Family History,  Rose

Genealogy | Music Halls and The Flying Ballet

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I’m chatting today about my Rose ancestors – specifically about my great aunts careers in the music halls and the flying ballet.

I first became interested in tracing my tree when I came into possession of my grandfather’s death certificate in 1983.  Using the local library I found out the only option really was to visit Somerset House to physically look through records.

Several years later, in 2008, I found the death certificate again and wondered if there was anything now online … and so with a subscription to FindMyPast,  Ancestry and registered at GenesReunited I spent a couple of years on the family history trail!

I’m not going to post in a logical order for my family history as I don’t want my posts to be all about facts and dates.  Having said that, this post will include my direct paternal ROSE line which I have traced back to 1700 with Charles being baptised in Chapel Hill, Monmouth.

I’ve had discussions with other family history enthusiasts who have suggested that ROSE may have been a corrupt form of ROHSS/ROESE from Germany.  Ironworkers were brought to Monmouth from Westphalia during the 16th century (my ROSE line were iron workers in Chapel Hill at that time).

Chapel Hill old ironworks
On a trip to Chapel Hill and the old ironworks.

Another possibility could be a connection with the ROSE clan who are in the Forest of Dean (these places aren’t too far apart and Charles’ siblings moved to places in the FoD).  The names repeat (as I’ve so often found during my research) but I haven’t been able to find a definite connection yet.

I have three generations of ROSE in Chapel Hill before my 5 x great grandfather moves to Bristol which isn’t far across the water.  Richard (whose occupation was a brickmaker) became a Burgess of Bristol. Whilst in Bristol, the second generation attended weddings as witnesses back in Chapel Hill (how I love a paper trail!).

Two generations stayed in Bristol making bricks and became Bristol Burgess’ before my 3 x great grandfather, (also Richard) moved to Shoreditch, London.  Richard was an ostler/cab proprietor (cab being different in 1838 to the cab we think of today).  There was in inquest into his death which I will share in another post.

My 2nd great grandfather, Richard Thomas Edmund ROSE was the first to become a French Polisher (still living in Shoreditch).

This became a family occupation with my great grandfather, my grandfather and my late father continuing this line of work although my father also added cabinet maker to his skills.

Broadwood Piano
Broadwood piano similar to those my ancestors French Polished

My great grandfather Alfred Augustus ROSE (known to friends as Gus) and his siblings had their children baptised together as did his wife’s siblings.  (I love how close they all were)!

Portrait of Alfred Augustus Rose born 1865
Alfred Augustus Rose b 1865

My grandfather (also Alfred Augustus ROSE) fought in WW1, lost a lung and more importantly, lost his first wife to the Spanish influenza in October 1914 (my grandmother).  While waiting to be demobbed the children were split up.  My father (also Alfred Augustus ROSE) and his brother stayed with one family while their sister stayed with another.  They never lived together as a family again.  He re-married and had two more children.

Photo of Alfred Augustus Rose and Frances nee Kenealy with their children WWI
Grandfather and grandmother

My father is standing up. His brother Daniel James is sat on the table and Joseph (on my grandmother, Frances’ lap) died 8 days before she did. Dad’s sister Frances hadn’t been born yet (she was born Feb 1918). The photo above was taken mid 1916

Alfred Augustus Rose and Rose Hearn
My grandfather, his second wife Rose Hearn and me

My father moved away from Hackney in London during WWII to Bournemouth.  I’m the first generation that has been born here.

Photo of Alfred Augustus Rose b 19123 in WWII unfiorm
My father, Alfred Augustus Rose b 1913

You might be wondering if I continued with the name Alfred Augustus with my own children … almost.  We named one of our sons Alfie in remembrance (and then suddenly it became a very popular name!).

It is Richard Thomas Edmund’s generation that I will be posting about today.

I admire my paternal great grand aunts immensely.  I envy them because of the ‘careers’ they had before they married.

Mary Ann Rose was part of a duet called Sisters Milton and also performed in pantos while Esther Rose performed as part of the Flying Ballet.

My 2nd great grandparents (their parents) used to run a lodging house for musical artists (as well as his job as a French Polisher) and I imagine it was sometimes chaos in their home.

Photo of Richard Thomas Edmund Rose born 1836
Richard Thomas Edmund Rose b 1836

I know I’m probably romanticizing everything but I really would love to have been a part of their lives.

Taking screenshots from my Ancestry tree, below is the generation I am talking about today.

Family Group Sheet for Rose Genealogy
Chart showing Richard Thomas Edmund Rose and Catherine Soards children

Mary Ann was 11 years younger than my great grandfather (Alfred Augustus) and Esther 15 years younger.  My great grandfather was an errand boy on the 1881 census when Esther was 9 months old.  Even with that age gap, all the family was a close one and remained close.

Below is a photo of my paternal grand aunt’s wedding on 24th February 1918 (All Souls, Hackney).  I’m starting with this photo as although it is the next generation and Mary Ann and Esther are grown up, you will be able to see the family together.

