The Irving Society Newsletter No 81

The Irvingite

From the desk of the Hon. Secretary……….

Greetings fellow Irvingites

In this second edition of 2019, we are able to announce a couple of member events, which I hope you feel able to support. One will be to the wonderful Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London and for Christmas, we shall be joining the congregation at St Paul’s Covent Garden for their “Service of Nine Lessons and Carols” Details of both of these events, and a further interesting event, at which we hear the voice of Irving and some of his contemporaries, are below.

We are also able to announce that The Irving Society now has an Introductory Student/under 25’s membership rate of £12.50, which we hope will begin to attract new younger members into the Society. In any event, the strength of any Society lies in its members, so if you want to see the Irving Society continue, please invite people to join. Full details of membership are available from the Treasurer, Kristan at

I hope everyone has a good summer and I look forward to seeing you all at some point before the end of the year.





Did you know that The Irving Society has a Twitter account?

We tweet regularly on all matters relating to Henry Irving, his family, performances and his contemporaries, as well as generally interesting facts about Victorian Theatre – as much as the 240 character limit will allow.

It is a very direct way of promoting interest in this area and I am pleased to say that we have been able to grow our followers and engage with them.

If you would like to join our growing band, then just follow us @irvingsoc


FIRST KNIGHT – a call for articles

The Irving Society is currently soliciting material for the next issue of First Knight, its journal. Short articles of 2,000 words or less on any aspect of the Victorian theatre are welcome, as are reviews of related new books, exhibitions, or performances. The deadline is 31 August 2019. Please send an enquiry in the first instance to Dr Kristan Tetens at”

IRVING IN MANCHESTER – seeking information

Ian Nickson ( writes:

“I am studying for a PhD with The Shakespeare Institute researching the role which Manchester played in the development of Shakespearean theatre in the 19th century. One important achievement was the city’s support for Irving who arrived in Manchester an unsuccessful, impoverished actor. I am hoping that the Irving Society may be able to help my research by enabling me to understand why Manchester was so supportive of Irving and how that support manifested itself.”

If you can help Ian with this question, please get in touch with him at the email address above.



   Level 6 at Foyles  3.15pm

       Foyles Bookshop, 113-117 Charing Cross Road W2

ECHOES OF DEAD VOICES tells the fascinating story of the beginning of recorded sound, initially in France and leading to the invention of Edison’s phonograph in America in the 1880s. Efforts were made to capture the celebrated figures of the day and we will hear leading actor HENRY IRVING, a performance by JOHANNES BRAHMS, Lord TENNYSON reading The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale, and The Lost Chord by Arthur Sullivan, thought to be the first recording made in England. Due to the technical limitations of the time, each recording lasts no more than two minutes. We will hear each piece performed live by rising actors and musicians.

This is an original production devised and narrated by pianist and teacher ANGELA RANSLEY making full use of the superb audio-visual facilities at Foyles. Our event offers a unique insight into this technological breakthrough that permeates our lives today.


TICKETS: Eventbrite  Adult: £18  Child: £12  Family (2A, 2C): £55

TRAVEL:  Tube: Tottenham Court Road    Bus:  Charing Cross Road


A  fundraising  event  for  World  Sight  Day in  aid  of


A trip to the Guildhall Art Gallery

Please see information about this event below – we shall be guided by someone with a theatrical background, so it promises to be a very interesting and entertaining activity. It is important that you let The Society know if you will be attending – all the details are below:


The Irving Society and 19th Century Theatre

Invite you to join them at


Guildhall, Gresham Street London EC2V 7HH

For a Guided Tour on

THURSDAY 3rd OCTOBER 2019 at 11am

Explore this wonderful collection of 19th Century artworks with a knowledgeable guide


TICKETS £5 (payable at the door)

Please let us know you will be joining us by emailing


Just a date for your diary – further details to follow, but please join us for Nine Lessons and Carols at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden.
Nine Lessons and Carols, sung by The Friends Musick
with the lessons read by Actors
will be at 3 pm on Sunday 15th December 2019  


A quote from Sir Henry Irving:

“The stage has no lights or shadows that are not lights of life and shadows of the heart. To each
human consciousness it appeals in alternating mirth and sadness, and will not be denied.”





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