A Biography of Arthur Lloyd 1839 - 1904
Lloyd was a popular and immensely successful song writer, composer,
playwright, comedian, and Music Hall performer during the last four
decades of the 19th century, and became known as the the
first of the Lion Comiques.
Arthur's mother, Eliza Horncastle, was a member of the celebrated Pyne and Harrison opera company, and his father, Horatio Lloyd was a celebrated actor and comedian who, though born in London, performed predominantly in Scotland and spent many years as principle comedian at the Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street in Glasgow. Arthur's Grandfather, Robert Lloyd, was a Hatter in the Strand and also a published author, patented inventor, and a member of London's famous 'Eccentric Club'.
Right - A very rare and early 1860s signed Carte de visite (CDV) card of Arthur Lloyd - Courtesy Joe Guttridge. The back of the card reads: 'Photographed from life by the London & Provincial Company, 443 West Strand, London, W.C. Opposite Charing Cross Railway Station.
Arthur was the third child born into what was to become a very large family, his siblings, including those of his father's second marriage in 1872 to Mary Park, amounted to sixteen brothers and sisters, some of whom went on to become performers themselves. Of special note was his older brother Fred Lloyd who died young but in his short career performed with some of the most celebrated actors of his generation including Edwin Booth and Henry Irving. And his brother Robert who performed with his wife Lizzie Nelson for many years, sometimes in Arthur's own Company. But when Arthur was growing up the last thing his father wanted him to do, was to go on the stage. Performers today are often wary of encouraging their own children to go on the stage as the business is tough enough now, but back in the 19th century it was a great deal tougher. Horatio wanted his son to become an engineer and in the age of the industrial revolution this was understandable, but Arthur was less than enthralled with this idea, he had inherited the show-business gene and he made his feelings very plain to his father.
In an interview with Arthur by The ERA in July 1890 he said that his father had told him that if he went on the Music Hall stage he would become a drunkard. Arthur took this to heart and although he did eventually go on the Music Hall stage he made certain that he never became a drunkard. The Era describes this common joining of the Music Hall singer and the demon drink in Arthur's Obituary thus:
'The fact was that in those days music hall singers were greatly tempted to drink. There was no charge for admission to the hall, but every kind of refreshment was sold at the then high rate of sixpence, while adjacent to the stage door was a room called the green-room, but actually a semi-private bar, through which the professionals had to pass, and wherein they usually spent the interim between their “turns,” which were two or more in a night.
A popular singer often had to oblige with a dozen songs in the evening. Arthur Lloyd remembered his father’s unpleasant prophecy, and was never a patron of the green room." The Era July 23rd 1904.
Eventually Horatio gave in to his son's demands and in 1856 at the tender age of seventeen he was sent off to the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, where his brother Fred was a leading actor, to learn the ropes. Arthur joined the company and received the princely sum of 12 shillings a week in wages.
Later that year, in October 1856, when on a break from the Plymouth Theatre, Arthur tried his hand at Music Hall for the first time, making his first appearance at the Minerva Hall in Glasgow, with something of a wobbly start. The Glasgow Amateur of October the 15th, reported: "Arthur Lloyd, a son of our old friend the comedian, was honoured? with a double encore to his imitation of Mrs Florence's ridiculous song of, 'Bobbing Around,' and on his third appearance, not being prepared with anything different, he was victimised with most unequivocal disapprobation! The very same thing occurred at his second song on the programme. We would have expected better manners from such a respectable-looking audience. If the young man, who does not seem to have had much stage experience, and who was doing his best to please, was not up to the mark, why insist on his coming on a third time? We have no hesitation in saying that his treatment on Saturday evening was shameful, and perhaps the better plan, in future, would be to sturdily refuse to answer all double or even single encores, which, being now indiscriminately accorded, are no compliment whatever.' The Glasgow Amateur, October the 15th 1856.
After two years at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth Arthur joined his father's regular touring production of 'Facts and Fancies' which opened at the Theatre Royal, Trades Hall, Arbroath and then moved on to the Theatre Royal, Aberdeen.
Right - A Poster for Horatio Lloyd, and his son Arthur Lloyd, in 'Facts & Fancies' at the Theatre Royal, Trades Hall, Arbroath in 1858 - Click to Enlarge. More information on Horatio Lloyd's 'Facts and Fancies' can be found in his Autobiography here...
Arthur then toured with Horatio for several years but by but by 1861 he was tiring of playing second fiddle to his famous father, and earning just two pounds a week for his efforts, and although the comic concert was fairly regular work, during the off season he still had to earn money somewhere. He had by this time however, managed to get plenty of intermittent engagements singing at concerts and the like, often for half a guinea or even a guinea a time. This must have encouraged him to set off on his own, and in March 1861 he got lucky, securing an engagement at Glasgow's Whitebait Music Hall for four pounds a week, it was an engagement which was to become the start of a long and highly successful Music Hall career.
In Peter Charlton's article Arthur Lloyd - The first of the Lion Comiques he says: 'Arthur's hit of the evening was Sam Cowell's "The Railway Porter" which Cowell had given him the rights to sing; Arthur always gave Cowell a credit when ever he sang this song. Copyright of material was a very serious matter to Lloyd all through his career.'
Right - Sam Cowell performing his song 'The Railway Porter.'
The Era applauded Arthur's act saying: "Mr. Lloyd's comic songs are of the good old style, humorous without being coarse; and excellently sung without depending upon gagging absurdity for their success."
And at the Whitebait Arthur was a decided hit, going on to play there for three months straight. By April a reviewer remarked: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd is even more popular than ever before.... His Scotch songs are inimitable and take marvelously.' In May another said: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd, still the great attraction and now engaged for a considerable time.' And by the end of May they were lamenting his future departure: 'Mr. Lloyd will leave a vacuum behind him on his departure Saturday, not easily filled.'
Emboldened by his success in Glasgow, Arthur set off to perform at the Belfast Coliseum which The Era announced in their 16th of June edition thus: 'After four months at Whitebait Rooms, Glasgow, going to Colosseum, Belfast on the 19th June for two months. Shouts of laughter and thunders of applause.' And when he arrived in Belfast Arthur enlisted an: 'Enthusiastic welcome from a crowded audience every evening.'
Then on July the 14th he was off to Holder's Grand Concert Hall in Birmingham, and the next week to Hardy's Concert Hall in Manchester, where he was a great success with his 'Transformation song' in which he changed into four different characters and played three instruments. The local press said that Arthur was: 'The most attractive comic singer since the time of Cowell. Enthusiastically received and heartily encored. His peculiar comic singing has elicited much applause.' They even go on to enthuse that Arthur is: 'The great sensation comique. Sam Cowell's double.'
Arthur remained in Manchester until late September, then returned to a warm welcome in Birmingham, and then was back in Glasgow's Whitebait Music Hall for December where one reviewer remarked that his: 'Songs have created quite a furor, the audience appear never tired of hearing and applauding. Amongst the most celebrated sensation singers of the day.' And another said: 'Arthur Lloyd returned with a budget of new songs which were so well sung as to inflict rather a severe penalty on himself, namely that of having to comply with 5 or 6 recalls.' And the final celebration of his first year in Music Hall was this reviewer saying: 'The greatest favourite that ever appeared at the Whitebait.' It was quite a year for the young Arthur Lloyd, who at only 22 years old had had a remarkable first foray into the Music Halls of Britain, he must have been more than a little pleased with his success.
But Arthur wasn't the only member of the Lloyd family to be celebrating at the beginning of the new year of 1862. His father Horatio, at the age of 55, was still going strong at the Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street, Glasgow, and Arthur's Uncle, George Lloyd, was celebrating the publication of his new book. On the 25th of December 1819 George had sailed with his uncle Charles Jeffreys to Van Diemen's Land, which is now known as Tasmania, on the ship the Saracen, arriving at Hobart Town on the 24th of April 1820. After many years living in Tasmania and then Australia George wrote a fascinating book about the voyage and his experiences in these far away places. He had been away from home for over 30 years so it was probably no surprise to anyone when he called his new book 'Thirty Three Years in Tasmania and Victoria.'
Arthur spent the first part of his new year continuing to entertain a delighted Glasgow audience at the Whitebait where The ERA on January the 5th remarked: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd, comic vocalist, still continues to convulse the audiences who have crowded The Whitebait Rooms, Glasgow, day and night, during the New Year holidays.' By February reviews were saying: 'Nightly received with roars of laughter and thunders of applause.' And by the middle of February he was apparently: 'Still the rage.'
On the 27th of February Arthur left Glasgow to try and prove himself further afield, he began his tour in Greenock, then went on to Paisley, Stirling, Dunfirmline and then back to Birmingham's Holder's Grand Concert Hall where, on May the 18th, the Birmingham Daily News reported: 'Night after night as this mirth-inspiring singer appears upon the stage, are the risible muscles of the spectators excited, and instances of laughter holding both his sides may be witnessed in every part of this chaste and beautiful hall.' Then in July he was booked at the Grainger Concert Hall, in Newcastle On Tyne (Shown Left) right up until the end of August, where he was reviewed as: 'One of the best comic vocalists we ever heard,' and was said to be: 'Drawing immense houses here.'
Left - The Grainger Music Hall, Newcastle in 1943 - Click for more information on this Theatre.
Indeed, for Arthur it must have seemed that he could do no wrong. On September the 6th, and then every Saturday that month he performed at the City Hall in Glasgow and was equally enthusiastically received. One reviewer, on the 13th of September said: 'The great hit of the evening was destined to be made by the comic gentleman, son of our popular comedian, Mr. Lloyd of the Royal.'
And so, flushed with his successes in Scotland and the north of England, where he was an ever growing sensation, where else would a young man look to but the Metropolis itself. After ending his engagement in Glasgow at the end of September Arthur left the familiarity of his home country of Scotland and set of for London. It must have seemed an enormous distance in 1862, and he must have been pretty apprehensive about whether he could make the grade in Britain's Capital City.
And the train journey down to London was something he would not forget in a hurry either. He traveled down with W. G. Ross who was a regular performer at the Coal Hole and a singer of long and descriptive historic songs, songs that could take nearly a half an hour to sing and would detail the entire plot of a novel or drama. He liked singing them so much that he carried on with them despite the public having long ago become bored of them, something which would eventually see him decline in favour so much that he ended up being just a singer in the chorus. Added to his endless singing Ross carried a bottle of whisky with him for the journey and he drank so much of it that at one point he removed his wig to reveal that he had a completely bald head, this was very bad taste in those days, and quite horrified an old lady who was traveling in the same carriage with them.
When they finally arrived in London Arthur was met at the station by his friend Harry Clifton, the popular song writer and performer, who advised him to take lodgings in Islington, where his last turn of the evening would be. So off Arthur went to Islington and eventually found a lodging house which looked promising, but it must have been quite a shock when the Landlady who opened the door to him was none other than the old lady who had been so scandalised on the train by Ross's bald head.
Arthur's Music Hall debut in London was at 9pm on the 12th of October 1862 at the Sun Music Hall in Knightsbridge. However, Music Hall turns didn't have it easy, and in those days they often played two or three Halls in an evening, so after his first engagement at the Sun Arthur then had to rush across London in a horse and carriage to be at the Marylebone Music Hall for 9.50pm, but still this was not enough as he then had to speed up to Islington to the Philharmonic Hall for yet another performance at 10.45pm.
He must have been exhausted by the end of his first evening in London, and his appearance at the Sun wouldn't have been helped when he arrived to find he was billed as Fred Lloyd, instead of Arthur. Fred Lloyd was Arthur's older brother and a well known comedian at the time so this must have been pretty annoying to Arthur. At the Marylebone he was however billed correctly, and with some enthusiasm when they said: 'First appearance in London of Mr. Arthur Lloyd, the great comique.'
Right - A postcard for The Grand Theatre, Islington in 1903, which was formerly the Islington Philharmonic Music Hall. - Click for details of this Theatre.
Arthur later recalled a story about performing at the Philharmonic saying that: 'George Leybourne was among the audience one night, and was so delighted with his singing that he drew out an old silver watch from his pocket and bumped it on the table in the ardour of his applause. When he returned to his home in the north, he astonished his father with the announcement, “Father, I am going to be a comic singer.” “Thou a comic singer,” said the old man, “and pray where dost thou get thy comicality? It does not come from thy mother, and I’m dammed if it cooms from me!”' George Leybourne would go on to become one of the country's best loved song writers and Music Hall performers and he often told Arthur that it was all because of seeing him perform at the Philharmonic.
And it wasn't just Leybourne who was so impressed with Arthur's comic style, his audiences loved him too and he was soon a regular at the Philharmonic, the Sun, and the Marylebone, and before long he had added the The Canterbury to the list too. The Canterbury was one of the most important Music Halls in London and was run by Charles Morton who was one of the most important figures in the business.
The following year, 1863 Arthur was to be found doing his turns regularly at the same Music halls night after night and by the 18th of January he had added the Oxford to the list too. His act consisted of a Burleseque Opera, written by himself, and consisted of a variety of songs written by other people such as Butchers Boys adventure, Baby in a bundle, A dark man dressed in blue (A Parody of Clifton's song,) and The Bundle rolled in the apron, which was written by his father. One reviewer in the Sporting Life wrote that he: 'Richly deserves the applause with which his comic effusions are nightly rewarded... hit off in the happiest manner.'
But he soon realised he had a talent for writing his own songs too. In 1863 he wrote one of his earliest, which was a parody on all the other Music Hall songs which were doing the rounds at the time. He called it Song of Songs and it started from the base of I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls with the dark girl dressed in blue. The ERA states in Arthur;'s Obituary that this song: 'had a most extraordinary career of popularity, but did not bring its author and composer the large fortune that one sometimes hears of as the guerdon of a comic song, for he sold the rights of publication for a mere trifle.'
And it wasn't long before other artists began stealing his work and passing it off as there own, something which Arthur continuously fought against for the rest of his career. On July the 12th that year he put a notice in the papers saying: 'Comic singers who steal the ideas & songs of others, look out for your time is short.'
