Saturday, 1 October 2011
Clara Butt and family
Sepia Saturday this week has a number of possible prompts, one of which is Jean Harlow. I have no cards of any film stars but a rather scruffy card showing Clara Butt (1872-1936) and her family came my way recently. While Clara may not have been a blond bombshell, she was certainly a celebrity in her day, with a formidable personality and voice. And, indeed, physique because she was 6ft 2 inches tall. She was an extremely popular concert singer and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her work during the First World War.
She married Kennerly Rumford, a baritone, and they had the three children shown with them on this card. Very sadly the elder son, Roy, died of meningitis in 1923 and the younger, Victor, later committed suicide on his farm in Southern Rhodesia in 1934. Joy, according to an Australian newspaper of the time, grew to be "one of the tallest girls in society", apparently taking after her mother. With both parents singers, you'd think she would sing too, but I can find no evidence of it.
The card is postmarked 1908 in Jersey and addressed to Mr A Rive also in Jersey, in St Helier in fact. Brooklyn Place no longer exists, the whole of Ann Street looks as though it has been rebuilt. The interesting thing though, is that Clara Butt's father came from Jersey and I can't help but wonder if there is a connection.