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 (1964 – 1969)

1964 was a very sad year as my dear friend Ruth Ormond died in Cape Town at the age of 19. I managed to pass the LTCL singing exam and Webster and Anne starred in Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in June and July. I continued accompanying for Webster when he returned from PE.

1964 was a very sad year as my dear friend Ruth Ormond died in Cape Town at the age of 19. I managed to pass the LTCL singing exam and Webster and Anne starred in Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in June and July. I continued accompanying for Webster when he returned from PE.

10 April 1964 The New Moon at The Springs Operatic Society. Anne directs the show.
29 March 1964 The Crucifixion.
March/April – accompanying for the Booth’s pupils at the National Eisteddfod. – “G” rather than “J” Campbell!
May 1964, My best friend, Ruth Ormond died suddenly in Cape Town. I was heart-broken.
29 June 1964 Cape Town, The play went to other cities in the province.
8 July 1964 from Sea Point, Cape Town.
Anne and Webster stayed at Hotel Elizabeth, Sea Point.
Anne and Webster stayed at the Grand Hotel in Port Elizabeth when they were appearing in Tonight at 8.30.
10 July 1964 from Port Elizabeth. I had managed to pass my Licentiate singing exam!
19 September 1964 Pietermaritzburg. The Creation.
1 February 1965 – Reference for Kingsmead College.
A photo from an article written in 1965. Anne, Webster and Lemon. I started teaching at Kingsmead College, Rosebank but continued with my singing lessons and taught in their studio every Wednesday.
Another photo from the 1965 article.
Webster played the small part of British Ambassador in King Hendrik.
The British Ambassador – complete with monocle. On the night he was filming this small scene I was in Nabucco. Anne attended the performance with Dudley Holmes’ mother and a friend. They returned to Anne’s for drinks after the show. I was dropped off at Kingsmead College. I decided to go to the UK after that incident.

Anne directed The Merry Widow in Bloemfontein. I think this was her leading lady. (circa October 1965) I went to the UK in January of 1966.
15 January 1966 I went to the UK with this reference.
Guests of honour at The Merry Widow in Irené, produced by Doris Boulton and starring Doris as the Merry Widow.
Doris Boulton as the Merry Widow in Irené production.
2 October 1966 Johannesburg 80th birthday concert.
2 October 1966 Programme for concert.
10 October 1966 Artice about forthcoming productions – with Lemon and Silva.
Opened on 22 October 1966 – it was not a success.
Webster as the Circus Barker in The Bartered Bride – a non-singing role.
14 December 1966.
7 April 1967 in Parktown North
April 1967 SABC programmes. Webster had told me about them in one of the last letters I received from him before he went to Knysna.
May 1967.
2 September 1967. The Rococo Canada LP briefly reviewed!

11 July 1968
15 September 1967. The first concert in Knysna 15 September 1967.
11 July 1968
Knysna 1967/68
24 August 1968 I found this edition of the paper in the shop on the SA Oranje when I was returning to South Africa from the UK in August 1968. It was surprising to see that they were trying to sell their house not very long after they had settled in Knysna.
Anne with Silva and Lemon. Was she in a Cox and Box costume? Photo: Dudley Holmes.
Webster and Lemon. Photo: Dudley Holmes.


Anne and Dudley Holmes, Knysna. Photo: Webster Booth.

Anne and Silva. Photo: Dudley Holmes.
Anne and Webster in Knysna (Photo: Dudley Holmes)
Anne and Silva. Photo: Dudley Holmes
Webster and Lemon in the garden in Knysna. Photo: Dudley Holmes.
On the beach at Knoetzie with Silva. Photo: Dudley Holmes.
Anne. Photo: Dudley Holmes
Excerpts from Messiah and Elijah 1969.
Elijah (1969)
1969 Knysna
Ena van den Vyver and Anne – two principal boys in the Knysna Pantomime!
Anne and Webster in Knysna.

BOOTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA (1956 – 1957)

My most enduring memory of the occasion was the tea break when Anne, her hair recently cut in a rather startling Italian Boy hairstyle, drank tea and chatted animatedly with the star-struck tea ladies a few feet away from where we were seated. Little did I know then what a great influence they would exert on the rest of my life. JEAN COLLEN.

Signing autographs in South Africa – 1956.
16 August 1956 Anne and Webster appeared in Spring Quartet in Cape Town shortly after they arrived in South Africa.

17 September 1956 Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town. Cockpit Players present Spring Quartet with Anne and Webster, Joyce Bradley, Cynthia Coller, Jane Fenn, Gavin Houghton, Sydney Welch, directed by Leonard Schach.

17 October 1956 – Beethoven Ninth Symphony. City Hall, Johannesburg. Webster, Betsy de la Porte, Mimi Coertse, Frederick Dalberg, SABC Orchestra, Festival Choir, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent.


A very poor newspaper cutting (taken by microfiche) showing Webster, Betsy de la Porte, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Mimi Coertse and Frederick Dalberg,
12 November 1956 – Night in Venice for JODS
14 November 1956 – Night in Venice for JODs.

NIGHT IN VENICE

15 November 1956 – Star “crit” by Oliver Walker.

Booths in convertible Hillman Minx outside their flat at Waverley, Highlands North.
December 1956

16 April 1957. Webster has cartoon drawn at Rand Easter Show by Roy Sumner.

21 April 1957 – Easter Sunday morning, The Crucifixion. St George’s Presbyterian Church, Noord Street, Webster, Wilfred Hutchings, Choir augmented with Johannesburg Operatic Society chorus, conducted by Drummond Bell.

Polliack’s Corner – eighth floor balcony Booth studio Singing and Stagecraft. (Photo: Gail Wilson)
Anne’s new hairstyle – July 1957.

