ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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HARRIETT JAY - BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS

 

The Robert Buchanan Timeline also includes the major events in Harriett Jay’s life and includes copies of the following documents:

1. 1851 census return for the Jay household in Grays, Essex (prior to Harriett’s birth).

2. Harriett Jay’s birth certificate.

3. 1861 census return for the Jay household in Grays, Essex.

4. 1871 census return for Robert Buchanan’s household in Oban, Scotland.

5. 1881 census return for Harriett Jay.

6. 1891 census return for Robert Buchanan’s household at 25, Maresfield Gardens, South Hampstead.

7. 1901 census return for Harriett Jay and the invalid Robert Buchanan at Streatham, London.

8. 1911 census return for Harriett Jay.

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As part of my search for the remnants of Robert Buchanan’s literary estate I obtained a copy of Harriett Jay’s will in the hope that it would provide some clues. If you want to find out who got her parrott (sic) then click below:

Harriett Jay’s Will

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Obituaries

 

The Daily Mirror (24 December, 1932 - p.3)

mirrorhjayobit

The Scotsman (Saturday, 24 December, 1932 - p.13)

MISS HARRIET JAY DEAD
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Writer of “When Knights Were Bold”

     MISS HARRIET JAY, the authoress of “When Knights Were Bold,” and other plays and novels, has died at her home at Ilford, Essex, after a long illness. She was 79.
     Miss Jay, who was an actress as well as an authoress, was well known on the London West End stage in the  ‘eighties. She first appeared at the Gaiety in 1880, and during the next ten years at Drury Lane, Vaudeville, Adelphi, Globe, and the now long-vanished Connaught and Olympic Theatres.
     She wrote mainly under the nome-de-plume of Charles Marlowe, and it was under that name that “When Knights Were Bold” appeared. She collaborated with the late Robert Buchanan, her brother-in-law, in most of her other plays. She is to be buried with him in the family vault at St John’s Church, Southend, to-day. One of her works was a “Life of Buchanan.” She also wrote several novels.
     Miss Jay was a friend of George R. Sims, Sir Arthur Pinero, Violet Vanbrugh, Mrs Patrick Campbell, Edward Terry, and Charles Reade.

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The Times (24 December, 1932 - p.10)

MISS HARRIET JAY

     Miss Harriet Jay, the authoress of When Knights were Bold, and other plays and novels, has died at her home at Ilford, Essex, after a long illness. She was 79 years of age.
     Miss Jay was well known on the West End stage in the eighties. She first appeared at the Gaiety in 1880 and during the next 10 years at Drury Lane, the Vaudeville, Adelphi, Globe, and the now long-vanished Connaught and Olympic theatres. She wrote mainly under the name of Charles Marlowe, and it was under that name that When Knights were Bold was written. She collaborated with the late Robert Buchanan, her brother-in-law, in most of her other plays, which included Fascination, Alone in London, and Strange Adventures of Miss Brown.

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The Guardian (24 December, 1932 - p.3)

MISS HARRIETT JAY

Author of “When Knights Were Bold”

     Miss Harriett Jay, the dramatist, novelist, and actress, died at her home in Seymour Gardens, Ilford, on Wednesday, aged seventy-nine.
     Miss Jay’s most famous play, written under the pen name of Charles Marlowe, was “When Knights Were Bold,” first produced in 1907. In collaboration with her brother-in-law, the late Robert Buchanan, Miss Jay also wrote the plays “The Queen of Connaught,” “Alone in London,” “Fascination,” “The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown,” “The Romance of a Shopwalker,” “A Wanderer from Venus,” “The Mariners of England,” and “Two Little Maids from School.” Miss Jay frequently appeared on the stage between 1880 and 1890, her first London performance being at the Crystal Palace in 1880. She appeared at the Gaiety in the same year as Lady Jane Grey in “A Nine Days’ Queen.” She also took part in “The Madcap Prince,” 1881, “The Exiles of Erin,” 1881, “Lady Clancarty,” 1882, “Lady Clare,” 1883, “A Sailor and His Lass,” 1883, “Alone in London,” 1885, “Sappho,” 1886, “The Blue Bells of Scotland” and “Fascination,” 1887, “The Bride of Love” and “Sweet Nancy,” 1890.
     She wrote the life of Robert Buchanan, and her novels included “The Dark Colleen,” “Madge Dunraven,” “My Connaught Cousins,” “The Priest’s Blessing,” “Two Men and a Maid,” “Through the Stage Door,” and “A Marriage of Convenience.”
     She is being buried to-day in the family vault at St. John’s, Southend, with Robert Buchanan.

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Daily Express (24 December, 1932 - p.1)

She Wrote ‘When Knights Were Bold’
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DEATH OF WOMAN WHO TOOK A MAN’S NAME
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WHILE the curtain rises on that robust and hearty farce, “When Knights Were Bold,” in London on Boxing Day, the last pieces of turf will fall over the coffin of the frail and delicate old lady who wrote this amazing non-stop play.
     For the author died yesterday—and the author, although known as “Charles Marlowe,” was really Miss Harriet Jay, a white-heaired, gentle-voiced woman who lived in retirement in the depths of the country.
     Fifty-three years ago Harriet Jay first appeared on the stage, at the age of twenty-six. Forty-two years ago she ceased acting.
     Twenty-five years ago the play, “When Knights Were Bold,” written under a man’s name by this elderly ex-actress in retirement, was produced by the late James Welch.

