ALL MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS MY COPYRIGHT. DO NOT COPY IT FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER WITHOUT OBTAINING MY PERMISSION! Webster Booth (tenor - 1902-1984) and Anne Ziegler (soprano - 1910-2003) were best known in Britain as duettists on the Variety circuit from 1940 to 1955. During that time they rose rapidly to fame and were frequently heard and seen on radio, records, television, film and stage. Besides this Variety Act, Webster Booth was one of the foremost tenors of his generation and continued to sing in numerous oratorios throughout his career on the Variety circuit. Join The Golden Age of Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler and Friends on Facebook.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Places associated with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (1890-1956)

A member of the Booth-Ziegler Yahoo Group suggested that it would be interesting to see various places associated with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. Here are places they stayed during their lifetimes, and photographs of the buildings.

Arbury Road, Nuneaton

Webster Booth's parents, Edwin Booth and Sarah Webster were married in 1889. Sarah came from Chilvers Coton, Nuneaton and the address on the wedding certificate was Arbury Road, Nuneaton.

Their first home as a married couple was at 33 Nineveh Road, Handsworth, and it was there that their eldest son, Edgar John Booth was born in 1890.

It is the house with the blue door and is situated round the corner from Soho Road, Handsworth, where Edwin Booth ran a Ladies and Girls hairdressers at 157 Soho Road. The family moved to 157 Soho Road about 1895 and it was there that Webster Booth was born in 1902. It is now the site of a multi-purpose store.

33 Nineveh Road, Handsworth

Webster's father's hairdressing shop was originally at 187 Soho Road. It is now the site of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Below: 157 Soho Road, Handsworth. The family moved from Nineveh Road to premises about the hairdressing shop in the mid 1890s.

Anne Ziegler was born Irene Frances Eastwood of 22 June 1910 at Marmion Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Marmion Road, Sefton Park

When Webster Booth was 9 years old he was accepted as a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln (below)
Collage and photos: Charles S.P. Jenkins

After Webster's voice broke, he returned home to Handsworth and attended Aston Commercial School which had opened in 1915, with the idea of becoming an accountant like his older brother, Edwin Norman. Edgar Keey, the father of his first wife, Winifred, was the headmaster there.

Webster Booth married Winifred Keey at the Fulham Registry Office in 1924. They made their home in Prospect Road Moseley, where their son Keith was born on 12th June 1925. After Webster returned from a tour to Canada with D'Oyly Carte he decided to leave the company and become a freelance singer. He and his family went to London but in 1930 Winifred deserted Webster and they were divorced in 1931.

43 Prospect Road, Moseley, Birmingham (below) Photo: Michael Collen

Webster Booth left the D'Oyly Carte after the tour of Canada, changed his name from Leslie W. Booth, as he had been known in the D'oyly Carte Company to Webster Booth and went to live in London to try his luck as a freelance singer.

The family lived in Streatham Hill, the old home of Tom Howell, leader of the Opieros Concert Party with whom he sang for several seasons, and - at the time of his divorce from Winifred Keey - he was living in Biggin Hill.

Streatham Hill (1927 on)

Biggin Hill, 1931 (below)

In October 1932 Webster Booth married his second wife, Dorothy Annie Alice Prior, stage name Paddy Prior. Paddy Prior was a soubrette, dancer, mezzo soprano and comedienne who had been on the stage since her late teens. She was born in Chandos Road, Fulham on 4 December 1904. During their marriage - 1932-1938 they lived at 5 Crescent Court, Golders Green Crescent.

In 1934 Irene Frances Eastwood moved to London and changed her name to Anne Ziegler to appear as the top voice in the octet of By Appointment, starring Maggie Teyte. She lived at 72 Lauderdale Mansions, Lauderdale Road, Maida Vale. 

Anne and Webster were married on 5 November 1938, first at Paddington Registry Office, then had their wedding blessed in a special service for divorced persons at St Ethelburga's Church, Bishopsgate.

