Annie Morley (born 1871) – was she the actress Madge Morley?

I’ve previously written about Annie, my 2nd cousin three times removed, in two posts on my blog: two actors and an accidental drowning and George Curryer’s will. George married Annie on 10 June 1890 in Folkestone, Kent. He gave his occupation as an actor and his condition on their marriage certificate was recorded as a widower; however, Annie was George’s second wife.

After their marriage, George and Annie, and their two-month-old daughter Madge (1891-1940), were next found in the 1891 census living in Scarborough with Annie’s mother Maria and her second husband James Davison (b. 1852). George’s occupation was recorded as an actor. Maria and George went on to have a son Henry (1893-1920). However, after 1891, George and Annie, do not appear together in any further census records. The admission records of Acomb National School do though provide some further clues as to their whereabouts:

 Madge Morley CurryerHenry Edwards Curryer
Date admitted to Acomb school26/04/189719/03/1900
Birth date27/01/189111/09/93
ParentGeorge 4 Whitehall Cottages, AcombAnnie 4 Whitehall Cottages, Acomb
Previous schoolAll Saints, ScarboroughPrivate school
Date left10/01/190512/04/1900
Date admitted 07/01/1901
Date left 22/02/1901
Date admitted 27/08/1901
Date left 04/10/1901

It seems that by April 1897 George, Annie and their two children were at least using 4 Whitehall Cottages, Acomb as their address for the purpose of Madge’s and then Henry’s education. However, when Henry entered the school in March 1900, his parent was recorded as his mother Annie. An entry in the “Professional Cards” section of The Stage (7 March 1895) also provided useful information:

“MR. GEORGE EDWARDS, Lead or Character. MADGE MORLEY, Juvenile Lead, Light Comedy. Liberty. 48, Tenison-st., Lambeth, S.E.”

It looks like George’s stage name was George Edwards and Annie’s was Madge Morley. However, they had probably gone their separate ways by 8 July 1897 when Annie’s Professional Card in The Stage read as follows:

“MISS MADGE MORLEY, Disengaged Autumn. Comedy or Drama. “The pathos instilled into the part of Marie, a blind girl, by Madge Morley makes her at once a favourite and enlists the sympathy of the audience.” Northern Guardian, June 22nd 1897. Address, 4 Whitehall Cottages, Acomb, York.”

Returning to their son Henry’s education records, he finally left Acomb School at the age of eight on 4 October 1901. In the 1901 census Henry was with his father George, living with George’s brother William, at 62 Vicarage Rd, Tottenham. Annie (as Madge Morley) was at 1 Tidy St, Brighton, where she was described as a married actress. Their daughter Madge was at 4 Whitehall Cottages, Acomb with Frederic and Sarah Brown and described as their niece. She was their great niece, as Annie’s mother was Maria, Sarah’s sister. The following map shows the location of the cottages in Acomb.

OS Yorkshire CLXXIV.9 date 1892

By 1911 George had moved to 142 Gladstone Buildings, Willow St, Finsbury where he subsequently died on 17 December 1925. His son Henry joined the Royal Marines on 13 May 1911 and daughter Madge was working as a governess in a children’s home in Walthamstow, Essex in the 1911 census. Annie was recorded as “Madge Morley”, born 1876 in Aldershot, single, an actress, and visitor at Flat 3, 112A Brixton Hill, London in 1911. The head of the household was John Sanders.

Annie continued to live in London when she wasn’t touring in music halls and theatres. She appeared at the York Empire in May 1912 (Musical Hall and Theatre Review, 2 May 1912), a venue specialising in variety performances. The Western Evening Herald of 10 June 1918 contained an advert for “Miss Madge Morley and company – a farcical absurdity entitled AFTER THE RACES” at the Palace Plymouth, now a disused theatre.

Former Palace Theatre, Union St, Plymouth by miagarrett – unchanged

In the 1920 London Electoral Registers Annie’s address was 128 Brixton Hill. This was the address recorded for her, as her son Henry’s next of kin, when he died by accidental drowning on 9 March 1920 in South Africa. A further search of The Stage for later entries for Annie, with the stage name Madge Morley, found an entry in the death’s column of the 12 September 1929 issue:

“John Sanders – died 28 August 1929, age 48, after a short illness. Deeply mourned by his wife, Madge Morley.”

Another look at Annie’s 1920 Electoral Register entry showed that John Sanders was also living at 128 Brixton Hill. In addition, there were further entries in The Stage (for example, 27 January 1921 and 20 October 1921) posted by Madge Morley seeking work. In all cases her address was 128 Brixton Hill. Eventually I found a marriage between Annie Curryer and John Sanders on 24 December 1925. She had waited just a week after George’s death before marrying John. The couple were married by license in the Lambeth Registry Office. John was a bachelor and commercial traveller (textiles) living at 128 Brixton Hill. Annie was described as a widow with no rank or profession and her address was 12 Fairmount Rd, Brixton Hill.

After her second husband John’s death on 28 August 1929, Annie continued to advertise for work in The Stage Professional Cards column. Her entry on 24 April 1930 suggested that she was disengaged and seeking special parts, with her address given as 128 Brixton Hill. By this time, she would have been about 60 and was possibly coming to the end of her career on the stage. So far, I’ve been unable to find out what happened to Annie after her second husband died. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  and https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed January 2022.

Census Records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Darby, Neil. (2017) Life on the Victorian Stage: Theatrical Gossip. Barnsley: Pen and Sword.

London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Miagarrett. (2014) Former Palace Theatre, Union St, Plymouth. CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en). https://commons.wikimedia.org/  : accessed January 2022.

Music Hall and Theatre Review. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

National School Admission Registers & Log Books, 1870-1914. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : February 2021.

The Stage. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

Western Evening Herald. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

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