WEBSTER BOOTH TIMELINE – 1902 -1939.

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21 January 1902 Birth.

Leslie Webster Booth was the youngest of six children born to Edwin Booth and his wife Sarah (neé Webster) at 157 Soho Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire. Above – 157 Soho Road today.
Photo: Leslie Webster Booth was born at 157 Soho Road, Birmingham on 21 January 1902.

Soho Road in the early 1900s.

Accepted as a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral

1911 in Lincoln Cathedral Official Page
Webster Booth spent four years as a chorister at Lincoln until his voice broke in 1915.
Photo

 

His voice breaks so he returns home.

1915 in Birmingham, United Kingdom
His parents send him to do a commercial course at Aston Commercial School. The headmaster there is Edgar Keey. Later he married Edgar Keey’s daughter, Winifred.
Photo

Leaves School

1918 in Birmingham, United Kingdom
After Webster left school he began working in an accounting office in Birmingham. At the same time he took singing lessons with Dr Richard Wassall, choirmaster at St Martin’s, Birmingham and singing teacher at the Midland Institute.
Photo

First professional engagement

9 September 1923 in Theatre Royal Brighton
Webster Booth was accepted into the chorus of D’Oyly Carte Opera and made his stage debut as a yeoman in “Yeomen of the Guard”. He remained with the company for four and a half years, singing in the chorus, playing small parts and understudying the leading tenor roles. He was known in the company as Leslie Booth. He did not use the name Webster Booth until he left the company in 1927.
Photo

 

Marriage

June 1924 in Fulham Registry Office, Fulham, London
Webster Booth married his first wife, Winifred Dorothy Keey in the second quarter of 1924 at Fulham Registry Office.

Photo

Birth of Keith Leslie Booth

Birth of his son, Keith Leslie Booth. Mother: Winifred Dorothy Booth (nee Keey)

D’Oyly Carte Opera tour of Canada

24 December 1926 in SS Metagama, Liverpool
Webster Booth went to Canada as a member of the chorus of D’Oyly Carte for the tour of Canada aboard the SS Metagama. The tour opened in Montreal on 4 January 1927.
Photo

Singing in Lyons’ Cafés and Restaurants

May 1928 in Popular & Strand Lyons’ Cafés, Holborn Restaurant
Webster Booth, still known as Leslie Webster Booth, was eking out a living singing in various Lyons’ cafés and at Masonic dinners, as well as performing in panto and singing with the Opieros. The photo shows the Holborn Restaurant, a popular venue for staff dinners.
Photo

Recording contract with HMV

1929 in His Master’s Voice Records
Webster Booth made his first recording with HMV in 1929. He continued recording with the company until his contract was cancelled in 1951. The first recording was A Brown Bird Singing and I Love the Moon.
Photo

“The Three Musketeers” (Friml)

Webster Booth made his debut as the Duke of Buckingham in “The Three Musketeers”. Denis King played D’Artagnan. Others in the cast included Adrienne Brune and Lillian Davies.
Photo

Divorce from Winifred Booth (nee Keey)

Winifred Booth deserted Webster and his young son in 1927. Webster tried to find her for many years but she had vanished. In October 1931, he sued for divorce, naming Trevor Davey as co-respondent.
Photo

Marriage to Dorothy Annie Alice Prior

10 October 1932 in Fulham Registry Office, Fulham, London
Webster Booth married his second wife, Dorothy Annie Alice Prior (stage name: Paddy Prior). Paddy was a soubrette, dancer and light comedienne.
Photo

Piccadilly Revels

Webster Booth, Paddy Prior, Violet Stevens, George & Kenneth Western and Edgar Sawyer starred in Murray Evans and Wilby Lunn’s summer show. Paddy Prior is seated to the left of Webster Booth in the middle row.