Apart from his regular slots in all the prominent London Halls Arthur also managed to fit in the occasional provincial Hall too, such as on March the 15th when he traveled up to Birmingham for one night only performing at Holders Grand Concert Hall but was back in London the next day to carry on as usual there. But he hadn't forgotten his roots and in October he took time off from London to finish the year by returning to his fans in Newcastle and Glasgow.
January of 1864 found Arthur still enthralling the Music Hall audiences of Glasgow but the following month he returned to London and took up his previous slots at The Canterbury and The Philharmonic and now added The London Pavilion to the list too. The London Pavilion in those days was nothing like the building which stands in Piccadilly Circus today, back then it was a small but popular entertainment room which was attached to the Black Horse Inn in Tichbourne street, which is effectively now Great Windmill Street. In 1859 Loibl and Sonnhammer had roofed in the irregularly shaped inn yard and created the first London Pavilion Music Hall, and it was in this building that Arthur first played to an enthusiastic crowd in 1864.
The London Pavilion would later be rebuilt into a magnificent Theatre and it is said that it was Arthur's success in the old Hall that made the building of the new one possible, partly because he became such a regular and ever popular fixture there over the following years, and partly, because of his great success there, the old system of free entry was gradually transformed into a pricing structure based on ticket sales as a means of entry to the Hall. Something which soon caught on all over London and the provinces.
In an interview with Arthur by The ERA in July 1890 Arthur says that: "he remembers when admission to the Pavilion was free, and the management recouped themselves by charging sixpence for every glass of liquor sold. At that time it was not always crowded, but gradually the attendance got larger, then sixpence and a shilling were imposed as the prices. In the process of years two rows of the pit were set apart as stalls, and two shillings charged, and so, little by little, the present elaborate and costly palaces of amusement were formed."
Speaking of the London Pavilion to the ERA on another occasion Arthur said: "Here I was an enormous favourite; and I am sure Mr Loibl would be the first to acknowledge that my popularity contributed very largely to the prosperity of the place, though I got nothing like the salary that a star of equal magnitude can command today. Then the best seats in the place could be had for sixpence. I constantly tried to persuade Loibl to increase the price, and he did so tentatively, till at length the whole floor, with the exception of a promenade, consisted of half-crown seats. The climax was reached when at great outlay Mr Loibl bought Kahns museum and was able to utilise its site for structural improvement of the Pavilion."
But we digress and so, back to the middle of 1864, when Arthur was performing regularly again in London's premier Music Halls and by now featuring the songs 'The Dutch Clock Man,' 'But of course its no business of mine,' and 'It's wonderful how we do it, but we do.' The Philharmonic carried an advertisement at the time stating: 'A musical trip to the Derby guaranteed by Arthur Lloyd and no commission charged.'
Arthur wasn't the only member of his family performing in London at this time though, for his brother Robert could also be seen at the Philharmonic every evening in July at 9pm with his wife Lizzie Nelson, they were billed as the comic duettists.
Arthur himself returned to Glasgow in August after a very successful season in London, to perform back at the Whitebait but his brother Robert continued to perform in London until the end of the year. However, after this he appears to have given up the Music Hall altogether as he doesn't get another mention in the papers from then on.
After visiting Falkirk for just one night on October the 20th Arthur received a glowing review in the Falkirk Herald saying: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd is a comic A1 in his line. He has a fine, clean melodious voice, a rare thing for a comic. His imitations of street musicians on the clarionet were excruciatingly funny and elicited roars of laughter and applause.'
Arthur remained in Scotland for the rest of the year and whilst he enjoyed himself in that beautiful country let me digress a little again, for by now you may be wondering what kind of a man Arthur Lloyd actually was in his private life. Well Harold Scott in his 1946 book 'The Early Doors' said that: 'little of Lloyd's private life has become the subject of comment.' So that's not much to go on, but he does continue, saying: 'off the stage he was apparently not an entertaining person.' Well, having worked in Theatre myself for over 30 years I can vouch for the fact that many entertainers are far less entertaining in real life, and it's not surprising really. Harold Scott goes on to say: 'One hardly looks for a private life from a man who appeared to divide his entire time between writing and singing such an overwhelming, number of songs.' And that's the point, entertainers are very driven people, and it can be quite a surprise to their adoring fans when they discover that they do little else but perform on the stage, and rehearse for it when off it. Harold Scott goes on to say: 'he (Lloyd) was essentially Scotch, a family man who brought up a large number of children.' Seven actually, five girls and two boys, one of which was my Grandfather, Harry Lloyd, who would later go on to paint this picture of the Titanic (Shown Right) in 1912, the year it sank on its maiden voyage.
Right - Arthur Lloyd's son, Harry Lloyd's painting of the Titanic - Click to enlarge.
Well that was Arthur Lloyd off the stage, but what of his character on it, Harold Scott says this of his performing style: 'Lloyd's face, which launched a thousand song-covers, was expressive-heavy, yet lit by a smile with a charming dimple in the cheeks.'
Left - A portrait of Arthur Lloyd in his later years from a painting of all the Music Hall stars of the day by Walter Lambert - Click here to see the whole painting and information on it by his Grandson Harry Powell Lloyd.
Harold Scott goes on to say: 'Concannon's portrait of him singing his German Band song is full of suggestion of the character of the man. He excelled in this quality of intimacy allied with close observation. To choose an instance at random, the opening couplet of a forgotten song "Just by the Angel at Islington, Close by the clock that always is wrong," gives an indication of the personal style which resulted from his alertness to detail. - I cannot resist another couplet,' says Harold, 'A song, written round the phrase "just to Show there's no Ill Feeling," gives rise to: "Yesterday she gave me twins, just to show there's no ill feeling."'
Another report on Arthur's on stage style, this time whilst on a tour of the provinces in 1866, comes from the Manchester Examiner who published a review of his appearance at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester in February, saying: 'The entertainment provided by Mr. Arthur Lloyd, on Saturday evening last, was, with a very slight exception, a comic one. Himself a singer and composer of popular songs, Mr. Lloyd contributed largely to the amusement of the immense audience which crammed the Free Trade Hall in every part. "The Ballet Girl," "The Policeman," "The Old Woman and her Pig" ( a re-setting of an old North country nursery rhyme), and the last composition of its class, the inexplicable "Kafoozleum," were vociferously encored... Mr. Lloyd's bill of fare, doubled as it was by repetitions, lasted till a late hour, and proved how exacting is the public when its taste is met and its wants generously supplied by performers of great ability and a superabundance of animal spirits.' The Manchester Examiner, February 12th 1866.
In 1867 Arthur begun the year in London performing his continuously growing repertoire of popular songs at Weston's, The London Pavilion, and The Philharmonic Hall, but this is also the year in which he would write one of the most popular and enduring songs of his career; a song which came to him whilst traveling across the City in a horse drawn omnibus.
In his own words Arthur says:"On a very wet night I jumped into a bus at Holborn. The conductor was standing on his perch, talking over the top of the bus to the driver. Every now and then, in answer to some remark of the latter, I heard the conductor reply. ‘Not me, not for Joe.’ This caught my fancy and before I left the bus I had the chorus and melody complete.”
The song was called 'Not For Joseph' and it would go on to sell an unprecedented number of copies and make Arthur Lloyd a household name.
In Harold Scott's 1947 book 'The Early Doors' he wrote about 'Not For Joseph' saying: 'It was based on a study of an individual character, that of a bus driver named Baxter (the full name is given in the first line of the song), a man who was in the habit of referring genially to himself in the third person. The idea was one in complete harmony with the music hall of the time, based as it was on a piece of familiar observation. The raciness of the subject and the richness of Lloyd's power of character impersonation render its success understandable. '
January and February 1867 saw Arthur performing nightly at Weston's, The London Pavilion, and The Philharmonic Hall, a review for the Pavilion stated: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd a greater favourite than ever, is back again & nightly meets with most vociferous applause for his original & admirably rendered comic songs.'
In March the South London Palace was added to the list of Halls Arthur would perform in. This three month run of nightly performing in so many venues must have been quite a strain on the young Arthur and so in April he took a break and travelled back home to perform at the Whitebait in Glasgow with his brother Richard, whose stage name at the time was Delarue Lloyd.
It was Delarue's first Music Hall engagement and the ERA printed a notice in their 31st of March edition stating: 'Delarue Lloyd (brother to the celebrated Arthur) will make his first appearance at Whitebait Music Hall, Glasgow on April 15th.' The performance didn't go so well though as the following revue makes plain: 'Delarue made his debut at The Whitebait as scheduled, but as he was suffering from severe hoarsness, his singing on the night can scarcely be taken as a criterion of his abilities.'
By the 10th of April Arthur was back in London for a benefit for John Wilton at Wilton's own Music Hall in Whitechapel, somewhere that Arthur would perform regularly over the coming years. Arthur's performance at the benefit: 'treated the company to his interesting song of: The Circus Master - and excited universal admiration by the splendid costume in which he appeared as a Japanese beau.' Another reviewer remarked: 'Mr. Lloyd knows his audience and is thoroughly familiar with the popular feeling both as regards royalty and politics. ...The Song of Songs is received with unabated delight.'
Arthur spent the rest of the month performing regular turns at Weston's, The South London , and The London Pavilion again. The ERA printed a review of Arthur Lloyd performing at Weston's in their May the 26th edition which read:
'Weston's - Mr. Arthur Lloyd, a universal favourite, and one of the best of the comic singing brotherhood, was most cordially greeted by troops of his friends assembled for his benefit, at Weston's Music Hall, on Monday night. Extra attractions were liberally put forth, and a programme of remarkable attractiveness was submitted to the personal friends of the popular singer and the general public. It would be alike impossible and unnecessary to mention all the performances of the evening in detail, but Mr. Lloyd's own doings must command special attention.
His burlesque drama, Mugget's Brook, is useful in proving his talent in a style of Music Hall entertainment always acceptable to the million. Mr. Lloyd is not only a competent actor, but in the matter of quick changes he is marvelously expert. A great amount of practice and technical knowledge becomes necessary before any performer can hope to excel in this particular, and we can compliment Mr. Lloyd upon his undoubted proficiency in the new line of business he has apparently struck out for himself . There is nothing whatever original in the performance, but it is impossible for any burlesque sketch to be given with greater neatness and expression than is Mugget's Brook, Several characters are introduced - the first of them a venerable female supposed to be the mother of a very flaxen - haired divinity called Clara. There is, of course the virtuous lover - by name Dick Donkey - and a vicious Squire Marchmont, who employs Bertolo, a worsted - ringleted bravo, to waylay the buxom Clara at the bridge over the Brook. Beitolo (in the dummy form) is slaughtered by the muscular Donkey, and Mr. Lloyd makes his farewell bow.
On Monday night he was called forward by acclamation, and delivered a poetical address to the audience, thanking them for their sympathy and expressing the amiable things usual on these occasions. Mr. Lloyd alluded to an onslaught made upon him some time ago in the pages of' a periodical, and has certainly cause to congratulate himself upon Possessing thousands of' friends to one "detractor," as he described the individual. Among those who appeared during the evening were Harry and Katie King, a clever boy, and an equally clever girl. H. K. must very soon expect to be Called a young man and the days of childhood are fast drawing to a close for his pretty little sister. The two Kings do not desert Libernian songs and dances, but give both with greater spirit than ever The selection from Lucia di Lammermoor was performed by the efficient company here, and the bill for the evening contained the names of many celebrities of the Music Hall platform.' The ERA 26th May 1867.
And so it went on, Arthur could be seen regularly performing nightly in London's greatest Music Halls with the occasional trip up north to perform in Glasgow's Whitebait, and in other venues in London to perform for benefits for other Music Hall stars such as Annie Adams at the Metropolitan Edgware Road, and for Arthur's future wife, Katty King and her brother Harry at McDonald's Music Hall in July.
By August Arthur was taking a rest by only playing at two Halls nightly, Weston's, and The South London where one reviewer remarked: 'at present the public may look towards being sent home in the best tempers by the drolleries of Mr. Arthur Lloyd, whose name is last, but not least, on the list of performers.' But the rest from performing so many venues wasn't because he was tired, Arthur was rehearsing for his forthcoming tour which would kick off in September that year, 1867, at the Theatre Royal, Liverpool. The tour would then move on to the Free Trade Hall Manchester on the 14th, and on the 16th they were in Birmingham, followed by Coventry on the 17th, then the 18th in Stourbridge, 19th in Stafford, and the 20th in Hanley.
The Staffordshire Sentinel printed an add in their September 7th and 14th 1867 editions saying: 'Arthur Lloyd is to give his celebrated comic concert at the Mechanics Institute, Hanley on Friday evening 20th September between 8.00 and 10.15. He will be accompanied by Minnie Lloyd, Miss Lizzie Nelson and Robert Lloyd in their drawing room sketches and Louis Lindsay, an Ethiopian artist and instrumentalist. Also W.B. Alexander, ventriloquist from the London Polytechnic. Arthur Lloyd, author and composer of Constantinople, The Song of Songs, Wonderful how we do it, but we do etc. Reserved seats 2/-, unreserved 1/-, back seats 6d.','yellow')' The Sentinel also printed a review of the evening in their 21st of September edition which was pronounced: 'very good on all accounts. Mr Lloyd's songs never descend to coarseness or vulgarity and as he is a good actor as well as an excellent singer, his endeavours to amuse are always crowned with success.'
This presumably exhausting start to the tour continued at a pace, on September 21st they were in Manchester again, then the following week at Wakefield, York, Scarborough, Birkenhead, and Chester, then the following week they were at the Dublin Rotundo. By December the 9th they were in Blackburn, followed by Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne, Wigan, Warrington, and Southport with a company that now included Minnie Lloyd, Katty King, Harry King, Louis Lindsay & W.B. Alexander. The tour continued at this pace until February the following year when another major event happened in Arthur's life.
