WEBSTER BOOTH/ANNE ZIEGLER RECORDINGS ON CLYPIT

Most of these recordings may be found on clypit. They were posted by Mike Taylor and Jean Collen. There may be some duplicate recordings in the list. Those marked with an asterisk * are duet recordings of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. Mike Taylor’s recordings were taken from 78rpms and he has restored them to a very high standard.

Most of these recordings may be found on clypit. They were posted by Mike Taylor and Jean Collen. There may be some duplicate recordings in the list. Those marked with an asterisk * are duet recordings of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. Mike Taylor’s recordings were taken from 78rpms and he has restored them to a very high standard.

MIKE TAYLOR’S restored recordings

The Mikado: A Wand’ring Minstrel https://clyp.it/vwvgfs0t

Abide with Me https://clyp.it/rqrz40lw

New version: https://clyp.it/0frb2thx

A Bird Sang in the Rain https://clyp.it/ijhcovsn

A Brown Bird Singing https://clyp.it/brvdmi34

A Kiss in the Dark https://clyp.it/ctnreghj

Agnus Dei https://clyp.it/xudblzg1

A Little Love, A Little Kiss https://clyp.it/41nuus5l

Madame Butterfly: Ah, Love Me a Little (with Joan Hammond) https://clyp.it/0pdzigo1

Ah, Moon of My delight https://clyp.it/crfv3wwp

Faust: All Hail, Thy Dwelling, Pure and Holy https://clyp.it/14nzwyiw

Along the Road to Dreams https://clyp.it/gtcdlnsz

Always, As I Close My Eyes https://clyp.it/0jao0mjn

At the End of the Day https://clyp.it/c3p5ktzt

Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod) https://clyp.it/ljgr4zma

Ay, Ay, Ay https://clyp.it/otoper4v

Ballynure Ballad/Trottin’ to the fair https://clyp.it/5kedevx4

Beauty’s Eyes (Mike’s restoration) https://clyp.it/s1pgttre

Because https://clyp.it/jec4g21m

Break of Day https://clyp.it/e0myaltg

Danny Boy https://clyp.it/webfrk3l

*Dearest Love https://clyp.it/sjf1kpyl

*Dearest of all https://clyp.it/oys4xksw

Devotion https://clyp.it/qoyrd0je

Eleanore https://clyp.it/tbd1l45v

Everywhere I go https://clyp.it/pnt44gno

Faery Song https://clyp.it/u4sicnr2

Faust finale https://clyp.it/xmwdsd3u

Carmen: Flower Song https://25ymvget

For You Alone https://clyp.it/4zvxpp5y

Friend o’ mine (Drawing room 1962) https://clyp.it/2hupnyrm

Goodbye https://clyp.it/arfya1wa

Greensleeves https://clyp.it/hwtkpugs

*Hear My Song, Violetta https://clyp.it/w5nncwdm

Messiah: He was cut off/But thou didst not keep his soul in hell https://clyp.it/if4bcgxg

*Here in the Quiet Hills https://clyp.it/zaluw52b

Hindu Song https://clyp.it/unmn3ywd

Homing https://clyp.it/3yf515sw

How Lovely are Thy Dwellings https://clyp.it/ag5dom2q

I Bless the Day https://clyp.it/bvmqzs2t

I Hear You Calling Me https://clyp.it/oglyisr3

I Know of Two Bright Eyes https://clyp.it/rvhlotef

I Leave My Heart in an English Garden https://clyp.it/5hcmvppc

I Love Thee https://clyp.it/gqrme5ug

I Love the Moon https://clyp.it/1kqd50xh

*I’ll See You Again https://clyp.it/z5mhee3r

I’ll Walk Beside You https://clyp.it/3wesbmcy

Ideale https://clyp.it/zescolht

Elijah: If With All Your Hearts https://clyp.it/vw5at1cp

Indian Summer https://clyp.it/bx3l3il0

Creation: In Native Worth https://clyp.it/eupvttnv

Just for Today https://clyp.it/ux434cln

Xerses: Largo https://clyp.it/alzsisdy

*Laugh at Life https://clyp.it/odi5sa3m

Liebestraum (solo) https://clyp.it/5m4gabei

Light Opera Male chorus HMV medley https://clyp.it/fjwbx5vs

*Sweet Yesterday: Life Begins Anew https://clyp.it/otgebjff

La Boheme Lovely Maid in the Moonlight https://clyp.it/uglt5utm

Acis and Galatea: Love in her eyes sits playing https://clyp.it/qvc2b55c

La Boheme Lovely Maid in the Moonlight https://clyp.it/uglt5utm

*Love is the Key https://clyp.it/1oaxikdd

*Love’s Last Word is Spoken https://clyp.it/srkegisz

Acis and Galatea: Love Sounds the Alarm https://clyp.it/55sze1xe

*Love’s Old Sweet Song https://clyp.it/gsqxe0vd

*Love Steals Your Heart https://clyp.it/tzmkft0b

*Love’s Garden of Roses https://clyp.it/1ezr0ffc

Macushla https://clyp.it/j43r5j0i

Moonlight and You https://clyp.it/suxdsyrk

Morgen (Strauss) https://clyp.it/2mg4s2gl

Morgen/Come into the Garden, Maud https://clyp.it/2sfecfdh

Morning (Oley Speaks) https://clyp.it/oeoqxqxa

*Music for Romance https://clyp.it/b4ud0m4p

My Heart and I https://clyp.it/idfhvbb0

*My Paradise https://clyp.it/e3lwl3vu

Napoli Bay https://clyp.it/labqhz5b

Nazareth https://clyp.it/3jldnhhz

Nirvana https://clyp.it/vfcrebxj

O, Come All Ye Faithful https://clyp.it/yeftoxnk

O, Dry Those Tears https://clyp.it/llblyizd#

Oh, Maiden, My Maiden https://clyp.it/4phcqvvr

Esmeralda: O, Vision Entrancing https://clyp.it/h0aqsgza

Hiawatha: Onaway! Awake, Beloved https://clyp.it/wkrkfgck

One Day When We were Young/Sweethearts https://clyp.it/ha5jom1q

Pale Moon https://clyp.it/tamrwex1

Parted https://clyp.it/qriewsgs

Passing By https://clyp.it/nb1zbclc

Rigoletto: quartet https://clyp.it/dvseui1p

Robber Symphony: Romance https://clyp.it/ggapqa0w

Robber Symphony: Serenata https://clyp.it/aupxdwy2

Frasquita: Serenade https://clyp.it/i03gvrfa

She is Far From the Land https://clyp.it/d4r2jynm

Show Me the Way https://clyp.it/03fq3qw2

Snowy-breasted Pearl https://clyp.it/mj0k0ea0

*So Deep is the Night https://clyp.it/fpjpevlo

Somewhere a Voice is Calling https://clyp.it/bybaikne

Somewhere a Voice is Calling/I Know of Two Bright Eyes https://clyp.it/2vck4wcn

Song of Songs https://clyp.it/i1u3vimd

Song of the Nightingale https://clyp.it/c2uvlq3k

Don Giovanni: Speak for Me to My Lady https://clyp.it/o0o1dgou

Star of My Soul https://clyp.it/ghsq2d31

Sweethearts https://clyp.it/gzmhhegr

Sylvia (Oley Speaks) https://clyp.it/fve0sbyj

Gondoliers: Take a pair of sparkling eyes https://clyp.it/n0jwb11q

*Take the Sun https://clyp.it/hw3avvuy

The Bells of St Mary’s https://clyp.it/fj1zb2pl

Merrie England: The English Rose https://clyp.it/b0ysxfzl

*Lilac Time: The Flower https://clyp.it/y4dqmckn

The Holy City https://clyp.it/zp2pfrhg

*The Keys of Heaven https://clyp.it/ygd3sncd

The Little Road to Bethlehem https://clyp.it/rbflsy1k

The Lord’s Prayer https://clyp.it/4alo3boj

The World is Mine Tonight https://clyp.it/xezn0kef

Elijah: Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth https://clyp.it/2q543zcf

