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