faust, which is given with considerable ability by Agnes Hirst as Marguerite, Lucas Bassett as Faust and Tom Howell as Mephistopheles… Peggy Rhodes and Hylda Romney add to the evening’s enjoyment.


Alice Singleton (second from left) and Anita Edwards (right). I do not know the names of the other two women. The one in costume on the left performed with Tom in the Opieros. Alice Singleton was a contralto and elocutionist and was a member of Ernest Lord’s concert party, the Excelsiors.

Webster Booth joined D’Oyly Carte Company in 1923, aged 21. He and Henry Blain are listed in this programme for the London season at the Princes Theatre in 1924.


myffanwyTom and Hilda’s daughter, Myfanwy.

Below: Hilda, Tom’s wife.hilda2

Extract from Duet by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (1951)

Webster Booth wrote as follows:

One of my friends in the D’Oyly Carte Company was a baritone, Henry Blain, a Welshman, whose real name was Henry Howell. When I was looking round for a new opening in the spring of 1927, after returning from Canada, Henry said: “Why don’t you go and see my brother Tom? He wants a new tenor, I think.”


Henry Blain (Howell) Henry Blain was born in 1895 in Wales as Henry Howell.Henry was a bass-baritone chorister with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company from May 1920 until June 1931. He went on the first D’Oyly Carte tour to the United States in 1929.



 During this time he played the smaller roles of Second Yeoman in The Yeomen of the Guard, Guron in Princess Ida, Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, and Luiz in The Gondoliers. He was married to Clarice, the D’Oyly Carte wardrobe mistress.henry-and-clarice-wedding-img177

Henry and Clarice’s wedding photo


Henry and his wife, Clarice

 He died in November 1955 at the early age of 60 and was buried in the Family Grave at Yardley Cemetery, Birmingham.


Grand Smoking concert, 21 October 1926, the year before Webster joined the Opieros.



Cannon Street Hotel. The Communist party was founded there in 1920. It was destroyed during the London blitz in World War Two.

Webster continued:


Tom Howell.

Tom Howell was then running a concert party called the Opieros – because they sang excerpts from operas on piers, as well as giving a fine selection of the usual song-and-dance turns. I decided to follow Henry’s advice. Then, during our four weeks’ leave from the D’Oyly Carte Company, Tom Howell’s tenor went down with shingles and, knowing I was ready to move, Tom wired me from Glasgow, where his Company were playing the park pavilions. I took the first train North, got an engagement, and wired D’Oyly Carte asking for my release. This was granted, and I signed on with Tom at the substantially increased salary of £6.10s a week.

It was grand experience, and taught me a very great deal. Singing extracts from operas, and travelling each Sunday to seaside places, I learned how to hang stage curtains, make stages, work out intricate journeys by train, boat and lorry in some cases, how to pack unwielding stage props and curtains, and above all how to check the money in a “house” without counting the tickets! It matters, believe me! I very soon knew by glancing through the curtain peephole whether a “house” was below £20 or above £50. I was swept into the extraordinary camaraderie of the concert party, which is one of the nicest states on earth – but only if the troupe is well managed! I learned how to avoid causing professional jealousies, how to make the most of my turn without giving offence, how to hold a restive audience of casual holidaymakers worrying about the next boarding-house meal or whether little Tommy (left in charge of someone else) has yet met with a fatal accident.

That was a happy summer, a summer of sunshine and laughter, boy-and-girl light heartedness, a lot of swimming and strolling and fun. When it was over we came to London. I had most of my last week’s salary in my pockets, and nothing else in them except my hands! I had never heard then, of such things as Masonic banquets and Sunday League Concerts, and I was suddenly awfully worried about what to do next. Tom knew this, and took me to his home. Each evening he had such a booking he would take me along with him. Often, when he had sung his first group of songs, he would introduce “a new young singer who will sing a duet with me”.After a time, this resulted in my obtaining some winter bookings of my own, and so I was able to pay back what I owed and make my financial way. I don’t know what I should have done without Tom Howell’s kindness and generosity at that time.

1927-1930 – Tom Howell’s Opieros concert party. The concert party presented operatic excerpts at park pavilions and piers. Webster’s first appearance with them was in Glasgow in the summer of 1927.

By this time Webster Booth was living in Tom Howell’s former apartment, at 103A Streatham Hills, SW2, Streatham 7989. Tom Howell’s new address was: 1 Daysbrook Road, SW2. Telephone: Streatham 1380 .

