J Airlie Dix
He was an organist and professor of music, the latter being a common description on English Census returns for those making a living from music, rather than necessarily being academically qualified. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital School in Hertford, and his musical career began to feature in newspaper reports from around 1895, showing him to be a local church organist as well as songwriter and cello player. His eldest brother Reginald was also an organist, and younger brother Alfred worked for an organ builder. Their sister Miriam also taught piano. Their paternal grandfather, also Joshua, had been a Church Rector, who baptised the eldest two siblings, Reginald and Miriam.
By 1897 Dix was working with Felix McGlennon, the British songwriter and publisher, whose songs were popular in the music halls and by 1906 with David Day of Francis, Day and Hunter, who had formed the Musical Copyright Association in 1900 to protect publishers against sheet music piracy. Dix wrote extensively for the stage, his most famous song being “The Trumpeter”, although his personal favourites were “A Spray of Heather” and “For my Lassie”. Several of his songs were performed at the annual Prom Concerts between 1904 and 1912.
Dix married Julia Annie Baldwin in Luton in 1903, but the couple seem not to have spent much time together. In 1911 he was lodging in London, while she was continuing her career as a Café Musician elsewhere.
Dix died in 1911 from pneumonia, having been weakened by a previous serious illness. He was working on a light opera at the time, and his final song, “The Sweetest Face” was published in 1912.
Born in 1877 to parents Francis and Hannah (nee Pearson) Dukinfield, he spent most of his life in the Lancashire/Cheshire area. He married Annie (or Mary Annie) Thorp in 1899 and they had three children, Charles Ernest, Ethel and Leslie. There is very little biographical information about him, but it appears that the life of a musician was far from settled. In the 1901 census he is described as a Sewing Machine Salesman, and in 1911 as a Music Teacher and Entertainer. During the 1920s he advertised his services as a composer in newspapers such as “The Era”. By the time of the 1939 Register he was apparently a Boiled Sweet Salesman and an ARP Warden.
He joined the 4th Manchester Regiment during WW1 and was promoted from private to sergeant, spending time with the Physical and Bayonet Training School, part of the Army Gymnastic School. His peace-time occupation was given as Music Teacher.
There were newspaper reports in July 1897 of someone of the same name, described as a Music Hall Artist, saving a child from drowning at Southend, and earning a gallantry award from the Royal Humane Society. Was this the same person, I wonder?
Ernest Dukinfield died in 1944.
Not a biography, in this instance, but a few conjectures. A piece by Emrey, “Toddles”, was published in MHJ 131 on 1st May 1907, and includes a dedication to Cyril Maude. Cyril Francis Maude (1862-1951) was an English actor-manager, who in starred in a comedy play by Clyde Fitch, Toddles, at the newly re-opened Playhouse Theatre, London, from January to June 1907. Maude was married to Winifred Emery, herself an actress and the daughter of Samuel Anderson Emery and granddaughter of John Emery, both actors. John had been brought up as a musician before switching professions. The similarity of the names “Emrey” and “Emery” is obvious, but despite investigating the Emery family I have been unable to identify anyone who might have composed using the pen-name Emrey.
John Mackenzie Fairfax, born in Sydney in 1871, was the son of Edward Ross Fairfax, the youngest son of John Fairfax and partner in the firm of John Fairfax and Sons, proprietors of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sydney Mail. Edward was also born in Sydney but moved to England after his retirement, and John seems to have spent most of his life in England: both appear in English Census returns from 1891. John does not seem to have worked in the family newspaper business but is described as an author, although the only work I can find ascribed to him is a one-act play called “Never To Know”, produced at the Royal County Theatre, Reading in 1899.
The arranger of the song “The Island I Built In My Dreams” published in MHJ, Theo Ward, was at the time Bandmaster of Eastbourne Town Orchestral Band, and dedicated one of his compositions, “Baby, Good Night” to Fairfax. In May 1900 Fairfax and Ward promoted a concert in Eastbourne at the Devonshire Park Pavilion to raise funds for the Princess Alice Hospital. One of the performers at this concert was Mrs Mack Fairfax, described as “a decided acquisition to the list of local artists”. It is entirely possible that she, and not her husband, was the writer of the song in MHJ.
