November poppies: Their poignant history and interesting facts

Samantha PillingHistory

Amazing poppy field . Summer flowers .

  November is a month marked and remembered by poppies. In Britain, iconic red poppies are distributed by volunteers for the Royal British Legion every year. They are worn as a mark of respect for the fallen service men and women killed in conflict, during the two World Wars, as well as those who have fallen since. Wreathes made of … Read More

Annie Hall Cudlip

Samantha PillingHistory

Book

Better known by her pen name Mrs Pender Cudlip, Annie Hall Cudlip was considered one of the most prolific romantic fiction writers of the Victorian era. She was also an early sweetheart of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert. Annie Hall Thomas was born on 25th October 1838. The only daughter of George Thomas, a gentleman officer from County Cork and lieutenant … Read More

The hobbies and interests of W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingHistory

Old Library Books

W.S. Gilbert enjoyed indulging in his hobbies and interests, whilst at Grim’s Dyke. He not only found them creative and inspiring, they bought him closer to his family and allowed him to spend time in the grounds at Grim’s Dyke – something he loved dearly. Grim’s Dyke – one of Gilberts greatest hobbies Grim’s Dyke wasn’t only his home, it … Read More

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: A time when W.S. Gilbert was king

Samantha PillingHistory

R&G

Known for having a genuine affection for amateur actors, Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was keen on performing as an amateur actor himself. He would occasionally write short plays to be used as charity performances and to raise funds for local hospitals. Frequently, he’d encourage his friends and colleagues to become part of the performing cast and Gilbert himself, was also known to take on the odd acting … Read More

10 things you didn’t know about W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingHistory

Gilbert

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was best known as a dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator. His Savoy Operas with Sir Arthur Sullivan made him renown, even to this day. However, there are some things that you may not have known about W.S. Gilbert – here’s 10 of the most interesting:  #1: W.S. Gilbert had the Dickensian habit of wearing a red … Read More

The Hooligan by W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Pentonville

Produced just four months before W.S. Gilbert’s death, this one-act play was a grim, yet powerful play. It was a study of a young condemned murderer, waiting in a prison cell for his execution and was inspired by the celebrated Crippen murder trial of 1910. One of Gilbert’s most successful serious dramas Gilbert focused on showing sympathy for the villain, … Read More

Sir Edward Seymour Hicks

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

seymour hicks

Sir Edward Seymour Hick, better known as Seymour Hicks, was an actor, performer, playwright, screenwriter, actor-manager and producer – and frequent visitor to Grim’s Dyke. Both Hicks and his wife were friends of W.S. Gilbert and his wife, Lady Lucy, making them frequent visitors to Grim’s Dyke. Ironically, hicks first taste of acting was in a school play when, at … Read More

Ellaline Terriss – popular English actress and singer

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Ellaine Terriss

Born Mary Ellaline Lewin, in Stanley, Falkland Islands, Terriss came from a family of performers. Best known for her performances in Edwardian Theatre comedies, she had a career that spanned 52 years. Her father, William Lewin, (known by his stage name William Terriss), was a well-known actor in London. Her mother, Isabel Lewis, acted too, under her stage name Amy … Read More

W.S. Gilbert’s stage management methods

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

W.S._Gilbert's_burlesque_comedy,_Engaged

As illustrated in The Strand interview1, W.S. Gilbert was a thorough stage manager, who planned everything in great detail. His need for detail involved having exact replicas of the stage, actors and scenes created, so he could plan, in depth, exactly who should be on stage at any given time. This is possibly why he was revered so much, as … Read More

The lake at Grim’s Dyke

Samantha PillingHistory

Ducks

The artificial ornamental lake at Grim’s Dyke must have been one of the biggest gardens and grounds projects undertaken by Sir William and Lady Gilbert. The original lake was way beyond the house and ornamental gardens, so, under Sir William’s direct supervision, it was extended, firstly in 1899, then again in 1905, until it reached a surface area of 1.5 … Read More