Piccadilly Revels, 1933 with Webster Booth (tenor) 1902-1984, and second wife, Paddy Prior. — in Scarborough, United Kingdom.
Photo: Piccadilly Revels, 1933 with Webster Booth (tenor) 1902-1984, and second wife, Paddy Prior.
Photo
·

The Faust Fantasy

December 1934 in Bushy Heath
Webster Booth was chosen to play the part of Faust in this film. During the filming he met Anne Ziegler played the part of Marguerite. Unfortunately their meeting spelt the end of his marriage to Paddy Prior before it had really begun.
Photo

A Kingdom for a Cow (Kurt Weill)

Webster Booth starred as Juan, with Jacqueline Francell as Juanita. The show included George Gee, Bobby Comber and Hay Petrie. Muir Matheson conducted the orchestra. The show received good notices but was not a success with the public. It closed after three weeks.
Photo

The Robber Symphony (film)

Webster Booth sang several songs in this film. The film was directed by Friedrich Feher, who also wrote the script and the music. His wife was the heroine of the film.
Photo
Carols and other Christmas music (1936) — at Royal Albert Hall
Photo: Carols and other Christmas music (1936)

Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast

  1. Webster Booth’s first appearance in Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Conducted by Malcolm Sargent. He sang the role of the Monk on 7 & 10 June, and Chihiabos on 18 June.
    Photo
  2. Souvenir programme for the dramatised version of “Hiawatha” held at the Royal Albert Hall in June 7-19, 1937.
    Photo: Souvenir programme for the dramatised version of "Hiawatha" held at the Royal Albert Hall in June 7-19, 1937.

    Der Rosenkavalier, The Magic Flute

    Webster Booth sang the role of Octavian in “Der Rosenkavalier” and took a small role in “Magic Flute”.
    Photo

Third Marriage

5 November 1938 in Paddington Registry office, Paddington, London
Webster Booth’s divorce from Paddy Prior came through in October. He married Anne Ziegler (Irené Frances Eastwood) the following month – first at the Paddington Registry Office, followed by a blessing of the marriage at St Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopsgate.
Photo

 Messiah

17 December 1938 in Queen’s Hall, London
Webster Booth, Joan Hammond, Muriel Brunskill, Norman Walker with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera Choir, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.
Photo
Members of the Concert Artistes’ Association gave their annual concert in aid of their Benevolent Fund. Webster Booth & other artistes performed. The receipts totalled £427 – a record for these affairs!
Photo

Joins staff of variety department of the BBC

Webster Booth had been appointed to the staff of the BBC Variety department at the outbreak of war. Others included Tommy Handley, Sam Costa, Charles Shadwell, Betty Huntley-Wright and Leonard Henry.
Photo
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21 January 1902 Birth.

Leslie Webster Booth was the youngest of six children born to Edwin Booth and his wife Sarah (neé Webster) at 157 Soho Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire. Above – 157 Soho Road today.
Photo: Leslie Webster Booth was born at 157 Soho Road, Birmingham on 21 January 1902.

Soho Road in the early 1900s.

Accepted as a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral

Webster Booth spent four years as a chorister at Lincoln until his voice broke in 1915.
Photo

His voice breaks so he returns home.

His parents send him to do a commercial course at Aston Commercial School. The headmaster there is Edgar Keey. Later he married Edgar Keey’s daughter, Winifred.
Photo

Leaves School

After Webster left school he began working in an accounting office in Birmingham. At the same time he took singing lessons with Dr Richard Wassall, choirmaster at St Martin’s, Birmingham and singing teacher at the Midland Institute.
Photo

First professional engagement

Webster Booth was accepted into the chorus of D’Oyly Carte Opera and made his stage debut as a yeoman in “Yeomen of the Guard”. He remained with the company for four and a half years, singing in the chorus, playing small parts and understudying the leading tenor roles. He was known in the company as Leslie Booth. He did not use the name Webster Booth until he left the company in 1927.
Photo

Marriage

June 1924 in Fulham Registry Office, Fulham, London
Webster Booth married his first wife, Winifred Dorothy Keey in the second quarter of 1924 at Fulham Registry Office.