Mrs Fairfax was born Lilian Elizabeth Sophia Alexander in about 1874. She trained with Edward Wharton at the Guildhall School of Music and Sir George Power of the D’Oyly Carte Company and was known as a ballad and operatic singer. She married Fairfax in London in 1898 and soon after they moved to Eastbourne. She was granted a judicial separation in 1903 and divorce in 1905 and later returned to the stage. Fairfax remarried at least once and died in Tunbridge Wells in 1927, having inherited property there from his father. He and Mrs Fairfax had two daughters, one of whom died in infancy, the other becoming a singer, and Mrs Fairfax died in 1921.
Henry Farmer was born in about 1819 in Nottingham. He showed musical talent from an early age and was able to pursue his studies locally, never attending a conservatoire. He was chiefly a violinist, but also played piano, organ and cello, and was for many years organist at High Pavement Unitarian Chapel in Nottingham. Early in his teaching career he recognised the need for clearly written books of instruction and produced a well-received violin tutor. This was followed by one for piano and another for American Organ/Harmonium.
By his 20’s Farmer was participating in music festivals throughout the Midlands, and was a member of the orchestra at the Birmingham Festival when Mendelssohn conducted his “Elijah” there. Farmer introduced annual music concerts in Nottingham and was conductor and president of the Sacred Harmonic Society and honorary director of the Amateur Orchestral Society. He was also a supporter of the “drawing-room” concerts popular at the time. In addition to tutors he wrote many dance pieces, a violin concerto and other pieces for violin, but was perhaps best known internationally for his Mass in Bb.
Farmer also established a music store in a prominent position in High Street, Nottingham, which in 1898 was described as “one of the very best organised and equipped music warehouses in the provinces”. Farmer had sold the business shortly before his death, which no doubt contributed to the value of his personal estate of over £39,000.
Farmer married twice, the first time to Jane Walker Tompson in 1842. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. Jane died shortly after the birth of their second son, and both sons also died young. He remarried in 1845 to Ann Barsdley, and they had two daughters. One of these, Emily, as Mrs Arthur Lambert, also became a composer.
Farmer died, after several years of poor health, in 1891.
George Dewdney Fox was born in 1856 in London to George Fox and his second wife Sarah. George senior was a licensed victualler who ran the Carpenter’s Arms in Stafford Place South, Westminster for around 30 years from the 1830s. Fox initially followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1881 was the publican of The Compasses in Abbots Langley, although the census also recorded that he was a composer. He had married Marion Bolton in 1874 and by 1881 they had three children. In 1891 Fox was working full time as a composer and the family had moved back to Westminster before moving on to Brighton by 1901. Their son George also became a theatre musician, playing violin. Son Percy played double bass, but seems not to have pursued a musical career.
Fox worked mainly in the south east of England as stage/theatre manager, and orchestra conductor and was involved with groups such as the Olympian Pierrots, the Mohawk Minstrels and the Wealdstone Minstrels. His output included songs, sketches, operettas and pantomime. One of his well-known works, “Over the garden wall”, with lyrics by Harry Hunter of publisher Francis Day & Hunter, moved from Music Hall into the folk tradition and was recorded with some changes by The Carter Family. Fox engaged musicians to form a Grand Concert Party, providing twice daily concerts during the summer season at the Pier Hill Bandstand in Southend. He also undertook to arrange band parts for other authors and composers.
GD Fox died in Brighton in 1931.
Virginia Gabriel was born in 1825, the daughter of Robert Gabriel, an Irish colonel of the 7th Dragoon Guards. She was educated in Italy, and studied the piano and composition. She went on to compose more than 300 songs and thirty piano works, many of which were widely performed in the 1860s, a time when women songwriters were well accepted. Boosey & Co, for example, specifically listed songs sung or composed by women in their advertising of popular songs.