Rose family wedding photo 24 February 1918 at All Souls, Hackney

Bride Emma Louise Rose, Groom George Baxter

People of note in this post:

Front Row far right great grandfather Alfred Augustus Rose (brother to Mary Ann and Esther)

Middle row 3rd right Mary Ann

Back row 3rd right Esther

My grandfather is standing behind the bride and groom

Below is Mary Ann and Esther as children (Mary Ann left).

Photo of sisters Mary Ann Rose and Esther Rose as children

And below in 1953 (Mary Ann right)

If you look closely you can see a heavy foot brace that Esther is wearing – more later!

Photo of sisters Mary Ann Rose and Esther Rose in 1953

After their marriages (they married brothers!) their ‘careers’ ended.  Mary Ann went on to have a family of her own and Esther and her husband ran a pub.

Mary Ann performed as part of a duet called Sisters Milton.  I’m fortunate to have one of Mary Ann’s descendants share photos with me and I also researched Mary Ann’s duet using such resources as The Era via  The British Newspaper collection on FindMyPast.

The Granville where Sisters Milton performed.

Sisters Milton performed across the country (a selection from mentions in The Era from 1898 – 1900):

31 December 1898 Empire Palace, Sheffield

14 January 1899 English’s New Seabright, Hackney Road, London

28 January 1899 The London

11 February 1899 Barnard’s Palace, Chatham

18 February 1899 Grand Theatre, Gravesend

12 August 1899 The Granville, London

2 September 1899 Hall-By-The-Sea, Margate

16 September 1899 Empire Palace, Wolverhampton

14 October 1899 English’s New Seabright, Hackney Road, London

14 October 1899 Barnard’s Palace, Chatham

11 November 1899 Alhambra, Blackpool

9 December 1899 Grand Theatre, Gravesend

16 December 1899 Grand Theatre, Gravesend

10 March 1900 Palace Theatre, Croydon

17 March 1900 Palace Theatre, Croydon

14 April 1900 (Easter) The Marylebone, London

28 April 1900 Royal Albert, London

19 May 1900 Barnard’s Palace, Chatham

8 September 1900 Theatre Royal, Kilburn, London

22 September 1900 Palace Theatre, Croydon

Topping the bill in Dover:

Promotional banner showing Sisters Milton performing at the Empire Palace of Varieties

20 October 1900 Empire Palace, Dover

27 October 1900 Empire Palace, Dover

3 November 1900 Empire Palace, Wolverhampton

10 November 1900 Gaiety Theatre, Nottingham

22 December 1900 Tivoli, Leicestershire

Photo of Sisters Milton in costume for music hall act

Mary Ann (right) and Beattie as Sisters Milton

Sisters Milton in costume for music hall act.
Mary Ann on the right
Mary Ann Rose in panto costume early 1900's
Mary Ann in panto costume
Mary Ann Rose in costume - Prince of Denmark early 1900's
Mary Ann as the Prince of Demark

Mary Ann married John Armon Chapman (26 Jun 1904 at St Marks, Dalston) and had a very close relationship to her sister Esther throughout her life.

I only have one photo of Esther in costume – for the Flying Ballet.  I haven’t been able to find out much about the Flying Ballet‘s history so if you have any information or can point me in the right direction, please do!

Esther Rose in her flying ballet costume early 1900's

Esther married Thomas George Chapman Dec ¼ 1905 Hackney 1b 801.

Esther Rose and Thomas George Chapman's wedding photo 1905

Esther and Toff

Thomas is brother to sister Mary Ann’s husband (known as Toff because he liked to look nice and always dressed well)!

Esther and Toff were publicans of the Eight Bells in Bow and The Old No.9.  These pubs no longer exist.  I found a good place to search is online with UK Pub History.

Photo inside the Old No. 9 pub
The Old No. 9

Toff far right, Esther left of the pump

Photo outside of the Old No.9 pub
Toff standing outside The Old No. 9

Toff died 28 July 1934.  He was very popular and a respected member of the community.  Many attended his funeral.

Photo of Thomas George Chapman's funeral leaving from the Old No.9 pub
Toff’s funeral leaving from The Old No. 9

Esther carried on as publican.

During the war, Esther was injured by a bomb which fell on the pub. She survived but had a badly crushed foot and had to wear a very heavy braced boot for the rest of her life. This didn’t stop her in any way. She continued to lead a full live. Esther and Toff had no children.

The interest in music, acting and piano playing passed down through the generations with memories shared at a ROSE reunion in 2008.  My late father, ever the comedian and entertainer, performed skits on stage at our local Royal British Legion.  As for myself, having tried the horn, the trumpet and flute at school settled for the choir (although my nerves ALWAYS got the better of me!).  I was awarded L4 distinction in Improvisation via LAMDA and led drama sessions at a youth club.  So I guess you could say the interest has been there but not the confidence or passion for performing to have a regular place in my life.  (Teaching is often like performing though so perhaps I’m using this in a different way …).

I am fascinated by the lives of my ancestors, especially in a world that is so different from my own!

Do you have ancestors that performed in the music halls or The Royal Ballet?

Perhaps you have an ancestor that was a publican?

Do you have a talent passed down through the generations?

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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