July 1957 – Keith Jewell and The Dream of Gerontius

At Cape Town – and this is almost unbelievable (but it is true) – young organist, Keith Jewell (only 27) put on the St Matthew Passion in the City Hall. But more than that he has another three oratorios scheduled before the end of the year, one of which is Elgar’s gigantic work The Dream of Gerontius, which has never before been performed in South Africa. Webster Booth, who has sung in a number of Dreams under Malcolm Sargent at the Albert Hall will be taking a leading role.

I know for a fact – he told me a day or two ago – that Edgar Cree is itching to put it on here. While we have the orchestra, the choirs and singers like Booth right on our doorstep, my reaction is an exasperated: WHY NOT?

1 August 1957 – Anne in her first straight play in South Africa as Dearest in Angels in Love.
September 1957. The Reps did not take up the option on this play.
Advert for Adrenaline!

20 November 1957 – Scots Eisteddfod.

Anne Hamblin was awarded 95% in the Scots Eisteddfod. Webster Booth was the adjudicator.

23 November 1957 – Messiah, St George’s Presbyterian Church and St James’ Presbyterian Church, Malvern. Anne, Webster, Joy Hillier and Wilfred Hutchings, conducted by Drummond Bell.

My parents and I (aged 13) attended the performance at St James’ Presbyterian Church, Mars Street, Malvern. It was the first time I had seen Anne and Webster, although I had already heard many of their recordings on the radio.

We arrived in Johannesburg in October of 1957. My father had been offered a job in the same firm as a former Scottish colleague from ISCOR in Vanderbijl Park and we were living in the Valmeidere Hotel in Roberts Avenue, Kensington until we found a suitable flat. We witnessed the lights of Sputnik flying over our heads at night and wondered whether this was a sign that we had made the right move to the big city.

  The boarding house proprietors were fellow Scots, Mr and Mrs Jimmy Murdoch. They were friendly with a couple called Mr and Mrs McDonald-Rouse. Mrs McDonald-Rouse ran a flourishing amateur concert party and was the accompanist to all the singers in the group. Her daughter Heather, a theatrical costumier, had recently married and sometimes dined with her parents and her new husband at the Valmeidere. In due course we were introduced to the McDonald-Rouses, Heather and her husband.

Through her work, Heather had met Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth shortly after their arrival in South Africa the year before and had become very friendly with them. Through the grapevine, we heard that Webster had sung the aria from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, St Paul at Heather’s wedding, entitled Be Thou Faithful unto Death. Later I learnt that this aria was one of his favourite choices when requested to sing a solo at a wedding. Another of his wedding favourites was the ballad, My Prayer.

John Corrigan, my father’s colleague, was an elder at St James’ Presbyterian Church, then situated in Mars Street, Malvern. He invited us to a performance of Messiah to be held in the Church Hall, conducted by Drummond Bell, organist and choirmaster at the Central Presbyterian Church, St George’s. Coincidentally, the tenor and soprano soloists were to be Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. This was the first time I ever attended a performance of Messiah, and the first time I ever saw Anne and Webster. I did not know then that Webster had been one of the foremost oratorio tenors in Britain, but I had heard a number of their duet recordings, which were often played on the radio. It now seems rather incongruous that they should be singing Messiah in a suburban Church Hall when only two years before Webster’s oratorio stamping ground had been the Royal Albert Hall, with the Royal Choral Society, with Sir Malcolm Sargent as conductor and other foremost oratorio soloists.

Since their arrival in South Africa, Anne and Webster had received a great deal of publicity on the radio and in the newspapers. As I have mentioned, their records were featured on South African radio a number of times each day. South Africans could not quite believe that such an illustrious theatrical couple had willingly chosen to exchange their successful careers and lives in the UK as the best-known duettists in Britain – possibly the world – to become immigrants in the colonial backwater of Johannesburg. My parents remembered them fondly from their frequent broadcasts in the UK, and seeing them in Variety and in the musical play, Sweet Yesterday at Glasgow theatres.

We sat fairly near the front of the hall on the right-hand side. I wish I could say that I remember every moment of that performance nearly sixty years ago. But sadly. I only remember snatches of it. Webster looked rather stern during the whole proceeding and I am sorry to admit that I was not immediately struck with the exquisite beauty of his voice. I did not know every aria from the Messiah then as I do now. In fact, the only piece I had heard before was the Halleluiah Chorus.

My most enduring memory of the occasion was the tea break when Anne, her hair recently cut in a rather startling Italian Boy hairstyle, drank tea and chatted animatedly with the star-struck tea ladies a few feet away from where we were seated. Little did I know then what a great influence they would exert on the rest of my life. JEAN COLLEN.

25 November 1957 – Messiah, Johannesburg Town Hall, Webster Booth(tenor)

December 1957 – The Dream of Gerontius, City Hall, Cape Town. Webster, conducted by Keith Jewell, aged 27. This was the first performance of Gerontius in South Africa.

PROGRAMMES AND ADVERTS – 1953 – AUGUST 1956

Unlike the accepted view that Anne and Webster were losing popularity because of the rise of American entertainers and rock ‘n roll, they still had plenty of work from 1953 to 1956. Through no fault of their own they were struggling with the Inland Revenue so decided to move to South Africa in July of 1956.

18 February 1953 Ash Wednesday.
Elected Joint presidents of Concert Artistes’ Association.

Webster Booth was the guest of Roy Plomley on Desert Island Discs on the BBC Home Service on 3 April 1953.

.

Opening of Desert Island Discs script. Sadly the recording is not available on the BBC webpage.
11 April 1953 – hardly something to commend him!

Anne as Mistress Knight and Webster as King Charles II in And So to Bed.

