Saturday, 21 November 2015

McBride siblings- Greasepaint in their veins ( Music Hall Story part 3)


Cornelius wasn’t the only McBride to “tread the boards” .  Along the way he would see many of his family joining the stage with their own variety acts. In fact some married others they met in the theatre.   Their was certianly greasepaint flowing through the veins of the McBrides.

Sadly the youngest sister died just as she was in her prime. Jeannie  McBride was born in 1904. She was mentioned in the April 13, 1916 Stage archive as appearing with others at the Olympia and was described as “is a smart dancer”. Apparently she did impersonations of the “Great Vesta Tilly” a popular and famous male impersonator. Unfortunately, not long after this article was printed she succumbed to meningitis and died in August 1916. Her oldest brother Neil was the informant. It must have broken all their hearts.

Michael McBride born 1889 married Glasgow girl  Margaret (Mary) Kerr  in 1916. At the time of her marriage, Mary described herself as a music hall artiste. She had been shown as a professional singer in the families 1911 census return. Later, Michael, an engineer’s machine man, joined with “Mary Oliver” to become part of the comedy routine “Oliver and Mack”.

By 1920 they had had two children Sarah known as Sally McBride and Cornelius. As tradition has it Sally was a tap dancer who performed with her parents before leaving for Canada.

1924 saw them play at the Tivoli in Aberdeen, in the popular “Hop Scotch” which was a lively show full of amusing burlesques, catchy songs and smart dances. Here Oliver and Mack played beside his younger brother, James in the partnership of Carr and Finch.

Oliver and Mack were in popular demand in the late 1920s playing at Bernstein theatres, East Ham and West Ham and  Gaumont Canterbury Music Hall to name a few. They are playing together in 1940 at the Olympia in Dublin. In another show “Scotland Calling” the comedy elements were much appreciated in this “bright show “. At another time it was reported that they sailed from Southhampton via the RMS “Edinburgh Castle” to fulfil an engagement with African Theatres booked by IVTA Ltd.

Not a lot is known about James McBride b 1894 who worked under the name of "Jimmy Finch". He lived with his wife Madge (Margaret) E Reynolds who he married in 1921 at the age of 26. At this time he must have been gainfully employed in the theatre as he describes himself as a Music Hall artiste in his wedding documentation.  Madge’s stage name was "Mrs Finch" and she was still living at 28 Osborne Street in Glasgow in the 1970s. Jimmy was known to have performed with Billy Adams at the Palladium, Edinburgh and was described as a clever comedian. At another time he teamed up with Jack Carr and a gang of singing youngsters in 1927.


Of course, "Finch and Carr" worked with "Oliver and Mack" as fellow comedians in “Hop Scotch” which toured the UK.  One report has Jimmy Finch still working in September 1946 with John Walker where they were again described as clever comedians. It is also noted that his partner left him to work with Mary Oliver’s brother as part of Hayes and Austin who was born  Augustine Kerr and performed under the stage name "Jimmie Austin".

Arthur McBride b 1903 followed in his older sibling’s footsteps. In a tribute to “The 60 Glory Years of the Glasgow Pavilion” in 1964 he was mentioned as being associated with this theatre through performances in the Tommy Morgan Show. Arthur was a 22 year old singer who performed under his own name and as a variety artiste at the time of his marriage to Jemima Barclay McNeill in 1925. Jemima McBride worked under the name of "Mima McBride" and was possibly Mima McNeill, a dancer and  variety artist who later went on to work as a wardrobe mistress. In 1934 Arthur appeared at the Edinburgh Royal in Tommy Morgan’s “Laughter in the Roar” alongside Tommy Morgan, Tommy Yorke , Jerome and Kay, 12 Morganettes etc.  He continued to live in the family home at 10 Roslea Avenue, Glasgow  died in 1972.


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