Pender Forum Posts

Many years ago, I was searching for information on the Pender Troupe and came across the Fairground Heritage Trust forum. There were a number of interesting posts there and I took the precaution of copying them for later reading. I am glad that I did because that site disappeared, and with it the posts.

I have transcribed the posts from the copies I took.

I believe that a good number of the posts had originally appeared in the forum at The Galloper. The posts appear to have been posted en masse by the Site Admin on 23 December 2006.

I have used the original posting dates to preserve the chronological order.

Following the Fairground Heritage Trust posts is a small collection from Roots Chat.

Order

Date Posted

Author

Message

01

2004/12/18

Rosie

The Pender Troupe appeared in pantomime at Drury Lane Theatre and my grandfather was, at one time, one of them. There was about six of them and they performed on stilts. My Mother appeared on stage with them when she was about seven in a show, or sketch, “Pinky and the Fairies”. There was also another offshoot called Bob Penders Little Dandys. Finding anything about them on a website is murder because Cary Grant was once a member of the troupe and there are hundreds of websites dedicated to him.

Rosie

02

2005/10/07

Diane Hatwell

If you try books, there is a bit of information on Bob Pender, I believe my grandmother was in his troupe as well. I will hunt up what I have if you like — it’s not a lot, but is a start. I share your frustration!

DianeHatwell

03

2005/10/08

Rosie

Hi Diane
I have a photo of the Pender Troupe. When was your Gran a member? This photo must have been taken around the begining of the last century.
Rosie

04

2005/10/07

Diane Hatwell

My grandmother (Winifred Williams) and her first husband (Daniel Percival Ratcliffe) were with the Pender Troupe we believe before WW1 — Percy died in 1918 in France. We believe Percy was a tightrope walker and Winifred was a dancer. We have a couple of photos — one supposedly showing Cary Grant as well as my grandmother. Does anyone have any clues about how to find more information please?

DianeHatwell

05

2005/10/25

Diane Maidment

Hi Rosie – I was really interested re your response to the Pender Troupe as just recently I have been researching them myself in connection with my china collection, because I have a Clown Jug which is believed to have been made especially for Bob Pender. I agree with you the info is hard to come by due to Cary Grants involvement with the troupe. If there is a chance of you sending me a copy of your picture I would be very grateful – as well as any other supporting information. My email address is [email protected] co.uk. I hope to hear from you in due course.

Diane Maidment

06

2005/10/29

Rosie

Haven’t forgotten about the photo, but we are trying to get a scan of decent quality, as it stuck on thick cardboard.
Rosie

07

2005/11/08

Diane Hatwell

Hi Rosie,
yes we believe my grandmother, Winifred Williams, and her husband Percy Ratcliffe were both in the Pender Troupe. I have a photo on stage with what is said by her niece to be nanna, and Cary Grant, is there a way I can post it on the web site or email it to you, plus another photo of her in 1912, but dont think this is the Pender Troupe, though not sure.
Diane

08

2005/11/08

Diane Hatwell

Sorry, found my stuff, here is what i know. In 1918 Bob Pender was 44, he had been famous as a Drury Lane clown. He wife Margaret was a dancer, had been ballet mistress at the Folies Bergere. Pender died in 1939 aged 68 in Southend.

The group did mime, dancing, tumbling and stilt-walking.
In June 1918 Pender Troupe was at the Bristol Empire. The troupe toured the English provinces and played the Gulliver chain of music halls in London. The Penders lived in Brixton. (can see their house on the web)
On 11/11/1918 Penders were playing in Preston, Lancs.

In July 1920 the Penders sailed on SS Olympic to appear at the Globe Theater in New york, the act was switched to the Hippodrome and ran for 456 performances of their show “Good Times”. They went on to a 6 month tour of the Keith vaudeville circuit that took them to Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston etc. In mid 1922 the tour ended with an appearance at the New York Palace.

Of course this is where Cary Grant and one other (less famous) member left, seeking their fortune. I read that Bob Pender gave them their fare home, just in case.