On February the 10th 1868 whilst performing at the Royal in Holborn, Arthur was summoned to a gathering at the Whitehall Gardens in London to perform in front of the then Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VII. This was the first Command Performance ever requested of a Music Hall Artiste and Arthur would have been justly proud to be so honoured.
Arthur told the story of this first appearance before the Prince of Wales some years later in an interview with the ERA, printed in their July the 19th 1890 edition, which read: 'Lord Carrington sent to the Royal in Holborn, and myself and Jolly John Nash went in response. We were not required until two o'clock in the morning, and when we were, a screen formed by curtains made a sort of sanctum between us and the audience. The Prince was seated with a blue sash round him in a lounge chair, whilst the rest were all ranged round him with their chairs turned behind-before, and the occupants leaning over the back. Nash was very nervous and persuaded me to go first. I went and sang a song, of which the chorus ran 'It's the sort of thing you read about but very seldom see.' After two or three verses I sang the following:
I must now award a word of praise
to a gent who's sitting there,
As I sang it the Prince leant forward to listen, and all those round him turned and clapped their hands towards him. He seemed immensely amused, and when I had finished the last verse he applauded very good humouredly "And so that's how I came to be the first comic singer who sang before the Prince of Wales."
Arthur was accompanied at this Command performance by Alfred Vance and his friend and sometimes collaborator, the Music Hall artiste Jolly John Nash, who wrote about it in his book of reminiscences thus:
'Accompanied by Mr W. Holland, the 'Napoleonic' caterer, we were ushered into a splendid apartment by powdered attendants in gorgeous liveries, and a rich repast was set before us. After we had regaled ourselves, we were told that we were required in the drawing-room, and that we were to sing our songs in exactly the same way as we should do in a music hall.
Left - Jolly John Nash.
'We found ourselves in the presence of the Prince and about fourteen noblemen, who had been dining, and they were then lounging about the saloon, enjoying cigars, champagne cup and other cooling drinks. It was the quietest function I ever assisted at, although some of the papers described it as something too dreadfully awful. Our accompanist seated himself at the piano, and I, with a preliminary bow to the assembly, commenced singing a popular song with me at that time-"The Merry Toper." This song gave great delight to the noble swells, after which Mr Lloyd appeared and sang some of his favourite ditties, all of which pleased our aristocratic patrons. My own contributions consisted of the above, also one called " Rackety jack," " I'm not at all Inquisitive," and a few others.
When I entered the room as "Rackety jack," one of the company, the Duke of R-, called out to me to take off my hat and keep it off. I had taken it off to make my preliminary bow, but had resumed it to give effect to the character I was presenting, and I now appealed to him in this way, "Mr Chairman" - loud laughter from the noble audience, who appeared mightily tickled at my calling the autocratic individual "Mr Chairman," and they called him " Mr Chairman" for the remainder of the evening, and thought it great fun. "'Mr Chairman," said I, "am I to give this song as if I were in a music hall?" "'Certainly, Nash," from all the other noble guests, "and keep your hat on, if necessary."
'The noble chairman was a duke with a very serious cast of countenance, and he appeared perfectly horrified at my presumption. His comic anger seemed to afford the Prince and his companions great delight. Now Mr " Rackety Jack " commenced to sing of his jolly sort of life, with a refrain to each verse as follows:-
"Hey! hi! here stop! Waiter, waiter! Fizz, pop! I'm Rackety Jack, no money I lack, And I'm the boy for a spree." 'When I came to the refrain, I addressed the solemn-looking nobleman, " Now then, Mr Chair-man, chorus altogether." This was received with roars of laughter by the nobles, who joined in the chorus con spirito, and the room resounded with- " Hey! hi! here stop! Waiter, waiter! Fizz, pop I'm Rackety jack," etc.
'We continued,' adds Mr Nash, 'to sing alternately - Arthur Lloyd and myself - until about four in the morning, and left with an assurance that we had much pleased his Lordship and his princely guest.'
They must have pleased the Prince of Wales greatly as Arthur was summoned twice more in the following six months to perform for he and his distinguished guests. On many of Arthur's future advertisements in the press he would proudly mention his Command Performances before the Prince Of Wales.
Another event of note in 1868 was that it was the year in which Arthur Lloyd became president of the Music Hall Sick Fund Society, which was set up by himself, William Holland and Jolly John Nash, with G. W. Hunt as the secretary. The Sick Fund was a subscription service which aimed to help Music Hall artistes who had fallen on hard times or become incapacitated due to illness. In a letter written by Arthur to the ERA a few years later in 1870 he described the value of the society in his own words saying: 'Sir, - In reply to a letter from Mr. S. Tute in last week's Era I beg to inform him that the "Music Hall Sick Fund Society" is still in existence, and doing as well as we could expect for an institution so recently established. I am happy to say that we have been enabled to relieve several members of the Profession who have been sensible enough to avail themselves of such a boon. I have been asked on many occasions if the Society still flourished, and am happy, through the medium of your recognised journal, to give a satisfactory reply. I am sorry to say that Music Hall artistes as a rule are rather slow to perceive the benefits that would accrue to them by becoming members of the Society. It is surely better, for the sake of threepence or sixpence a week, to know that in case of illness you are certain of a regular sum, than to recline on a sick bed, wondering where the money is to come from to pay living, doctor's, and other expenses; and perhaps, as is too often the case, send wife, child, or friend round to collect subscriptions before relief can be obtained. Nearly all trades or callings have their benefit societies of some kind, and nearly all flourish because they are all unanimously and enthusiastically supported. Why is it that we cannot do the same? It rests with the artistes themselves, and I would earnestly entreat the entire Music Profession to lose no time in availing themselves of such a splendid institution. I am certain they will never regret it, I am a member myself, and have been from the first. In fact, I was one of the promoters of the Society, and sincerely hope to see it some day second to none. All particulars can be obtained: from the Secretary, Mr. G. W. Hunt, 27, Bridges-street, Covent-garden. Trusting, Mr. Editor, that you will pardon the space I have occupied in consideration of the subject. I remain, Sir, yours truly, ARTHUR LLOYD, President (second year) of the "Music Hall Sick Fund Society." The ERA, 4th of December 1870.
The Sick Fund was in business for many years and helped a great many
artistes in their hour of need by putting on benefits to raise money
for the needy. Arthur and his colleagues should be congratulated on
their altruistic efforts to help their fellow artistes.
But getting back to Arthur's schedule, flushed with success from his last tour and his Command performances before Royalty Arthur went from strength to strength. During April 1868 Arthur was performing four Halls a night in London, the Raglan in Southwark at 8.20, the South London at 9.05, the London Pavilion at 10, and the Bedford at 11.
By 1870 it was reported that Arthur was earning as much as £100 a week, a vast sum for the time, and although this might have been an exaggeration back then, in an interview with the ERA, printed in their July the 19th 1890 edition, Arthur himself admitted to earning £60 a week, which he believed to have been the highest salary ever paid to a comic singer in the provinces, so it's quite possible he was earning £100 a week by the 1890s. And in a letter to the ERA, sent in by by Arthur in December 1879 he writes: - 'Sir, Noticing a paragraph in your last week's issue wherein it is stated that Mr Vance is engaged at the Cambridge Music Hall at the unprecedented sum of one hundred guineas for twelve nights, I write to say that, although, perhaps, unprecedented in London, it is not so in the Provinces, as several years ago I was paid sixty pounds per week by George Ware, at the Whitebait, Glasgow; by D. Saunders, of Star, Liverpool; and by Mr Booth, of Alexandra, Manchester. Yours truly, Arthur Lloyd. Glasgow, December 16th, 1879.' - Note: £60 in 1870 equates to around £5,000 in 2014.
Talking of the 1870s Arthur began the decade by performing at the Dublin Rotundo, where he performed many times in his career, a review of his performance was printed in the Dublin Freeman's Journal who said:-
'Mr. Arthur Lloyd's Comic Concerts. - The first of two concerts announced by Mr. Arthur Lloyd came off last evening in the Round Room of the Rotundo, and since the time of Jullien, we do not remember to have seen so crowded and fashionable an audience in it as assembled on Saturday evening. The reserved seats, balconies, and promenade were packed full by ladies and gentlemen, attracted by the very high reputation which preceded the persons who were able to take part in the entertainment. We are happy in being able to say that they fully succeeded in making a capital first impression on a Dublin audience, and in justifying all that has been spoken and written of their performances in other places, and we have seldom "sat out an evening" more pleasantly than on the occasion when Mr. Lloyd and his associates made their debut at the Rotundo. The performances, which were of a very varied character, opened with Mr. A. Lloyd singing the very clever comic song of "The Swell" which he gave admirable pantomimic effect. He was enthusiastically applauded and encored.
Speaking of encores, we might as well here remark that every song given during the evening was re-demanded. This is a great bore to the performers as well as to the great majority of a respectable audience, and the sooner it is put down the better. An occasional encore being complied with is nothing more than fair, but to repeat every song in the programme is too much of a good thing. Musicians, no matter whether they may be vocalists or instrumentalists, should be firm in resisting noisy demands for repetitions, and encores should not be given unless the desire for it was beyond doubt expressed by the great majority of those present, In the medley of "The Song of Songs," Mr. Lloyd's "make up" and style were "immense," and produced any amount of merriment. It is needless to say that he had to sing it a second time. And Mr. Lloyd's rendering of the comic song of "The Ballet Girl," was one of the best things in the serio-comic vain that we have heard. We have not space at our disposal to go into further details of last night's entertainment, which was one of the most attractive things of the kind that has been produced here for a long time.' The Dublin Freeman's Journal.
It's interesting to note that the above review was marred by a complaint about the audiences applauding too much and demanding too many encores. However, I'm sure that Arthur wouldn't have minded that the audience were so enthusiastic.
How long Arthur was in Dublin is not certain but by March the 11th he was performing at the Assembly Rooms in Gravesend, and by Monday June the 27th he was back in London performing at the Canterbury Hall each evening at 9pm, followed by the London Pavilion at 10pm, and the Sun Music Hall Knightsbridge at 10.45. This frantic metropolitan schedule continued until Saturday July 9th and then Arthur travelled up to Scotland to perform in a benefit for his Father in Edinburgh at the Theatre Royal before hastily returning to London the following day to continue with his previous schedule. This feat of endurance was reported in the Era in their 17th of July 1870 edition thus:
'MR. ARTHUR LLOYD has accomplished a feat never attempted by any other vocalist or public performer. He sang on Saturday last at the Canterbury Hall, Pavilion and Sun, at Knightsbridge. On Monday night he appeared at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, for the benefit of his father, Mr. Lloyd, the celebrated comedian, who has been so long connected with the Edinburgh and Glasgow Theatre.
He was on the stage at Edinburgh at half-past nine o'clock Monday night and on Tuesday evening he was doing his turns at the various Halls, as usual, in London, thus appearing in Edinburgh and London within twenty-four hours and travelling a distance of over eight hundred miles, not having rested in a bed from Saturday till the Tuesday night. Mr. Arthur Lloyd felt that it was "something attempted, something done" and he had earned his nights repose.'
I imagine that this kind of feat would be easier to accomplish these days, with the advent of air travel between Cities, but many performers would be reluctant to do it if they thought they had to do three performances a night in London before and after the mad dash to Edinburgh. One can only imagine how tiring this would have been using steam trains in the 1870s.
Mind you Arthur and a multitude of other Music Hall and Variety artistes did regularly tour all over the provinces by train in those days. An article in 'The Railway Magazine' of September 1912 detailed the Theatrical Traffic carried on the LNWR for just one day in 1911. In fact one hundred and twelve theatrical companies were conveyed on the LNWR on the 22nd of October that year. These included 2,374 passengers, 182 scenery trucks and eight horse boxes. There is an article about all this here.
The Concert had first gone out on tour in 1869 and in December that year it had visited, Exeter, Taunton, Yeovil, Frome, Bath, and Bristol, and was then at the St. James's Theatre, Liverpool for Three Weeks from Christmas Eve.
An advertisement carried in the ERA of December the 5th 1869 said 'Immense Success Everywhere. Mr Arthur Lloyd's Company is now the Recognised Party. Aristocracy and Clergy patronise, and go away thoroughly satisfied, and not offended, as nothing vulgar is introduced'
A comment which shows how remarkably clean Arthur Lloyd's performances were compared with many of his contemporaries.
The same page of the ERA by the way, also carried an advertisement for Arthur's Brother and his wife, Robert Lloyd and Lizzie Nelson, Billed as the 'Great Burlesque Duettists', touring Ramsgate, Cambridge, Sunderland, West Hartlepool, South Shields, Newcastle, Paisley, Glasgow, Bradford, Sheffield, Nottingham, Hull, Leeds, and London. T. C. King, Billed as the 'Eminent Tragedian', and soon to become Arthur's Father in Law, was also mentioned on the same page, performing at the Theatre Royal, Dublin for 24 nights from the 29th of December 1869. The whole family could certainly be said to be 'on the map' at this time.
The following year, 1870, Arthur was taking the Concert out on tour again, this time beginning in Yarmouth in August and continuing relentlessly until the last week of March 1871 in Plymouth, the town where his career in the business began 16 years earlier in 1856.
Back in London again Arthur resumed his usual hectic schedule performing in at least two, and more often than not, three Music Halls a night, so quite how he found the time for his future wife is anyone's guess.
Left - Notice from the Irish Times of 1871 on the Marriage of Arthur Lloyd and Katty King at All Saint's Church, Kensington Park, London, on Monday, 31st July, by the Rev. John Light, M. A., Vicar. Arthur Lloyd, the well known vocalist, to Kathleen, daughter of Mr. T. C. King, of T. R. Drury Lane, London, and formerly of Dublin.
Katty King was the daughter of the celebrated Drury Lane Tragedian T. C. King, and was an accomplished actor in her own right, but she had also been recruited by Arthur Lloyd for his annual tours of his 'Two Hours Genuine Fun', and presumably this is where their courting began.
