Autumn 2016 saw us welcomed by Jane Ashley to her delightful home Rose Cottage, a remnant of Carbtree Farm predating the Victoian homes surrounding it. In October a visit to the Hurlingham Club was popular and fascinating. A Show and Tell was held in November members and visitors bringing along items of history in what proved to be a most interesting evening. The festive season was welcomed in with a meal at a Hammersmith hostelry.
Just a reminder that subscriptions are now due: £8 or £5 for seniors and students – send to FHHS Membership Secretary, 49 St Peter’s Terrace, LONDON SW6 7JS. It will be worth it your committee are working on an exciting new programme.
This new year of events and visits begins with what promises to be a most interesting talk by Keith Whitehouse.
Albert Smith (1816-1860) was a celebrated novelist and showman who during his lifetime was as famous as his friend Charles Dickens. Smith was born in Chertsey in 1816 the Son of the local doctor. He himself qualified as a doctor and dentist and set up a practice in Percy Street off Tottenham Court Road. But his passion was theatricals and writing which he eventually did full time. He initially became popular with the public through his comic novels. From boyhood he had a passion for wanting to climb Mont Blanc which was believed to be a difficult climb due to the number of fatalities. He achieved this in 1852 to much public acclaim. He wrote a book and hired the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, opposite the Royal Academy, where he performed a monologue, a one man show. This became a sensation and led to the Times newspaper stating a ‘perfect Mont Blanc mania pervades the minds of our fellow countrymen’. The show was so popular that Queen Victoria and the royal children attended as did the Duke of Wellington. Smith was invited to private performances at Windsor Castle by the Queen and Prince Albert.
Smith did other monologues including ‘Mont Blanc to China’ after a visit to Hong Kong, China and the forbidden city. In 1857 he came to live in Fulham at North End Lodge, North End Road near St John’s Church, Walham Green. Smith overworked, caught a chill, got pnuemonia and died at just 44. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery where his overgrown grave may still be seen.
Come and hear this talk on this fascinating man who is almost forgotten except by collectors of entertainment memorabilia.
IIlustrated with slides and items of ephemera including letters, a Mont Blanc fan and a plate you could buy at the Egyptian Hall.
Place: St Clement’s Church Hall, Fulham Palace Road, SW6 (near corner of Crabtree Lane)
Buses: 74, 220, 424, 430 (stop outside), 190, 211, 295, (stop nearby in Lillie Road).
How can you resist, see you there 1930 on 7 Feb. As with all our talks visitors are welcome and it is FREE.