That’s all I know. DianeHatwell

 

09

2006/01/03

Rosie

Happy New Year Dianne

Still waiting for my fella to get a decent scan of the Pender Troupe photo!

I found the Penders on a photograph of a programme for the 1909 performance of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, going through the Theatre Museum site. My grandfather is there, under the stage name of Will Compo. Also there are Will and Bob Pender and Maggie, but as I wasn’t actively looking for your Nanna, I can’t remember if she is mentioned. I don’t know when my grandfather stopped appearing with them, but he was in World War 1, which would have cutailed his activities. Searching under Will Compo, I found further references to my grandfather along with some cast lists for other pantos, so you may find your Nanna there. This material is held in the Bodlean Library. I hope this is of help.

Rosie

10

2006/01/08

Diane Hatwell

Hi Rosie,
thanks for getting back. I found a photo of my grandmother on stage with what is said to be Cary Grant and a couple of other people. I have no idea how to post it on the site, but I emailed it to Diane Maidment, could do the same to you — it could be your grandfather, you never know — or if you give me some help I could post it on the site.
thanks
Diane

11

2006/01/08

Diane Hatwell

Sorry Rosie, I was just re-reading your post. Is there a Percy Ratcliffe there? He was a step brother to Will and Bob (that is my theory anyway, from reading the census records) and married by grandmother in 1916. I can’t get to the Bodlian (that’s in Oxford, right?) just at the moment, but is some of this available on a web site?

Diane

12

2006/01/11

Rosie

Hi Diane

Found the website……it’s www.peopleplay.org.uk. Click on to collections, then modern pantomime.You can’ t miss it; the programme is shaped like a Chinese lantern. I had another look. Couldn’t find Percy Ratcliffe, but he may have had a stage name, as my granfather did. The cast of the Harlequinade was Will Pender, Joe Pender, Maggie Pender,Will Compo and T&G Pender. I will ask the editor to forward my e mail address to you.

I have found another website. It is the University of Kent Templeman Library, Melville Collection, with notes on the Drury Lane Pantos 1897-1917. I’m going to write to them and will let you know if I get anywhere.

Rosie

 

13

2006/01/29

Diane Hatwell

Hi Rosie,

thanks for that, I will have a look, and thanks for sharing what you know. I will keep in touch, have just been away for a couple of weeks and only just getting back into the swing of things.

Diane

 

14

2006/02/09

Rosie

Hi Diane
Was on the Ellis Island website and had a look for Bob Pender. Robert and Maggie Lomas sailed on the Aquitania arriving in New York on 22.02.21. Their next of kin was listed as Mrs Ratcliffe, 40a Barker St, Oldham. Unfortunately there was no mention of Percy. Best wishes
Rosie

15

2006/02/17

Diane Hatwell

HI Rosie,
thank you so much for that. I am interested in Percy Ratcliffe, who was married to my nanna, and I couldnt work out how he ended up being an acrobat, and how he met nanna, since he was from Oldham and she was a Londoner. When I looked at the census, Percy’s father married a woman with a brood of children called Lomas, she had been married to a clown, and their grandparents were theatrical agents. I knew that Bob and Margaret Pender’s real name was Lomas, and put 2 and 2 together, especially when one of the kids was an aerobat and the other was a pantomimist. I figured Percy was a step-brother, but there was no confirmation of this, so I am thrilled to hear that from Ellis Island, never thought to look there. Mrs Ratcliffe was Bob Pender’s mother.
thanks a lot
Diane

16

2006/02/17

Diane Hatwell

Rosie, just looked again at the date, Percy died in France in 1918, so there would be no mention of him in 1921, but the rest stands Diane

17

2006/04/18

Diane Hatwell

Whilst looking for something else entirely, I came across a reply to my query about the Pender Troupe from the British Music Hall Society. It wasn’t what I was looking for at the time, but now I know a bit more, it is good and I thought I might share. I am sure the BMHS wouldn’t mind.