Photo: Charles S.P Jenkins

Anne and Webster lived at the same address before and after his divorce from Paddy Prior in 1938 and in 1939 they moved into a bigger flat in the same building.

In 1941 they purchased a big house with a big garden from the theatrical couple, Ernest Butcher and Muriel George. This house was called Crowhurst at 98 Torrington Park, Friern Barnet N12

Anne and Webster in the garden at Crowhurst, early 1940s.

 Photos of Crowhurst today: Pamela Davies

Crowhurst sitting room today.

When they returned from their concert tour to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in 1948, they realised that Crowhurst was too big for them to manage at a time when it was difficult to find suitable domestic staff. They decided to buy a smaller house at Frognal Cottage, 102 Frognal, Hampstead NW3.

 Listening to one of their new recordings in the sitting room at Frognal Cottage, with Smokey (1950)

Photos of Frognal Cottage today: Pamela Davies. 

Anne and Webster listening to a new recording in Frognal Cottage.

They sold Frognal Cottage in 1952 and moved to a house nearby at 9 Ellerdale Road, Hampstead, where they remained until they left to settle in South Africa in 1956.

9 Ellerdale Road, Hampstead.

I have created a similar post of the South African and UK residences where Anne and Webster lived from 1956 to 1978.

Jeannie C July 2010.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Places associated with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (1956-2003)

Click to join booth-ziegler

Click to join booth-ziegler

Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler emigrated to South Africa in July 1956. While they were looking for a suitable home they lived at Dawson's Hotel, Johannesburg.  This photograph shows the hotel at the corner of Von Brandis and President Street as it is today. I believe that the building has been abandoned, hence the poor state of the exterior. It was considered one of the best hotels in Johannesburg after the Carlton and the Langham hotels in 1956.

The found a flat at Waverley, Highlands North, just off Louis Botha Avenue, where they lived for several years. They also rented a studio in the centre of the city on the eighth floor of Polliacks Building, corner of Eloff and Pritchard Street. It was advertised as the Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth School of Singing and Stagecraft.

The studio was on the eighth floor above Record Corner, which was Polliacks Corner in the days when Anne and Webster were there. It had a large balcony facing the OK Bazaars (now called Shoprite). On the OK Bazaars corner of Eloff and Pritchard Street, little 12-year old boys gathered each morning to play melodious Kwela music, using a penny whistle, and a bass made of a tea-chest. The studio was beyond John Orr's, the upmarket department store in Pritchard Street. This store was closed many years ago.

Polliack's Corner, 169 Pritchard Street where Anne and Webster's studio of Singing and Stagecraft  was situated is the building with balconies on the right of this photograph. Their studio was on the eighth floor.
The view from the studio was the photograph below - a big department store called the OK Bazaars, on the corner of Pritchard and Eloff Streets, Johannesburg. Both these photographs were taken in the fifties when trams were still running in the city.

About 1958 Anne and Webster bought a house at 121 Buckingham Avenue, Craighall Park in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Anne said they paid R4000 (£2000) for the house and thought they did very well when they sold it for R8000 (£4000) five years later.

On Wednesday afternoons Webster went to Zoo Lake Bowling Club where he played bowls in "the most beautiful setting in the world". I was sorry to hear that this bowling club's lease has not been renewed and is to be closed in February 2011. I hope that it may be saved as it has been on this site for over fifty years.

Their second home in Johannesburg was at 31a Second Avenue, Parktown North, where they lived until 1967 when they moved to Knysna in the Cape.

The first house in Knysna was at 4 Azalea Street, Paradise, Knysna. They planned to leave Knysna and move to Port Elizabeth when they discovered their second home in Knysna and stayed on until 1974 at a Settler Cottage at 18 Graham Street. 

The Beacon Isle Hotel was built at Plettenberg Bay, the adjoining town to Knysna and attracted visitors from other parts of the country. Anne and Webster sang at its opening around 1970.