I don't know how long they were engaged for but on Monday July the 31st 1871 they were married at All Saints Church in Kensington Park, London.
Above - The Marriage Certificate of Arthur Lloyd to Katty King 31st July 1871
Arthur isn't reported as working again until November the 20th that year so it seems that they had a pretty long honeymoon although they certainly both deserved a break after working non stop for so many years. However on November the 20th he was back on tour again, beginning in Oxford, then Cambridge, Leeds, Castleford, Pontefract, Goole, Mirfield, Halifax, Bradford, Bolton, Bacup, Bry, Oldham, Huddersfield, Bolton again, Macclesfield, Congleton, Accrington, Blackburn, Manchester, and finally on December the 31st for two weeks at Glasgow's New Choral Hall where his act was billed as Comedy Holiday Banquets. Each of the 16 performances had 1,000 seats, at One Shilling. His advertisements announced that:- The hall is now made a beautiful and elegant drawing room with new stage and costly fittings.
But that wasn't the end of the tour by any means for it carried on into 1872 at the Rotundo, Dublin and didn't stop until April. Quite how he and his company, including his new wife, coped with this relentless schedule I don't know but for Arthur that was just the beginning of a another busy year because by May he was back on the London Halls again right up to August when he and his company where back on the road yet again with 'Two Hours Genuine Fun'.
Arthur wrote an article for the Entr'act a few years later about an incident which occurred during one of these tours and it's interesting to hear the reality of touring the provinces at that time in his own words:
'The only subject I can write on is professional experiences of various kinds; and perhaps I could not select a better field for amusing incidents than my own annual tours of the provinces. As an instance I will relate one little episode.
By the desire of a party with whom I was slightly acquainted I was requested to visit a place called Widnes, in Lancashire. I had arranged all my towns, and had no date to spare except one, two, or three nights before Christmas, which as my professional readers are aware is not a good time as a rule. To visit this town I was obliged to take a tremendous jump all the way from Leamington.
We started about ten in the morning, and did not arrive in Widnes till nearly seven o'clock. The doors were open at 7.30, and we commenced at eight. The station was two miles from the town, and I had to hurry with my wife, nurse, and baby. The luggage was left to follow. When I got to the town, which was a dirty little hole, I went all over to every hotel, and inn in the place but could not get a bed. At one or two of the hotels I was certain they had beds, but by the peculiar manner in which they scanned me from head to foot, and the hesitation displayed in answering my questions, it was evident that they knew me, and did not care much for show folks. Perhaps they had been done at some time or other. Most likely was the case, and I had to suffer for the faults of others. However, the result was that I had to telegraph to Warrington for beds, and send off the nurse and child immediately.
Then I searched for the hall, and discovered a miserable, dirty, and inconvenient place, totally unfit for any respectable person to enter. However, we arranged as well as possible, and soon it was time to open. No luggage had appeared, though I had left the acting manager at the station to see it sent at once. With one disagreeable and another I was in a beastly temper, and "awfully wild."
At last the cart arrived - a coal cart - the only thing my manager could procure. To add to my vexation two of the boxes had dropped off the cart, and were left in the road, with someone sitting there to watch them till the cart returned to fetch them, as it was overloaded, and it would have wasted time to stop and pack them on the cart again. Then I discovered that the boxes left in the road were the very ones I required to commence the performance with.
It was just upon 8 o'clock that I was performing a little sketch with my wife, which could not be done without an easy chair on castors, as a particular part of it I have to wheel her off in the chair. I said to the hall-keeper, "Run out and borrow an easy chair with castors." Mind, I said, "it must be an easy chair with castors, or it is useless." Presently the fellow returned with a vinegar cruet, with pepper, mustard, &c., and breathlessly informed me he had been all over the town to get what I wanted, but was unsuccessful. "I can't get the chair," he said, "anywhere, but here's the castors." - and presented me with the vinegar cruet. I have a dim recollection of giving vent to some naughty words, for I was thoroughly done up with so many annoyances.
The consequence was thus in the sketch. I had to carry off my wife in an ordinary chair, and as I am rather inclined to obesity, it was no joke, I can assure you. When the entertainment had concluded, I found that the party who was sharing with me had vanished, and left me to pay for the piano, which he should have done according to agreement.
The two boxes which had been left in the road arrived towards the end of the performance, and were useless. The receipts amounted to about £4 10s., and to get to the place I had spent about £8 for railway fares alone. I never had such a disagreeable day, I think, on any tour, I was wretched and miserable till I turned my back upon the town, and was on my way to Warrington, where, at the "Royal Hotel" there was a snug room and comfortable supper soon made me forget the troubles of the day - but I have never forgotten Widnes.' Arthur Lloyd - From the Entr'acte Almanack, Page 38, 1876.
Arthur performed in London from April 1872 until early August the same year but just before he begun another hectic tour of the Provinces on the 12th with his 'Two Hours Genuine Fun,' the seventh tour in as many years, he had a Benefit at the London Pavilion. An add in the ERA on the 4th of August reported on the upcoming event with great enthusiasm saying:
ARTHUR LLOYD and the PUBLIC. AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. FRIDAY NEXT will be observed as a night of unprecedented Entertainment at the LONDON PAVILION, it being the occasion of ARTHUR LLOYD'S FAREWELL BENEFIT. For Five Hours the stage will be occupied by the leading Music Hall Celebrities, who will appear in rapid succession. The large amount of voluntary aid, as indicated in the lengthened programme, exhibits at a glance the character of the amusements, and Mr Lloyd ventures to anticipate the support of an appreciative public, for whose past favours he is much indebted. Remember, FRI DAY NEXT.
And after it was over the ERA reported on the event itself in their 9th of August edition saying:
'The stars of the Music Hall, as of the Theatrical Profession, find it profitable as well as pleasurable to vary their London engagements by periodical tours through the Provinces. Among those most highly esteemed Mr. Arthur Lloyd takes a very prominent place, enthusiasm greeting him wherever he appears. As this famous comic singer is about to again start upon one of these pleasant expeditions, it was only natural that he should call his London friends and admirers together to say " farewell." Friday evening then was devoted to this purpose, and the London Pavilion - where Mr. Lloyd is an especial favourite - was the scene. Concerning the attendance we prefer to quote the beneficiaire himself, who, after repeated bows to the prolonged storm of congratulations which greeted him, in the course of one of his songs, styled "Nursery Rhymes," favoured the audience with the following impromptu:
There was a Hall called the Pavilion,
As we have introduced the gentleman in whose honour so large an audience assembled at the beginning instead of the middle of the proceedings, we may as well say at once that four songs and a dance were demanded of him ere his admirers would cry content, Some of our readers may be surprised at our statement that Mr. Lloyd danced. The dance was, however, something unique, and created roars of laughter. Mr. Lloyd also delivered a farewell address. This was in rhyme. It was well written, and very cleverly introduced the titles of several of the speaker's most popular songs, and, like everything which he attempted, was vociferously applauded. Mr. Lloyd is, we are pleased to add, as respected in the Profession to which he belongs as he is popular with the public, and this fact was substantiated by the large number of artistes not regularly engaged at this Hall who volunteered their services. We know' it is the custom - a custom which we cannot too severely condemn - for Music Hall artistes on the occasion of their benefits to put forth announcements which they must be fully aware cannot be carried out.
Mr. Lloyd had a "monstre" programme, but it was carried out almost to the letter by the simple expedient of confining the majority of those who appeared to one song. Of course, there were instances in which the popular voice set this arrangement aside, and among those selected for this special honour we must not Mr. G. Leybourne, who had to sing three songs, and Mr. Henri Clark, whose impersonation of an unfortunate Frenchman seemed to be particularly admired. Maclagan, too, shared deservedly in the honours of the evening for his burlesque of the Christy Minstrels and for his rendering of "Non e ver." Miss Fanny Montague did duty for her sister as well as for herself, indisposition being the cause of the absence of one of these charming duettists. Miss Nelly Dyoli (seriocomic) and Mr. Frank Mordaunt (a clever and amusing ventriloquist), who accompany Mr. Lloyd on his provincial tour, were well received, and their eforts to amuse were evidently appreciated, each being greeted with considerable cheering. The performance of the clever little members of the Siam troupe must not go unmentioned, and we may fairly characterise it as marvellous. An intellectual treat was supplied by Mr. Clarence Holt in his readings and lifelike impersonations of selections and characters from the works of Chas. Dickens. The Court Minstrels gave one of the most grotesque dances we have recently seen, and set the spectators in a roar. Mr. Rowley described the delights of a Lancashire life, and illustrated the superiority of a Lancashire clog-dance over every other form of saltation. Messrs Rogers and Leslie gratified the lovers of good music with a well-rendered duet; Leggett and Allen sang and danced with wonderful uniformity of look, tone, and action; Mrs. Phillips contributed something in her "quiet sort of way;" Miss Helena Stuart - a very clever and attractive little lady - not only informed us that she is very fond of dancing, but exhibited an extraordinary amount of proficiency in fine art. The "Nigger" * element had an excellent representative in Mr. Will Parker, whose drollery, as usual, excited unbounded mirth. The acrobatic art, too, was not neglected, Persivani and Van-de-Velde being present, and tumbling and twirling their several anatomies in truly astonishing fashion.
Did space permit we could enlarge upon the additional attractions supplied by Victor Liston, the Brothers Raynor, Mdlle. Delgrango (a pleasing soprano), the wonderful Lentons (whom we are pleased to find in harness again), Miss Milly Howard, Dashing Dunbar (the famous Italian piper), Jolly Nash, Patti Goddard, Fred. Foster, &c. But it must suffice to say that, from seven o'clock until midnight, there was an unceasing flow of fun, and that a better entertainment has never been presented to a Music Hall audience. The band, as usual, did good service, under the direction of Herr Sarkozy, and Messrs. F. W. Montague and D'Alcorn worthily performed the duties of the chair.' The ERA 9th of August 1872.
MR ARTHUR LLOYD, will Commence his Seventh Annual Tour at RAMSGATE, on Monday, 12th of August, with his well-known Entertainment entitled "TWO HOURS' GENUINE FUN" with ARTHUR LLOYD and his COMIC COMPANY. Title and bills copyright. The Company will include Mrs ARTHUR LLOYD (in a New Entertainment with Mr A. Lloyd), Miss NELLY DYOLL (the new Comedienne), Mr FRANK MORDAUNT (the best and most popular Ventriloquist of the day), Mr H. F. LLOYD (the great Comedian, of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Theatres and Concerts), Mr MOZART WILSON (Pianist and Musical Director), and Mr ARTHUR LLOYD (Comedian and Vocalist, Author and Composer), who has twice had the honour of appearing by special command before H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The ERA 11th of August 1872.
The 1872 tour which had begun in Ramsgate in August finally came to an end in February the next year, 1873. The ERA of January the 9th and the 2nd of February that year carried a notice saying 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd, the leading Comedian and Vocalist of the present day, Vide Press and Public, has concluded a most Brilliant Tour extending over nearly Six Months. Remarkable Success has attended him in every Town he visited, everybody being kept in a continuous state of delight from commencement to the end of his Celebrated Entertainment entitled "Two Hours' Genuine Fun" with Arthur Lloyd and his "Comic Company."
On the 3rd of February, and almost as soon as the tour ended, Arthur was back in London performing three Halls nightly. The ERA of January the 9th and the 2nd of February carried the following: 'Mr Arthur Lloyd resumes his London Engagements on Monday, 3rd February, with a New Stock of Choice and Amusing Songs, Characters, &c., written and composed by him... Every Evening at Sun, Knightsbridge, Nine o'clock. Pavilion, Haymarket, Ten o'clock. Forester's Mile-End, Eleven o'clock.'
And, still troubled by people relentlessly copying his work, Arthur also carried a notice in same edition saying: 'No Comic or Serio-Comic Vocalist in London will be permitted to use Mr. A. Lloyd's Words of Melodies during his Engagements in Town. No parodies permitted. Mr A. Lloyd writes and composes for anybody who likes to pay for original ideas.' Enough said, although the plagiarism probably continued apace as Arthur's songs were so popular all over the Country.
The following year, 1874, the pace of Arthur's relentless touring around the Provinces, and performing in London so many times every evening was beginning to show. In the end Arthur had to seriously slow down due to major throat trouble, and it's easy to see why after so many years of singing in noisy Music Halls.
With this in mind he decided to put on his own version of the pantomime 'Jack and the Bean Stalk.' It was his first pantomime production but wouldn't be the last. He took a three year lease on the Queen's Theatre, Dublin and re-opened it as a new Music hall, with his brand new pantomime opening there on May the 3rd 1874.
A much later report in the ERA said that: 'During his lesseeship of the Queens he engaged many well known actors, including Chas Sillivan, who often said that Lloyd was the man who was the cause of his popularity, Johnny Dallas, the MCarthy Family, T. C. King, the talented tragedian, John Billington, Tom Glenny, Joseph Eldred, Mrs Rousby, besides many of the best music hall artists of the time.'
In December 1874 Arthur's wife Katty was forced to stop working when she suffered what the ERA at the time called 'a dangerous attack of brain fever'. What this was exactly is hard to know but it was enough to take her off the Bill for a while, however, the same article noted that she had soon returned to good health.
Although Arthur was now running his own Music Hall, by January of the following year, 1875, his throat trouble resolved, he was also back on tour again with his Two Hours Genuine Fun' company. Now he was a successful Music Hall singer, song writer, performer, producer and manager, and this would go on for three years in all, his pantomimes and concerts going down a storm. However, his third pantomime at the Queen's, Dublin was a financial failure, due, according to the ERA, 'to the colossal success of the first production of The Shaughraun at the Gaiety Theatre.'
However, eventually Arthur gave up the Queen's and returned to his old schedule of his hectic tours around Britain's provinces, and wowing the crowds in the London Halls. Whilst all this was going on he and his wife were busy enlarging their family. All in all they would produce seven children during what would eventually prove to be a shorter time together than they had hoped; Annie, Harry, Dulcie, Katherine Eliza Eleanor, Lillian Margaret, Maud Emily, and Arthur junior, or Artie.