24 April 1953 – a poor crit for And so to Bed
in Coventry.
Diamond Wedding anniversary of Anne’s parents April 1953.
Anne and Webster went on an extensive tour of And So to Bed in the midst of many other commitments, particularly Merrie England in the Coronation Year.
Booths sing in concert version of Merrie England in Calgary on May 9 1953.
Merrie England at Luton Hoo with Douglas Fairbanks Junior

Merrie England at Luton Hoo.
CAA dinner 1953 Anne and Webster as presidents.
Advert – 1954

8 April 1954
15 April 1954

30 April 1954
16 May 1954

May 1954
Hiawatha concert had been cancelled for lack of interest. It was replaced by an extract from Aida.

21 September 1954 – Attack of Shingles. Far from “staying indoors for four or five days,” the pain troubled him periodically for many years to come.

28 October 1954
24 November 1954 – Victoria Congregational Church, Derby from Webster’s score.
15 December 1954

Webster’s score 10 December 1954
31 December 1954
I do not know whether Webster and Anne had any singing pupils in the UK.

27 May 1955 Gilbert and Sullivan concert.
29 April 1955 – Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert.
24 June 1955 – St Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow.
27 July 1955. Anne and Webster were presented to Princess Alexandra.

13 August 1955 Promenade Concert.
13 October 1955 Lady Audley’s Secret.
25 October 1955
November 1955 0n the way to South Africa for tour of Cape Province.

12 December 1955 – Arriving back in the UK again.

15 December 1955 Messiah, Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Town Hall

Return to South Africa for a further tour.

2 February 1956 Crit by Dora L. Sowden in Rand Daily Mail.

On “platteland tour”. Having tea in Bethal with accompanist, Arthur Tatler.
27 June 1956

Passenger List, Pretoria Castle – 12 July 1956.

On board the Pretoria Castle, 12 July 1956.

Signing the menu on board ship.
15 August 1956

PROGRAMMES AND ADVERTS (1923 – 1939)

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

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

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – JUNE 1961

1 June – College again. We have a long day which is rather depressing after the excitement of the week. This is broken by the lunch hour concert conducted by Jeremy Schulman with Annie Kossman as first violin. They play Poet and Peasant overture. Alan Solomon plays a violin solo with orchestra – Symphonie Espagnol. Last – Knightsbridge March by Coates. I meet Pat Eastwood again in the afternoon.

At night Mr Stratton calls for me for choir and this is enjoyable – any chance to sing is nice for me. A young tenor comes to practise songs for a wedding on Saturday – he’s singing This is My Lovely Day. He has a good voice but a face as miserable as death!

Come home from choir and listen to Webster on the radio. First, he plays a quartet from the Verdi Requiem. Webster says, “Verdi seemed to have a grudge against sopranos. In this record the soprano has to hold a note for twenty seconds – a real test of breathing if ever there was one!”

Plays an aria from Judas Maccabeus sung by Isobel Baillie. “Isobel is my ideal singer of oratorio. The way she floats up to the high Bs and B flats is beautiful to hear. It’s a long time since she visited this country, but I know she is well loved by all who saw and heard her.”

He talks about Faust and says, “I met Anne Ziegler during the filming of Faust. Of course, I was Faust and she the heroine, Marguerite. We used to be so tired doing it that it took the make-up man all his time to cover up our tired looks.”

This leads him into Rosemarie and he plays recordings by George Tsotsi, Frederick Harvey and Julie Andrews. The last sings Pretty Things and, says Webster. “Very prettily she sings it too!” He says he knew Julie Andrews as a child prodigy of 12 years old singing coloratura opera arias and making a lot of money for her parents. She lost her beautiful voice but still has a very workable, pleasing voice and acting talent to go with it.

He clears his throat violently, plays the Soldiers’ March and starts reminiscing about Canada and the Rockies and how much he and Anne enjoyed being there when they did a concert performance of Merrie England in Calgary in 1953. He says that a brown bear pulled at Anne’s skirt and that this was a very happy period of their lives. He plays the finale from Faust with himself, Joan Cross and Norman Walker.

Webster says, “Now Anne will join me in singing Indian Love Call. I’ve heard this record before but I shall never cease to wonder at their voices. So long as that record continues to be played they will be remembered for ever. He ends with the overture to Oklahoma! and then it’s “Goodnight until next week!”

2 June – College and thank heaven for the weekend. In the afternoon I buy a Durban paper and there is the advert for their concert in the city hall for over 60s – 25 cents a ticket with limited seating for the general public at 50 cents a ticket!

Go to guild at night. We have a bible quiz which is quite good fun but wouldn’t I rather have been at the Durban concert!

3 June – Go into town and have lunch with Mum and Dad and buy a few songs. Come home and sing and sing. Hear Webster and Anne singing Only a Rose on Freddie Carlé’s programme – feel terribly happy about this – too gorgeous for words!

6 June – College and then to studio. Phone rings and Anne comes through and says to him, “Webster, Salisbury wants you.” Webster speaks to someone in Salisbury and I hear him say, “Well Anne could come up too if necessary.” Anne comes into the kitchen wearing a red hat to cover absolutely straight unset hair, and a black dress and coat with wings for sleeves. She looks a bit corny all round. I go in and pay her and this makes her happy.

Anne and Webster meeting All Blacks at residence of New Zealand ambassador, Lower Houghton.

Anne and Webster 1960

We start on singing and she informs me brightly that I’m going to get a new exercise today to get the tongue flat. “ca, ca, ca” – very exhausting. She says, “Nothing is impossible.” Says Webster, “Once you get this you’ll wonder why you couldn’t do it all along.” We do The Lass and my breathing is dreadful. He says I’m expounding too much energy in diction and does a cruel imitation of this. We start again with breathing and he sings with me and breathes with me as well, and it goes better.

Anne tells me I have some excellent notes but I shall have to resign myself to the fact that I’m going to be a contralto, do I mind? “Most singers are so disappointed when they hear that they’re going to be contraltos because they think sopranos are far more romantic.” She says this in her most stagy, catty voice. Webster says that I shall definitely have to start on some contralto oratorio arias. O, Rest in the Lord would be best. I say that I shall copy it into a manuscript book for next week. He looks surprised that I should be able to do this.