That winter he introduced me to Fred Melville, the famous “pantomime king” of the period, and somehow persuaded him to book the two of us in his pantomime at the Brixton Theatre, St George and the Dragon. I was to be King Arthur and Tom was Sir Mordred de Killingsbury, the villain of the piece. It was my first venture into the strange world of pantomime, and I loved it! The whole secret is that the players make a sort of party of it, in which the children (and their parents!) are guests who join in all the songs and play a great part in everything themselves. The show was a great success. I remember a banquet scene when, after a few very fiery words between us, Tom and I stepped out and sang (for no reason at all) the famous old duet Love and War. This always gained enormous applause, and is still remembered by a lot of Brixtonians.


30 December 1927 – The Stage. Saint George and the Dragon, The Brixton. On Monday, December 26 1927, Mr Frederick Melville presented here his twentieth annual pantomime, written and produced by him, the music composed and arranged by F. Gilmour Smith.

St George of England: Miss Vera Wright,

St Patrick of Ireland: Miss Eileen O’Brian,

St Andréw of Scotland: Miss Maggie Wallace,

St David of Wales: Mr Lloyd Morgan,

St Denis of France: Miss Marie Fontaine,

St Anthony of Italy: Miss Lily Wood,

St Michael of Russia: Miss Agnes Moon,

King Arthur of England: Mr Webster Booth,

Sir Mordred de Killingsbury: Mr Tom Howell,

Stephen Stuffingley: Mr C Harcourt Brooke,

Tricky Dicky: Mr Willie Atom,

Princess Guinevere: Miss Doris Ashton,

Fairy Starlight: Miss Hilda Goodman,

Mary Fairly: Miss Marjorie Holmes,

Demon Ignorance: Mr Fred Moule,

Dame Agatha Lumpkin: Mr Leslie Paget,

Jerry Lumpkin: Mr Larry Kemble.

There is a fine patriotic flavour, to say nothing of sundry allusions to the need for keeping old England healthy, both bodily and mentally, by sweeping out the germs of disease and distrust, all worked in the usual deft Melvillean fashion in this year’s Brixton pantomime. Choosing the unusual subject of St George and the Dragon, Mr Melville has written a story at once original and arresting.

Mr Webster Booth adds stateliness and a pleasing tenor voice, heard in England, Mighty England and Tired Hands, and with Sir Mordred, Tenor and Baritone, to the part of the King. Mr Tom Howell’s Sir Mordred is a sound piece of character work, though he finds small scope in the part for his powerful baritone.

Pantomime and Tom Howell’s kindness saw me through that winter, and then came another summer of concerts on the piers. We had a clever humourist in Walter Badham and a fine child mimic in Doris Godfrey. One of the best singers we had, for whom we all expected a great career, was Peggy Rhodes. St Anne’s, Sheerness, Lowestoft, Yarmouth, Paignton, Broadstairs, Whitley Bay – I can shut my eyes today and see the sun on the rippling water, smell the dust in a dozen pier pavilions, hear the shuffle and chatter of the audience die away as the curtain swings up for our opening chorus, and recapture all the excitement, triumph and heartbreak, and taste for just a moment once again the lost elixir of youth.

19 January 1928 – Gallery First Nighters’ Club. Dinner to Mr Miles Malleson. The seating and eating capacity of the Comedy Restaurant was strained to its uttermost on Sunday evening, when that happy band of playgoers, the Gallery First-Nighters’ Club, had Mr Miles Malleson as their guest of honour at dinner… Mr Major, responding, paid a tribute to the artistes for the wonderful concert they had given them.

It was indeed a wonderful concert. The artistes included Miss Betty Chester, Miss Dora Maughan, Mr George Metaxa, Miss Dorrie Dene, Mr Ashmoor Burch, Misses Grace Ivell and Vivian Worth, Messrs Webster Booth and Tom Howell, Miss Winifred Howie, and Mr Algernon Moore, and Miss Elsa May, Miss Nora Drake was at the piano.

24 May 1928 – Cardiff – At Roath Park Pavilion Tom Howell presents his Opieros. The programme ranges from opera to modern burlesque. Webster Booth’s tenor numbers are very well rendered, and Doris Francis (soprano), Olive Turner, Dorothy Denny, Harry Williams, Tom Howell, and H Baynton-Power give enjoyable performances.

7 June 1928 – Tom Howell’s Opieros meet with their usual welcome at the Olympian Gardens, Rock Ferry, where their popularity increases with every visit. Doris Francis is a delightful singer of soprano songs, and Webster Booth’s tenor solos meet with appreciation. Harry Williams is a mirth-maker who never fails to keep his audience in merry mood. Olive Turner and Dorothy Denny are favourites, and their participation in the concerted sketches adds to the enjoyment. Tom Howell directs the programme with his usual skill.