The new Crowhurst in Picardy Avenue, Somerset West. Anne is standing next to the cars. (1975) Photo: Dudley Holmes

In 1974 they moved  to Somerset West near Cape Town where the cost of living was less than in Knysna, hoping to obtain more work in broadcasting and teaching but there were few pupils and few broadcasting engagements. Webster conducted the Somerset and District Choral Society but he was not offered a fee for doing this!  After a time they moved into a maisonette and prepared to return to the United Kingdom in 1978 as Anne's friend, Babs Wilson-Hill (Marie Thompson) offered to purchase a small bungalow in Penrhyn Bay, Llandudno, North Wales and agreed that they could live there rent-free for the rest of their lives. 

Webster died on 21 June 1984 after a long illness at the age of 82. Anne lived on in the bungalow until her death on 13 October 2003 at the age of 93.                      

The bungalow in Penrhyn Bay.

Jeannie C
July 2010

Subscribe to booth-ziegler


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Pamela Davies, who collaborated with me in writing Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? at the same time as my own book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, was published by LULU ) was given a scrapbook of Australian and New Zealand press cuttings related to Anne and Webster's tour there  in 1948. Here is the list she compiled for Clare Gleeson, who wrote a book about the Charles Begg company that arranged their  tour of New Zealand. With the aid of this list Clare was able to find some of the
original articles in the New Zealand Newspaper Archive and  kindly
sent me copies of a few of these.

New Zealand list compiled by
Mrs Pamela Davies,

On the trip to Australia aboard the maiden voyage of the Imperial Star the ship called at various South African ports, so Anne and Webster managed to do two broadcasts each in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. They picked up the ship again in Durban to sail on to Melbourne to meet their Australian accompanist from Adelaide, Clarence Black. Unfortunately their regular accompanist, Charles Forwood, was not in the best of health at this time, so chose not to travel with them on the tour.

     Clarence Black studied piano and organ at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide. When he graduated he became the organist at the Regent Theatre and gave organ recitals each Sunday afternoon. In 1951 he accompanied Peter Dawson (aged 69, but undiminished in voice and personality by advancing age) on his concert tour of Australia.

Broadcasting in Johannesburg.

Arrival in New Zealand 1948 

Preliminary articles,
some excessively laudatory (and not always accurate) designed to whet NZ audiences' appetites

Timaru Herald/10/2/48
Wanganui Herald/11/2/48
NZ Truth 5/5/48 + photo, leaving Liverpool
5 May
:  Attractive looking pair Ann Ziegler and her
husband Webster Booth are known by their voices in every home possessing a
radio. New Zealanders will shortly have the opportunity of seeing them in the
flesh, for they are already headed for a tour of the Dominion. They are about
to set sail from Liverpool with South Africa as
their first port of call.

Dominion (Wellington)/19/5/48
The Dominion
19 May
Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler shortly due in
New Zealand
will make their first appearance at the Town Hall on June 1 and 2. These two
stars who have achieved popularity through their contributions to light opera, musical
comedy, screen and radio entertainment are assured of a warm welcome in this
country as apart from their value as entertainers there is always a certain
curiosity as to their personalities.

     Booth after leaving school was a clerk in a firm of Birmingham accountants.  Before this he had sung in the choir of Lincoln Cathedral.  His pleasing alto
voice changed to tenor and after seeing the possibilities at the professional
stage he applied for an audition, was given one and passed through the ranks as
a tenor in England and Canada.

     Miss Ziegler has been known to the public since early childhood.  She actually gave a recital in London while still in her teens*. At one stage she was one of the best known of principal “boys” in pantomime in the provinces and crossed the Atlantic to play a leading part in the musical comedy Virginia.
*This section is completely inaccurate. She was not known to the public in her childhood and gave a singing recital at the Wigmore Hall, London when she was twenty-three years of age.
Webster went on to oratorio under Dr Malcolm Sargent with the Huddersfield Choir and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His career has been almost meteoric.