Many of their children went on to perform, on the Music Hall stage too, three of them would later have their own company called 'the Arthur Lloyd Trio.' Harry would go onto be quite an interesting character, and not just because he was my Grandfather, there is a page all about him on the site here.
Annie was born in 1873 in Clapham. She was probably the most talented of the Lloyd children and appeared with her father, Arthur Lloyd, and her brother Harry doing small sketches and playlets, and then taking over the parts of her mother, Katty King, after Katty died in 1891. She latter married a seedsman called Joseph Henry Murray and lived in Edinburgh. She died at 13 Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh on the 7th June 1923. Sadly little Maud Emily would have an early death while still just an infant in February 1880.
Having been running his own Music Hall at the Queen's Theatre, Dublin in 1875 Arthur was to become vocal about the detractors of the Halls and the songs performed in them, of which there were many. In a letter to the ERA in 1877 he wrote: 'Sir, - Certain newspapers - which I shall not take the trouble to name, as it would undoubtedly be the means of advertising them through the medium of your widely-circulated journal - make a point of ignoring Music Halls, but every three or four years burst into virtuous indignation at such places of amusement and the performances that take place therein, and wonder how they are allowed to exist.
At such times, if they take the trouble to go at all, they do so with the settled purpose in view of depreciating every item in the programme. Of course, the "comic singer" comes in for a large share of vituperation - not on account of the songs he sings, but because a comic singer is a most important feature in the programme of a Music Hall entertainment. And at one or two Halls I could name the Proprietors pay large salaries to retain the services of two, and even three, of the most celebrated comic artistes to appear nightly.
This shows that a comic singer is of as much importance in a Music Hall - I mean artistes whose names are well known - as Mr J. L. Toole would be at the Gaiety Theatre, or as the late F. Robson was at the Olympic. I distinctly deny that the songs sung by comic singers teem with indecent allusions, and I also affirm that many things said in such songs are twisted and turned by fast youths into meanings that were never intended by author or vocalist. Of course, therefore, inane and devoid of all wit and humour - these are the terms always used by the virtuous critics - but I trust that the audiences who frequent Music Halls will not be put down as vulgar, low, and ignorant because they are well pleased with the entertainments, and heartily applaud their favourite comic singer.
The fact of Music Halls and comic singers having been in existence for so many years is a sufficient answer to those who protest against them; and they cannot be so very bad or they would have been put an end to long ago. The Music Hall is now as firmly established as the Theatre, and hundreds prefer the former, as they can drop in at any time and see some entertainment complete, whereas in a Theatre they are compelled to sit out plays - of the commonest and flimsiest description - for a whole evening to understand the story, and very often in the end they are as wise as at the beginning.
Thanking you in anticipation, and trusting I have not trespassed too much on your kindness, and hoping I may live for many years to amuse the public as a "comic singer," I remain, Mr Editor, yours, &c., ARTHUR LLOYD.' - The ERA, 30th of September 1877.
Horatio Lloyd, Arthur's father occasionally accompanied Arthur on his tours around the country and in his Autobiography 'Life of an Actor' he wrote about one particular episode which took place in 1875 at the Guild Hall in Cambridge:
'I occasionally joined my son Arthur in professional tours throughout the Kingdom, in which, with the aid of a pianist, we gave a semi-dramatic, semi-musical, comical entertainment. On one of these occasions in 1875. I was much pleased when he told me that it was his intention on this tour to visit those ancient seats of learning, Oxford and Cambridge. He said he had no doubt that it would be a gratification to me to see the places themselves, but at the same time he warned me to be prepared for meeting uproarious audiences among the students. Having been in both places before, he knew the ropes; and what he particularly impressed on me was that, upon no consideration, was I to show any ill-temper at their conduct, but to go on with what I had to do without manifesting the slightest concern to their proceedings, and to appear as if I were in the best of good humor; because their greatest delight, he said, was to get a professional In a rage- to "get his shirt out," as the slang phrase goes.
If they succeeded in this, they would continue worrying him until they got him into such a state of nervous excitement that he would be quite unfit to go on with his performance- a result which they regarded as the acme of good fun. I confess this account made me feel a little shaky; but I determined to act strictly in accordance with the instructions which Arthur, out of his experience, had given me.
We appeared first at Cambridge, on 1st November of the year stated, before an audience which crowded the Guild Hall there. The front seats were filled with undergraduates, in their caps and gowns; whilst those behind were occupied by the town's people. As the time for our commencing drew near, so did the student element in front get more and more demonstrative. To me, whose first time it was of appearing before such an audience, they seemed to be a set of maniacs - singing, howling, dancing, cock-crowing, and every form of rowdyism they could think of. I never in my life met with a greater set of roughs. Strange, thought I to myself, that out of such unlicked cubs as these are to come, probably, some of the brilliant legislators and most famous members of the learned professions in the future.
The first of us who had to appear on the platform was our pianist, a young man of a very nervous temperament, very clever, very unassuming, and an excellent player. Unfortunately, thanks to the whim of some foolish parent or god-father, he was handicapped by the possession of a superfine Christian name. He was called Mozart W--- (Horatio didn't like to mention people's full names but we know that this was Mozart Wilson, who was often the pianist for the 'Two hours genuine fun' entertainment)
The moment he appeared he was greeted from the front rows with what I can only term an indescribable yell. The poor fellow stood facing them, bewildered and bowing, until, during a moment's partial lull in the storm, a voice called out- "Sit down, Mozart; give us a little music, old boy." He then sat down and commenced to play an overture; but, from the time he began until reaching the last bar, not a sound of the instrument could be heard. Nevertheless, when he retired, they gave him a tremendous round of applause and cheering.
The platform then being vacant, one of their number got up on it, sat down at the piano and played a set of quadrilles very fairly. Getting down again, he took the music-stool with him, and placing it on the floor in front of the platform, sat down on it, and commenced whirling himself round on it at a great rate,to the great apparent delight of his chums. On comes the pianist again to prepare for the playing of an opening symphony for the first item in the programme. He finds the stall gone, and looks about him in a pitiable condition, whilst the student audience are screaming with laughter at the forlorn looking plight he presents.
Then they begin to chaff him, various voices putting such questions as - "What's the matter, Mo?"- "Lost yer perch, Mo?"- &c., &c. At last, the stool was handed up to him, with the accompanying remark- "Here old boy-here's your rostrum-now fire away."
In the character which I represented, I had to wear a night-cap; and so when I made my appearance they saluted me with a shower of paper pellets, made out of the programmes of the entertainment, and politely told me to "Go to bed." When I had got through my little bit of business-some how-Arthur came on, and was received with a variety of greetings, as "Hullo, Arthur! How are you old boy?" "What! Are you going to sing, Arthur?" "Arthur, you're getting fat." "Silence for Arthur's song," &c.
He then began his song, during which these gentlemen kept on singing different songs at once, so the frightful discord may be imagined. They gave him a round of applause all the same as he was retiring, although they could not have heard a word he uttered. On his return to sing his song of "The Tragedian"- in which there is a great deal of "Spoken" matter-they consented to listen to most of it; at least, the interruptions were fewer, probably owing, to some extent, to the fact that some of them must have been pretty well tired out with their riotous exertions.
I never was more surprised than when Arthur spoke the following lines, which occur towards the end of the song in question. The "blighted tragedian" has to say-"I have acted before all the crowned heads - and before all the half crown-ed heads - in Europe. I have appeared before some of the greatest nobility and gentry, and before some of the greatest blackguards &c." Emphasising the last three words as Arthur did, I made sure there would be a tremendous row, and was prepared to run for it. To my utter astonishment they made no hostile sign whatever, but merely exchanged glances with each other and sat mute till the song was finished.
The town's people, however, between whom the "gownsmen" there is no love lost, took up the application with rounds of significant cheering. From that point the entertainment went without any interruption, and they all retired quietly; but Arthur determined never again to appear before the Cambridge students. - Horatio Lloyd's Autobiography 'Life of an Actor' Serialised in the Glasgow Weekly Herald 1886.
In 1881 Arthur embarked on his most expensive endeavour yet, the substantial rebuilding and fitting out of the former Star Music Hall in Glasgow. This he opened as Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall on the 10th of October that year.
Right - The Poster for the opening night of Arthur Lloyd's Shakespeare Music Hall, Glasgow on Monday October the 10th 1881 - Click to enlarge. The poster is one of a large collection of original Lloyd Posters collected since the mid 1800s by members of the family and found recently after being lost for 50 years. To see all these posters click the Poster Index here...
Arthur Lloyd's new Shakespeare Music Hall opened with a 'Grand Opening Night' production which included his wife, Katty King, in their 'Drawing Room Entertainment,' and his father Horatio Lloyd acting as the 'Superintendent of the Auditorium.'
The opening night poster boasts that the hall was to open with a 'Splendid Company & Orchestra,' and that Arthur Lloyd himself would be performing some of his newest songs and impersonations.
Also on the Bill on the opening night were 'The Marvelous Kennette, Acknowledged as the greatest gymnast in the World;' Mr Edwin Barry, 'The popular American Vocal Comedian;' Miss Edith Phillis, 'The popular Serio-Comic Artiste;' John Le Clair, 'The most elegant, extraordinary, and without doubt the greatest Juggler and Balancer in the World;' Emily Fraser, 'The Glasgow Favourite Ballad Vocalist;' Walter Thornbury, 'Musical Mimic and Marvelous Sketcher of "Men we Know;"' and Frank Clark, 'England and Ireland's own Comedian. A most wonderful Artiste.'
The ERA reviewed the building and its opening night production in their 15th of October 1881 edition with the following glowing report: 'The places of amusement in Glasgow have just received an important addition to their number in the shape of a very handsome and commodious Music Hall, which has been, for some months past, in course of construction. "The Shakespeare" - as the new Hall is called - forms part of a large building which occupies a Site in Watson-street, Gallowgate, within a stone's throw of the Cross, and is the only permanent place of entertainment East of that point.
Externally the structure has no architectural features sufficiently striking to call for notice The interior of the building, however, is fitted up with every regard to comfort and at the same time presents a very ornate and elegant appearance. Indeed, in the matter of decoration, "The Shakespeare" will compare favourably with any similar place of amusement in Scotland.'
The ERA went on to say: 'The new house was opened to the public on Monday evening, when a crowded audience assembled to wish Mr Lloyd good luck in his venture, which they did in a manner that can only be described as enthusiastic. An excellent company was engaged for the occasion, and one and all were received with the utmost cordiality. The performers were Mr John Le Clair (juggler), Kennette (gymnast). Mr Edwin Barry (vocalist), Miss Edith Phillis (serio-comic), Miss Emily Fraser (balladist), Mr Walter Thornbury (mimic, &c.), Frank Clark (variety artist), and Mr and Mrs Arthur Lloyd (who appeared in one of their amusing entertainments).
On making their appearance the Lessee and his very talented wife were greeted with an outburst of applause which was nothing short of an ovation. A capital orchestra has been brought together under the baton of Mr D. Butler; and it ought to be mentioned that the auditorium is under the control of the veteran comedian Mr H. F. Lloyd, father of the Lessee. A very pleasing and artistically executed act-drop has been painted by Mr. W. W. Small. The subject is "Burns's Monument and the Auld Brig O' Doon." The stage, is fitted with some pretty scenery, also from the brush of Mr Small.
Unfortunately Arthur's new Shakespeare Music Hall was not the unqualified success the ERA, or he himself, had wished for though. The venture only lasted 14 weeks and by the 19th of January 1882 Hamilton Nimmo of the Queen's Theatre, Ayr was holding a benefit for Arthur and his family "in token of his sympathy with him in his Glasgow Management venture and failure" in which Arthur, Katty, and Horatio Lloyd, all performed. The evening was "in every respect a great success" said the press but it wasn't enough and by February Arthur was filing for Bankruptcy, see the notices below.
THE LONDON GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 7, 1882. In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Arthur Rice Lloyd, of 57, Jeffreys-road, Clapham, in the county of Surrey, Professional Vocalist, late of the Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson-street, in the city of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, Music Hall Lessee, and previously of 296, Essex-road, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Professional Vocalist, formerly of the Queens Theatre, Dublin.
THE LONDON GAZETTE, MARCH 14, 1882. In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Arthur Rice Lloyd, of 57, Jeffreys-road, Clapham, in the county of Surrey, Professional Vocalist, late of the Shakespeare Music Hall, Watson-street, in the city of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, Music Hall Lessee, and previously of 296, Essex-road, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Professional Vocalist, formerly of the Queens Theatre, Dublin.
Considering Arthur had been earning so much for so many years the cost of this venture must have been extraordinarily steep, and to lose it all in just over three months must have been heartbreaking for this hard working man and his family. One can only feel for them, losing one of their children at the beginning of the year, and then losing their fortune at the beginning of the next would have been a terrible blow, especially considering how fortunate they had always been before.
Thankfully for Arthur on April the 22nd that year he was the beneficiary of another Benefit which he also performed in with his wife Katty King and many of the major Music Hall stars of the day who had turned out to give their performances free of charge at the Town Hall Shoreditch. They included G. H. Macdermott, Arthur Roberts, Herbert Campbell, James Fawn, Fred Albert and many more. A Benefit like this with so many big names would have helped his immediate financial situation no end.
On a different note the Entr'acte published an article by Arthur during this period in which he writes about meeting William Marwood, the public Executioner. An extract from this interesting piece follows:
'A few months ago I was on tour, and giving a concert at the Corn Exchange, Horncastle, Lincolnshire. I am generally in the neighbourhood of the pay-box when I travel with my concert party; and on the evening in question, as I was at my customary place, some little time after the doors opened, an elderly man, shortish rather, with iron-grey whiskers and moustache, accompanied by a short female, came up to me and presented a card, on which was printed "William Marwood, Executioner, Church Lane, Horncastle." Being a crown official, I of course passed him in free.