Bob Pender, whose real name was Robert Lomas, was born probably in 1871 — he died in November 1939 aged 68 — and was the founder of the troupe in which his brothers and daughter Doris Pender (1900-1975) also appeared. Pender’s wife, Margaret Lomas, one time ballet master at Folies Bergeres in Paris and trained as a ballerina by Katti Lanner of the Empire, Leicester Square, was also involved with the work and management of the troupe.

In its early days, probably a few years either side of 1900, the troupe consisted of Bob Pender and his two brothers and was known as the Lomas Troupe whose best known act was called Monkeyland in which the whole troupe appeared in monkey costume in a comedy mime and slapstick routine. When the act split, Pender formed his famous “Giants” troupe of stiltwalkers and acrobats which was generally regarded as the finest act of its kind and toured successfully in UK, Europe and USA billed often as “The Long and Short of it — A Screaming Absurdity”. They made their first appearance in the US in 1911 at a new cabaret-type venue in New York called the Folies Bergere Club on its opening night.

It was in pantomime where the Penders had some of their greatest success, reportedly appearing in 10 successive Drury Lane pantos and Margaret was also a pantomime ballerine at Drury Lane for several years. Certainly in the 1907-8 “Babes in the Wood” the Pender troupe of Giants appeared, and in the 1910-11 production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” where they were giant storks.

In 1914-15 they appeared in “Mother Goose” at King’s Theatre. Edinburgh and in the 1917-18 “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

Before World War 1 Pender’s troupe appeared in a couple of early Gaumont silent short films. In 1904 “Hands Up” was a 3 minute farce in which old highwaymen on hobby horses robbed a stage coach and in a 1910 short film “Travelling Stiltwalkers” they appeared as stiltwalking buskers who save a child from a burning house.

Doris Pender joined the troupe of Little Dandies in 1912 appearing at the Camberwell Palace as well s later touring in the US where the troupe appeared in shows with Eddie Foy and the 7 Little Foys. When Pender retired in the mid 1920s to Southend where he ran a novelty store, Doris (who had married Jack Hartman, a comedian, together with Chuck O’Neill) formed a comedy act Hart Pender and O’Neill which appeared in variety. Bob Pender died in 1939 and Doris died of leukemia in her London home in 1975.

Hope that assuages a little more curiosity.

Diane

18

2006/08/30

Poppy

I am a new member to the web site and hope that I can provide those people interested in Penders Troupe with some information which has been passed down to me by my Grandfather. He was a member of this group according to his diary (January 1913 to March 1915) and from conversation I had with him some years ago. He passed away in 1990 at the ripe old age of 94 and having served in the First World War. I also have what I would call a calling card which has a little bit of German print indicating a one line address with the name Bob Pender and on the other side a picture/drawing of 10 caricatures (from the tallest wearing stilts to the a smallest person. I have yet to master how to upload the diary and will work on this next time I log on the site. My Grandfather was born and brought up in Oldham.

Poppy

19

2006/08/31

Poppy

Please find below extract 1 from my grandfathers diary as mentioned in my previous message.

January 6, 1913 Belfast Opera April 7, 1913 Dusseldorf, Germany

January 7, 1913 Belfast Opera April 8, 1913 Dusseldorf, Germany

January 8, 1913 Belfast Opera April 9, 1913 Dusseldorf, Germany

January 9, 1913 Belfast Opera April 10, 1913 Dusseldorf,

Germany

January 10, 1913 Belfast Opera April 11, 1913 Dusseldorf,

Germany

January 11, 1913 Belfast Opera April 12, 1913 Dusseldorf,

Germany

January 12, 1913 Belfast Opera April 13, 1913 Dusseldorf,

Germany

This is the last one.

February 1, 1915 Edinburgh, Kings

February 8, 1915 Glasgow, Olympia

February 15, 1915 Galashields

March 8, 1915 Leith, Gaiety

March 22, 1915 Northampton, Palace

March 29, 1915 Reading, Palace

In the diary the dates between July – November 1914 had been cancelled owing to the outbreak of WW1

20

2006/09/03

Diane Hatwell

oh Poppy, how amazing. I have not looked on this site for some time, not thinking that anything was happening, and all this amazing stuff. I would love to read your grandfather’s diary. My nanna is a bit of a mystery, she married Percy Ratcliffe, who was a step brother to Robert Lomas (Bob Pender) but Percy died in

1918 and she never married my grandfather and so not a lot was said, and anyway no one listened to her stories. But she always said she knew Cary Grant (yeah right, didnt everyone’s nanna?)