STAGE SENSATION

     It was an instant success, and has been running ever since, especially at Christmas time.
     In her acting days, Harriet Jay appeared at the Crystal Palace, and then at the Gaiety and other West-end theatres. She caused a sensation in the naughty nineties by smoking a cigar on the stage. Her most striking success was in “The Blue Bells of Scotland.”
     She wrote several novels, including “The Dark Colleen.” Among the plays she wrote were the melodramas, “Alone in London” and “The Romance of a Shopwalker.”
     Miss Jay died, aged seventy-nine, at her sister’s home in Seymour-gardens, Ilford. She will be buried at Southend to- day.

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The Observer (25 December, 1932 - p.13)

FUNERAL OF HARRIET JAY.

     Miss Harriet Jay, who wrote the popular farce, “When Knights Were Bold,” over twenty-five years ago, and who died in seclusion at Ilford, at the age of seventy-nine, was buried yesterday in the family grave at St. John’s Church, Southend-on-Sea.
     The service was conducted by the vicar, the Rev. John J. Whitehouse.

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The Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette (27 December, 1932 - p.6)

A Woman’s View

FATE’S HARD BLOW FOR
WOMAN PLAYWRIGHT

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Death on Eve of Successful Comedy Production

SURELY one of the most ironic touches of fate I have heard of for some time is that of Miss Harriet Jay, who was buried two days before the performance of her play in London.
     Under the nom-de-plume of “Charles Marlowe” Miss Jay wrote “When Knights Were Bold,” and those of us who know the play will all agree that the last kind of person we should have imagined as the authoress was a white-haired old woman who lived in retirement in the country.
     She was buried at Southend on Saturday, and her play was shown yesterday in London.

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Naughty!

FIFTY-THREE years ago Harriet Jay first appeared on the stage at the age of twenty-six. Forty-two years ago she ceased acting.
     She caused a sensation in the “naughty nineties” by smoking a cigar on the stage. Her most striking success was in “The Blue Bells of Scotland.”
     Miss Jay died, aged seventy-nine, at her sister’s home in Seymour Gardens, Ilford.

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The Essex Chronicle (30 December, 1932 - p.4)

DEATH OF AUTHORESS
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     Miss Harriet Jay, who wrote the popular farce, “When Knights were Bold,” over twenty-five years ago, and who died at her home at Ilford at the age of 79, was buried on Saturday in the family grave at St. John’s Church, Southend. The service was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. J. J. Whitehouse, and the mourners were: Mr. J. J. Jay, brother; Messrs. W. P. Jay, E. Dear and A. Dear, nephews; Mrs. Mason and Miss Fabronious.
     The grave is also the burial place of Robert Buchanan, poet, novelist, and dramatist, a brother-in-law; Mary, his wife, and Margaret, his mother. There is a bust of Buchanan, unveiled by the late Mr. T. P. O’Connor many years ago, over the grave.
     Miss Jay was the authoress of other plays and novels, and was well known on the West End stage in the eighties. She first appeared at the Gaiety in 1880 and during the next ten years at Drury Lane, the Vaudeville, Adelphi, Globe, and the now long-vanished Connaught and Olympic Theatres. She wrote mainly under the name of Charles Marlowe, and it was under that name that “When Knights were Bold” was written. She collaborated with the late Robert Buchanan, her brother-in-law, in most of her other plays, which included “Fascination,” “Alone in London,” and “Strange Adventures of Miss Brown.”

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The Lethbridge Herald (Alberta, Canada) (28 January, 1933 - p.3)

SHE MADE THE WORLD LAUGH
BUT DIES ALMOST UNKNOWN

Harriet Jay, Author of ‘When
Knights Were Bold’
Battled With Blindness
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FARCE STILL PLAYED
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     Ilford, Eng.—Two servants and a parrot were for many years the only companions of Miss Harriet Jay, author of the famous farce “When Knights were Bold,” and other dramas and novels, who has just died here in seclusion.
     Miss Jay wrote “When Knights were Bold” more than 25 years ago under the pen-name of Charles Marlowe and ever since it has been popularly supposed that the author was a man.
     So persistent has been this belief that only a few people in this Essex town, where she had lived in extreme seclusion for the past decade, knew who she was or what she had written.
     Miss Jay’s life here was due to a decree of her doctors that if she did not give up writing and reading she would go blind.
     She accepted the decree protestingly and left her home in central London, where playwrights, actors, novelists, and poets used to call on her, to live in the more rural surroundings of Ilford.
     Two maids looked after her. Miss Jay’s eyes gradually became worse, and some weeks before her death she was completely blind.
     “When Knights were Bold,” her last play, yielded royalties which gave her an ample income. It has been one of the biggest money-makers in British stage history, taking second place among the perennial farces only to “Charley’s Aunt.”
     It made people in many parts of the world laugh. It was first produced in 1906, and the late James Welch, the famous comedian, was said to have made over £20,000 from his interest in the piece alone not counting his salaries from acting in it.
     Miss Jay, before this piece brought her a fortune, had had a varied career. First she was a novelist, winning considerable success with her first book, “The Queen of Connaught,” which was later dramatized.
     After writing several other novels she went on the stage, appearing as Lady Jane Grey in “A Nine Days’ Queen” at the Gaiety in 1880, and in several other London theatres.
     Meanwhile, Miss Jay, in collaboration with her brother-in-law, the late Robert Buchanan, wrote a blood-and-thunder melodrama, “Alone in London,” and such popular pieces of the day as “The Shopwalker” and “Fascination.”
     Since the death of James Welch “When Knights were Bold” has been presented and played regularly by Mr. Bromley Challenor, who was rehearsing at the Fortune theatre in London for the customary Christmas revival when news came of the author’s death.

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The Fleshly School Controversy
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The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

 

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