When I told the various members of my troup that among the audience was a no less distinguished individual than England's hangman, they no sooner came on stage than they began to use their eyes in a manner as enterprising as it was comic.
After the performance was over I found that he had waited to thank me for a most pleasant evening, and to say that he had been delighted with the whole entertainment; but more particularly with the drawing-room sketch in which Mrs. Lloyd and myself had appeared. He supplemented this politeness by inviting me over to the neighbouring hotel. We had a cigar and a drink together, and during our conversation I found him a most intelligent man. There was really nothing in his appearance either which indicated his profession, except, perhaps, a very firmly set lower jaw.'
You may be interested in reading the rest of this article and finding out more about William Marwood the Hangman, who died the following year, here.
I don't yet have many details of what Arthur was doing for the next few years but he may have been concentrating on his new found interest in writing plays, one of which, 'Our Party' was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Croydon in August 1884, and then went on tour for three months. It was performed on the 11th of October 1884 in Perth, Scotland. And on the 24th of the same month Arthur, his father, and his wife performed the same play and another called 'The Rival Lovers' in another Benefit for them at the Royalty Theatre Glasgow (See poster Right.)
Speaking of the London Pavilion to the ERA some years later in 1890 Arthur would say: "Here I was an enormous favourite; and I am sure Mr Loibl would be the first to acknowledge that my popularity contributed very largely to the prosperity of the place, though I got nothing like the salary that a star of equal magnitude can command today. Then the best seats in the place could be had for sixpence. I constantly tried to persuade Loibl to increase the price, and he did so tentatively, till at length the whole floor, with the exception of a promenade, consisted of half-crown seats. The climax was reached when at great outlay Mr Loibl bought Kahns museum and was able to utilise its site for structural improvement of the Pavilion."
Horatio's autobiography fills us in on his entire life from being born in his father's Hatters shop at 71 the Strand in London, and throughout his career as one of Glasgow and Edinburgh's favourite comedians - Robert Lloyd, Horatio's father, was not just a Hatter but also a published author, patented inventor, and a member of London's famous 'Eccentric Club'.
That same year Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Winston Churchill,
became leader of the House of Commons and chancellor of the Exchequer
and seemed certain to become prime minister too, but his career was
in fact over before the end of the year. In August the Penny Illustrated
published a rather satirical article on Churchill and Lord Salisbury's
call for the support of the Music Hall Stars of the day, including Arthur
Lloyd, who along with the others is illustrated in the article. - Click
to see the whole article.
Arthur himself was featuring at all the main London Music Halls again that year, often at three different halls a night, and sometimes with his wife too. But in May they set off on tour again, beginning at M'Farlands in Aberdeen on the 1st and visiting many towns and Cities throughout the Country including Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Scarborough, Glasgow, Hastings, Brighton, Yarmouth, Manchester, and Morecambe. The difference being that now, after 20 years of performing, Arthur was clearly taking it a bit easier and most dates were for a week or two instead of a different date every night with all the punishing travelling that involved. There were also a few London dates interspersed along the way and the whole tour ended on December the 11th at the London Pavilion, and the Royal in Holborn, whilst the year was rounded up at a Christmas spent at the London Pavilion and the Washington.
The following year, in May Arthur was performing at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, and then in June at the Birmingham Grand Concert Hall where he was Top of the Bill with the Six Alexanders and Kate Seymour. On July the 9th the company were at the Scotia Music Hall Glasgow performing their Sketch 'Her First Appearance.'
And whilst performing 'Nobs or Our Party' at the Aquarium in Brighton a week earlier, an advertisement was carried in the local press with the following notice: 'Arthur Lloyd, Katty King and others in 'Nobs or Our Party' - a musical farcical comedy sketch. The broad humour of the piece was thoroughly enjoyed. Mr. Arthur Lloyd will produce his new Irish Drama at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne on July 25th.
And so it was, on Monday Evening, July 25th 1887, Arthur's new, and eventually most popular play, a four-act Irish drama called 'Ballyvogan' was performed for the first time at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
'Especial praise is due to Miss Katty King for her graceful and natural acting as Norah, very hearty applause falling to her share. She also danced with conspicuous success. The dual part of Gerald and James Branson was admirably played by Mr J. O. Stewart. A cleverly drawn character is that of M'Crindle, which in the hands of Mr Arthur Lloyd, was a rare piece of character acting, the pawky Scotch humour that pervades the part being brought out with great effect. Mr W. H. Newsome as Timothy and Miss Ada Clare as Mary Power are also deserving of commendation. The drama has been presented on succeeding evenings throughout the week, and has been warmly received.'
Following on from the opening of his new play Arthur took his company to the Yarmouth Aquarium on the 1st of August and then on to the Gaiety Edinburgh on the 13th. This was followed by a short tour of 'Two Hours Of Genuine Fun', topped off by another of Arthur's Pantomimes, this time entitled 'Little Jack and the Beanstalk' which opened on December the 31st at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Greenwich. He wrote the Panto himself and played King Mooney in it. Reviewers hailed it as: 'An Instantaneous and undoubted success' and: ''A Decided Hit.'
Left - A Poster for an Arthur Lloyd Benefit at the Prince of Wale's Theatre, Greenwich on the 3rd of February 1888 - Click to Enlarge.
I don't have much information for Arthur's schedule for the next couple of years, but he did perform at the Theatre Royal, Jersey on April the 20th 1888, at the infamous Crystal Palace on July the 7th, and in a another Benefit for himself at the Prince of Wales, Greenwich earlier in the year on the 3rd of February, which was Billed as 'A Night Of Fun' with The Great G. H. Macdermott, Charles Coborn, and Henri Clark in Arthur's self penned 'Two Fatiguing,' 'Who'll Shut The Door,' and 'Little Jack and the Big Beanstalk.'
The following year in June
1889 Arthur was to be seen
performing at the Mechanic's
Hall, Hull, but information for the next few months
is sparse. However, in October he was in Bristol
with his brother Delarue Lloyd and
the Ballyvogan Company, and an amusing
little story was printed in the ERA about the
Lloyds in Bristol when they reported on a proposed parachute jump from
Suspension Bridge which had been opened just 25 years earlier in
1864:- 'MR DAMER, a member
of Mr Arthur Lloyd's Ballyvogan Company, who were performing at Bristol
last week, prepared to do a parachute drop a la Baldwin from
Clifton Suspension Bridge, but the acting-manager of the company, Mr
Delarue Lloyd, privately gave information to the police, and the next
day went on the bridge with Mr Arthur Lloyd and Mr Crellin, the acting-manager
of the Dorothy company, who were in the same town, and waited for the
would-be parachutist to appear. But three policemen, evidently thinking
the movements of the trio suspicious, surrounded them, and gently but
firmly led them off the bridge, telling them they would get three months
each if they came [back for] "any [more] of their Parachute games".'
- The ERA, 26th October 1889.
Despite the sadness of his father's death, Arthur struggled on and rounded off the year by performing at Christmas at the Aquarium, Brighton, and then carrying on right up to February 1890. It should be remembered that apart from performing and touring every year Arthur was busy writing new songs and polishing his plays and pantomimes, so a lack of performance dates doesn't mean he wasn't busy, or indeed performing somewhere around the country. For instance in 1890 I have details for Arthur, his wife, and their comic company performing all over the provinces and in London for almost every week of the year so it can be assumed that for the missing years much the same was going on.
On the opening week of the new Tivoli Music Hall in the Strand, London the same year, Arthur found himself incensed about the flagrant copying of his own work by one of the artistes at the new Music Hall and wrote a letter to the ERA complaining about it saying:
'Sir, - In your critic's notice last week of the opening of the Tivoli he referred to one of the company as giving an imitation of various dancers he met at a ball. On making inquiries I find this to be a wholesale appropriation of my original business which I created in my well-known "Polka" song, which I have been singing for the last seven or eight years. Everyone who knows me will acknowledge that I have been always one of the first to encourage talent in beginners, but when they bodily annex the entire business and style of a popular song belonging to a well known artiste, I think they should be immediately checked by public, press, and proprietors. I have all through my career been a staunch upholder of originality, and nothing annoys me so much as to see dead copies of popular songs and artists, who work hard to get original ideas. To all such copyists I give this advice, that to make any headway or popularity in this profession (that is, lasting popularity) an artiste must be original and have a style of his own, not a copy of one or a mixture of half-a-dozen others. Yours, &c., Arthur Lloyd.' From the ERA 1890.
The Era were always happy to oblige when it came to printing Arthur's letters and advertisements, and of course their own reviews of his work, and on July the 19th they printed an Interview they did with him whilst he was performing in Birmingham. It's good to hear Arthur talking in his own words and I have printed part of the interview below:
'His London experience carries him back to the days when Evans's, the Coal Cellar, and such places filled to a large extent the days of the present magnificent London music halls. He remembers when admission to the Pavilion was free, and the management recouped themselves by charging sixpence for every glass of liquor sold. At that time it was not always crowded, but gradually the attendance got larger, then sixpence an a shilling were imposed as the prices. In the process of years two rows of the pit ware set apart as stalls, and two shillings charged, and so, little by little, the present elaborate and costly palaces of amusement were formed. The places known as Evans's and other cellars were hidden away up narrow passages, ill ventilated, and with no comforts, the seats hard, the tables bare and sawdust on the floors. Only men were admitted. They might get eating as well as drinking at the tables, and at the far end was a platform on which the singers stood. During the evening the place would be comparatively deserted, but about eleven o'clock it would begin to fill. The Punch staff of the day were regular frequenters. "I have seen Mark Lemon there, and Dickens and Thackeray," says Mr Lloyd ; "and noblemen by the score, sitting quite contentedly at the singing. There used to be about a dozen boys from the choirs of the churches and chapels about looking half asleep, and standing with their hands behind them, winging such glees as 'The Men of Harleob.' One of the celebrated singers of that day was G. W. Ross, a Scotchman and his famous song was 'Sam Hall.' It could not be sung at the music halls, but he used to give it at the cellars. He sang it wonderfully, putting on a hang-dog, Bill Sikes sort of expression, and sitting with his arms and chin over the back of a chair. Whenever it became known that he was going to give it the place would always be packed.' The ERA July the 19th 1890.
To read the whole of this interview with Arthur click here.
The next year, 1891 was a tragic year for Arthur as his beloved wife Katty King died on May the 2nd. They had been married for twenty years and produced seven children together, and Katty had performed in most of her husband's plays and concerts for even longer. It must have been a devastating blow for Arthur.
The Era printed a warm and detailed obituary for Katty King in their May the 9th edition, part of which is printed below:
'For four years each autumn she has toured with Arthur Lloyd's Ballyvogan Company, playing her original part of Norah O'Sullivan in the drama written by her husband. Katty King has appeared in this character upwards of 600 times, visiting, amongst other towns, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Londonderry, Waterford, Limerick, Cork, Bradford, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, Hastings, Sunderland, Stockton etc., and with Arthur Lloyds Concert Party or with her husband in variety-halls, winter-gardens, pier pavilions, Saturday concerts, etc., she has appeared at nearly every town of any consequence in England, Ireland, and Scotland. Her last appearance in London was at the Oxford on the occasion of her husbands benefit on Friday, March 20th, and although she had been in bad health for many months, and was very weak, she got through her part as Mary Macnab in the sketch of 'Her First Appearance' to the satisfaction of all present.
'Against his wish, she then went on tour with him, and appeared in Glasgow at the Gaiety for two weeks, though very ill indeed. She then went on to Edinburgh, and appeared on the Monday and Tuesday, April 6th and 7th, at Mosss Varieties. The Tuesday evening was her last appearance on any stage, as she became so weak and ill that the doctor who was called in forbade her to attempt any professional business. Ultimately her husband brought her back to her home in London, where, surrounded by her children and loving friends, she received every attention and care, but gradually sank and peacefully expired on Saturday evening, May 2nd, of congestion of the lungs and exhaustion. She was only thirty-nine years of age, and leaves her husband and six children to mourn the loss of a loving, true, and faithful wife and a devoted and affectionate mother.' The Era, May the 9th 1891.
To read the whole of the above obituary and for more information on Katty King's life and career click here.
Following his wife's death I have no notices for Arthur performing again in 1891 until August and one can only assume that he must have canceled his engagements for three months whilst he dealt with the trauma of losing his wife and the lead actor in his company.
However, by August he had got together a new Ballyvogan Company and began a tour of the play in the provinces including the Rotunda, Liverpool - St. James's Theatre, Manchester - Queen's Theatre, Dublin - Gaiety Theatre, Brighton - Theatre Royal, Birkenhead - Opera House, Londonderry - Theatre Royal, Coatbridge - Theatre Royal, Jarrow - Theatre Royal, Geenock - Pavilion, Buxton - Queen's Theatre, Keighley - Theatre Royal, Bilston - Theatre Royal, Aldershot - and the Theatre Royal, Dumfries.
The tour must have helped Arthur get back on his feet again because by January of the next year, 1892, Arthur was back in London again on the Music Hall stage performing twice nightly at the London Pavilion and the Metropolitan along with Albert Chevalier, Bessie Bellwood and George Beauchamp. A reviewer stated: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd's style is in direct contrast to Mr. Robey's. It is less exuberant, less forced, quieter, more refined, and as it still succeeds in making the owner of it highly popular, it may be said to have served him well.'
Whilst Arthur was back in London, his daughter Annie King Lloyd was performing at at the Pier Pavilion, Hastings. Annie would soon go on to replace her late mother, Katty King, in Arthur's sketches. Arthur continued doubling up in London until February the 15th when he, Annie, and her brother Harry, set of on a Variety tour together commencing at the Gaiety, Oldham and going on the Prince of Wales, Leicester, the Empire, Newcastle on Tyne, and the Alhambra West Hartlypool. Then, whilst at Thorntons in South Shields in March an altercation occurred when Arthur introduced the chorus of Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay into a satire of the song. The refrain was taken up by the Gods, led by an enthusiastic young man in the front row. The chorus was about to be repeated when a Stalwart Attendant seized him and tried to remove him. The whole gallery howled at the attendant and the performance was stopped until the young man was eventually ejected!