30 August 1928 – The Opieros Tom Howell’s Opieros are at the Adelphi Gardens, Paignton. Good singing plays an unusually prominent part in the entertainment, and it is provided mainly by Tom Howell, a robust baritone, Doris Francis a soprano with a pure voice, and Webster Booth, a rich tenor. They score in excerpts from grand opera. Olive Turner gives some clever imitations and smart soubrette songs. Dorothy Denny wins much favour with her low comedy songs. Admirable phonofiddle playing and humorous contributions make Harry Williams popular. The Opieros owe a deal of their success to the talent of their pianist, H. Baynton-Power.


William, Hilda and family. 

27 September 1928 – At the Summer Pavilion, Sheerness, Tom Howell is presenting his Opieros. This talented company attract large audiences and the show is well produced. The programmes include an excellent mixture of straight and comedy numbers, ranging from burlesque to grand opera. The high class vocal contributions by Tom Howell, Doris Francis and Webster Booth, all of whom are cultured singers, make a decided appeal to a delighted house. By way of contrast, Olive Turner entertains in several clever impersonations and sings a catchy song. Dorothy Denny is a comedienne of no mean ability, and has a style of her own. Harry Williams is the chief fun-maker of the party, and besides keeping everyone in a good humour with his patter and gags, he pleases the house as an instrumentalist, and coaxes melody from unlikely objects. H. Baynton-Power is a composer-pianist and artistically accompanies the performers and musically brightens the entertainment.

.20 December 1928 – Pantomime forecasts The Brixton. The Babes in the Wood, written by Frederick Melville. Principal boy, Vera Wright; principal girl, Teresa Watson; principal comedians, Tom Gumble and Jimmy Young; Fairy Queen, Gwen Stella, baritone Tom Howell; tenor Webster Booth. Specialities by Euphan Maclaren’s Operatic Dancers, Babette, Grar and Grar. Principal scenes: The Village, The Schoolroom, Ballet, Children’s Bedroom, Sherwood Forest, and Palace. Stage manager, Fred Moule. Produced by Frederick Melville on December 26, at 2pm, for run of about 7 weeks.

Webster continues:

The following Christmas we were booked again for Brixton, this time in Babes in the Wood. I was Will Scarlett and Tom was Little John. My big moment was in the wood scene when I entered in a blackout with a red glowing fire, and sang with heartrending passion Chloe. This always stopped the show, and an encore was demanded.

Broadcast – The Opieros

2ZY Manchester, 6 April 1929 19.50


TOM HOWELL’S CONCERT PARTY Relayed from the Central Pier, Blackpool

WALTER BADHAM (The popular Comedian)

H. BAYNTON-POWER (Pianist and accompanist)

Doris GODFREY (Comedienne)

OLIVE TURNER (Entertainer)


Doris FRANCIS (Soprano)

Tom HOWELL (Bass-Baritone)tom-hilda-miffanwy-and-grandchildren-2

Tom and Hilda with Myfanwy and grandchildren.

 27 June 1929 – The Opieros At the Pergola Pavilion, Bexhill, are Tom Howell’s Opieros. Their entertainment is of high quality, and the programmes contain a series of operatic scenes, all well sung. Tom Howell is a melodious baritone, Webster Booth is a tenor of rare ability, and Doris Francis is a delightful soprano, and the work of these vocalists sets the high standard of the company’s serious work. Walter Badham is well known to Bexhill audiences, having formerly played a resident season there, and his Lancashire humour is more welcome than ever. Dorothy Denny is a piquant comedienne, and Doris Godfrey presents some kid numbers well. Jack Upson is at the piano. Will Tissington and Katharine Craig are the directors of the Pergola, and next week they will present their own Poppies for their seventeenth season.

5 September 1929 – The Opieros Tom Howell and his Opieros are fulfilling an engagement at the Adelphi Gardens, Paignton, this week. The company includes several artistes who have appeared with Mr Howell in previous years, and established themselves warm favourites. These are Doris Francis, a fine soprano; Webster Booth, who has a strong tenor of good quality; and Dorothy Denny, an excellent comedienne. Doris Godfrey gives clever child impressions and Walter Badham is a talented humorist. The piano is in charge of Jack Upson, who excels in syncopated music. Features of the programme include excerpts from grand opera, and duets by Webster Booth and Tom Howell, baritone.

19 September 1929 – The Opieros Tom Howell’s concert party, the Opieros, are playing to good houses this week at the Sheerness Pavilion. Webster Booth and Tom Howell combine pleasingly in tenor and baritone duets, and also score individually in vocal items. Doris Francis’ soprano solos are rendered with good effect and Doris Godfrey is a clever impersonator. In Dorothy Denny the party has a bright and popular comedienne. Jack Upson is the skilful accompanist. Walter Badham causes much amusement with his quaint and mirth-provoking numbers. The party also score in excerpts from opera, which make a strong appeal to the audiences.

