A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler – compiled and edited by Jean Collen


By Jean Collen View this Author’s Spotlight

I have updated and enlarged my book, A Scattered Garland. It is available in print and as an ebook at Lulu.

I am offering a 10% discount on all my books for a limited period.



Anne and Webster in a full page advert for Skol beer (1961)                                                                                           Advertising Skol beer in a full-page newspaper advertisement (1961)

The book is a compilation of newspaper snippets, articles and criticisms, taken from a wide variety of sources, interspersed with my own comments expanding on particular events.

Although the book is primarily an informal reference work rather than a story or biography, it shows the progress of Anne and Webster’s careers. It gives an interesting picture of the early career of Webster Booth after he left the D’Oyly Carte Company before he was firmly established on the road to success.

 Author of "A Scattered Garland".

Author of “A Scattered Garland”.

Jean Collen – author and compiler.

Leslie Webster Booth was born on 21 January 1902, the youngest son of Edwin and Sarah Booth (née Webster) of 157 Soho Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire. His father was a ladies’ hairdresser and his mother, born in Chilvers Coton in the Nuneaton district, was the daughter of John and Hannah Webster, silk weavers,who later became school teachers when the silk trade collapsed.

Birthplace of Webster Booth.

Birthplace of Webster Booth.

157 Soho Road, Handsworth as it is today. The family lived in the two upper storeys above the hairdressing shop.

Leslie Webster Booth as a young manWebster Booth as a young man


Leslie Webster Booth as a young man in the Buster Keaton film, The Invader.

In the Buster Keaton film, "The Invader" (1934)

In the Buster Keaton film, “The Invader” (1934)


Webster Booth's home in 1927. Photo: Mike Collen

Webster Booth’s home in 1927. Photo: Mike Collen

43 Prospect Road, Moseley (Photo: Mike Collen) The home of Webster Booth in 1927.


The Opieros before Webster Booth joined them in 1927/

The Opieros before Webster Booth joined them in 1927/

The Opieros with Welsh baritone Tom Howell in the middle of the group. Anita Edwards (soprano) is top right. This photo was taken before Webster Booth joined the Opieros in 1927.


Anne Ziegler

Irené Frances Eastwood (Anne Ziegler) was born on 22 June 1910, the youngest child of Ernest and Eliza Frances Eastwood (née Doyle) of 13 Marmion Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool. Her father was a cotton broker, and her mother, born in Bootle, was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Doyle. James was an architect, who designed the Grand Hotel, Llandudno.

Irené’s father lost most of his money during the cotton slump of the early thirties so Irené went to London to find theatrical work to support herself and help her struggling family. She took “Anne Ziegler” as a stage name when she signed a contract to appear in the musical play, By Appointment.

Marmion Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool as it is today.

Anne Ziegler's childhood home in Liverpool

Anne Ziegler’s childhood home in Liverpool

                                                                            Anne Ziegler as a young woman.

The book also lists a variety of engagements of his second wife, Paddy Prior, who went on the stage as a dancer, comedienne and soubrette while still in her teens. When she and Webster married they undertook a number of joint engagements, but these ceased towards the end of 1936 when their marriage broke down because of his relationship with Anne Ziegler.

Paddy Prior and Webster Booth in 1933 - Scarborough

Paddy Prior and Webster Booth in 1933 – Scarborough

Paddy Prior and Webster Booth (1933)

Stage advert (1920s)

Stage advert (1920s)

Webster and Anne went on to attain international fame, while Paddy’s career remained static. She was a competent and talented performer and was rarely out of work, but she did not progress beyond after-dinner engagements, musicals, pantomime, concert party and occasional radio and television broadcasts.

Webster was not eligible for military service during the war. He and Anne reached the height of their fame during the war on the Variety Circuit and in several lavish musicals and films, while Paddy worked for ENSA and entertained at home and in the Middle East. She and her friend, Bettie Bucknelle left for Australia in 1948. Paddy’s brother Hubert had settled in Sydney, so presumably she went to Australia to join him. Although Bettie Bucknelle sang on Australian radio and was a regular vocalist with Jay Wilbur’s band, I have been unable to find any details of Paddy Prior’s work in Australia.

The compilation covers Anne and Webster’s musical and theatrical ventures from Webster’s first professional engagement with D’Oyly Carte in the early nineteen-twenties to Anne’s final broadcast towards the end of the century. The book is over 400 pages in length and is liberally illustrated.

Compiled and edited by Jean Collen

Compiled and edited by Jean Collen

 Buy a print copy of the book for £14.00 (less 10% discount) at the following link: Print copy:  A Scattered Garland

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

EBook version of this book.

EBook version of this book.

Download the EBook for £6.00 at the following link:

EBook copy of A Scattered Garland



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Good Reads Book Reviews

The Moon And SixpenceThe Moon And Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apparently Strickland was based on the artist Paul Gauguin, but if this was the case, there is a very loose connection between the two for this in not a novel a clef. The book held my interest while the narrator had personal contact with Strickland and his wife. Almost from the beginning of the novel, before Charles Strickland had appeared, I thought him a thoroughly reprehensible character.

Admittedly his wife was not an imaginative woman and used her established position in society to cultivate the society of writers and artists although she appeared to be devoid of any artistic talent herself. She obviously regarded her "dull" husband as nothing more than a meal-ticket and she had never encouraged his artistic inclinations. It is only after he leaves her to her own devices that she manages to pull herself together, fend for herself and look after her children without being dependent on a man any longer.

The portrait of a completely self-centred, inarticulate Strickland, who does not care about the opinion of others was well-drawn but after the narrator is no longer in personal contact with Strickland and the rest of the story of Strickland's life is related to him by a third person the story is less satisfactory. I have to admit that I did not finish the last fifty pages of the book. Although I like Maugham's work, this was not my favourite Maugham novel.

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