On March the 19th Arthur and his Company were at the Royal in Sunderland when Annie became ill and couldn't perform. A notice in the papers read: 'Miss Annie King Lloyd who has been so successfully appearing with her father, Mr. Arthur Lloyd in his trios and sketches, has been so seriously ill that she is quite unable to attend to her professional duties at the Royal, Sunderland. On Monday and Tuesday, Miss Grant kindly assisted in the trio with Mr. Arthur Lloyd and his son Harry King Lloyd.'
Clearly Annie recovered fairly rapidly because the whole company were at the Theatre Royal Coatbridge on March the 16th, then the Theatre Royal Paisley, the Alhambra Belfast, the Star Dublin, then Liverpool and finally Back in London on May the 21st at the Alhambra, Hammersmith and the Washington Battersea.
After a short break the company were back on tour again on July the 23rd with with Arthur's 'Two Hours of Geunine Fun' which ran until November, although they also managed to make an appearance in London performing 'Her First Appearance' at the Middlesex for two weeks from Sep 17th.
On November the 5th Arthur announced to the press that the company were back in London and that he, Annie, and Harry were living at 32 Dalforne Road, Upper Tooting. However, they didn't get another booking until December the 10th when they eventually found work at the Metropolitan doing Sketches, and then at the Standard, Pimlico, doing songs, and then, on December the 24th they were to be found performing at the Royal Aquarium and the New Victoria Palace.
Clearly the tide was changing for Arthur and although he had been on tour for some months and performing in London when he could, along with some of his talented children, he was finding it increasingly difficult to secure dates. So it must have seemed the perfect opportunity when he was offered the chance to look further afield.
Right - A Bill for Arthur Lloyd and Company in 'Our Party' at the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, in September 1893. In the cast were Arthur Lloyd, Hawley Francis, Emily Beauchamp, Annie King Lloyd, Milroy Cooper, Harry King Lloyd, George Denton, Henry Ellis, Maud Bertram, Marie Fair, L. O'Brian, A. F. Taylor, Mirian Cornell, and Lillian Tulane. - Click to Enlarge.
The Bill shown right states:- 'First Appearance in America of England's Greatest Vocal Comedian, Mr. Arthur Lloyd. Who has had the longest and most successful career of all the Vocal Comedians in England, Ireland and Scotland, and whose name is known, and songs, sayings, and doings copied in every English speaking country in the world. Surrounded by his own company, specially selected for their respective characters, presenting the Musical, Pantomimical, Farsical Opera Bouffical Comedy in Three Acts, written by Arthur Lloyd and performed in England, Ireland and Scotland in the principal theatres upwards of one thousand times. Entitled Our Party Or, The Nobleman in Disguise.'
Sadly this tour of the States and Canada proved to be something of a disaster and Arthur lost a great deal of money. Worse still, on returning to Britain in 1894 he found all the Theatres booked up and he couldn't get a date anywhere. The following article appeared in the UK Press at the time as a plea for people to help by contributing and attending a Benefit for him at the Royal Music Hall, Holborn, on Monday afternoon, December the 10th 1894:-
'Arthur Lloyd for forty-five years has been an entertainer in theatres and music halls, sometimes in London variety theatres, on other occasions touring with his "Two Hours Fun" concert company. In the theatres he has presented his comedy, Our Party, and his drama, Ballyvogan. He was once lessee for three years of the Queen's Theatre, Dublin, where his lavish expenditure on the theatre and performers was not equal to his returns, and he left Dublin at the end of his lease, having lost a little fortune. He commenced again in London, and having made some money, in a few years later opened a new hall in Glasgow. Not being in locality suitable to his style of catering, in a few months he lost all again. In 1893, having an offer to go to America with his son and daughter - on a salary and percentage - to produce his musical comedy, Our Party, the management to provide the rest of the company and all else, he accepted the offer, thinking it would revive his fortunes.
Unfortunately it was the World's Fair year at Chicago. Everybody in the States and Canada - from every city, town and village - who could afford to go rushed off to Chicago. Consequently there were few people left to attend amusements. Many old-established American companies broke up, and the actors and actresses returned to New York, and were reduced to such straits that benefits were got up all around for them. The man that engaged Arthur Lloyd bolted six weeks after he had commenced, owing him seven hundred dollars, and leaving him without a cent, although he had paid the rest of the company. Arthur Lloyd ascertained the names and various towns he was booked at, communicated with the managers, and carried the tour till Christmas. Finding there was no money in it for him, he finished with the comedy company.
He then, with his son and daughter and a pianist, toured through Canada till May 1894, and made enough money to pay his way and fares home. He found on his return that the system of booking far ahead had grown to such an extent that he could not get in anywhere for several months, and the debts accumulated during the American misfortunes has been a drag on him ever since, till at last, his funds being exhausted, his friends have proposed a benefit.
Arthur Lloyd has spent thousands of pounds in and on the profession, and in no other ventures, consequently professionals should support him. Those artistes who have so materially benefited by singing his songs (sometimes without asking permission) should help the success of the benefit in every way they can. It will take place at the Royal Music Hall, Holborn, on Monday afternoon. Dec. 10th. Seats can be booked at the Royal box-office and at all the libraries, and contributions to the benefit fund can be sent to the hon. sec, W. R. Pope, 36, Blythwood road, Crouch-hill, N. Arthur Lloyd and the late William Holland (with Jolly Nash) were the originators of the Music Hall Sick Fund, of which G. W. Hunt has been the secretary since its foundation.'
This Benefit must have helped a little and Arthur was to be found performing at the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Coventry in February 1895, and the Park Palace Liverpool with his daughter Annie King-Lloyd and his son Harry King-Lloyd in June. But despite the previous problems on his earlier tours of America and Canada notices were soon appearing in the press that he was about to embark upon touring there again in the Autumn.
Above - An Advertisement from the Era
Annual of 1895 - Mr. Arthur
Lloyd The great comedian and vocalist, author and composer of 1,000
songs. After most successful seasons in Theatres
in London and Provinces
with his great drama "Ballyvogan,"
and his farcical, musical comedy, "Our Party,"
and in Variety Theatre with his Comical
Musical Trios and Sketches, will return in the Fall of 1895
to the United States and Canada.
The tour of the US and Canada in 1895 must have gone a little better as he wasn't seen again in the UK until he appeared at the Park Palace Liverpool in a new sketch called 'The Two Jeremiahs' the following March, 1896. But still the pace was slow and apart from appearing at the Paddington Palace on August the 24th, and the Park Palace Liverpool again on the 30th of August, that seems to have been it for that year.
The following few years Arthur was to be found performing in London and the Provinces again with his Comic Company. In May 1897 the ERA reported on this and the celebration of his birthday in their 8th of May edition saying: 'Mr Arthur Lloyd will be fifty-eight years of age on May 14th. He was born in .Annandale-street, Leith-walk, Edinburgh in 1839, and commenced his professional career with J. R. Newcombe at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, in 1856, consequently he has been forty-one years before the public. He is booked in 1897 and 1898 for all the principal places of entertainment in London and Provinces with his music hall, concert, and theatrical companies, embracing comic songs, sketches, and pantomime all written and composed by himself.
One particular performance at the Theatre Royal, Inverness in August 1897 shows that Arthur was still on top form even at this age, and was reported in the ERA in their 28th of August edition saying: 'Mr. Arthur Lloyd, in one of his characters at the Theatre Royal, Inverness, last week, set a man in the pit laughing so loudly and so long that at last he was almost in convulsions. The audience, a most enthusiastic one, was affected to such an extent that they shrieked with laughter; and Mr Lloyd and his daughter at last had to turn their backs upon the house and have a chuckle to themselves. When order was restored they resumed their performances and brought the play to a successful close.'
Right - A Song sheet for Delarue Lloyd singing 'Show Me The Girl.'
Talking of 1897, whilst Arthur and his family were performing Arthur's play 'Our Party' in Hastings in June that year they were taken on a picnic to Bodian Castle by J D Hunter, an event the ERA thought interesting enough to report in their 5th of June edition saying: 'MR J. D. HUNTER, the popular manager and comedian, of the Pier Pavilion, Hastings, last Thursday drove his company in a brake and four horses to Bodiam Castle, a fine old ruin twelve miles from Hastings, surrounded by a moat. There, in the castle, they had a jolly picnic, the caterers being Mr and Mrs Smith, of the Pier Refreshments Buffets. The guests included Mr and Mrs J. D. Hunter, Mr Arthur Lloyd, Miss Annie King-Lloyd, Mr Harry King-Lloyd, the Misses Eva and Blanche Bayley, Miss Cherry Ward-roper, the Misses Katty, Lilly, and Dulcie King-Lloyd, Messrs C. W. Spencer, Charles Hawker, Carter Bligh, Harry Krane, Mason Warboys, John Thomson, &c.''
during Arthur's engagements in the Provinces
and London an event
occurred which could have changed the family's history for ever when
they ran into fog whilst aboard the ship 'Ban Righ' whilst traveling
from Aberdeen to London. The ERA
reported on the event in their 3rd of September 1898
edition saying: 'Mr Arthur Lloyd, with his son and daughter, left Aberdeen
on Friday night, Aug. 19th, at twelve o'clock midnight for London by
the Ban Righ, which should have arrived at about one o'clock Sunday
afternoon. The sea was a little lumpy, and many of the passengers suffered
from mal de mer. On Saturday afternoon, near the Yorkshire coast, they
encountered a white fog, which grew more dense, till one could not see
more than a few yards ahead. The captain was most careful, and the vessel
went ahead slowly, sounding the fog-horn every minute. At last the sounding
apparatus was blown away, and the vessel was anchored for four hours,
a bell being tolled constantly. The fog lasted all Saturday, during
the night, and till Sunday evening, when at about five o'clock it suddenly
cleared, and putting on full steam the captain brought the vessel safely
Dock at about half-past four o'clock Monday morning. Several accidents
happened to vessels all around the coast, and lives were lost, but through
the great skill of the captain, who had no rest for over thirty hours,
the passengers of the Ban Righ were safely landed.' - The ERA, 3rd
Sep 1898. The Ban Righ was built in 1870
for the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company and was in service for 30
years. She was noted as being one of the smartest and fastest passenger
steamers in service on UK coastal waters but she finished her career
as a filibuster in a South American revolution.
A year after the near disaster on the Ban Righ a personal tragedy did occur for Arthur and his family when on the 4th of January 1899 his brother, Richard Delarue Lloyd, who had sometimes been on the Music Hall stage himself, passed away. Delarue never made it big as a performer but he is known to have performed for the first time at the Whitebait Glasgow in 1867, and in 1871 he toured to Hanley and The Star Liverpool, Bolton, Leeds and Sunderland. On February the 5th he performed at Foresters in London, and at the Scotia, Glasgow on August 18th 1890 with his sister-in-law, Katty King, and his famous brother Arthur Lloyd.
There was a concert for Delarue at the Queen's Royal Theatre, Dublin on the 26th of November 1881 and his obituary states that he had been involved with the Theatrical and Music Hall stage for 30 years and that he had recently performed at the Royal, and Collin's. At the time of his death his daughter Amy Elvira was playing the part of 'Robin Hood' at the West London Theatre. He had also at one time been manager of Dan Lowry's Star of Erin in Dublin, and at the Aberdeen Music Hall. Delarue's Obituary and a short Biography can be found here.
In April 1899 Arthur's long time friend Jolly John Nash had a Benefit arranged for him at the Tivoli Theatre in London, and Arthur wrote to the ERA saying:- Sir,I am glad to see a complimentary benefit has been arranged for my old friend Jolly John Nash, and am pleased to think, from what I read, that it will be a grand success. I am sorry my provincial engagements will prevent me from assisting. I was the first to introduce Nash - on my concert tour - to provincial audiences in England, Ireland, and Scotland about 1868, and Jolly John and I were the two vocalists selected by Lord Carrington to sing at a private party at his lordship's residence in Whitehall to entertain H.R.H. the Prince of Wales about 1868 or 1869 - I forget the exact time. I see Nash says he is seventy-one years of age, and has been thirty-five years before the public. I shall be sixty years of age on May 14th, and have been in theatres and music halls nearly forty-five years. Yours faithfully. ARTHUR LLOYD. People's Palace, Bristol, April 4th, 1899.' - The ERA, 8th April 1899.
On the 23rd of September 1899 the ERA published a small article which will be of interest to anyone who wondered how Arthur and his family traveled around the Country when they were not taking the train. Well it seems that Arthur was one of the first Music Hall artistes to use the new fangled invention, the motor car. The ERA found this interesting enough to print an article about it saying:
'Mr Arthur Lloyd and his company, after his three nights at the Operetta House, Clacton-on-Sea, went by road on a motor car to Brightlingsea, traveling thirteen miles in about fifty minutes, another car following with the baggage. It being a fine day, and the road being excellent, the trip was most enjoyable. Mr Lloyd will produce a new entertainment at the Canterbury and Paragon, with his son and daughter. He will appear as the renowned Mrs Kelly and his son Dan Leno.'
On the 2nd of December 1899 the ERA carried a report that Arthur had written a play called 'An Amateur Detective' a year earlier but had not had time to perform it more than once. They said: 'Mr Arthur Lloyd produced a two-act play, called An Amateur Detective, which was a great success, on May 23d, 1898, at the Pier, Pavilion, Hastings. Being booked ahead for a long time for the Moss-Thornton, Stoll, and Livermore tours, he was unable to use it again, but has arranged with Mr Frank Allen (for Moss and Thornton), to try it as a sketch at the Empire, Liverpool, for a week, Dec. 4th, to run about thirty-five minutes, with seven or eight characters and extra ladies.' The ERA, Dec 2nd 1899. I've never seen another mention of this particular piece being performed again though.
