The Irving Society Newsletter No 46


Major New Research Facility

In 2006 the Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded Dr Katharine Cockin a Resource Enhancement Grant of £85,000 to complete the guide to the papers of Ellen Terry and her daughter Edith Craig held at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent. Smallhythe was the home of Ellen Terry, established as a memorial to Terry by her daughter Edith Craig, and given to the National Trust in 1939.

The online database provides descriptions of over 18,000 documents, including a large number of press cuttings and photographs of Henry Irving, and may now be visited on:

The papers will be available for consultation by researchers in 2009, either at Smallhythe Place or the British Library. Each record in the database is marked SMA (Smallhythe Place) or BL (British Library) to indicate its location. Earlier stages of the project were funded by the University of Hull and the Society for Theatre Research (2001- 2005). Dr Cockin would also like to thank delegates to the Henry Irving International Conference at Leicester University in 2005 , including members of the Irving Society, who expressed their support.

A conference is to be held at the University of Hull on Saturday 6 June, 2009, to celebrate the project and to bring together researchers working on Ellen Terry, Edith Craig and their circle. A report will be delivered by the Principal Investigator, Dr Katharine Cockin, together with a paper by the IT consultant for the database, Julian Halliwell of simplicityweb.

Other speakers (provisionally) include Sir Michael Holroyd CBE, Professor Nina Auerbach, Professor Richard Foulkes, Pro fessor Kate Kelly, Professor Denis S alter, Dr G ail Marsh all and Dr Susan Croft.

Papers are sought on Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, Edward Gordon Craig, Henry Irving, Christopher St John, Clare Atwood and any other related individual or topic. Please submit a 200 word abstract of your proposed paper by 1 February, 2009, to Dr Cockin by email on

Dr Katharine Cockin
Reader in English
English Department,
University of Hull,
Cottingham Road
Hull HU6 7RX . UK
tel: (01482) 465611
fax: (01482) 465641


The engagement is announced between member Hal Sinden, grandson of Sir Donald, and Miss Beth Ryan. Every best wish is extended to them both.

‘SIR HENRY IRVING prefers Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes to all others. The bon-ton smoke of the day-pure and mild.’ – Ad in New Zealand West Coast Times, 9 August 1900.

Paul Campion recommends a visit to Cawdor Castle near Inverness, describing it as ‘most lovely and interesting, with beautiful gardens’. It was visited by HI and ET in 1887 prior to the Lyceum Macbeth. On display is Birnam Wood, a small painting by Keeley Halswelle who designed the sets for the production. See FK vol 9 no 1.

If you change your email address don’t forget to inform the Hon Sec.


This b&w tin lapel pin (1”x¾”) is in the possession of Claire Logan of Pennsylvania. It was handed down from her g-g -grandfather, a police officer in Newark, New Jersey, who had an interest in music and the theatre. Who or what the Coterie of Newark was remains unknown, despite energetic research efforts.

Newark Police Museum think the pin had some kind of connection with HI, but further information is required. If you can shed any light on this item please email Claire on or contact the Editor.



In 1976 film-maker Michael R. Hurwitz began a project that became a journey of thirty years. In an effort to save the Great Southern Theater, located in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, and representing one of the finest examples of Victorian theatrical architecture, Hurwitz roamed the theatre with a film crew capturing every aspect of the structure. From the auditorium to the grid and rafters, from the trapdoors under the stage to the fly gallery, Hurwitz filmed every nook and cranny.

The initial four hours of film footage has been digitally re-mastered and integrated with arch rival film, still photographs and new footage to tell the story of not only the Great Southern Theater but that of the American theatre at the turn of the twentieth century. Every prominent actor and actress played the house, from Lillian Russell and the Barrymores to Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. Even W. C. Fields juggled on its stage.


Not a recently discovered colour photo of HI, but Guy Henry as creepy Mr Collins in ITV’s hugely entertaining Lost in Austen.  Richard Briers & Sir Michael Holroyd at the Cottesloe Theatre


Henry Irving StatuetteThis commemorative figure by Irena Sedlecka of Henry Irving as Mathias in The Bells was commissioned by the Society for the Irving Centenary in 2005. The edition is strictly limited to fifty numbered and signed copies.

The resin bronze figures are individually cast from moulds made by David Perrott, Miss Sedlecka’s longtime assistant. The figure weighs 12lbs (approx) and stands 12½” high on a base 7” x 8½”. After fifty castings the mould will be destroyed, thus ensuring the value and exclusivity of this superb reproduction of Irving in the role by which he is still best remembered.

To acquire a copy please send a cheque for £325 payable to The Irving Society to Sylvia Starshine, Hon Treasurer, The Irving Society, Flat 7, 23 Stanhope Road, London N6 5AW, together with your postal address, phone number and email address. Delivery costs vary according to your location. If you wish to see a statuette contact the Editor for a viewing.



Cottesloe Theatre, South Bank 25 November, 2008, at 6.00pm 

Briefly but shrewdly introduced by Richard Briers, Sir Michael Holroyd was his usual relaxed and humorous self as he outlined the background to his latest book, A Strange and Eventful History. What was intended as a twenty-page outline of Ellen Terry, a minor figure in his biography of Shaw, became more and more extended, first of all as the mighty figure of Irving forced himself centre stage, and then as their respective children clamoured for inclusion.

Thus did a casual feuilleton turn into a seven year labour, interrupted by illness. When asked whether he thought he would have liked Irving, Sir Michael carefully replied that he thought he would have admired him (laughter). But the real villain – and all good stories must have a villain – of the narrative is ET’s son, Edward Gordon Craig, a man touched with genius but deeply flawed as an individual. A sold-out house responded warmly to both speakers.

Irving by Histed
Irving by Histed



Although Ernest Walter Histed was born in Brighton, he made his reputation as a photographer in Chicago and later in Pittsburgh. He returned to England to set up a studio first in New Bond Street and then in Baker Street. In 1898 he made portraits of, amongst others, the Empress of Germany, Pope Pius X, and Sir Henry Irving, a client list which could hardly be more distinguished. The firm continued as Histed and Company when he returned to New York to operate a studio on Fifth Avenue. He moved to Palm Beach, Florida and continued to work until 1934, thirteen years before his death.


Though Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale was never seen at the Lyceum under HI’s management, Ellen Terry played Mamillius for Charles Kean and Hermione for Tree.

A block booking at the Old Vic (in the Lilian Baylis circle) has been made for a new production of this play on Wednesday, 8 July, 2009, at 2.30pm. The cost is £18. The cast includes Simon Russell Beale and Sinead Cusack. Directed by Sam Mendes. If you wish to join the party send your cheque, payable to the Irving Society, to the Hon Sec at the address below.


Saturday, 18 April, 2009

NT Olivier Stalls Foyer
Visit Michael Sharvell-Martin at the Irving Stall


Sunday, 1 February, 2009

Irving Statue , Charing Cross Road
Laying of the Birthday Wreath 14.30
Lecture Theatre,
National Portrait Gallery
Annual General Meeting 15.00
Guest Speaker:
Admission for Non-Members: £3


Michael Kilgarriff, Editor/Hon Sec
The Irving Society
10 Kings Avenue
London W5 2SH
tel: 020 8566 8301

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