There is No Death (Johnstone/O’Hara) https://clyp.it/inwevkfp

There’s a Land, a Dear Land https://clyp.it/cf5aw1c2

Messiah: Thy Rebuke has Broken His Heart/Behold and See https://clyp.it/ejlbwbrs

*Throw Open Wide Your Window, Dear https://clyp.it/bloej2n5

‘Tis the Day https://clyp.it/fwoxprf3

*Sweet Yesterday Tomorrow https://clyp.it/ccoptovz

*Too Tired to Sleep https://clyp.it/x2xyi5nb

Tosca: Strange Hrmony of Contrasts https://clyp.it/ysdqtj0u

Tosca: When the Stars are Brightly Shining https://clyp.it/4ptafhod

Toselli’s Serenade https://clyp.it/0us4umyi

Trees https://clyp.it/3xzfzn5d

*Trot Here and There https://clyp.it/sezcqntw

Undivided https://clyp.it/w0vfjdrg

Unmindful of the roses, Life and death https://clyp.it/yt5wjncd

Until https://clyp.it/0u40nrxk

Wayside Rose https://clyp.it/zybjuw51

When Big Ben Chimes https://clyp.it/lvn55r1s

When We are Married https://clyp.it/m1jypn4j

Where’er You Go https://clyp.it/qf2nvf0h

Where e’re you walk https://clyp.it/ypxmjare

Rigoletto: Woman is Fickle https://clyp.it/zeliusuw

*You, Just You https://clyp.it/yfczc0kr

JEAN COLLEN’S recordings

A Bird Sang in the Rain https://soundcloud.com/boothziegler/a-bird-sang-in-the-rain-haydn-wood

A Bird Sang in the Rain https://clyp.it/amufywkf

A Kiss in the Dark (Herbert) https://clyp.it/mdcsnhkf

A Song for You and Me https://clyp.it/133s5dn5

A Song in the Night (to silent video) (AZ) http://dai.ly/x3vmk9n

Mikado: A Wand’ring Minstrel https://clyp.it/y5vefp1c

A Little Bit of Heaven https://clyp.it/sdfiqeyu

Elijah: As God the Lord of Sabbaoeth Liveth https://clyp.it/qqkrrc1n

At the End of the Day https://clyp.it/we32v4zq

Aye, aye, aye https://clyp.it/mjrdu2cf

*Tales of Hoffman: Barcarolle https://clyp.it/y2wd3dwl

St Paul: Be Thou Faithful Unto Death https://clyp.it/32qr5rtv

Bird Songs at Eventide https://clyp.it/w54mtxfn

Break of Day https://clyp.it/e0myaltg

Castles in the Air https://clyp.it/35in5hn1

Unmindful of the Roses/Life and Death (Coleridge Taylor) https://clyp.it/r3mdfh2g

Come into the Garden, Maud https://clyp.it/eaapccj4

Messiah: Comfort ye/Ev’ry Valley https://clyp.it/0z2qckt4

Il Seraglio: Constanze, Constanze https://clyp.it/qcus4s10https://clyp.it/mgcnrqg4

Creation: And God saw the light/Now vanish before the holy beams https://clyp.it/mgcnrqg4

Creation: The Heavens are telling 1964 https://clyp.it/grewf2bz

Creation, end of part 1 http://picosong.com/SKub/

Creation: The Lord is Great https://clyp.it/wrxofain

Creation: And God Created Man/In Native Worth https://clyp.it/dwwrn0gg

Creation: On thee each living soul awaits https://clyp.it/4ce2awfo

Creation: In Rosy Mantle https://clyp.it/ejfa2ml4

Dance Away the Night: https://clyp.it/a4pr0lu0

Jephtha: Deeper and deeper still/Waft her, angels, through the skies https://clyp.it/thhawfvx

*Deep in the heart of a rose https://clyp.it/lka0r1na

Devotion https://clyp.it/pxg2ukmx

*Diep in My Hart (Student Prince) https://clyp.it/3pvhesbx

*Dit is Verby/One Day When we were Young: https://clyp.it/gutjl0ye

*Dream Duet https://clyp.it/gyjbbrva

Drinking Song https://clyp.it/a000mz2r

Drinking Song (Alan Keith) https://clyp.it/0rylgdjk

Drink to Me Only https://clyp.it/wcbmueoc

Eleanore https://clyp.it/xefomtm1

Elegie https://clyp.it/d0llji0e

Elijah recits Knysna https://clyp.it/u3qapnw5

Elijah Knysna Dudley, Ena WB https://clyp.it/ya0x1x2c

Elijah: It is Enough https://clyp.it/uyy5d3k0$

Elijah: O Come Everyone that Thirsteth https://clyp.it/ym035pxf

Elijah: O Man of God, Help Thy People https://clyp.it/hj4jdi2u

Elijah: See how he sleepeth – https://clyp.it/10iapklv

Evening Song https://clyp.it/jj3xa0uf

Excelsior Dennis Noble/Webster Booth https://clyp.it/efwrbzop

Faery Song (with dialogue) https://clyp.it/gnyy54v0

*Faust finale from film https://clyp.it/g4hfyf4y

Faust finale (Daily Motion) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k21qEGLDw3NkQkbAcCt

*Fling Wide the Gates of Paradise https://clyp.it/fdynhzp0

Giannina Mia https://clyp.it/sqkkqktq

Give and Forgive https://clyp.it/gxfgsttz

Goodbye (Tosti) https://clyp.it/amwipakb

Goodnight Vienna (joined) https://clyp.it/stnap1tr

Goodnight Vienna (1) Olive Groves and Webster https://clyp.it/ivar4ogl

Goodnight Vienna (2) Olive Groves and Webster https://clyp.it/bs1ushet

Heavenly Night https://clyp.it/djxkwzl5

*Here in the Quiet Hills https://clyp.it/mzzkefic

Hindu Song https://clyp.it/lan3b3kd

Ideale https://clyp.it/qq5urs5f

I Leave My Heart in an English Garden https://clyp.it/r0rirwc1

I Love Thee https://soundcloud.com/boothziegler/i-love-thee-grieg

If You are There https://clyp.it/h1jea2jk

If You had but Known (Drawing Room SABC 1962) https://clyp.it/2zrjzyhq

*If You Were the Only Girl in the World https://clyp.it/m0ggo3yv

I’ll Change My Heart (AZ) https://clyp.it/4dbwdptg

Impatience https://clyp.it/jbgjdqyg

Indian Summer (Herbert) https://clyp.it/kwnjfba0

In Old Madrid https://clyp.it/zxhjf420

Creation In Native Worth (Pmburg 1964) https://clyp.it/eupvttnv

Creation: In Rosy Mantle https://clyp.it/5kyrh1cc

In the Shade of the Sheltering Palm (George Baker/WB) https://clyp.it/iweh1ifz

Faust: Jewel Song https://clyp.it/4sle5y5s

Clip from King Hendrik (1965) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k74ORsvKb0ys21aIfRF

*Laat Ons nie van Liefde weer Praat nie http://picosong.com/SARV/

Land of mine https://clyp.it/yonbxtiy

Let Me Dream in Your Arms Again https://clyp.it/35g3msyn

*Liebestraum duet https://clyp.it/v31zj43r

*Liebestraum/Nocturne duets https://clyp.it/rokahxh3

Liebestraum solo https://clyp.it/gq4vqkfd

*Liefling, Kom Terug na My https://clyp.it/vhmwo4ym

*Lift Up Your Hearts https://clyp.it/tzk2mcxd

Little Damozel (Drawing Room SABC Drawing Room 1962 AZ) https://clyp.it/y2kwvfnt

*Lord Oom Piet (1962)