Photo

Birth of Keith Leslie Booth

Birth of his son, Keith Leslie Booth. Mother: Winifred Dorothy Booth (nee Keey)

D’Oyly Carte Opera tour of Canada

24 December 1926 in SS Metagama, Liverpool
Webster Booth went to Canada as a member of the chorus of D’Oyly Carte for the tour of Canada aboard the SS Metagama. The tour opened in Montreal on 4 January 1927.
Photo

Singing in Lyons’ Cafés and Restaurants

May 1928 in Popular & Strand Lyons’ Cafés, Holborn Restaurant
Webster Booth, still known as Leslie Webster Booth, was eking out a living singing in various Lyons’ cafés and at Masonic dinners, as well as performing in panto and singing with the Opieros. The photo shows the Holborn Restaurant, a popular venue for staff dinners.
Photo

Recording contract with HMV

1929 in His Master’s Voice Records
Webster Booth made his first recording with HMV in 1929. He continued recording with the company until his contract was cancelled in 1951. The first recording was A Brown Bird Singing and I Love the Moon.
Photo

“The Three Musketeers” (Friml)

Webster Booth made his debut as the Duke of Buckingham in “The Three Musketeers”. Denis King played D’Artagnan. Others in the cast included Adrienne Brune and Lillian Davies.
Photo

Divorce from Winifred Booth (nee Keey)

Winifred Booth deserted Webster and his young son in 1927. Webster tried to find her for many years but she had vanished. In October 1931, he sued for divorce, naming Trevor Davey as co-respondent.
Photo

Marriage to Dorothy Annie Alice Prior

10 October 1932 in Fulham Registry Office, Fulham, London
Webster Booth married his second wife, Dorothy Annie Alice Prior (stage name: Paddy Prior). Paddy was a soubrette, dancer and light comedienne.
Photo

Piccadilly Revels

Webster Booth, Paddy Prior, Violet Stevens, George & Kenneth Western and Edgar Sawyer starred in Murray Evans and Wilby Lunn’s summer show. Paddy Prior is seated to the left of Webster Booth in the middle row.

Piccadilly Revels, 1933 with Webster Booth (tenor) 1902-1984, and second wife, Paddy Prior. — in Scarborough, United Kingdom.
Photo: Piccadilly Revels, 1933 with Webster Booth (tenor) 1902-1984, and second wife, Paddy Prior.
Photo
·

The Faust Fantasy

December 1934 in Bushy Heath
Webster Booth was chosen to play the part of Faust in this film. During the filming he met Anne Ziegler played the part of Marguerite. Unfortunately their meeting spelt the end of his marriage to Paddy Prior before it had really begun.
Photo

A Kingdom for a Cow (Kurt Weill)

Webster Booth starred as Juan, with Jacqueline Francell as Juanita. The show included George Gee, Bobby Comber and Hay Petrie. Muir Matheson conducted the orchestra. The show received good notices but was not a success with the public. It closed after three weeks.
Photo

The Robber Symphony (film)

Webster Booth sang several songs in this film. The film was directed by Friedrich Feher, who also wrote the script and the music. His wife was the heroine of the film.
Photo
Carols and other Christmas music (1936) — at Royal Albert Hall
Photo: Carols and other Christmas music (1936)

Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast

  1. Webster Booth’s first appearance in Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Conducted by Malcolm Sargent. He sang the role of the Monk on 7 & 10 June, and Chihiabos on 18 June.
    Photo
  2. Souvenir programme for the dramatised version of “Hiawatha” held at the Royal Albert Hall in June 7-19, 1937.
    Photo: Souvenir programme for the dramatised version of "Hiawatha" held at the Royal Albert Hall in June 7-19, 1937.

    Der Rosenkavalier, The Magic Flute

    Webster Booth sang the role of Octavian in “Der Rosenkavalier” and took a small role in “Magic Flute”.
    Photo

Third Marriage

5 November 1938 in Paddington Registry office, Paddington, London
Webster Booth’s divorce from Paddy Prior came through in October. He married Anne Ziegler (Irené Frances Eastwood) the following month – first at the Paddington Registry Office, followed by a blessing of the marriage at St Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopsgate.
Photo

 Messiah

17 December 1938 in Queen’s Hall, London
Webster Booth, Joan Hammond, Muriel Brunskill, Norman Walker with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera Choir, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.
Photo
Members of the Concert Artistes’ Association gave their annual concert in aid of their Benevolent Fund. Webster Booth & other artistes performed. The receipts totalled £427 – a record for these affairs!
Photo

Joins staff of variety department of the BBC

Webster Booth had been appointed to the staff of the BBC Variety department at the outbreak of war. Others included Tommy Handley, Sam Costa, Charles Shadwell, Betty Huntley-Wright and Leonard Henry.
Photo

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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.

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