NZ Tablet 26/5/48 + Laughing
Otago Daily Times/26/5/48 + Laughing Lady photo
Otago Daily Times
26 May

Two of the most popular British singers, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, are to make a tour of New Zealand in the near future. Established favourites with a world audience through the medium of their broadcasts and recordings, they are also well known on the British stage and have made appearances in several films, the most recent of which The Laughing Lady has still to be released in this country. Although ranked high as singers of more serious musical forms both artists are equally well known in the realm of musical comedy.
Their partnership commenced with the film version of Faust and their recent stage successes have included a revival of The Vagabond King and a new musical Sweet Yesterday. Oratorio, opera and the concert platform have all been covered by this versatile duo.

NZ Listener 28.5.48 +photo
Nelson Mail 29.5.48+Laughing Lady photo
Oamaru Mail/31.5.48 +Laughing Lady photo
Auckland Herald/29/5/48
Arrival from Sydney
Weekly News/2/6/48+Photo of arrival in
Auckland, + list of towns to be visited: Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston
North, Wanganui, Hastings, Napier, Gisborne, Rotorua, Hamilton, Whangarei,
Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Gore, Oamaru, Christchurch, Blenheim, Cold Lakes

B Articles and crits
on their concerts

Date and place of concert
Cross (Wellington)

in Town Hall the previous night, and another that night (1st,2nd June)
Dominion (Wellington)

Wellington Town Hall
Concert in Town Hall the previous night, and another that night (1st, 2nd June)
The Dominion 2 June 1948
Last Night’s Audience Were Enthralled.
Finally Tonight
England’s King and Queen OF SONG
At the Piano
Ballads and Operatic Arias blended
 with Gems from Musical
Comedy by Artists who “sing and
act superbly” and who bring to
the Concert Platform the romance
and glamour of the Stage and
At Begg’s Today,
8/- and 6/- plus Tax
Also DAY SALES AT 8/- plus Tax,
And at the Town Hall tonight
From 7pm
Direction: Begg’s Celebrity Artists Co.

Concert in Town Hall the previous night,
and another that night (1st,2nd June)
(1st,2nd June)
Evening Post
2 June 1948
A reception as enthusiastic as any seen
recently in the Town Hall was accorded the English singers Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, and the Australian pianist Clarence Black when they opened a tour of the Dominion last night.  A large audience was present.
The programme, though light in its nature, took added significance and depth from the high standard of the singers, who showed that they have not been acknowledged as
experts in the field of musical comedy and light opera for nothing.  Their performance was superb, and owed its quality as much to the personality of the artists as to their singing.
Mr Booth has a voice with a range and power
which is a rarity indeed for tenors.
His control and inflexion were perfect, even in the extreme registers of his range.  Miss Ziegler revealed herself to be a soprano of high quality.
Her voice was not that of the usual operatic soprano.  At no time did she lose any control over her voice, even in the highest registers, and just as important, at no time did her articulation appear to be any effort to her.
Although good individually, the singers reached the heights of achievement in their
duets.  Their perfect co-operation is perhaps the secret of their success. This co-operation extended further than time or tone into the more difficult field of mood.  There was always a sympathy which led to a most entrancing result in the music.
This quality was most noticeable in the singers’ signature tune Only a Rose from The Vagabond King a lovely melody which was perhaps as well known as anything else on the programme. The traditional duet The Keys of Heaven was a remarkably good performance and gained
its success from the charm and personality of Miss Ziegler and the insouciant humour of Mr Booth. Other singers might have managed the rest of the programme but it was The Keys of Heaven which showed that these came from the top rank of entertainers.
Miss Ziegler’s best solo was Huntingdon Woodman’s song A Birthday. Mr Booth’s solos served to impress one further with the quality
of his voice and his powers of expression.
Mr Black, who showed himself to be a very good accompanist, also played a number of piano items.
A further concert will be given tonight.