Extract from “Lord Oom Piet” (1962)

Lost Chord https://clyp.it/aj4c3vpw

*Love, Calling Me Home https://clyp.it/zpeuztqa

Love, Could I Only Tell Thee https://clyp.it/b3mvvrex

*Love Me Tonight https://clyp.it/wdbinkhc

Acis and Galatea: Love sounds the alarm https://clyp.it/55sze1xe

*Love’s old sweet song https://clyp.it/gsqxe0vd

*Love’s Garden of Roses https://clyp.it/1ezr0ffc

*Love Steals Your Heart https://clyp.it/tzmkft0b

May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You https://clyp.it/srmb2p3w

*Merry Widow Waltz https://soundcloud.com/boothziegler/merry-widow-waltz-lehar-booth-ziegler

Mifanwy https://clyp.it/i3vogjs0

Il Trovatore: Miserere WB, Joan Cross https://clyp.it/tgrp4mtv

Moonlight and You https://clyp.it/4c40bmco

Moonlight & You/Always as I close my eyes https://clyp.it/hiimb1c3

Moon of Romance (Strachey) https://clyp.it/zu1awbmx

Morgen https://soundcloud.com/boothziegler/morgen-richard-strauss

Mountains of Granada (Alvarez) https://clyp.it/lbyax3fh

Mountains of Mourne https://soundcloud.com/boothziegler/the-mountains-of-mourne-percy-french

*Music for Romance (Sandler) https://clyp.it/b4y0itc2

*My Dearest Dear/Merry Widow waltz https://clyp.it/qs4sg24c

My Heart and I https://clyp.it/vwhwvis1

*My Paradise https://clyp.it/pgdcypbe

*Net Maar ‘n Roos https://clyp.it/jnnkp4h1

*Nocturne https://clyp.it/mu24ff3u

No More https://clyp.it/qctqtboj

O Dry Those Tears (Drawing Room SABC 1962) https://clyp.it/womhubve

Magic Flute: O, Loveliness Beyond Compare https://clyp.it/mt4vhafh

*O, Lovely Night https://clyp.it/1jjtqkva

One Alone https://clyp.it/nyq4wlhd

One Day When We were Young https://clyp.it/ljdc2tje

*Only a Rose https://clyp.it/qhqx0bfb

On Wings of Song (solo) 1943 https://clyp.it/4dncswxd

*On Wings of Song (duet) https://clyp.it/gjmx5mu2

Pagliacci: On with the Motley https://clyp.it/kikpoa3v

Parted (SABC 1962) https://clyp.it/2awyd0oi

Pink Lady AZ https://clyp.it/hzg0nn4d

*Porgy and Bess https://clyp.it/gsqwexx2

Princess Elizabeth https://clyp.it/hbz2diei

Roses of Picardy TH/WB https://clyp.it/dodad0pk

Roses of Picardy WB alone https://clyp.it/ovf2ai2i

Student Prince: Serenade https://clyp.it/kuuwv2fr

Serenade in the Night https://clyp.it/1epecjaj

*Silent Night : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDU9RHHl828

Sneezles (Christopher Robin) https://clyp.it/zs1ci1pm

Songs that have sold a million https://clyp.it/qkksyn13

Songs that sold a million https://clyp.it/20mvrg3w

Judas Maccabeus: Sound an alarm https://clyp.it/jw3voali

Speak to me of love https://clyp.it/yb0b0yyu

Star of Hope https://clyp.it/50hmgbtn

Stay with me forever Lehar https://clyp.it/w2p0i4wn

*Such lovely things https://clyp.it/2jvb45w2

Sweet Yesterday (AZ) https://clyp.it/zhb1ria3

Sympathy (CS) https://clyp.it/c2a0uxur

Gondoliers: Take a pair of sparkling eyes https://clyp.it/fuegpl3i

*Take the Sun https://clyp.it/ipcxnlkq

Tales from the Vienna Woods (AZ) https://clyp.it/nklmbhng

Tell Me Tonight https://clyp.it/ffh3xwp5

The Immortal Hour: The Faery Song (with NZ 6 year old) https://clyp.it/qgyp2lj4

The Flower Song (Carmen) https://clyp.it/4rbogbs5

*The Fruits of the Earth https://clyp.it/ib0lr2ra

*The Gates of Paradise https://clyp.it/kckvi4qg

The Holy City (SABC/1941 joined) https://clyp.it/ijnzkpqt

The Message https://clyp.it/c3jwwb2p

The Star of Bethlehem (Adams) WB https://clyp.it/sdjxfrqc

Merrie England: Waltz Song (test record) AZ https://clyp.it/qz03msxa

Watchman, What of the Night, The Battle Eve WB, GB https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X2tYotVfaQ&feature=youtu.be

The Way you Look Tonight https://clyp.it/bcqsbpdu

The Whispering Poplar (AZ) https://clyp.it/ondba2pv

The World is Mine Tonight https://clyp.it/kelcv3yp

Messiah: Thy Rebuke/Behold and see (Knysna) https://clyp.it/oklghm4n

To Mary (Shelley/White) https://clyp.it/sapxnm3j

Tosca Strange harmony of contrasts https://clyp.it/osb0jzy0

Tosca When the stars are brightly shining https://clyp.it/bkxnszgu

Toselli Serenade joined Goehr/Fred Hartley https://clyp.it/eh4ls50m

Wanting You https://clyp.it/uofqsgay

Watchman, what of the night DN/WB https://clyp.it/mka240io

Watchman, what of the night WB/GB https://clyp.it/whuxralk

Wayside Rose https://clyp.it/zybjuw51

We’ll Find a Way https://clyp.it/ghhynx5e

*We’ll Gather Lilacs https://clyp.it/u1trkug1

*What is Done https://clyp.it/5i4jjmgm

Samson:Why Does the God of Israel Sleep? https://clyp.it/flt1ug0n

*Without Your Love https://clyp.it/tsvkr1js

*Wunderbar (Afrikaans) https://clyp.it/sf5stfkw

*Wunderbar https://clyp.it/1g1pusg3

Elijah :Ye people, rend your hearts PM https://clyp.it/wlapibxu

You are my heart’s delight https://clyp.it/pf5rc203

*You, Just You https://clyp.it/sl1npd41

*You Will Return to Vienna https://clyp.it/zv2impe1

La Boheme:Your Tiny Hand is Frozen https://clyp.it/opmvqrzd

Jean Collen – 14 March 2020

Anne and Webster in North Wales 1978.

PAMELA DAVIES (née JAMES) (1926 – December 2019)

I “met” Pam when she contacted me after Anne’s death in 2003 as she had read one of my articles on the internet. At the time I was writing my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. She too had hoped to write a book about her association with them. We decided to collaborate and her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? was published at the same time as mine in 2006.

Pamela Davies (née James)

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Pamela Davies was born Pamela James in London in 1926. She studied at London University and at Reading’s Graduate School of European Studies. After completing her degrees she taught French and German and visited the USA and Germany in connection with her teaching career. She met her future husband, Walter Davies, at a German evening class and they were married in 1969.

Pamela studied singing as a hobby and did some solo work as well as singing in various choirs. Coincidentally, her singing teacher was the mother of a young woman who appeared in And So to Bed with Anne and Webster in the early 1950s. Pamela and Walter retired to a 300-year old cottage in Worcestershire, the heart of Elgar Country. Walter died in the early 2000s.

Church House, Great Comberton.

Pamela was particularly interested in the music of Edward Elgar. Her other interests were antiques, historic houses, and reading French and German. She was a guide at a historic house in the Great Comberton area and visited China, Russia and New Zealand and Australia later this year. She was a cat lover and owned two rescued cats.