I spent three summers with the Opieros, and enjoyed them enormously. I learned a good deal about stagecraft, touring and management. I was getting known to some extent in London and the provinces, and by this time I was making a fair amount of money from gramophone records.I had always had a great ambition to make them – somehow, in my early days, they seemed to me to be the mark of Fame with a capital letter.

Tom Howell introduced me to a director of Edison Bell Records, who arranged for me to make a test at their City Road studios. I was to ask for Mr Harry Hudson. Off I went, walking on air, met Mr Hudson and sang The English Rose from Merrie England. Out came Mr Hudson from the inside room. I wonder if he remembers what he told me!“I’m afraid your voice won’t record!” he said.

Now I had been inside a recording studio before, and I knew that through a small glass window was a room where the engineers put small round waxes on a turntable, and when a needle was lowered onto the wax it reproduced what went on in the studio. I felt sure no wax had been put on. I was young in the profession then. I do not know what anyone had against me, or had been told. I only knew that my voice had apparently not been tested.I walked out of the studio into the sordid squalor and noise of City Road, wondering furiously and miserable what it was all about. I had gone in such a short time before with such high and eager hope.

Shortly afterwards, Lawrence Wright (Horatio Nichols) wrote a song called My Inspiration is You. He told Tom that if I would sing it at the coming Sunday League Concert, he would come along and perhaps arrange a test session for me with the Columbia Graphophone Company. Chastened and uneasy this time, I awaited his arrival, and saw him drive up in an enormous white Rolls-Royce to the Empire Theatre, Croydon, where the concert was taking place. He stepped out, noticed me, and patted the car. He was wearing a magnificent fur coat.“All out of one song, me boy!” he said cheerfully.It was true – it had come from his Toy Town Parade. It sold over a million copies!

After three summers I left the Opieros and signed a contract to join Muriel George and Ernest Butcher in their concert party at the Central Pier, Blackpool. It was a change that cost me a pang, for Tom Howell had been very kind to me, and I had made some good friends in his Company. Tom is a Welshman from near Llanelli. He spent his early days in Cadbury’s at Bournville. He excelled in oratorio and Grand Opera, and had he stayed in Grand Opera he must have become a star. But, like me, he had to live by his voice, and Grand Opera needs some sort of independent income at first.

Tom became a Blackpool concert-party idol, and sang concerts in London and the provinces in the winter. He founded his Opieros Company in 1924, and it presented famous scenes from Faust, Bohème, Butterfly and the rest. Tom was a tough personality, and his voice was like steel. He was too generous to spot his enemies, who flocked round him when he had money or drink to dispense. He kept me in his home when I was more or less on my uppers, and he never begrudged a young singer advancement – indeed, he helped with absolute unselfishness in every way he could. I owe him a lot.I signed up with a fresh concert party because I was offered more money and a better place on the bill. Tom wished me the best of luck when I said good-bye. Webster Booth

Tom and unknown singer in the Opieros.tom-and-unknown-performer


Tom and a Dalmatian in a rustic show.

In 1936 Tom spent a considerable time in hospital.

6 November 1936 – Tom Howell. Friends of Tom Howell, who was well known in concert and concert party circles, and has recently been appearing in musical plays in the West End, will be sorry to hear of his illness. He is a patient in Guy’s Hospital.

He was still in hospital at Christmas in 1937 when Hilda sent this charming Christmas card with a photograph of her and Tom with their lovely wire-haired fox terrier.


 24 April 1952 – Tribute to Tom Howell. Our Great Yarmouth correspondent writes: The late Tom Howell was well remembered in Great Yarmouth, for it was at the Wellington Pavilion that he first presented his Opieros. They made their debut in June, 1922, playing a resident season, followed by a return in 1923. In the first company were Harold Wilde, Yarmouth-born Evelyn Ray, Lilian Rickard, Eric Howard, Violet Field, Donald Hatton, Charles Hayes and Tom Howell himself. The 1923 company had but two changes in its personnel, Peggy Rhodes and Kathleen Burchell replacing Miss Rickard and Miss Field… In subsequent seasons the Opieros were regular visitors to the Britannia Pavilion, which in those days was a popular venue for the leading touring concert parties.

Compiled by Jean Collen 20 February 2017

Updated 24 August 2019.

With thanks to Professor Kenneth Morgan and Sarah Tongue for sharing their photographs with me. I would love to be able to find a photo of Tom and Webster together.

Extract from Duet by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler published in 1951, Stanley Paul.

My digitised copy of the book is available as a paperback and E-book at: Duet by Webster Booth and Anne Zieglerduet-cover2