Re cocktail party the previous day, given
at 33 Club in their honour attended by WB alone; AZ “indisposed”.
The Dominion
3 June 1948
Ziegler Taken Ill : Last Night’s Concert Postponed
Because of the sudden illness of Anne Ziegler the Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler concert did not take place last night.
Practically every seat in the Town Hall was
filled when Mr C A Rendle representing the promoters announced the postponement.
Miss Ziegler became ill between 5 and 6 pm. At first it was hoped that the sickness would prove to be a passing one and even the doctor in attendance thought that such might be the case, but after 7pm it was seen that Miss Ziegler was still suffering, and in no condition to make a public appearance. In these circumstances, there was no option but to cancel the concert.
Those present were informed that it was hoped the concert would be held on Saturday night next, and all tickets and reserves would be good for that date.  The audience took the announcement in good part.
This arrangement has been made possible by the cancellation of the Nelson concert.

Daily News
Daily Times
An introductory article.
 Evening Post (Wellington)
Re second Wellington
concert on Saturday night in the Town Hall.
Evening Post 7 June 1948
Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth
Of all the celebrity artists to visit New
Zealand over the past few years possibly none have had the captivating stage manner so typical of the English singers Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.  At their second Wellington concert presented in the Town Hall on Saturday night, this popular couple shared all their songs with the audience rather than sung to them. Their unselfconscious miming and acting throughout both solos and duets won for them a staunch following among even the more staid concertgoers accustomed to the dignified impersonality of other artists.
They opened the programme with the duet Stay, Frederick Stay from The Pirates of Penzance (Sullivan) in which their voices blended perfectly.  There was not one false note among their choice of numbers, every item being of the type for which they are best
known. Solos and duets were both received enthusiastically by the audience, but it was in the duets that they were accorded the greatest storm of applause.
One of the most popular duets was Deep in My Heart (from The Student Prince) and We’ll Gather Lilacs (from Novello’s Perchance to Dream) as an encore was another success. Their duo programme included The Love Duet (Madame Butterfly), Coward’s I’ll See You
, Life Begins Anew (Sweet Yesterday) and Laugh at Life from their latest film The Laughing Lady. A medley of ballads
which warmed the hearts of older members of the audience comprised Until (Sanderson), Love’s Old Sweet Song (Molloy) I Hear You Calling Me (Marshall) and Two Little Words (Brahe).
Miss Ziegler’s first solo was her own
arrangement Strauss’s Tales from the
Vienna Woods
which was superbly sung and she also sang One Fine Day from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
Webster Booth sang The English Rose (German) his recording of which is considered
one of his best, The Lord’s Prayer
and Break of Day from the film Waltz Time.
As a climax to their programme and by
popular request the two artists presented their own arrangement of the traditional Keys of Heaven. They burlesqued it delightfully and the audience loved it. 
As accompanist Clarence Black was
sympathetic and never intrusive and his solo items proved so popular that he was recalled to play several encores. 

Evening Mail

Nelson School of Music
At the School of Music, last night.
Re booking for the forthcoming concert.
Daily News
Opera House, New Plymouth last night.
Opera House, New Plymouth last night.


Palmerston North Opera House
Palmerston North Opera House on Saturday night. Their second and
final concert in Palmerston North to be on
Tuesday evening
Daily Times
PN Opera House on Saturday night. Their second and final concert in PN to be on Tuesday evening.

Wanganui Opera House
Wanganui Opera House last night.
Wanganui Opera House last night.
Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune, Hastings
Theatre, Hastings
last night. To appear in Napier tomorrow night.
Telegraph, Napier

Napier Municipal Theatre
Municipal Theatre on Saturday night.
Re talk given today by WB to members of Gisborne Rotary Club, where he
complained about the lack of back-stage heating in NZ theatres.
Opera House last night.


Municipal Theatre, Rotorua last night.

Interview given by WB today. The eleventh concert of their tour, the first concert with
back-stage heating at Municipal Theatre, Rotorua.
Times, Hamilton

Royal, Hamilton,
last night.