Pamela, as a teenage evacuee from London, first heard Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth singing on the radio in 1944. She took an immediate liking to their voices and became their firm fan, listening to their singing on the radio and attending many of their concerts, films, and the musical play in which they starred in 1945, entitled Sweet Yesterday. She obtained their autographs at one of these concerts and had a brief conversation with Webster.

She mentioned in her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? that she and her fellow teaching students gathered round the radio to listen to the Victory Royal Command Performance in November 1945 to hear Anne and Webster singing. She made extensive notes of all their radio appearances and the concerts in which they had appeared and which she had managed to attend.

In 1956 Anne and Webster moved to South Africa for twenty-two years, but Pamela never forgot them. When she heard that they had returned to the UK in 1978 she wrote a letter of appreciation to them. This was the beginning of her correspondence with Anne. Pamela and Walter attended Webster Booth’s Memorial Service at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, which led to them taking Anne out to lunch whenever they were in the North Wales area, and the growth of their friendship with Anne.

I “met” Pam when she contacted me after Anne’s death in 2003 as she had read one of my articles on the internet. At the time I was writing my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. She too had hoped to write a book about her association with them. We decided to collaborate and her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? was published at the same time as mine in 2006.

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Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? by Pamela Davies

We kept in touch with each other after the books were published and corresponded with Jean Buckley at the same time. Unfortunately, the postal system in South Africa was failing and Pam was not computer-literate so our correspondence faltered slightly until she obtained a tablet and gradually learnt to use it. 

Pam became increasingly deaf which was very sad indeed as the music she loved was distorted by her deafness. Recently she left her beautiful cottage in Great Comberton and moved into a frail care home. She had a very bad fall and died a few days ago, at the age of 93. I will treasure all the beautiful letters she wrote to me when the postal system in South Africa was more reliable than it is today. I will always remember her with love.

Jean Collen – 13 December 2013.

BOOTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA (1970 – 1976)

I found Webster and Squillie waiting for me at Plett airport. We had to go into the airport office to confirm my return flight. The woman on duty there recognised Webster and regarded us with keen interest.
We drove “home” in his blue Vauxhall Viva station wagon through the Knysna Forest to the settler cottage in Graham Street which they were so keen to sell. The countryside around Knysna was beautiful and I was lucky enough to see a steam train crossing the bridge over the water as we entered Knysna. I also remember seeing the Cottage Hospital, which reminded me of my TV favourite, Dr Findlay’s Casebook.
As we entered the house, Webster said, “You can do what you like in this house, darling.”

22 February 1970 Letter from Webster to Mabel Perkin in the UK.

6 May 1970 Anne and Webster appear on BBC2 in an interview with Sue MacGregor on Women’s Hour.

April 1970
27 April 1970
27 April 1970 (cintinued)
Poor photo accompanying the interview.

26 June 1970 I get married to Errol Collen at St James’ Presbyterian Church, Mars Street Malvern.

Jean and Errol with the Rev Nicol Binnie
24 August 1972 – Durban.
24 August 1972 – Durban.
24 August 1972 – Durban.
Birthday dinner for Fred Cropper (He and his daughter Freda lived on the top floor of the Booth’s house in Knysna, 1972)
Imperial Hotel, Knysna
Rent receipt book R75 per month for top flat at 18 Graham Street.
Dick Whittington for the Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society in Port Elizabeth 7 December 1972
Port Elizabeth 5 November 1972 – Thirty-fourth wedding anniversary.
March 1973. Mikado in East London. Shirley Smith interviews Webster.
4 to 14 April 1973. The Mikado at Guild Theatre, East London.
Webster directing the Mikado; Jean Fowler conducting. March, April 1973.
Webster in the wings.
Webster – close-up
Webster stayed at the King’s Hotel. I wrote the letter (right) to the Daily Dispatch under the pseudonym of J. McIntyre.
Scene from the Mikado – Bernie Lee, Jimmy Nicholas, Colin Carney, Pamela Emslie
I visit Webster in Knysna in May 1973.
Postcard from Anne to Freda Boyce and Fred Cropper, 2 May 1973.
Anne visits Jean Buckley during her holiday in the UK.
Webster and I go to the Lookout Steak House in Plett while I am in Knysna.
Beacon Island, Plett.
18 Graham Street, Knysna.
From Webster to me.
Christmas card from the Booths. We returned from East London to Johannesburg. My baby, Michael was born on 12 March 1974.
Anne in the garden of the house in Somerset West (photo: Dudley Holmes)
October 1975 – Farewell Performance in Somerset West.
Anne and Webster sing “We’ll Gather Lilacs” at the British Ambassador’s residence to the accompaniment of Brian Kay after the King’s Singers’ Concert in Cape Town – 1976 or 1977 – shortly before they returned to the UK.

BOOTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA – (1960 – 1961)

Someone asked me recently whether I went to study with Anne and Webster because of their duet singing, but it had nothing to do with that at all. It was entirely due to Mabel Fenney that decided me to study singing with Anne and Webster and to make music my career.

3 February 1960 – Mabel Fenney

When I was in my final year at Jeppe High School for Girls in 1960, the permanent music mistress, Miss Diane Heller, went on long leave, and Mrs Mabel Fenney took her place for a term. Mabel was born Mabel Greenwood on Shakespeare’s birthday in Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire in 1919. Her mother was a true contralto and had sung in several professional productions. The Greenwoods moved to East London in the Eastern Cape when Mabel was quite young.

She showed singing talent from an early age and did her initial singing diplomas in East London, trained by a gentleman she referred to as “Pop Lee”, and sang and acted in many local musicals, plays and recitals. Her favourite role was as Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. She married fellow Lancastrian, Eric Fenney, and instead of pursuing a singing career, she helped him run his plumbing business in East London. 

 When the Dramatic Society of East London invited Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler to star in the 1958 production of Merrie England, she and Eric stood surety for their salaries.  It was in this production where she first met them, playing their roles of Bessie Throckmorton and Sir Walter Raleigh. She played the part of Jill-All-Alone in the production. The following year the society put on Waltz Time, again with Anne and Webster in the leading roles, but, for some reason, she did not take part in this production. Instead she went to Johannesburg to have lessons with Anne and Webster in preparation for several advanced diploma singing examinations. By the time she arrived at Jeppe High School for Girls she had already won the University of South Africa’s overseas teaching bursary and was due to leave for Berlin to study at the Hochschule there for two years.

We schoolgirls looked on Mabel as a very glamorous figure in comparison with some of our staid academic teachers. She was lively and enthusiastic and took us on various outings to the opera.

 Towards the end of her term at Jeppe, Mabel gave a memorable recital in the school hall one afternoon. The event had not been widely publicised, so there were not many people present, but I was there with singing school friends, Margaret Plevin (née Masterton) and Valerie Vogt (née Figgins). We were impressed by her performance. The Booths had decided that she was a mezzo soprano rather than soprano, so she had sung a mezzo repertoire for her diploma exams. I will always remember her singing of the Habanera and Seguidilla from Carmen.

At the end of one of the arias she threw a rose coquettishly to her schoolgirl audience. We were completely captivated. Someone asked me recently whether I went to study with Anne and Webster because of their duet singing, but it had nothing to do with that at all. It was entirely due to Mabel Fenney that decided me to study singing with Anne and Webster and to make music my career.

Mabel Fenney (later Perkin) Photo taken in 1960 before she went to Berlin to study at the Hochschule there.
February 1960.
2 March 1960. Webster’s reference for Mabel.

27, 28 May 1960 – Grand Variety Show, Methodist Church Hall, Roberts Avenue, Kensington. Anne and Webster and other artistes. Anne and Webster sang just before the interval. I (aged sixteen) asked them for their autographs before they left, the only one to do so.

27 May 1960.
Kensington Methodist Church as it is today (2019) In 1960 there was no wall surrounding it.
Variety Concert at Methodist Church, Roberts Avenue, Kensington 1960.
Kensington Methodist Church – as it is today.
Anne appears in various adverts!