At the turn of the century, on January the 6th 1900, Arthur set off on another tour with his children Annie and Harry in their comic company which amongst other entertaining items featured a sketch called 'Krugers Double.' The tour began at the City Hall Glasgow, then continued to the Theatre Royal Inverness, and the Palace of Varieties Aberdeen, then it was back to London on the 20th at Gatti's, and the Metropolitan for three weeks and then off to the Empire Cardiff on the 24th of February, followed by the Swansea Empire, the Empire Nottingham, and rounding off in London at the Empress, Brixton on March the 31st. One reviewer in Nottingham gushed: 'On Ladysmith Day, excitement was so intense at the conclusion of the sketch, the audience rose and sang Rule Brittania, and waved flags and hankerchiefs.'
In August the same year a notice in the Entre'act announced that: 'Forty Five Years in Theatre and Music Hall - A book of reminiscences, is being prepared by Arthur Lloyd. He had acted with worthies like Charlotte Cushman and Ida Alridge.' This would also be mentioned on other occasions too and it is known that he was still working on the Manuscript when he died, but despite endless searching I have never been able to find even a trace of it. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Arthur Lloyd's manuscript which may or may not have eventually been entitled 'Forty Five Years in Theatre and Music Hall' Please Contact me here.
Whilst Arthur was working on his memoirs he clearly wasn't doing much else but he did make an appearance at the People's Palace Sunderland on September the 3rd. At the same time a notice appeared in the Entre'act saying that: 'his daughter, Annie King Lloyd, will be married some time during the present month. I understand Mr. J.H. Murray is to be the lucky swain.' The Entre'act, 1900.
Above - An Invitation sent to the actress Alice Day, and written by Arthur Lloyd himself, on the occasion of his daughter Annie Elizabeth's marriage to Joseph Henry Murray at ST. Mary's Church. Hornsey, at 12' o'clock noon on the 18th of August 1900, and after which a Reception till 4 o'clock, at 36, Blytheswood Road, Crouch Hill. Interestingly the road name was spelt wrong and should have been Blythwood road. This was the home of W. R. Pope and his wife at the time when he (Pope) was the honourable Secretary of the Music Hall Artistes sick fund. Arthur and his family would later be living in this same house from September 1901. - Invitation kindly sent in by Ron Sweeting.
Annie King Lloyd was born in 1873 in Clapham. She was probably the most talented of the Lloyd children and appeared with her father and her brother Harry doing small sketches and playlets, and then taking over the parts of her mother, Katty King, after she died in 1891. Annie and her new husband set up home at 18 Fettes Row, Edinburgh.
Right - Fettes Row, Edinburgh, where Annie and her husband Joseph Henry Murray set up home after their marriage, and where Arthur Lloyd was living when he passed away in 1904.
In December 1900 there was a complimentary testimonial given for Arthur at the Royal in Holborn but it was not very well attended. A notice in the Enter'act described it in their December the 15th edition thus:
'The complimentary testimonial performance given Mr. Arthur Lloyd on Monday at the Royal was somewhat disappointing. The fact is there have been so many anniversaries and other benefit festivals knocking about just lately as to produce a surfeit, and Arthur Lloyd was consequently victimised by the circumstance. Nor did the changing of the date to prevent clashing with the Music-Hall Benevolent Fund matinee improve matters. It would be going against fact if I were to say the visitors were multitudinous or that the entertainment attained a voluminous level. Be that as it may many interesting contributions were put forward. Furthermore, it is cheering to know that many of the unoccupied seats were paid for.
'The one feature of the entertainment that was calculated to cheer one's heart was the cordial reception given to the central figure of the scheme. When, too, in speaking his acknowledgments he put the question, "Am I too old to entertain an audience?" A very emphatic "No!" was delivered by the audience. He also said that it might be asked why he should have a benefit after forty-five years of active life. He explained that music-hall stars in the days of his youth were not paid as they are now. When, for instance, he was considered a big attraction at the Philharmonic, he was paid a salary of £4 weekly. Said he, "Unfortunately I lived too soon."' The Enter'act December the 15th 1900.
The following year 1901 Arthur's friend Jolly John Nash died. Nash had often worked with Arthur over the years and his name can be seen on many programmes and posters alongside his. He had also been on the Bill with Arthur when they were summoned to perform for the Prince of Wales at the Whitehall Gardens in London in 1868, the Prince would later become King Edward VII. This was the first Command Performance ever requested of Music Hall Artistes and they must have been justly proud to be so honoured.
In 1901 Arthur was living at 45, Grand Parade, Harringay, and despite his age, 62, which was considered quite old at the time, he could still be found performing at various Music Halls around the Country. On February the 11th he was at the Park Palace Liverpool for the week, and the following week he was at the Paddington Palace, Liverpool. The beginning of April was quiet but on the 6th he could be found entertaining a London audience at the Empress, Brixton at 8.45 in the evening doing some of his Sketches, and as if that wasn't enough for a 62 year old he was at the Metropolitan at 10.00 the same evening performing some of his best loved Songs.
Then on May the 11th Arthur was Engaged by the Great Yarmouth corporation as manager and director of the Pavilion by the sea, Gorleston for the summer season.
Right - A Poster for Arthur Lloyd presenting a Variety Entertainment featuring various acts, including his own son Harry King Lloyd, at the Gorleston Pavilion on August the 5th 1901 - Click to Enlarge.
The season at the Gorleston Pavilion ran until the end of the summer and after this Arthur could be found living at 36, Blythwood Road, Crouch Hill. Despite the toll of running the summer season in Gorleston at his age, and the fact that he was based in London, Arthur still managed a few weeks in December. On December the 7th he was at the Park Palace Liverpool, and on the 14th at the Paddington Palace, Liverpool, and then he rounded off the year at the Palace Theatre, Hull on the 16th.
On the 4th of January 1902 Arthur and his daughters were beginning another tour, this time at the Palace Theatre, Bristol and then continuing on the 18th to the Palace, Sunderland, then on the 27th to the Palace Theatre Aberdeen, and then the Palace, Dundee on the 3rd of February. Whilst in Dundee the following revue was printed in the local Press: 'The feature of the programme at the Peoples Palace, Nethergate, Dundee this week is the number of sketches, no fewer than 4 out of 8 turns. The best of the items is that given by Arthur Lloyd and daughters entitled Little Charlie or The Twin Sisters... It is well acted and last night the large house showed its appreciation by hearty applause.'
The tour continued taking in the Empire, Edinburgh, the Empire, South Sheilds, and the Empire, Newcastle where another reviewer said: 'An entertaining sketch, capitally performed... Affords much amusement.' Also on the Bill with the Arthur Lloyd company were Cora Caselli, Conway & Leland, Mabel Hudson, Clarke & Earle, Clown Caban, Sam Mayo, Althea the contortionist, and the Sisters Twighlight.'
In march, still on tour, they were at the Empire in Leeds, the Empire, Sheffield, the Central Hall, North Sheilds, and then in April the Opera House, Cheltenham, and back to London on April 18th to play the Empress Brixton, and the Metropolitan. Quite a tour for a man in his early 60s.
However, that year an advertisement appeared in the ERA saying: 'Arthur Lloyd, Theatrical Agent, who in the year 1897 stored in my furniture reposistory, a quantity of scenic and stage affects, communicate with me at once. W. F. Tiffen, Carlisle.' Had Arthur forgotten he'd left the affects there, or did he then rush to Carlisle to pick them up? We will probably never know but the fact that they had been left there at all seems to indicate that his tours were probably getting far less involved than they had once been.
After a break Arthur was off to the Pavilion by the sea, Gorleston again to manage the Theatre for the summer season.
After this was over he and his daughters Lilly and Dulcie were booked for a week at the Paddington Palace, Liverpool on September the 1st in the comedy sketch, written by Arthur, called 'Little Charlie or the twin Sisters.' This they then took to the Park Palace, Liverpool for a week, the Broadway Theatre, in New Cross, the London Pavilion, and then back to the Park Palace, Liverpool.
This sketch became something of a success and it's nice to note that even after his death just a few years later, Arthur Lloyd's children, Lillie, Arthur, and Dulcie would go on to tour this piece for many years under their new name of 'The Arthur Lloyd Trio.'
Left - A Poster for the Arthur Lloyd Trio performing Arthur Lloyd's 'Little Charlie or the twin Sisters' at the Crouch End Hippodrome on December the 16th 1907 - Click to Enlarge. - Right - A Programme for the Manchester Hippodrome in 1905 with the Arthur Lloyd Trio on the Bill.
The tour of 'Little Charlie or the twin Sisters' then went out again in January of 1903, starting at the Balham Empire in London and touring many of the Moss Empires Theatres in the Provinces until the end of May. (After Arthur's death in 1904 his children would go on performing this popular production for many years, I have a programme for the London Coliseum with the Arthur Lloyd Trio playing 'Little Charlie' as late as 1908.)
In June, Arthur played the Cambridge Music Hall and in August the Palace, Blackburn but it is clear his health was failing. There was a notice in the ERA on the 5th of December stating: 'The Arthur Lloyd Trio, Lilly, Arthur & Dulcie.' But there were no more dates listed for the actual tour.
As a side note, in 1947 O. B. Clarence wrote a book called 'No Complaints', and in one passage he wrote about meeting Arthur Lloyd in his later years at the London Trocadero saying:- 'I came across an actor in search of someone to take his place in a music-hall sketch. He was asked to join a company on tour and his present manager was willing to release him if he could find a substitute. My new acquaintance was perhaps too anxious about his next engagement to inquire too deeply into my qualifications, but, with the assurance of youth, I easily persuaded him I was the man.
I was taken to see the manager in question that evening, and he turned out to be no less a person than the great Arthur Lloyd, almost the last 'lion comique' then living. He was appearing in a sketch called An Unfortunate Man. I sat in front and saw it through at the Trocadero Music Hall - which stood then where the Trocadero Restaurant now is - and was taken to see Arthur Lloyd afterwards and handed the part. There was a rehearsal on Monday morning. I had to sing the verse of a song, and Mr. Eaton, the conductor of the Trocadero orchestra, had forgotten the key of the piano and hummed the tune to me. I got through the performance in the evening, a feat which, to this day, amazes me. Everyone must have been too good natured to tell me how terrible I was.
I had never done any amateur work and had never made myself up. I had purchased a moustache of the wrong colour and too large for my small features and wore an eyeglass which I had some difficulty in keeping in place. There was no stage door at the Troc; performers passed out through the audience when they had finished, but I used to sit down and watch the performances. There was a long bar running down one side from which a lot of noise came which the performers had to play against. On Saturday night I saw Arthur Lloyd there. With the fifteen shillings I had just earned in my pocket, I went up to him and asked him to have a drink. A large smile spread over his kindly features as he surveyed me: 'You put your money in your pocket,' he said, 'and get home.'
I am very proud to have appeared with Arthur Lloyd. I met the dear old man a good while after this in the Isle of Man and I asked him what I was like in his sketch. He replied in his deep rumble, 'I didn't think you'd had very much experience'. - No Complaints by O. B. Clarence, published 1947.
Arthur Lloyd died on the 20th of July 1904 at the home of his daughter Annie King Lloyd and her husband, at 18 Fettes Row, Edinburgh at the age of 65.
The ERA printed an extensive obituary in their July 23rd edition which began:
'The news of the death of Mr Herbert Campbell had scarcely been published in the dailies before we heard of the passing away of Arthur Lloyd at Edinburgh, the city in which he was born. Last week we had to record the death of his daughter in-law, Mrs Harry King Lloyd, and it was while the relatives were assisting at the sad rites of the burial of this lady that they learnt the sad tidings.
Right - 18 Fettes Row where Arthur Lloyd was living when he passed away in July 1904.
'We regret to know that the deserved
gentleman, who was highly esteemed and beloved by all whom he came in
contact, was a stranger to prosperity in his latterdays. In November,
1900, he had a complimentary
matinee at the Royal, but it was not the success
it ought to have been, and a movement was on foot to tender him a testimonial
benefit that would have been a worthier recognition of his services
to the public. Mr H. E. Moss and other gentlemen prominent in the variety
world had placed themselves on the committee and Mr Edward Ledger readily
assented to hold the office of hon. Treasurer. Arthur Lloyd served the
public for half a century, and he always endeavoured to be artistic.
He may be said to have died in harness, and it is a pitiful thing that
the last days of such an entertainer should have been chilled by poverty.
Right - An Obituary for Arthur Lloyd printed in the Evening Dispatch, Thursday July 21st 1904.
After his death Arthur was taken from 18 Fettes Road and then buried at Newington Cemetery in Edinburgh on the 23rd of July 1904. For those interested in the plot details and images of the cemetery they can be found here.
In 1900 it had been reported that Arthur Lloyd was working on a book entitled 'Forty Five Years in Theatre and Music Hall - A book of reminiscences, and it was also reported that he was still working on the manuscript when he died. Despite endless searching I have never been able to find even a trace of it. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Arthur Lloyd's manuscript which may or may not have eventually been entitled 'Forty Five Years in Theatre and Music Hall' Please Contact me here.
Left - Arthur Lloyd's 1892 song, appropriately entitled 'Who'll Shut The Door' - I believe this is the last song that Arthur ever had published in his lifetime - Click to Enlarge.
A Biography of Arthur Lloyd 1839 - 1904 - Written and compiled by his Great Grandson, Matthew Lloyd.
This biography is still a work in progress as new information is always coming to light, but the main structure of it was written in 2009 after ten years of building the Arthur Lloyd Website and collating all the relevant information and images into one place. There are many many people who have sent in valuable information and images relating to Arthur and his family over the years, to whom I am eternally grateful, and who are all credited throughout the site, but I would like to thank Peter Charlton especially for his own exhaustive research into Arthur Lloyd which he very kindly gave me full access to some years ago, without his research this biography would be no where near as complete as it is.
You may also like to read Harry Powell Lloyd's article on Arthur loyd and T. C. King from 1979 here.