I ask how they enjoyed Durban and Anne says theatrically, “It was lovely! Very rushed of course, but we managed to get a dip in the sea on Saturday morning, but it was freezing. Both concerts went marvellously – the second one was in the open air.”

Anne asks me if I can go at 4.30 next Tuesday. Will it be convenient? Oh, yes. Offers me an Eetsummore biscuit but I decline with thanks.  Anne escorts me to door still in red hat, angel-like coat and straight reddish-blonde hair. Today she was in one of her stagy and therefore less attractive moods.

8 June – Go to lunch hour concert – Edgar Cree conducting. The soloist is Cecilia Wessels – a large lady in her fifties looking every inch the typical prima donna of fifty years ago. On the loud notes her voice (dramatic soprano) is excellent but her soft notes tend to crack. Apparently, she is very well known and there is a saying about her, “Don’t say ships; say Wessels!”

At night Mr Stratton takes me to choir and we have reasonable time – all would be so much more pleasant if Mrs Weakley shut up a little.  Come home and listen to Webster while lying in bed. He plays an aria from Messiah sung by American bass-baritone, Donald Gramm – Why Do the Nations?

Webster talks about Bach and says that he and Bach have something in common – they were both educated at a cathedral school – free! But there the resemblance ends. Plays the Cantata for Ascension Day sung by four dear friends – Eva Turner, Kathleen Ferrier and two others whose names I don’t catch.

Next he plays something from Thais by Massenet, and then Don Pasquale. Rossini was in poor health when writing this and died in an asylum. Next come three songs from My Fair Lady sung by Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Stan Holloway. He says, “Anne always says that Rex should have been her brother-in-law but her sister married an Edinburgh accountant instead.” Re Julie Andrews, “We’ve known her since she was ten years of age and at one time she trained with Anne’s former singing teacher – Lilian Stiles-Allen who might be known to older listeners as an oratorio soprano.” Stan Holloway: “I’ve known Stan since his concert party days. All three were dear friends of ours.” What a lot of name-dropping in one session! But I’ve always admired the three, especially Rex Harrison for what he did for Kay Kendall.

Lastly, he plays Merry Widow by Mantovani – Manty as he is affectionately known. Lovely programme but none of his records there, I notice.

9 June College. Gail Blue leaves today – she has found a job!

Go to guild at night. George Fleetwood, Claudie, Rose and I go with Kippie to Parkwood guild and after much searching we find the hall and enter late amidst the rendering of a song by an unfortunate young baritone.

A play is presented – The Late Mr Wesley which is very good and the girl turns out to be Wendy Smith from the rink.  Afterwards, we greet each other effusively and she tells me that she’s doing a BSc at varsity and she must come to the rink some time. She is terribly sweet and her acting was lovely. Also meet Lynnette Roberts from college and she is most effusive too. In her effusion she knocks a cup of tea on to George and his suit! Rushes for cloth to wipe it and apologises – effusively!

10 June – Go skating this morning. Neill is there and is gay (when not bragging) and so is Menina full of a long holiday in Durban. Dawn V comes and she too is full of herself. My skating is still the same as it was a year or two ago! Talk on and off and am pestered by Dawn to dance. I have actually lost all lust for skating – the only reason I go there now is for a social occasion.  I hope that my interest in singing will not peter out as my interest for skating has but I have been brought up on music so maybe it’ll win through!

In the afternoon I go with parents to see Tunes of Glory with Alec Guiness, John Mills and Duncan Macrae (Parents knew him in Britain). It is an excellent picture set in Edinburgh and I enjoy it immensely.

11 June Eleven kids in Sunday school today including Michael Ferguson and Mark – what a time I have!  In the afternoon I practise singing and sing in choir at church at night. Mr R’s sermon is excellent and after service Leaders’ representatives are elected – Daddy is elected on to the committee.

12 June – Mother’s birthday (60!) College. In the afternoon I happen to meet Dawn Snyman outside the CNA. She hasn’t changed a bit after a year and is still a darling. She says that Erica Batchelor has gone for a holiday overseas. Dawn is going to visit Chubby. Says she wrote five letters to her and got a postcard in return! We talk about Kay and the rink and she says she is at Modern Methods business college. We say we’ll probably see each other at the rink. She is a pet. I always liked her.

Practise singing at night for great day tomorrow.

13 June In afternoon go to reference library and read Stage Who’s Who and Television and Radio Who’s Who – both very eloquent about Webster and Anne – makes me feel terribly insignificant and then very determined to do well at singing!

Go to the studio and Webster answers the door and says, “Anne isn’t back yet, but just have a seat till she comes – she won’t be long.” I sit down and listen to Webster coughing. Anne doesn’t come in for ages so Webster says that I had better come into the studio and he’ll make a cup of tea while we wait for her. He says, “I have to go to Rhodesia the week after next, dammit, and God knows how much music I have to take with me.” I make the necessary grunts in reply. Then he says, “I don’t know what’s happened to Anne – she only went to John Orrs and that was half an hour ago.” Anne duly returns after I have had a nice feast on the photographs. She is wearing a fur coat. She apologises for being late. She went to John Orrs to buy a pattern and all the patterns she wanted were out of stock and won’t be in for six weeks.

Anne removes her coat and says, “Well, my dear, let’s start.” Webster brings tea and I drink it. He says to her, “I’m so sorry, I put sugar in it, darling.”

She says archly, “Monster! We’ve had three cups of tea today and I’ve had sugar in every one of them!”

We start on the ca-ca exercise and I tell Anne how exhausting I find it as a prologue. She is delighted and they both stare at my tongue and are charmed with it. Anne says that I must have practised thoroughly which is very different from most of her other pupils who don’t pay any attention to what she tells them to do!