24 November 1960 – A Country Girl. Springs Civic Theatre. Anne produced this show for the Springs Operatic Society.

24 November 1960

1960 – Mikado, Bloemfontein. I am not sure whether Webster sang in it, directed it, or both.

Webster in Bloemfontein to do The Mikado.

1, 2, December 3 1960 – Christmas Capers, Civic Theatre, Bloemfontein. Anne and Webster and local artistes in a variety show presented by Rotary Club.

December, 1960 – The Christmas Oratorio, Kimberley. Webster sang the tenor solos, although he was not as fond of Bach as he was of Handel.

8 December 1960 I had an interview with Anne Ziegler at the studio on the eighth floor of Polliack’s Corner, Pritchard Street and started lessons with Anne and Webster two weeks later. Webster was singing at the Port Elizabeth Oratorio when I had my audition. Anne was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter when I went for my first lesson. Here is the photo taken at that interview.

Lock Up Your Daughters – December 1960. Anne plays Mrs Squeezum!
Anne and Valerie Miller in Lock Up Your Daughters. The play was not a success.

March 1961 – advertising Skol Beer.

April 1961 SABC Bulletin – Wednesday at 8.30 pm. Webster Booth, who presents a programme of Opera, Operetta and Oratorio at 8.30 on Wednesday nights, began singing at the age of seven. That makes his career 52 years “and I hope it goes on a little further, but not too long,” he told announcer Robert Kirby in an interview.

This is how the conversation continued:

If you started singing when you were seven, how did you manage to fit in your education? – Well, I began in Lincoln Cathedral as a choir boy and was educated at the cathedral school. This was run by the Dean and Chapter. That took me up to the Oxford and Cambridge junior examination which was roughly equivalent to our Junior Certificate. After that I had to stop musical training as my voice was breaking and completed my schooling at a commercial school studying accountancy.

Broaadcasting at the SABC.

I know your fields of endeavour have been in Opera, Oratorio and Operetta. Do you have any preferences among these three? – Oratorio, definitely!

Why? – I suppose it was my first love and I certainly get much more satisfaction from singing in Oratorio, musically that is; I am trying to say that to do it properly and to do it well you have to work at it so hard that the feeling of achievement is that much greater. With Opera and Operetta one has stage clothing, and scenery and movement to register to an audience, whereas in Oratorio one has nothing except one’s own interpretation as a medium of reaching the audience.

Do you prefer working “live” with an audience, recording or broadcasting? – I certainly prefer working without an audience. In front of one that is. Usually in a broadcast one has a much larger audience but because they are unseen one can concentrate much more, also because of their quantity it makes me want to give much more than I would on a stage. If it would be possible to sing before an audience of perhaps fifty thousand people it would be much more awe-inspiring than singing to them via a microphone. I can always have a broadcast recorded and that is invaluable to me as I am my own greatest critic. One can always learn from one’s mistakes.

Do you suffer from stage fright? – Yes. The older I get the worse I get. I think the reason being that one always wants to be that one per cent better than the last time. The suffering comes from the fear of being one per cent worse. Stage fright should only happen before a performance. To go on being frightened during the performance is fatal.

Do you find that one person alone in an audience can affect you? – Very much so. Someone who is restive will invariably catch your eye and distract you. None of us are perfect and if one knows the position in the audience of a somewhat severe critic one is apt to wonder what he or she may be thinking and this can be most disturbing.

How do you react to severe criticism? – If you mean destructive criticism I am like anyone else. I react very unfavourably. But if it is constructive criticism then I try to swallow my pride and read into the criticism something from which I should benefit.

What was the worst critique you ever had? – I deliberately forget the bad ones. The best? – The finest write up I ever received, from my point of view, was for a show that only ran for two and a half weeks. “Here is the answer to a producer’s prayer.’

Which would you call the most fulfilling moment of your career? – The first night of the 1938 Covent Garden Festival of Opera. I sang the tenor role in Rosenkavelier with Erich Kleiber conducting and Lotte Lehmann as the soprano lead. To see a pre-war full house at Covent Garden from the stage with evening dress and tiaras is a sight one could never forget.

Which role was your favourite? – Definitely Francois Villon in The Vagabond King. It has everything an artist could wish for. Comedy, romance, glorious costumes, pathos and good solid music to sing.

Are you satisfied with what you have achieved? – Yes. If I had my life over again I doubt whether I would change much of it. I have been very lucky. I was given a voice, a figure, and my marriage with Anne Ziegler – something which has been successful and happy, and I have adopted what I think to be about the finest country in the world.

Webster’s programme is extended and is now called On Wings of Song, with the duet by Anne and Webster as the introductory music.
1 May 1961 Opening night of La Traviata at Empire Theatre.
Old Folks’ concert Durban May 1961

June 1961. Webster adjudicated at the Salisbury eisteddfod.

5 July 1961 – Concert in Salisbury.

5 July 1961 – Concert.8.15 pm Allan Wilson School, Beit Hall, Salisbury, Rhodesia – Anne and Webster appeared in a concert after Webster had adjudicated at the Vocal Festival for the Rhodesia Institute of Allied Arts.

17 July 1961 – Advert for pupils.

Advert for pupils. 17 July 1961 – Star.

August/September 1961. Mabel Fenney back in SA for holiday.

5 September to October 30 1961 –The Amorous Prawn,Alexander Theatre (previously the Reps Theatre); National Theatre, Pretoria, 31 October to November 12; Alhambra Theatre, Durban, November.

Webster was the Prawn, with Simon Swindell, Gabriel Bayman, Diane Wilson, Joe Stewardson, Ronald Wallace and Joan Blake, directed by Victor Melleney.

Anne and Leslie Green Opening night of The Amorous Prawn 1961
A reference for my first job in the bank! 6 October 1961.

November 1961 – The Stage. Johannesburg Theatre by Evelyn Leveson. The evening attraction at the Alexander – acclaimed with delight by both critics and public – was The Amorous Prawn, directed by Victor Melleney and starring Joan Blake, one of our most versatile actresses, who, for the past two years, has been touring the country in Adam Leslie’s witty intimate revue Two’s Company.

Excellent notices were also received by Webster Booth who, with his wife Anne Ziegler, has been living here for the past five years. As the Prawn, Mr Booth is appearing on the South African stage in his first non-singing role.

1 November 1961 (from my teenage diary)
1 November 1961 (from diary)
1 November 1961 (diary)
November 1961 Durban.
Anne as Mrs Siddons 31 October 1961.
1 November 1961 from diary – the story continues in the diary itself (1961)
27 November 1961 Dream of Gerontius.

WEBSTER BOOTH AND GILBERT AND SULLIVAN.

In 1926 Doctor Malcolm Sargent (as he was then) took over as conductor for the London season at the Prince’s Theatre and Leslie considered that period to be one of his happiest and most fulfilling times with the company. It was then when he asked Sargent to listen to his voice and tell him whether he thought he could make it as an opera singer. Sargent told him that if he did not have a private income he should forget about singing in opera as the pay was very poor.

Webster Booth and Gilbert and Sullivan.

As a young man, Webster Booth was serving articles as an accountant in Birmingham and taking singing lessons in his spare time at the Midland Institute with Dr Richard Wassell, the organist, and choirmaster at St Martin’s Church in the Bull Ring, Birmingham. He was a tenor soloist in the church and fulfilling engagements as tenor soloist in regional oratorio performances as far apart as Wales and Scotland.

Midland Institute where Webster had lessons with Dr Richard Wassell.

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Interior of St Martin’s Church, the Bullring, Birmingham

St Martin's

In 1923 the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company came to Birmingham and he managed to obtain an audition with New Zealander, Harry Norris, the D’Oyly Carte conductor. Harry Norris was impressed with Webster’s voice and on his recommendation, he was summoned to see Rupert D’Oyly Carte in London. He was meant to audit a firm’s books in South Wales. Instead, he decided to throw caution to the wind and went to London for the audition instead. He sang five or six songs to an unreceptive D’Oyly Carte and his general manager, Richard Collett.

