Some of the Important People in Miss Lily Elsie's Life.

  • Bullough, Major Ian, MFH, MC (1885 - 6 June 1936) Elsie's husband.
    Ian Bullough was the youngest son of John Bullough of Meggernie Castle, Perthshire, Scotland and his second wife Alexandra Marion (Mackenzie of Stornoway / Isle of Lewis).

    Ion Bullough.

    Major Bullough made his fortune at the family business of Howard and Bullough. (Click for more details.) He married Maude ('Maudi', 'Maudie') Darrell in 1909, she died in October 1910. Maudi Darrell (Maude Rhoda Didcott) was daughter of theatrical agent Hugh Jay Didcott.

    Mr & Mrs Ian Bullough.

    His marriage to Elsie in 1911 ended in divorce in 1930. That same year he married for a third time, to Irene Gertrude Salter and had two sons. Educated at Eaton and Oxford, he rose to become a Major in the Coldstream Guards Special Reserve. He was Master of the Ledbury [fox] Hunt, Herefordshire, UK. Ian Bullough died 6th June 1936. Click here more information on his time with Elsie.

    Maudi Darrell as 'Denise' in Veronique.

    Program from Veronique.

  • Cotton, Elizabeth 'Elsie' (neé Barrett. 1864 - 1922) Elsie's mother.
    Born in Manchester 27th February 1864. Buried in St Bartholomew's Churchyard, Redmarley d'Abitôt, Gloucestershire. The inscription on her headstone reads, 'In loving memory of Elizabeth Cotton. Beloved mother of Elsie Bullough. Born 27th February 1864. Died 26 April 1922 [aged 58]. Come unto me and I will give you rest.' The grave is to be found at the extreme left side of the churchyard, near plot 336 on the plan.

    Click to enlarge.

  • Edwardes, George. (1852-1915)
    Irish-born theatre manager, real name George Edwards and known as the Guv'nor, who pioneered the Musical. Edwardes was business manager at the Savoy Theatre from 1881 before taking over, with John Hollingshead (1827-1904), the old Gaiety theatre in 1885. In 1886 Edwardes became sole manager of the Gaiety and began to replace the burlesque (humorous variety) shows with work in the new genre of musical comedy. He staged his first musical, In Town, at the Gaiety in 1892; the following year he produced A Gaiety Girl at the Price of Wales's Theatre. Edwardes was the creator of the Gaiety Girls, a chorus line famous for their beauty.

    The Guv'nor.

    In 1893 Edwardes opened Daly's Theatre, London, for the American manager Augustin Daly (1893-99), and made it another home for musical comedy, achieving success with such productions as A Country Girl (1902) and The Merry Widow (1907, with Lly Elsie).

    Ten years later he opened his own new Gaiety theatre, his greatest success there being Our Miss Gibbs, which had its premiere in 1909 and ran for 636 performances.

  • Duff Gordon, Lady Lucy. (1863-1935)
    Lady Duff Gordon (nee Lucy Christiana Sutherland, 13 June 1863 - 20 April 1935). The leading British dress designer of the opening years of the 20th century, popularly known as "Lucile" (after her couture house Lucile, Ltd of London, Paris and New York). Lucile provided Lily Elsie's trendsetting wardrobe both for stage and private life throughout most of the star's career. Lucile's gowns for Elsie in The Merry Widow in 1907 brought into fashion the high-waistline, narrow clinging skirts, and of course the legendary giant, plumed hats which are still associated with the Lehar operetta. Lucile also made Elsie's gown and trousseau for her 1911 marriage to Maj. Ian Bullough. Besides their professional relationship, Elsie and Lucile were close personal friends. In 1928 Lucile, then retired, presented to the Museum of London a collection of frocks for its decorative arts department, including a green georgette gown based on the original as worn by Elsie in The Waltz Dream in 1911. It is the only known extant costume associated with Lily Elsie.
    (This biography of Lucile kindly contributed by Randy Bigham.)

    Photo by Rita Martin 1910.

  • D'Oyly Carte, Richard. (Richard Doyle McCarthy; 1844-1801)
    British impresario (organiser of, especially musical, public entertainments) best known for his association with Gilbert & Sullivan. His own D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was formed in 1878 for the production of HMS Pinafore. In 1891 D'Oyly Carte built the Royal English Opera House (now the Palace Theatre) at London's Cambridge Circus.

  • Novello, Ivor (David Ivor Davies; 1893-1951)
    British actor-manager, playwright & composer, whose light musical plays dominated the West End stage in the 1930s. Elsie was first introduced to Novello by Mrs. Asquith, the Prime Minister's wife. The two became friends. She attended the memorial service for him at St Martin-in-the fields in 1951.

    Ivor Novello.

    Some quotations from Ivor Novello, Man of the Theatre by PETER NOBLE Click here for the text.

  • Coyne, Joseph. (1867-1941) Actor starring with Elsie in The Merry Widow in 1907 and The Dollar Princess (1909).

  • Soutar, (Joe) Farren. Actor starring with Elsie in A Chinese Honeymoon in 1904. Also worked on Broadway, The Girl from up There 1901, The Catch of the Season 1905, and Peggy 1911.

  • Reeve, Ada. British actress born in London 1874, died in 1966. Married to Elsie's Uncle, Wilfred Cotton. Her career spanned the golden years of the Music Hall. She was part of the original London cast of 'Florodora' (1899) and also made films.

    Ada Reeve and Wilfred Cotton.

    Ada Reeve.

    Ada Reeve.

  • Evelyn, Clara. Actress born, Clara Evelyn Smith on new year's day 1882 (or 84 or 86). Died in Chelsea, London, May 21st 1980. Understudy to Elsie in The Dollar Princes (1909), and took over the lead role of Sonia in the Merry Widow (1907).

    Miss Clara Evelyn in The Merry Widow.

  • Rita Martin Photographer (1875-1958)

    Margareta 'Rita' Martin started her photographic career in 1897 helping she helped her elder sister [Charlotte] Lallie Charles to run her studio. In 1906 she opened her own studio, working in a similar studio to her sister, photographing subjects in pale colours against a pure white background, and focused on actresses such as Lily Elsie.


  • Cecil Lewis RFC

    In his memoir, "Sagittarius Rising", Lewis details his flying career with the RFC (forerunner of the RAF) during The Great War and incluides the following paragraph:

    "One night, on a party in town, I met Lily Elsie. Her charm and beauty turned my impressionable young head. I flew over to tea at her little house at Kingston. Ivor Novello played 'Cupid, Cupid,' the song with which she was captivating London at the time, and she came downstairs singing it. "What would you do without me to make an entrance, darling?" he laughed. I think I never saw two more beautiful human beings together."

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