I mention that they asked me to copy O, Rest in the Lord and I produce my copy. They are both thrilled with the manuscript copy and Anne says that Webster will be coming to me to copy out music for him.

We do it and it goes very well. We concentrate on it line by line, and Webster gives a demonstration – no imitations of me this week – and they tell me that my voice seems to have improved and is settling down nicely. We end with The Lass and Anne says that a two and a half octave range is quite fantastic and I have the makings of an excellent singer.

When she sees me to the door, she asks, “Are you glad you’re doing singing, Jean?” and I say, “Oh, yes. I love it!” and boy, I really do. Ernest is waiting to go in for his lesson and gives me an earnest look. Say goodbye and come away gaily – a little more cheered than at other times.

15 June College. We go to lunch hour concert. Edgar Cree conducts the Ballet suite from Faust and a waltz from Eugene Onegin. Adelaide Newman is one of the best pianists I have heard.

At night I go to choir with Mr Stratton.  When I arrive home I listen to Webster and he is excellent as usual. He starts off with an excerpt from the Mozart Requiem and then plays part of the Ninth Symphony, but says that although he likes to listen to it, he loathes singing it, although he has sung it under three twin knights – Sargent, Beecham and Wood, and also Felix Weingartner.

Next he plays two pieces from Cavaliera Rusticana, an opera about ordinary people. He says the opera is very bloody, “A lovely cheerful night’s entertainment.” He plays The Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome, which is unpleasant, in my opinion.

“It’s amazed at how many South Africans we meet here can remember us in Sweet Yesterday at the Adelphi, specially written for us by Kenneth Leslie-Smith. I would like to play you three songs recorded from the show sung by Anne and me.”

The first is a duet, Life Begins Anew followed by Anne singing Sweet Yesterday and the last one is a rousing one by Webster called Morning Glory. What voices they had!  He finishes with some more Lehar.

16 June – College – Go to guild at night and we have Victoria guild over so there is quite a crowd. Playing goes very well and we see two films on refugees – one with Yul Brunner. Ann takes the epilogue.

17 June Go skating – Dawn and friend, Sally, MJ and Neill are there and we have glorious time. Neill does aeroplane spins with Dawn which come on nicely and a double spin with me which is gorgeous. I have regained old form and all is terribly gay.

In the afternoon I practise singing and at night we go to Mr and Mrs Scott – they have a lovely little flat in Reynolds View. We listen to the Gondoliers and they are full of praise for Webster and Anne. See programme of Dancing Years – they are in advert – Sweethearts of Song.

18 June Sunday school then beautiful sermon by Mr Cape. Peter tells me that he has to take speech lessons for preaching so he wants the Booth’s telephone numbers.  The Alexanders come in the afternoon with Mrs Radzewitz’s mother.

19 June – College – come home with Margaret Masterton on the bus and ask her how her parents are enjoying their holiday in the UK. She tells me that her father died in Scotland two weeks ago. I feel rotten about it. Poor Margaret and poor Mrs M. She says that she’s dreading her mother’s return and can’t believe that her father is dead.

We talk about singing and her exams and I tell her about Webster and Anne and singing – contralto etc. She says that Yvonne Hudson (Miss Kempton Park) is learning with Anne. We talk about Drummond Bell which takes Margaret’s mind of her sadness. Apparently, her father knew that he was dying and wanted to return to Scotland to die there.

20 June College and then singing lesson. They are discussing various songs when I go in – keep on talking about Sweet Yesterday. I sit in the kitchenette and think how gorgeous their record of it sounded on Thursday night.

Anne comes in – is quite charming and her hair looks lovely. She asks if I can change times from Tuesday to Thursday at 4 o’clock. I say that it will be fine. She says she hates messing me around but that will be settled. She says she’s going up to Rhodesia the week after next but will talk to me about that later.

I sure will have a musical Thursday – lunch hour concert, Webster and Anne, choir and then Webster at night.

We start on scales – ca-ing away – and Anne is very pleased with my tongue. We go on to Rest in the Lord and I don’t do it too badly. Webster sings a bit of it with me and tells me that I must sing louder. He stands further away and tells me to sing loudly, so I do. He says, “It’s beginning to sound like a voice now!” What did it sound like before, I wonder! Webster says, “It’s terrible, but I can’t find that contralto book I wanted for Jean – It had Father of Heav’n in it and everything.”

He starts rummaging through all the music albums and Anne says, “Let’s try He Shall Feed His Flock while we’re waiting for him.” My copy of it is “out of date” so she alters it – first wrongly –and she says, “Oh, darling, I’m sorry,” and alters it once more and we start again. She says that I have some beautiful notes in the aria and I must try to get the same quality into all the notes and it’ll sound gorgeous.

Webster says that I mustn’t be afraid of having a good sing. She says, “I hope you don’t feel as though you’ll make a fool of yourself in front of us.” “Good God, no!” Webster says vehemently.

It goes quite well today and they are sweet. Anne says very proudly, “Webster is going up to Rhodesia next week to adjudicate.” I say, “That is lovely.” She also tells me that she is going up the week after next and will have to alter my time again – she’s sorry.

When I leave, Ernest is there once again. Peter is not mentioned so undoubtedly he has not yet phoned. If he decides to go to Nora Taylor I couldn’t give a darn!  Listen to the radio at night and Ivor Dennis is excellent in his little programme.

21 June – Hear Kathleen Ferrier singing on the Afrikaans programme. She sings folk songs – The Keel Row, Blow the Wind Southerly, The White Lily, Ma Bonny Lad, Willow, Willow. If that’s what a contralto can do, please let me be one.

22 June – Anne’s 51st birthday. Go up to choir at night – Mr S isn’t there because Mrs S is ill, so we go through the hymns in a haphazard fashion. Ann and Leona come down to excuse him. Joan tells me that she went to see The Dancing Years last Saturday night and loved it, She makes me la away at Waltz of My Heart.

