Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ruth Elizabeth Charlotte Dickins 1876-1936

This was the ancestor responsible for my beginning to look into family history. She was on the Music halls as a dancer, and yet married a respectable professional soldier and had five children. She travelled the world as a dancer, including a spell on Broadway in New York and a visit to Australia, at a time when many people hardly even made it to the coast for a day trip.

I have a number of fragmentary and rapidly deteriorating documents for her.

Indenture of apprenticeship to Giuseppe Venuto de Francesco as a dancer. Fragment only, document dated5th april 1889. Giuseppe is mentioned in an article on the Norwood Cemetery site in connection with his dancing partner.

Contract with the Brighton Alhambra, dated 30th June 1902, under the name the Sisters Swinson. I do not know who the other sister was. They were paid the princely sum of £10 less 5% a week, which must have been an amazing salary then, for two performances a day, morning and evening - for comparison a minister would earn around 30s, or £1.50 a week.

Contract with Washington Music hall, Battersea
Sisters Swinson again, engagement as duettists and national dancers. April 29th 1901, at £4 per week.

Fragment of advertisement bill for Abbey Theatre, Broawdway and 38th Street

Lottie is shown under Premieures Danseuses as wood pigeon and fox in the production of cinderella "as played at Mr henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre, London". April 30, 1894. The programme is in two pages, and there is a long list of Immortals, other dancers. The other premiere danseuse is Louie Loveday, and so I wonder if she might be the other sister swinson?

Louie Loveday had already starred in the Lyceum production, as is shown here.

Lottie is mentioned in this scholarly article on pantomime, as taking over the role in Cinderella,


doc said...

Giuseppe Venuto de Francesco features in my field of research. I am in a position to expand upon the process of indentures of apprenticeship to Giuseppe Venuto de Francesco. It would be facinating for me to see a copy of of Lottie's indenture and wonder if you would be willing to provide me with a photocopy (at my expense of course)

Fee said...

I've only just seen this comment. Of course I would be willing... email me at caliandris (then the at sign) I *may* have photographs too. Many apologies for the delay