Town Hall
Whangarei Town Hall, last night.
Auckland Star
Hall, last evening.
Auckland Herald

AucklandTown Hall
Hall last night, the first of two Auckland concerts.
Auckland Star
Town Hall last evening.

Theatre Royal, Timaru
Theatre Royal, Timaru, last night.

Civic Theatre, Invercargill
Re great demand for tickets for recital on
Wednesday, July 14th at Civic Theatre: followed by one at St James Theatre,
Gore on Thursday July 15th.
Daily Times
Arrived Dunedin yesterday,
an interview on their arrival, and photo of AZ&WB in their hotel lounge.

Star, Dunedin

Town Hall, Dunedin

Another interview this morning apparently when WB&AZ were at the Town Hall,
inspecting the stage.
Daily Times
Otago Daily Times
8 July 1948
A special attraction at the Sing to be held
tomorrow in the Strand Theatre in aid of the Food for Britain campaign will be Mr Clarence Black, pianist and accompanist for Anne Ziegler
and Webster Booth.  Donations may be sent to Mr J F Himburg, Charles Begg, who with Mr A J Pettitt will assist Mr M P Desmoulins to lead the singing.

Town Hall last night (Dunedin)
Otago Daily Times
8 July 1948

On the concert stage Anne Ziegler and
Webster Booth are a law unto themselves.
Their programme at the Town Hall last night could hardly be described as a vocal recital for their stage technique was a combination of musical comedy and film art. That it had charm and musical qualities was undeniable, for the large audience was attentive and enthusiastic throughout. Anne Ziegler has a pleasant soprano voice which she used without effort, or
forcing and she moves about the stage with an easy grace and charm born of habit.
Webster Booth has a fine tenor voice with excellent quality and carrying power in his high
register and in his singing of The Flower Song from Carmen and The English Rose from Merrie England:

FLOWER SONG (CARMEN) he gave a glimpse of what he might do with such a voice had he chosen a more serious musical career.
Anne Ziegler’s most serious contribution was They Call Me Mimi from La Bohème. It was,
however in the duets that the audience found their greatest pleasure. The collaboration was excellent and though I found their gestures and movements on the stage somewhat meaningless there was a sophisticated charm about their deportment that disarmed criticism. They chatted informally, made jokes with
a local flavor and took the audience into their confidence. The response was all that could be expected and the artists frequently expressed their gratitude for the reception they received.
The pianist, Mr Clarence Black, was a sympathetic accompanist even to lending a hand with dramatic gestures in the duet The Keys of Heaven: 


He also played two groups of solos with competence and musical feeling.

Star, Dunedin
Town Hall last night (Dunedin)
Article on demand for tickets for “next
Wednesday night’s concert”.
Daily Times
Town Hall (Dunedin) last night
Otago Daily Times
9 July 1948

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth captivated
the large audience in their appearance at the Town Hall last night.  Once again their duets revealed their greatest audience appeal and their musical comedy numbers, in particular,
were received with a spontaneous and enthusiastic applause which compelled
them to return to the stage again and again.
The Love Duet from Puccini’s Butterfly was their most delightful number in the first half of the programme, the pure tenor and pleasing soprano voices blending perfectly.
In One Fine Day after the interval Anne Ziegler again thrilled the listeners. To finish their programme the artist sang a medley of popular ballads. This started a clamour for encores
which engaged the singers for some 15 minutes longer than the scheduled programme and the audience persisted in its attempts to recall them even after they had prepared to leave.
The pianist, Clarence Black, again proved a sympathetic accompanist and a talented solo
Star, Dunedin
Town Hall (Dunedin)
last night.
Southend Times
Civic Theatre last night
Civic Theatre last night (part of concert
broadcast by 4YZ)
St James Theatre last night at Gore.
Christchurch Press
Civic Theatre last evening with 2 further
concerts “tonight and tomorrow night”.
at Wellington Town Hall “farewell recital”.
Re signing autographs for a good cause and handing over a sizeable cheque at their final concert last night.