Come home from choir and listen to Webster on the radio. He starts with the Verdi Requiem – Libera and Dies Irae. Soprano ends on pianissimo top B. Very nice but very heavy.  He plays his own recording of a recit and aria from Samson conducted by Stanford Robinson with the BBC orchestra – very beautiful indeed. He plays parts of Carmen conducted by Thomas Beecham and sung by Victoria de los Angeles.

He plays parts of Annie Get Your Gun. Emile Littler presented it in London and their friend, Wendy Toye produced it. He says they were at the first night of the show and the audience wouldn’t let the cast go so they had to sing all the numbers from the show over again. When they were in Australia it got the same reception.  He ends with the overture to Gipsy Princess which he sang many times for the BBC. The recording is played by their old friend Mantovani.

24 June – Have lunch in and have a look in Polliack’s. Net Maar ‘n Roos is displayed in the window. Mummy says I can have the record some time. We see No Love for Johnny with Peter Finch, Mary Peach, Stan Holloway and Billie Whitelaw – excellent.

net maar 'n roos (2)

Mr and Mrs Diamond come at night and I sing for them. They are impressed and I feel happy.

Webster arrives in Salisbury, (then Rhodesia).

1961 arriving in salisbury

29 June – Go to Anne in the afternoon and have a really gorgeous time. I arrive earlier than her and hear her coming out of the lift and thanking the man profusely for holding the door open for her. She wears a red hat and cape-like coat. She says, “Oh, hello, Jean. Did you think I wasn’t coming?” “Oh no, Anne. I was here early.” “The other two before you have ‘flu so that’s why I’m here so late.”

We go in and she fouters around in the office and I look at the pictures and I try to figure out who some of the people are – I only recognise Leslie Green and the Royal family. Anne asks if I can come on the Monday (a public holiday) because she’s going up to Rhodesia next week on Sunday. Yes, of course I can!

We start on ca exercise which she says is marvellous and dead on. She says that I must do 4 cas at a time on the same note in the same exercise and then my placing will be “bang on”.

We do He Shall Feed His Flock. She says it’s going to be gorgeous but I must watch that I don’t spread my “ees”. She says, “I can say what I like about Boo and I know that we have our little squabbles, but I must admit that he has really beautiful diction. It doesn’t matter what he sings – opera, oratorio or pop musical comedy – his vowels are just the same. He was trained in the right way since he was seven years old as a choir boy and he has never forgotten that basic training. You are just at the right age to be trained in the proper way, Jean, and no matter what you do in the future you’ll always be able to fall back on your first basic training. I think it’s wonderful the way you do everything I tell you to. You’re a good girl and you have a lovely voice.”

She asks, “Do you like singing, Jean, and I say profoundly, “Oh, yes. I like it very much.” Not very eloquent but very true.

We go on to Rest in the Lord and this goes well until we reach, “And wait…” and then my tongue goes into the wrong position. She takes me over to the mirror to see that I get my tongue down and she looks in the mirror and says, “Don’t mind me keeping my hat on, but my hair’s such a mess that I couldn’t possibly take it off. I’m going to have it done tomorrow though, so it’ll be OK again!”

She says that she thinks I’m losing my breath too quickly because of the “h” and that she gets her “hs” out without moving her ribs with her abdomen. She gives me a demonstration, and honestly, it is quite marvellous. She tells me to feel her ribs and puts my hands on them with hers – they’re gloriously warm compared with my cold ones. She’s a miracle with her breathing.

We do The Lass and when it comes to top A it sounds terrible to me – not so much terrible but because my parents have said it sounds terrible. She says, “Jean, you have a really beautiful note there. No! Don’t make a face. I wouldn’t tell you that if it was rotten. But look happy about it and don’t let people see you’re thinking, “Oh, God, I can never reach this!”

When we finish, Anne says, “You know, Jean, you really and truly have a beautiful voice.” I feel quite overcome at this and look a bit grim. She says, “Well, aren’t you happy about it? You look as if it was something terrible.” I manage to get out a strangled, “Thank you,” and she looks at me and says, “Jean, I really believe that you are shy. Please, whatever you do, don’t feel shy with me. I don’t know about HIM, but please never feel shy with me, dear.”

I tell Anne to have a nice time in Rhodesia and we say goodbye…  She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She’s so generous and natural – she’s an angel. 

Listen to Webster at night. He starts off with something from Elijah. He says that there seems to be everything in the record that he likes – his favourite baritone, Harold Williams, his favourite choral society, Huddersfield, and his favourite conductor, Sir Malcolm. It is a lovely record and Harold Williams is excellent. Webster says HW’s voice is nectar to his ears. Next he plays the quartet from Elijah, Rest Thy Hearts Upon the Lord.

Webster talks about Handel playing the organ for a choral society near Bushy Heath. “Where Anne and I spent much time filming Gounod’s Faust. Evidently the society had a collection of very high tenors and it was for them that Handel wrote Acis and Galatea. Webster plays his own recording this, Love Sounds the Alarm conducted by Warwick Braithwaite. ‘Well, you can see what I mean about the high notes, can’t you?” he says when the record is finished.

He goes on to Lucia di Lammermoor and says that Mimi C is coming out next August to do this and she’ll have a good two hours of coloratura singing to do. He plays two arias from the opera. He plays three songs from The Song of Norway which, he says, he saw in London. It was produced in America in the open air with an artificial iceberg for the skating ballet. He plays Freddie and His Fiddle and Strange music. He will play more of this next week and some items from The Vagabond King.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES. January to December 1960

7 January 1960 – Today Gillian McDade (last year’s head girl at Jeppe) phones me and I congratulate her on her first class matric pass. She promises to sell me her Ridout English textbook and asks me to usher with her at the Reps theatre (later the Alexander) for The Glass Slipper and I accept with thanks.december 1959 glass slipper3

I meet her on the tram and she tells me about her holiday with Margaret Robson. We get to the Reps and see Miss Jacobson with her nephew. We usher the audience to their seats. The house is full so we sit on the carpeted steps of the side aisle to watch the play which is really marvellous. Anne Ziegler as the Fairy Godmother is my favourite, and boy, has she got a voice!