Gabriel also wrote about a dozen operettas, including “Widows Bewitched”, which had a lengthy and successful run towards the end of 1867. Her cantata on Longfellow’s poem “Evangeline” was a great success after its première at the Brighton festival in 1873. Despite her established reputation she struggled to get publishers for her more serious compositions, since cantatas and oratorios were still considered a male preserve, and she had to pay for self-publication of her cantata “Dreamland” in 1875.
In 1873 Virginia Gabriel married George Edward March, a Foreign Office official who also wrote some of her librettos. She died in 1877 from injuries sustained after being accidentally thrown from her carriage.
He referred to himself as a ‘travelling singer’, and began writing songs from a young age, his output, over a career of more than 50 years in the theatrical profession, numbering over 50 songs. Like other musical hall songs, some demonstrated good business sense, with titles and lyrics being readily adaptable to wherever they were being performed. It has been suggested that some musical hall songs helped to shape social values, encouraging audiences whose jobs may have been looked down upon to be proud of their work. Geoghegan’s “Down in a Coal Mine” could therefore be seen as a celebration of the work of miners.
Geoghegan worked in theatres in Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull and Manchester before becoming manager of the Victoria Variety Theatre in Bolton, and latterly owning his own hall in Hanley.
He was married to Elizabeth certainly before 1835 when records suggest their first child was born. When Elizabeth died in 1871 he married Mary Ann Birchall, who it seems he had known for some time, fathering 9 children with Elizabeth and 12 with Mary Ann, 10 of whom were born while he was still married to Elizabeth. There is a very long and interesting discussion about Geoghegan, and especially his family life, on the website “The Mudcat Café” at https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=129312. He died in 1889.
An editorial for the Musical Home Journal records that “Miss Hampden’s love for music amounts almost to a passion, and she spends a great part of her time in composing. She is an accomplished pianist and her piano pieces are noted as being both easy and effective.” She was born in 1867 and married Ezra Read in 1886 in Portsmouth. She died in 1912 in Derby. There is a website dedicated to her at: http://www.spanglefish.com/Idahampden/index.asp
Clement A Harris
Clement Antrobus Harris was born in Thirsk, North Yorkshire in 1862 and brought up in the town. He studied music, and became teacher, choir master and organist in various parishes, including Thirsk, before moving to Crieff, Perthshire. He was an associate of the Royal College of Organists, and of Trinity College, London. He married Mary Elizabeth Packer in Thirsk in 1889 and they had three children, Antrobus Taft, who was killed in action in WWI, John Brocas and Mary Packer. John was wounded at Gallipoli, having previously emigrated to Australia, and later became a civil servant. Mary was an artist, some of whose works are held by the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. The family were Quakers, and Clement also had an interest in beekeeping. In 1921 John persuaded his parents and sister to emigrate to Australia.
Harris wrote a number of books, including “The Story of British Music”, “How to Write Music – Musical Orthography” and “The Troubadour as Musician, Past and Present” and contributed to various music journals. In addition to some of his compositions appearing in MHJ he also provided an occasional series about piano playing techniques entitled “A Comedy of Errors”.
He died in Gawler, South Australia, in 1942.
Born Edward Denham Harrison in 1864, his father, also Edward, was the proprietor of the Alexandra Hall, a music hall in Clifton, Bristol. His mother, Alice Dorothy Moor, was a landscape painter and songwriter. I have no information about his musical training, except that he was at one point a student of a Signor Pierracini, probably Emilio Vincenzi Pierracini, an Italian vocal tutor who had settled in Britain. Despite an early interest in composing, Harrison spent several years performing mostly as a singer and in 1893 was touring his own “Operatic Comedy Company”.