New Zealand song recorded by Anne and Webster  in 1948:

Arrival in Australia at the beginning of August


Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were received in Australia with just as much enthusiasm as in New Zealand. Clarence Black, the Australian pianist from Adelaide was their accompanist in Australia. They were guests of honour at countless civic and mayoral receptions throughout the country and Tasmania. 

On 4th August Anne showed some of her wardrobe to the press:

On the 16th August Anne lost her watch, valued at £350. They reported the matter to the police but there was a happy outcome to this loss:

Unfortunately, Anne also lost a valuable diamond ring worth £900 in their suite of Hotel Australia, Sydney. The police were called in and someone sifted through the bags of the vacuum cleaners, but this ring was ever found.  There were several newspaper photographs of Anne and Webster looking (in vain) for this ring.

19th August 1948. Anne and Webster are pictured scouring the floor of their hotel suite trying to find the lost ring.

Anne and Webster go through their music for one of their Australian performances.

Sydney Town Hall

One of the criticisms in a Sydney newspaper read as follows:


Love was comprehensively examined in the second programme given by the English singers, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, at the Town Hall on Saturday night.

It was a programme of pretty bon-bons, the musical equivalents of pink ribbons and silver paper and St Valentine cards.

     The audience was delighted. One difference between this sort of concert and a concert of serious music is that the audience listening to serious music is always deep in frowns and scowls and anguish of soul. The audience for these singers is all smiles - dreamy smiles, sentimental smiles, bitter-sweet smiles, nostalgic smiles. The singers make love sound as if it is made up entirely of honey and roses.

     While most Australian critics agreed that their concerts were well-received and every auditorium was filled to capacity, they felt that the lighter show music was more suitable to their light voices than the operatic excerpts and solos. 

     Mr Booth and Miss Ziegler, in their duets, gazed raptly upon each other, held hands, dated about in conventional operetta poses, and with all sang so sweetly that it seemed inevitable that a pink little Cupid should leap up from the piano and fire silver arrows at them.


Miss Ziegler, who looked as pretty as a portrait, even went to far as to present an usher with a red, red rose and to bless his prosaic life with a shy, shy kiss when he brought her the first beautiful bouquet of flowers. Yet he slunk away from this enviable moment of rapture, as though unaware of a moment in paradise.

     The voices are not outstanding, but they are better than most that have been heard in Australian musical comedy and operetta for some years. The singers know how to control the sweet natural tone in a way that will extract the last drop of sentimental unction from it.

    Notable illustrations of this were their duets - Stay Frederick, Stay from The Pirate of Penzance, the waggishly comic presentation of The Keys of Heaven and the medley of ballads which included Until, Love's Old Sweet Song and I Hear You Calling Me.

    Clarence Black, their accompanist, played several well-worn solos in the certain knowledge that his choice of items would make his audience sigh with pleasure."

Webster and Anne meet the mayor of Adelaide's daughter, Barbara McLeay at a civic reception in their honour:

Broadcasting in Australia

Webster offers Anne a savoury at another mayoral reception.

A less favourable Sydney criticism.

Before they left Australia after their extensive tour of the country, Webster had the last word about the critics in the following cutting:

Anne and Webster arrived back in the UK after seven months away, on board The Strathaird on their tenth wedding anniversary, 5 November, just in time to do a broadcast on In Town Tonight.

Their film The Laughing Lady opened in Australia shortly after they left the country. Unfortunately Australian critics were almost universal in their scathing comments about this film. It occurred to me that after being acclaimed and treated like Royalty on their extended tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1948, only ten years later they were living in South Africa in very much reduced circumstances.

Jean Collen©

May 2011. Updated 23 September 2016.


Booth, W, Ziegler, A, Duet, Stanley Paul, 1951

Davies, P, List of New Zealand cuttings (1948)


New Zealand Newspaper Archive