1959 glass slipper3

24 April 1960 – Have a quiet morning and finish knitting my new pullover which is a fair success. In the afternoon I go with dad and the dog, Shandy to his work for him to check up on something and then we go for a run to Alberton and Germiston.

Listen to Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in the last programme of the series Do You Remember? on Springbok Radio. They say they have a tiny cottage in Craighall Park, and are sorry to end their programme because they have been happy to share their reminiscences with everyone. As George Moore says afterwards, we seem to be saying goodbye to everybody today. All the things that we know and love are taken away and replaced by something new, but we will always feel nostalgia for what has gone.

26 May 1960 (Ascension Day) – Have a quiet day but have calls from Mr Moody and Mrs McDonald-Rouse asking us to go to a Caledonian concert on Saturday night. It’s going to be a very busy weekend for Friday night is our church Variety concert with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.

27 May 1960 – Go to confirmation class but only Ann Stratton, Rosemary Nixon and I arrive so we don’t have it. I have my autograph book handy and learn that Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth have to leave straight after the first half of the show, so Ann promises that she will come with me backstage. The harmonica band and the accordion band are excellent. Dawn Berrange, the girl ventriloquist is really talented and witty.

27 may 1960 kensington methodist church 1960 concert-03 - copy27 may 1960 variety concert

Then came Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, and I promise you, they are fabulous. She wears a gorgeous tangerine sheath dress with sequins, very low cut with a wide panel at the back. Her hands are very long and slim and she wears a large diamond ring. He wears tails and seems to be growing a moustache. Their turn was honestly wonderful and they sang terrific songs, including Ivor Novello’s My Dearest Dear, I Can Give You the Starlight, Fold your Wings – all the songs I try to sing but the notes are too high for me. They fool about a bit and she is very piquant and fun. They may be losing their voices, as everyone tells me, but certainly not their charm.

27 may 1960 concert autographs

As soon as their performance is over Ann and I rush out and wait by the vestry to catch them as they leave, but eventually Ann leaves me alone to go and serve tea. Anne comes out first and I ask for her autograph. She says, “Why certainly,” and proceeds to sign my book. She is very nice and not at all standoffish. He comes along after her and says that we had better go into the vestry so that he can sign my book. By this stage, I was in such a flap that I am going to let him go into the vestry before me, but he stood behind like a gentleman and ushered me into the vestry where he signed my book. After this, they were ushered out through the church. They are fabulous!

It was a great concert and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was such a lovely day: Cookie Matthews back at the ice rink, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth…

5 October. Picture of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth together with David Davies advertising their Afrikaans LP in paper at night. 

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l0 October See Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth’s long: player in one of the shops. Looks quite nice but how does one sing We’ll Gather Lilacs in Afrikaans?  I write to them at night to ask about a place in their singing school. Here’s hopin’!

l7 October. Swot in afternoon and read the paper at night. There is a photo of Rosalind Fuller in it, looking charming. Also there is a rather strange article about Webster Booth. Evidently he went to a talent show incognito as Charlie Eastwood. He sang, and then the audience was told who he was! Incidentally “Eastwood” is his wife”s maiden name. Her stage name is Anne Ziegler. Very strange this!

1960 charlie eastwood

4 December. Come home with Wendy Scott-Hayward, feeling rather sad about leaving school.

When I arrive, Mum phones and tells me she phoned Anne Ziegler! Says that Anne was charming and I have to go to see her on Thursday evening. I am thrilled. Mum says she has an English accent and is sweet.

Mummy says that Anne Ziegler was very friendly and conversation went more or less like this:

M. I understand, you run a school of Singing and Stagecraft. My daughter is interested in doing drama.

A. Oh yes, speech training. How old is she?

M. 17.

A. Oh lovely. What’s her name?

M. Jean Campbell.

A. Oh, what a lovely Scots name!

They go on to make an appointment. I have to go at 5.30 to the studio on Thursday. I’m so nervous!

Anne

8 December 1960 Johannesburg.

I meet Mum in the Capinero restaurant and we have something to eat which I can hardly digest owing to extreme excitement, and then we proceed to Polliacks building and go up to the eighth floor on a horrifying lift. When we arrive outside the studio we can hear a girl singing so we wait till the singing stops before we knock. Anne comes to the door herself and is very bright with gingery-blonde hair, big blue-green eyes with lots of eye make-up on, wearing a striped dress. She is taller than I imagined her to be and she says, “Oh, please take a seat in there,” pointing to a kitchenette with a washbasin. “I”ll be with you in a minute.” We sit in kitchenette and listen to her teaching the girl to sing. Anne has a strong, purposeful voice with a touch of English accent. She’s from Liverpool originally but it doesn’t sound as though she has any traces of a Liverpool accent.
After fifteen minutes the girl leaves and Anne takes us into her large studio which has a grand piano at one end, a big mirror at the other and a divan (converted into a studio couch) against the wall. On the wall behind the studio couch are a whole lot of photographs of her and Webster in different shows, featured with various celebrities, and an excellent cartoon of him. She apologises for keeping us and says that her husband is in Port Elizabeth at the moment, so she has to cope alone. She says, “He’s singing Messiah tonight and it will be broadcast on the English programme”.
She asks what I want to do and I tell her “Drama,” and she asks, “Will I have to get rid of a dreadful South African accent?” I say that I am from Scotland and she says, “Yes, I think you have more of a Scottish accent than a South African one. You have a really good Scottish background.” We discuss suitable times for lessons and she says, “Next week I”ll be rehearsing like mad for my play at the Playhouse and I don’t want to mess you around, so can you start the week before Christmas?” I say yes, any time, then she looks up her appointment book and asks if Thursday 22nd would suit. “Yes, certainly.” She says that she finds it difficult to get S Africans to sound “h” as in hark and also the vowel sounds are difficult. She tells me that singing is merely an advanced form of talking – merely!