What was your grandfather’s name? Do you know what he did in the Pender Troupe? Are you in England? I am in Australia.

regards, and thanks

p.s. I guess you know that the Penders were from Oldham too, it looks like there was quite a line of them in show business, at least 3 generations as i read the census, and of course my Percy was born in Oldham too.

regards

Diane

21

2006/09/03

Rosie

Poppy

This is incredible. What a gem you have!!! My Grandfather was definitely with the Penders ’til 1911, but after that I don’t know. I have a great photo of them doing their act on stage which I got from the Manders and something Collection. They were performing the Harlequinade, but there is no date on it. I also have a photo of the Troupe – a very early one I think as they all look very young. Is there any way we could pass our stuff on to each other? I’m willing for the Ed to pass on my e mail address. In fact, is there any way we could post photos on this site?

By the way, my grandparents married in 1899 and my gran came from Newton Heath, which is only about three miles away from Oldham. I have just sent off for their marriage certificate and I’m dying to find out who the witnesses are! Wouldn’t it be great if there was one of the Troupe there?

Oh, I almost forgot. The Pender Troupe are on the Pathe News site, doing their giant act ( haven’t managed to get it downloaded yet) AND there is an exhibit in the Theatre Museum in London, which is a stilt in the shape of a giant storks leg, which was worn in one of the Drury Lane Pantos.

Cheers

Rosie

22

2006/09/04

Poppy

I had been doing some research a couple of years ago and came across some of the names used as part of the evoloution of the act. There have been known as:

Bob Peneder’s Knockabout Comedians

Pender Giants

The Bob Pender Comedy Troupe

Bob Pender Stage Troupe

Pender’s Acrobatic Troupe

Pender’s Troupe

I have just recently come across a film (on the internet) Called/ Titled The Travelling Stiltwalkers (1910) Directed by Alf Colins and is silent movie. It can be seen at the follow address on the Internet: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0182498/

Poppy

23

2006/09/04

Poppy

In my last addition I need to clarify what I meant by “It can be seen at the follow address “. You can see the item for yourself but not view the item to watch. Sorry

Poppy

24

2006/09/05

Rosie

Hello again

Poppy, I wonder if you could look up your grandads’ diary and see if there is any mention of Will Power, or Will Compo (both the same person). I got my grandparents marriage certificate, but no mention of any Penders………….or Lomas’s.

Cheers

Rosie

25

2006/09/05

Poppy

Hi Rosie,

The only name that I can see is Miss Hilda Timbers around October 1915, nothing else unfortunately.

Poppy

26

2006/09/06

Rosie

Thanks anyway Poppy

27

2006/10/21

Poppy

For anyone that is interested I visited the Theatre Museum on Thursday 19 October and have taken some photographs of the stork legs used in 1899 performance of Jack and the bean stalk, Drury Lane which Rosie mentions in a ealier post.

Poppy

28

2006/11/21

Jon

I came across the discussion above whilst digging for more details of the Lomas (Pender) family. I have a number of photos of the Penders and some letters from Willie in Chicago as I am fairly certain that my Great Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Lomas (b1882ish) was Bob and Willie’s sister. I can’t confirm the link as I have yet to trace her Parents in the 1881/1901 census to see if I can spot 2 (or more) brothers. From Mary’s first wedding certificate her Father is Richard Lomas who is listed as a comedian which makes sense.

I’d be happy to post some of the pics for others to see if it would be helpful.

Jon

29

2006/12/01

Poppy

This is a message to all those people who visit this web site and in particular this subject “Pender Troupe”. There have been a considerable number of hits and I would like to make contact with like minded people who are intrested in this subject. It does not matter how small the information is that you may have found on your travels but it is important that you share if it all possible.