‘I became increasingly anxious. It was like singing to two mummies…
”I think he’ll do,” Mr D’Oyly Carte said in a rather pained voice, thinking, no doubt, that here was yet another name one the pay-list.
“I should think so, sir,” was the reply.
‘Thus unenthusiastically was I welcomed into the Profession of the Stage.’ (Duet, p. 34)

Although he had been doing well in accountancy, he abandoned his job with little regret to become a professional singer, making his debut with the company as one of the Yeomen in The Yeomen of the Guard at the Theatre Royal, Brighton on 9 September 1923.

In 1924 he married Winifred Keey, the daughter of Edgar Keey, his former headmaster at Aston Commercial School. Winifred borrowed £100 from a relative, with no intention of repaying it, and used the money to follow Leslie to London against her parents’ wishes, or possibly, even without their knowledge. They might have approved of the match had Leslie remained a respectable accountant like his elder brother, Norman, but they were against her taking up with a chorus boy in the D’Oyly Carte. Her family had no more to do with her, partly because of her defiance of their wishes and partly because she had borrowed such a large sum of money under false pretences from a member of the family. Because they disowned her they never knew that she and Leslie had married or that she gave birth to a son, and, thinking the worst of her, imagined that she and Leslie were living together in sin.

Winifred and Leslie’s son, Keith was born the year after their marriage on 12 June 1925, and his birth was registered in Birmingham North.

6 August 1925 – Borough, Stratford. Interest remains unabated in the D’Oyly Carte company, now in the second of their two weeks’ engagement at this theatre. On Tuesday The Yeomen of the Guard was staged, and met with the usual enthusiastic reception from an audience who obviously enjoyed every number. Encores were frequent. The entrance of Mr Henry A Lytton as Jack Point was naturally the signal for an outburst of applause, which was fully justified by his consistently fine work in this well-written role. His apt mingling of humour and pathos is amongst the best things he has ever done. As the other strolling singer Miss Winifred Lawson made a distinct success, singing and acting with real talent. Happily cast also were Mr Leo Sheffield as the grim gaoler and Miss Aileen Davies as Phoebe. Miss Bertha Lewis made a capital Dame Carruthers, whose chief song was rendered artistically; and Miss Irene Hill scored as Kate. Mr Sydney Pointer’s agreeable voice helped him to make Colonel Fairfax a prominent figure, and Mr Darrell Fancourt was a strong Sergeant Meryll. Others who shared in the success were Mr Joseph Griffin as Sir Richard, Mr Herbert Aitken as Leonard, and Mr Leslie W. Booth as the First Yeoman. The stage director is still Mr J.M. Gordon and Mr Harry Norris is the touring musical director.
In 1926 Doctor Malcolm Sargent (as he was then) took over as conductor for the London season at the Prince’s Theatre and Leslie considered that period to be one of his happiest and most fulfilling times with the company. It was then when he asked Sargent to listen to his voice and tell him whether he thought he could make it as an opera singer. Sargent told him that if he did not have a private income he should forget about singing in opera as the pay was very poor.

18 November 1926 – D’Oyly Carte Canadian Visit. It has been arranged for the D’Oyly Carte principal company to visit Canada at the end of the season at the Princes on December 19. The company will embark for Canada in the steamship Metagama on the 24th. The tour will open in Montreal on January 4. Mr Richard Collett, the general manager of the company, will be in charge of the tour.

After a stay of two weeks in Montreal, the company will proceed to Toronto and thence to Winnipeg, staying in each of these cities for a fortnight. There will also be visits to Lethbridge, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, and Victoria, the capital of Vancouver Island. The tour will end at Montreal in the middle of May. The Mikado, The Gondoliers, The Yeomen of the Guard, and HMS Pinafore will form the repertory. The leading principals, with the exception of Miss Elsie Griffin, will take part in the tour. Miss Griffin’s place will be filled by Miss Irene Hill. Misses Bertha Lewis, Winifred Lawson, Aileen Davies, Messrs Henry A Lytton, Darrell Fancourt, Leo Sheffield, and Charles Goulding are included in the company.
Webster Booth sang Your Tiny Hand is Frozen at the ship’s concert, so impressing principal soprano Winifred Lawson that she was not at all surprised when he soon rose to fame after he left the company. He was particularly impressed when the chorus sang Hail Poetry in the open air when the company visited Chief Big Crow and Chief Starlight in the Sarcee Reserve, Calgary.

Passenger list on return to Liverpool 

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SS Megantic (White Star) return to Liverpool from Canada, May 1927.

He stayed with the company for four and a half years but made no great advancement from singing in the chorus, small parts and understudying the tenor principal roles. In Duet, his joint autobiography, with Anne Ziegler, he complained that the only way he would advance in the company was to wait patiently to fill “dead men’s shoes”. Despite this observation, he was one of the few singers allowed to record individual songs from the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire without prior approval of the D’Oyly Carte family.
His recordings of Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes and A Wand’ring Minstrel under the baton of gifted conductor, a fellow native of Birmingham, Leslie Heward, who died tragically young, remain unsurpassed and are now available on CD.

Leslie was away on tour for fifty weeks of the year and Winifred, left alone with her small son, was estranged from her parents although living in the suburb of Moseley in the same city. Leslie had suspicions that all was not well at home when he arrived home from a tour with D’Oyly Carte to find Keith sitting by himself on the doorstep. Winifred had left her small son to his own devices while she went dancing. Several years later, she suddenly deserted Leslie and his son.

Leslie searched for Winifred in every town where he happened to be singing, but despite desperate attempts to trace her, he never found her, and eventually divorced her in 1931, citing Trevor Davey as co-respondent. Leslie was granted custody of Keith, who decided on his sixth birthday that he never wanted to see his mother again.

After the stability of a regular – if small – salary from D’Oyly Carte, he was now a freelance performer with a small son to support and no regular money to his name. In the D’Oyly Carte Company he was known as Leslie W. Booth, but now he adopted his middle name and became known as Webster Booth on stage, although his family and close friends continued to call him Leslie for the rest of his life. One of his boyhood nicknames was Jammy, and he once signed a photograph “Yours sincerely, Kingy”!

LWB -01

26 May 1939 – Gilbert and Sullivan The scheme of the London Music Festival is designed to embrace all the chief musical activities of the metropolis and it was proper that the popular concerts given by Mr Ernest Makower at the London Museum should have their place in it. The concert given on Wednesday evening was an unusual one, though Mr Makower never keeps to any beaten path in his selection of music for performance. It was felt that no English festival would be really complete if Gilbert and Sullivan was not represented in it. So, with the permission of Mr D’Oyly Carte, Dr Sargent arranged a programme of selections from the famous comic operas. In a preliminary talk, Dr Sargent apologised for going against Sullivan’s expressed wish that his operatic music should not be performed in concert form.

But no excuse was necessary to justify the admirable singing of the extracts by Miss Irene Eisinger, Mr Webster Booth, and Mr George Baker. We do not often hear Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes so well sung in a theatre. Miss Eisinger’s songs reminded us that Sullivan’s heroines descended at no great distance from Mozart’s soubrettes, whom we are accustomed to hearing her sing so delightfully. It was good too to hear the music played by the Boyd Neel orchestra, whose contributions included the delightful patchwork overture, Un Ballo and the Iolanthe overture. There was, as usual, a large and enthusiastic audience.