Anne Ziegler studio fees

We get up to depart and she says to me suddenly, “You’ve got a lovely face.” I nearly faint on the spot. Mum says archly, “She doesn’t think so.” Anne stares at me and says, “0h, but she has, and a lovely smile too. Make the most of it!” Oh, brother! She apologises again for keeping us waiting and wishes us goodbye. She’s a honey!
I’ve never met or spoken to anyone as famous as that before and I thought I should be frightfully nervous and that she would be snooty and standoffish, but truly, I felt at home with her. My heart didn’t jump wildly in my mouth as it has done for lesser people. I’m sure I shall get on very well with her. She tells me to bring a Shakespeare and poetry, so here’s hoping. Perhaps this is the start of something new. All I can say is, that Anne Ziegler is a regular honey.

22 December 1960. Go into town in the morning and get Gill Mc D on the tram and it feels like old times – drama groups etc. We talk of the theatre. She tells me that Percy Tucker says that people with clean minds book for Jack and the Beanstalk whereas the dirty-minded book for Lock Up Your Daughters!

Go up to Polliacks eighth floor (trying to tell this impartially) – knock at the door about a dozen, times but there is no answer: Begin to feel furious and ready to scream with wrath when suddenly Webster appears, armed with briefcase. He looks at me quizzically and I say to him that I am meant to be having a lesson. He is mystified but quite charming. He takes me in and apologises for being late – traffic was so bad. He then goes into the little office and looks up his appointment book and comes out looking a bit frustrated and tells me that my lesson is down with his wife and she didn’t come in this morning.

I look at him rather coldly and he tells me that she’s in a play, you know, yes I do. Well, last night it went very badly and she is in a real fandangle about it and has to go to an extra rehearsal in the afternoon and is most upset. She did mean to come into the Studio in the morning but because of the rehearsal in the afternoon she didn’t. He will phone her.

I hear him talking to the maid, “Hilda, is the madam in?”

Evidently the madam is not in so after great confusion over finding telephone numbers, he phones Heather McDonald-Rouse and says, “Oh, Heather, is Anne there?”

Anne is there for they have a conversation and he does not seem exactly pleased with her. He comes out and says, “Anne just doesn’t know what to say, she’s so ashamed!” He asks if I could come next week and says, “I’ll make a big cross next to your name for next time.” Naturally, I have to agree and he asks if I came from far. I say, “Not particularly,” rather dryly. He apologises once again – more apologetically than ever – and says that he would take me himself but he is frightened that Anne would not approve of what he might give me. He is, on the whole, quite charming and genuinely upset about his wife’s behaviour, but I am very disappointed. I can’t help it – I just never believed that she would forget!  

However, I have met Webster so that’s something. He is very nice, with rather a red face, and his speaking voice is beautiful – just as it is when he speaks over the radio.

29 December 1960 – Go for a lesson today with Anne. When I go up to the studio I hear rather good piano playing which is either him or her because Anne answers the door and he is in the studio. She apologises for last week and I say that it was quite all right. The Press, in the form of a girl reporter and male photographer, arrive so I retire to kitchenette till they leave. They ask her whether she would like to go back to Britain and she says she would like to see her friends again, and the snow. Says that she thinks that theatre audiences here could be more spontaneous and not so complacent. She talks a bit more about the theatre and reporter asks if she has any vices. She says, “Well I don”t smoke and I drink very moderately,” and interview ends.

anne december 1960

Anne calls me in and is hang of a sweet, tells me to relax and read She Walks in Beauty. I do this with her sitting next to me, making me feel a wee bit nervous.

She says it is fairly good and she will record my voice so that I’ll be able to hear my mistakes. When one goes on the stage one must not give a hint as to where one comes from. She was born and bred in Lancashire but she hopes she doesn’t sound like a Lancastrian on stage. Webster was born in Birmingham and only when he is in a paddy does he reveal his accent. She doesn’t want to kill my Scots accent but on the stage..

Anne makes me read She Walks in Beauty on the tape and I hear it played; she points out faults in my vowels and then she reads it – really beautifully – and makes me read it again and says it is an improvement. Webster says that he thinks my diction is very good and looks impressed. She says that I must use my face for expression and goes over the poem again, bringing out the meaning in the words.

She says that I must learn to breathe properly. She puts her hands on my ribs and tells me to take a deep breath. I do this and then she tells me to put my hands on her ribs to feel how deep a breath she takes. Honestly! Her ribs expand like anything! No wonder she has a beautiful voice. She makes me do it again so that the upper part of my chest does not move and says that I shall have to practise in front of a mirror in the morning – naked to see that I only move ribs out to the side!

She says I must learn the poem by heart and gives me an exercise to improve breathing which requires the use of vocal cords! Webster says, “Surely she is good enough not to need that exercise,” but Anne says, “It will do her good to improve her breathing.” She thinks I am going to get on well and comes with me to the door and wishes me a happy New Year. I say, “The same to you,” and depart happy.

She is very vivacious and completely natural. I have to go for a lesson next Tuesday at 11.30 – as if I could forget. She has had her hair rinsed and it is now auburn, but she is very beautiful still with utterly gorgeous blue eyes. Webster is nice too of course, but he does not have half the vivacity she possesses. She is adorable.

I will not describe my future lessons full, but I thought I’d include this extract as it was my very first lesson with the Booths.