In 1889 he married Eveline Jane Cima, and in 1891 they had a child, Claude Raymond. At around the same time, Harrison purchased the Alexandra Hall from his father. The business, in which Harrison senior had previously employed his son, had not been profitable for some time. The purchase was enabled by funds from both Harrison’s wife, who had seemingly not enjoyed the life of a travelling performer, and his mother, and the father then became an employee of the company. For some reason in 1894 Eveline decided to withdraw her funds from the business, eventually leading to the bankruptcy of the business, and, presumably, the end of the marriage.
The Alexandra Hall continued to be used for shows, talks and sales until 1897, having been bought by J Cordeaux and Sons, who ran a department store in Bristol. It was then refitted by the company to house their carpet and furniture department.
Prior to the bankruptcy hearings Harrison moved to London with the intention of returning to his earlier plan of songwriting and, using the name Denham Harrison, was a prolific writer of sketches and songs for a variety of lyricists. Titles such as “Where the ocean meets the sky” and “Give me a ticket to heaven” were extremely popular and typical of the era.
In 1899 he broke both legs in an incident with an omnibus, an injury which took him several months to recover from. In around 1902 he was married to Adelene Votieri, an authoress and lyricist who provided words for several of his later songs.
He died in London in 1933, having been blind for the last 10 years of his life.
Born 27th June 1864 in London, Harry Valentine Hemery was the son of photographer Thomas George Hemery. In 1891 he was working as an assistant to his father, but thereafter censuses report him as a full-time musician. He was known as a ballad composer, and for piano pieces such as “The Song of the Brook”, included in MHJ no 81. Another of his “songs without words” from 1909, “Sympathy”, can be viewed on Philip Sears’ youtube channel.
He died on 5th March 1938
Peter Ludwig Hertel
Peter Ludwig Hertel was born in Berlin in 1817 and was a violinist and composer, studying with Eduard Rietz, Friedrich Schneider and Adolf Marx. He was conductor and composer at the Berlin Court Opera from 1858 and ballet conductor at the Royal Opera from 1860. He composed symphonies and overtures, and piano dances such as The Fireman’s Gallop and the Heartbeat Polka. He specialised in ballet music, especially works by Paul Taglioni, including Flik und Flok, Sardanapol and Satanella oder Metamorphosen, but is perhaps best known for his score for the 1864 production of La Fille mal gardée. Several of his melodies were reworked in Frederick Ashton’s 1960 production, including in the very popular “Clog Dance”.
As far as I have been able to ascertain Hertel married three times, to Marie Louise Schmidt in 1841, Sophie Clozel in 1847 and Berthe Soldansky in 1853. There were children to all the marriages, although many did not survive to adulthood.
Peter Hertel died in Berlin in 1899.
(NB – I have had to make use of various non-English language sources for these notes and apologise for any mis-translations.)
Edward Jakobowski was born in London in 1856 to parents of Austrian and Polish backgrounds. He was educated in Vienna and returned to Britain in 1881. He worked with several librettists in the comic opera genre, and although a few of his early works were produced using the pseudonym Edward Belville, his most successful work was Erminie. This opened in London in 1885, prior to a successful run on Broadway in 1886 and was often revived and also toured internationally. Jakobowski’s other works included Dick (1884), Mynheer Jan (1887), Paola (1889), A Venetian Singer (1893), The Queen of Brilliants (1894), The Devil’s Deputy (1894) and Milord Sir Smith (1898). Newspaper reports of the time suggest that the works were very popular with the public, but questioned whether they would also be profitable given the production costs, In 1902 Jakobowski was declared bankrupt, with debts of £1090.
His private life was also reported in the news. Early in 1895, while in New York, he met and married an actress, Clara Brown, a widow. A few months later he was sued for breach of promise of marriage by Carla Dagmar, who performed in Drury Lane and with D’Oyly Carte, and who won £700 in damages. In 1899 Clara sued for divorce, citing behaviour including financial mismanagement. Jakobowski married for a second time in 1901, although seemingly not to the actress named in the divorce proceedings.
Jakobowski died in 1929, leaving an estate valued at £47.