1953 – The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (film). Robert Morley, Ian Wallace, Owen Brannigan, Harold Williams and voices of Webster Booth, Elsie Morrison, John Cameron.
Webster was annoyed at the billing he was given in this film. He did not appear in it but his voice was dubbed for Colonel Fairfax in the scene from The Yeomen of the Guard and in the final section singing an echoing version of A Wand’ring Minstrel.
The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan 

January 1962 When the copyright on Gilbert’s words was lifted at the end of 1961 Webster was asked to present a Gilbert and Sullivan series of programmes on the English Service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

1962 WB radio

1963 Only a few weeks before The Johannesburg Operatic Society was due to open with The Yeomen of the Guard the committee decided that they needed a stronger Colonel Fairfax than the person originally cast in the role. Webster (aged 61) was asked to take over what is essentially the juvenile lead. He was a great success in the role.

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14 June 1963 (from my 5-year diary)

14 jUNE 1963

4 to 14 April 1973 – The Mikado, Guild Theatre, East London, The East London Light Operatic Society, Pamela Emslie, Colin Carney, Bernie Lee, Leigh Evans, Irene McCarthy, Jim Hagerty and Jimmy Nicholas, produced by Webster Booth. The musical director was Jean Fowler.

I had moved to East London at the beginning of 1973 and joined the show at the last minute. I had a very happy reunion with Webster after seven years apart.

Jean Collen 23 August 2018.

 

Mikado, Guild Theatre, East London 1973

Dinner with Webster and my parents at Juno Street, Kensington (1963)

21 Juno Street, Kensington as it is today.

I invited Webster to dinner with my parents during those two halcyon weeks when I was playing for him. As we sat
chatting in his car in front of my house in Juno Street, Kensington after he had driven me home one evening, I asked him, rather nervously, whether he would like to come to dinner with us one night the following week. I had not imagined that he would agree as he was probably quite tired after spending the day teaching in the studio in the city but to my great surprise he seemed delighted at the idea and agreed to dine with us on the following Tuesday, as we finished fairly early at the studio on that day.

As you will have read in a previous post, we had a memorable lunch at Dawson’s Hotel earlier that day. After he had taught Winnie, the only pupil who arrived for her lesson that afternoon, he drove me home in the Hillman and stayed to dinner with my parents. He took an immediate fancy to our dog, Shandy, whom he christened “my girlfriend,” and kept her on his knee for the rest of the evening.

Webster and Shandy – My girlfriend

My father offered him a whisky, and he informed us that whisky had never done him any harm so far. He teased me because I had refused a drink at lunchtime when we dined at Dawson’s Hotel. My father looked suitably alarmed at the thought of his innocent teenage daughter being plied with alcohol. No doubt he was relieved that I had turned down the offer.

My parents – David and Margaret Campbell.

 

 

 

 

 

Webster and me

Webster talked to my parents about Britain, and all the artists he and Anne had known and worked with during the war, people like Max Miller and Tommy Handley and many others. He looked so at home in our sitting room, smoking and drinking whisky, with Shandy on his lap. Who would have thought that he was a famous tenor with a world-beating voice?  I didn’t know nearly as much about his illustrious career then as I do now, years after his death. Neither he nor Anne ever boasted about their achievements as so many lesser people do.

When he was about to go home and was standing on our balcony, which was enclosed with an indigo bougainvillea creeper in those days, my mother said, “Thank you for looking after Jean.” He regarded me fondly and replied, “I think it’s Jean who’s looking after me”. My heart was bursting with happiness to think of the perfect day I had spent with him.

Although I can remember that lovely day, fifty-five years ago, as though it were yesterday, it still saddens me to think that Dawson’s is no longer the plush hotel it once was, while my mother, father, Shandy, and Webster himself are all long dead and gone.

The next few days passed all too quickly and soon Anne was phoning the studio to say she had returned from her holiday with Leslie Green, the radio announcer. She had sent me a card from Fish Hoek and Webster had pretended to be cross because she had not yet written to him at that juncture.

Card from Anne.

On the last night of my accompanying stint, Webster drove me home, and said quite pensively, “I shall miss my Sylvia Pass next week,” referring to the route he took from Juno Street to his home in Buckingham Avenue, Craighall Park.

”I have enjoyed having you play for me, darling,” he added.

”So have I,” I replied fervently.

”We’ll see you on Tuesday at your lesson, dear,” he said.

The following day my great friend Ruth Ormond phoned to say that Webster had raved about me at her lesson that Saturday morning. He said I was a very good accompanist and the whole experience of playing for him had boosted my ego. I was a lovely girl and he had so enjoyed having dinner at my home and meeting my parents. Ruth had the impression that Anne was slightly put out by his unstinted enthusiasm.

“He seems very much taken with you,” said Ruth.

That afternoon I phoned Anne to welcome her home and we chatted for an hour about her trip, and how they had always dreamed of owning a smallholding in England, but they would never be able to afford one now. And so ended two wonderful weeks. I had enjoyed playing for the pupils, had acquitted myself creditably and had got to know Webster very well indeed. I thought that I  would probably not be accompanying for Webster again. But luckily that was not the case. I went on accompanying for Webster in the studio for some time to come.

Jean Collen 15 May 2018.

FANS

They attracted a legion of adoring fans. Many followed them ardently from one engagement to another and listened to all their broadcasts on the radio. One of their fans was Gladys Reed, seen below with Anne at the stage door of the London Palladium in 1942. You can see how delighted she was to have her photo taken with her idol! Anne wrote a letter to Gladys telling her to give their regards to the “gang” – probably referring to the devoted fans who followed them around from one engagement to the other.

2019-05-25_101919Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler were very popular and attracted a legion of fans who followed them for a variety of reasons.

Before he began working with Anne, Webster attracted many female fans who admired him, not only for his beautiful voice, but for his smouldering good looks. He told me that he often singled out the most attractive girl in the audience and sang for her alone. Invariably she would be waiting at the stage door after the show, either to ask shyly for his autograph, hoping for a few kind words from her hero, or hoping, better still, that he would ask her out for a drink! He had attractive photos made to hand out to his fans, such as this one, signed at Shanklin in 1931, and the same photo later signed to Elaine in 1933.

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His practised seduction technique led directly to his second marriage with soubrette, Paddy Prior. He had been singing at a Monday evening concert at the Concert Artistes Association when he noticed an attractive young woman sitting in the audience obviously enjoying his singing. When he sang One Alone he directed his attention to her alone. After the concert, he was introduced to her and they were married after his divorce from his first wife, Winifred Keey, was finalised. Sadly, his marriage to Paddy did not last very long after he met Anne Ziegler during the filming of the Faust Fantasy at the end of 1934.

In July 1934, Madeleine wrote a note to her friends, Lily and Phil, from Shanklin on the Isle of Wight where Webster was appearing in the Sunshine summer show there.July 1934 July Letter about Webster Sunshine

1934 WBHe valued his fans and treated them with kindness and consideration. He answered fan mail himself, such as in these letters, dated September and December 1936:

1936 letters

During the 1990s Anne wrote to me and told me that her very first fan had visited her recently in Penrhyn Bay. The girl had been fifteen years of age in 1935 and saw Anne in a summer show in Ryde when Anne herself was only twenty-five years of age. She had been a fan of Anne’s ever since and kept in touch with her over the years.

Even before Webster’s divorce to Paddy Prior was finalised, he and Anne began singing together on the concert platform. They were an instant success. Both were very attractive with charming personalities. He wore an evening suit with a gardenia in his lapel; Anne was beautifully dressed. As their popularity grew, she had crinoline gowns designed for her, some by the Queen Mother’s dress-designer, Norman Hartnell.