Time is running out for all of us to share our information.

Regards

Poppy

The following posts came from RootsChat

01

2005/11/11

SandraC

Hi Diane

This is fascinating stuff – my rellies are all very boring!

Having trouble with 1891 but found them in 1881 using a lucky guess!

RG 11/4068 Oldham below the town

Folio 180 pg 41 – Tommy Field

Richard Lomas; Head; Mar; 31; Theatrical Clown

Performer; Lancs, Salford

Maria; Wife; Mar; Actress; 28; Lancs, Bury

Robert; Son; U; 9; Lancs, Bury

Anita; Dau; U; 7; Yorks, Kirkstall

Richard; Son; U; 4; Lancs, Accrington

William Barnett Lomas; Son; U; 1; Lancs, Pendlebury

All of page 41 & half of pg 42 are taken up with these travellers & circus people.

Added bonus is :

Robert Lomas; Head; Mar; 76; Theatrical Manager; Lancs,

Manchester

Elizabeth; Wife; Mar; 67; ditto; ditto

James Lomas; Head; Mar; 42; Musician; Yorks,

Huddersfield

Sarah; Wife; Mar; 41; Yorks, Bradford

6 children – all boring scholars!

I found a marriage in Oldham in 1893 between Jonah Radcliffe & Maria Broadbent, so I don’t know if Maria went through several husbands?!

There is a death of a Richard Lomas in Oldham in 1889 age 37 which might fit too.

I’ll try again for 1891 – better than looking for ag labs

Regards

SandraC

02

2005/11/11

Diane101

Sandra, how amazing. I wondered if Lornas might actually be Lomas. my percy ratcliffe was part of the Pender Troupe, only famous because cary grant got his start there, but i am pretty sure that bob pender and his wife were actually called Lomas. I wonder

if this is some ancestors? wow!

interesting is very good, but if only people would stay married to the same people. i know what you mean about maria.

Diane

03

2005/11/11

SandraC

Hi Diane

Ha! Out of the hat .. ..

1891 RG 12/3301 Oldham Below Town

Folio 40 pg 2 & 3 – 45 Lord Street

Peter Broadbent; Head; Mar; 39; Hardware dealer; Yorks,

Sheffield

Maria; Wife; Mar; 39; Lancs, Bury

Robert Lomas; Stepson; U; 19; Hardware dealer; Lancs,

Bury

Annetta Lomas; Stepdaur; U; 17; Kirkstall, Yorks

Richard Lomas; Stepson; U; 14; Cotton piecer; Lancs,

Accrington

Wm B Lomas; Stepson; U; 12; Scholar; Lancs, Pendlebury

Mary E Lomas; Stepdaur; U; 9; ditto; Lancs, Radcliffe

Agnes Lomas; Stepdaur; U; 7; ditto; Lancs, Salford

Thomas Lomas; Stepson; U; 3; Lancs, Oldham

Bit of a change from hardware dealer to aerobat then!

Guess that the 1901 is slightly inaccurate – Margaret must be the wife of one of the sons, coming from London & no mention in earlier census.

Good luck with the linking up.

SandraC

04

2005/11/11

Diane101

Thanks Sandra, that was good lateral thinking. you are right, big change, but then people in Oldham have always been versatile,

hey?

thanks again

Diane

05

2006/02/22

billybob

Hi Diane

I visited Lord Street in Oldham today, I managed to take 3 pictures before the foul weather beat me anyway as I expected the only building I can see that remains form early 1900’s is The seventh Day Adventist church on the corner of Lord Street and Shaw Street. oh and the pub. I have a photo of the entrance to the Church sadly I had to use my phone to take it. I also took 2 pictures of the “Houses” (sic) that are on Lord Sreet but had to run the meter maid cometh and was waving ticket machine at me.

I will go again and try to get better pictures when the snow sleet hail and rain go.

billybob

send me your email addy I will forward the pics I have.

 

 

 

 

 

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