By the 1940s when they appeared on the Variety circuit and starred in a revival of The Vagabond King they were able to afford their own manager and persuaded Mr F.W.J Gladwell, who was Tom Arnold’s manager in 1943 when they were appearing in the show, to join them. While they occasionally still answered fan mail themselves, it was often left to Gladdie to do it for them. Here is an example of a letter he wrote to a fan in 1953:This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1-april-1953-from-fw-gladwell.jpg

GLADYS REED

They attracted a legion of adoring fans. Many followed them ardently from one engagement to another and listened to all their broadcasts on the radio. One of their fans was Gladys Reed, seen below with Anne at the stage door of the London Palladium in 1942. You can see how delighted she was to have her photo taken with her idol! Anne wrote a letter to Gladys telling her to give their regards to the “gang” – probably referring to the devoted fans who followed them around from one engagement to the other.

13 November 1942 bPalladium

Letters to Gladys 1942 and 1943 73006830_10159010237985760_3900519904717045760_o

I think Gladys must have been a special fan as she had met them at the stage door of the London Palladium and had her photograph taken with them and written to them several times. Anne mentions “the gang” in her letter. No doubt there were a number of their fans who went to most of the shows together and met them at the stage door afterwards. I remember the same thing happening in the 1960s where a number of Tom Round fans got to know each other and went to all his performances.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 18-november-1943-to-gladys-reed.jpg Imagine how Anne and Webster’s fairytale act must have lightened the lives of their fans during the difficult war years. No wonder they attracted so many people at that time. 

JEAN BUCKLEY

In 1943, Jean Buckley (née Newman) was thirteen years of age, living in wartime Manchester and she and her mother spending many nights in an air raid shelter with bombs dropping around them, keeping them from sleep. She and her mother attended many of their concerts and broadcasts in the city for Jean was enchanted by their act. She and her mother always went backstage to see the couple and Jean saved her pocket money and collected coupons so that she could buy gifts to present to Anne whenever they went backstage after a show. Anne and Webster saw Jean so often that they often sent her complimentary tickets for their shows.

Jean was very upset when they decided to move to South Africa in 1956 but they kept in touch and she sent them copies of The Stage while they were living there. When they returned to the UK in 1978 they lived near Jean and her husband Maurice and spent a lot of time with them. Jean said that Webster enjoyed watching cricket on TV with Maurice.

When Webster became ill and was admitted to a nursing home, Jean visited him in the afternoon when she finished work and took him out occasionally to give him a break from the dull routine of the nursing home. After his death, Jean did a great deal for Anne in one way and another. She and Maurice raised money to inaugurate a prize in Webster’s name at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Jean was very hurt when Anne’s friend, Babs Wilson Hill condescendingly introduced her as “Anne’s greatest fan.” Jean replied, “I think I might be considered Anne’s greatest friend.” Sadly, Anne and Jean fell out over a trivial matter several years before Anne’s death and they were never reconciled. I corresponded with Jean for over ten years and I am sad that she has lost her sight and is now living in a frail care home at the age of eighty-seven.

Update on Jean Buckley Sadly, Jean died in July of 2017. Not only was she blind but she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and I can only imagine how confused she must have felt to be living in a frail care home, unable to see and not really knowing what was happening to her. I was surprised when lawyers contacted me to let me know that she had left me a sum of money in her will because of our friendship. I may never have met her in person, but we had a lot in common because of our friendship with Anne and Webster. I will never forget her.

Anne and Jean in Penrhyn Bay before going to the Royal Northern College, Manchester for prize winners’ concert for the Webster Booth prize.

Before attending  the RNCM concert (1990s)

Jean Buckley, Anne and Babs Wilson Hill in the 1990s They were all dog lovers!

PAMELA DAVIES

Another fan was Pamela Davies (née James). She mentioned in her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? that she and her fellow teaching students gathered round the radio to listen to the Victory Royal Command Performance in November 1945 to hear Anne and Webster singing. She made extensive notes of all their radio appearances and the concerts she attended.

When Anne and Webster returned to the UK in 1978 she wrote to them to say how pleased she was that they had returned to the country. Thus began a regular correspondence with Anne which resulted in Pam and her husband Walter taking Anne out to lunch whenever they went to North Wales.

I “met” Pam when she contacted me after Anne’s death in 2003 as she had read one of my articles on the internet. At the time I was writing my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. She too had hoped to write a book about her association with them. We decided to collaborate and her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? was published at the same time as mine in 2006. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is do-you-remember-december-cover-01.jpg This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019-12-11_132513.jpg

We kept in touch with each other after the books were published and corresponded with Jean Buckley at the same time. Unfortunately the postal system in South Africa was failing and Pam was not computer-literate so our correspondence faltered slightly until she obtained a tablet and gradually learnt to use it.  Pam was a gifted linguist, fluent in French and German. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is church-house05.jpg

Church House, Great Comberton.

Eventually Pam left her beautiful cottage in Great Comberton and moved into a frail care home recently. She had a very bad fall and died a few days ago, at the age of 93. I will treasure all the beautiful letters she wrote to me when the postal system in South Africa was more reliable than it is today. I will always remember her with love.

Her funeral was held on 13 January 2020. Her relative, Nigel Withyman told me about it in an email:

The event was well attended by  couple of dozen relatives, friends and neighbours some of whom had travelled a considerable distance; even further than had I coming 200 miles from Chelmsford, Essex! 
 
The introductory music to the funeral was Elgar’s Nimrod and the outgoing piece – Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from Turandot sung by Pavarotti.  There was no singing and the service was interwoven with an account of Pam’s life including her travels and work abroad, her interests in European languages (fluent in French, German and Italian) and mention was of course made to WB and AZ. One of their songs was played during the service.

MARGARET RICHARDSON

Anne and Webster went on an extensive concert tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1948. Anne wrote in Duet: “I had an admirer in Christchurch who brought me flowers every day we were there. They were freesias, of the beautiful big New Zealand variety. Her name was Margaret Richardson, and she has since come over to England and obtained a job in New Zealand House.”

Margaret Richardson returned to New Zealand and she and Anne kept in touch over the years. Unfortunately, Margaret died shortly before Anne, so she did not receive the photos Anne had allocated to her in her will.

Excerpt from the JOHN BULL article:

John Bull 1952

I wonder where these children are now and what they thought of their mother’s choice of names for them!

THE THIRD CAREER

When they returned to the UK in 1978, aged 68 and 76, they expected to lead a quiet life in semi-retirement. They had been doing very little work in South Africa for years so it came as a surprise to them to find that they were in great demand in the UK. Many of their fans from the good old days were still alive. Soon they were travelling around the country, singing in concerts, giving talks, appearing on TV and presenting radio programmes. In 1975 they had given a farewell concert in Somerset West and they had not intended to sing again, but they gave in to public demand when they went back to the UK. Anne was still in fairly good voice but Webster’s voice had deteriorated and I thought it was very sad that he should have had to sing in public again when he was past his best. But they needed the money and so their performances continued longer than they should have done. I don’t think their elderly fans were very critical – they were only too happy to see their favourites on stage once again.

On TV 1980

JOAN TAPPER

Joan Tapper, a piano teacher, had been a life-long fan of the couple and when they sang in Mold, North Wales, she presented them with a gift after the concert. This led to a friendship which lasted until Anne’s death in 2003.

Anne and her fan and friend, the late Joan Tapper. I corresponded with Joan and she sent me Welsh toffee every Christmas. She died several years after Anne.

Webster’s health deteriorated and after a disastrous performance in Bridlington when he forgot the words of one of their most popular duets, Anne realised that this had been their swansong and they would never be able to sing together again.

Webster died in 1984, and Anne lived alone in the bungalow in Penrhyn Bay, North Wales for another nineteen years. The bungalow was owned by Babs Wilson Hill, who had been Anne’s friend and admirer since they appeared in pantomime together in Liverpool in 1935, although by the end of their lives they were not as close as they had been in earlier times. They died within a few weeks of one another.

Happier times – Jean, Anne and Babs

It is very sad to think that all the fans and friends of Anne and Webster are dead now – except me and Dudley Holmes. As long as we are alive they will always be fondly loved and remembered.

Jean Collen © 22 June 2017

Revised 25 January 2020