Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold


Short Plays

Other Plays

Buchanan’s Theatrical Ventures in America

Poetry Readings





The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay

Site Diary
Site Search


51. The Mariners of England (1897) - continued


The Penny Illustrated Paper (20 March, 1897 - p.177)


“The Mariners of England,”

by Mr. Robert Buchanan and “Charles Marlowe,” is a robust melodrama of the Nelson period, remarkably well mounted and played at the Olympic. Indeed, it would be hard to excel the dramatic strength of the Court-Martial Scene, in which the brave and innocent Harry Dell (like another William Terriss) is wrongly accused of an attempt to murder Nelson, but is nobly vindicated by the great Admiral in person, who is impersonated with dignity by Mr. W. L.  Abingdon. Nor would it be easy to beat for stirring effect and vraisemblance the deck of the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, or the pathos of Nelson’s death. A story of love and treason is interwoven with these historic scenes, and in the end the faithful lovers are made happy in approved fashion. The treasonable Lebaudy is a character rendered with incisive force by Mr. Herbert Sleath, who reminded me of Sir Henry Irving in his early days of melodrama in town. Harry Dell has a brave exponent in Mr. Charles Glenney. Irresistibly funny are Mr. E. M. Robson and Miss Edith Bruce in their comic courting scenes. Miss Keith Wakeman is a rich-voiced heroine; and the other chief parts are exceptionally well played.



The City Punch Bowl (20 March, 1897 - p.14)


The Academy (20 March, 1897 - p.336-337)

     I HAVE no objection to Nelson or any other historical person being put onto the stage, but he is being done to death a little too much at present. The cock-pit scene is all very well, but two editions of it in so short a time fatigue. Of the two, I thought Mr. Abingdon died better than Mr. Forbes Robertson: he may not have been more like Nelson, but he was more like a dying man. “The Mariners of England,” by Mr. Robert Buchanan and “Charles Marlowe,” is a better play than “Nelson’s Enchantress,” in the sense that in construction it is more like a play. In dialogue and in characterisation it is infinitely worse, which is saying a good deal. I mean that it is very silly and impossible, but that, of course, does not mean that it is not ever adapted by its authors to the tastes they designed to gratify. It is full of foolishly expressed patriotism and false sentiment and claptrap generally, and its plot is a farrago of nonsense. I hesitate to criticise its naval details, since I notice that Admiral Field has said they are realistic. I may say they are surprising. Mr. Charles Glenney was very manly and robust and affecting. Mr. Abingdon was distinctly good; he carried through a scene in which he had to dismiss a bad officer with dignity and verisimilitude. Mr. Sleath, as the villain in question, was over-subdued for melodrama. He quite suggested a villain in real life. By the way, his repentance in the last act and his handshaking with the hero annoyed me very much; but that was Mr. Buchanan’s fault or the fault of Charles Marlowe. There is some good “spectacular effect” in the piece, which is being played at the Olympic.
                                                                                                                                                       G. S. S.



The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (20 March, 1897 - p.11)


The Stage (25 March, 1897 - p.13)

     It is pleasant to hear of the success of an actor who has had the courage to break new ground in his career. Mr. W. L. Abingdon, successful as a heavy man, boldly undertook a new line of business in Nelson in The Mariners of England at the Olympic, and the result proves how right he was in estimating his own powers. All the papers have been unanimous in praise of his performance, and his portrait of the grand old naval hero stands out as a masterpiece of the actors’ art. There is always an inclination to follow in a groove, and, too frequently, actors are even compelled to stick to one line of business in consequence of their success in one part. Mr. Abingdon may congratulate himself on his pluck in striking out a new career for himself.



The Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) (3 April, 1897 - p.11)


                                                                                                                             London, 9th March, 1897.

. . .

Next week will witness the production of the much talked about “Mariners of England” by Robert Buchanan and all London hopes for the success of the “Mariners” if for no other reason, than this that the “Olympic” theatre has been taken specially for its pourtrayal by Charles Wilmot’s widow. It is her first venture as a manageress. Having been for so many years associated with her late husband’s managerial successes at the well known “Grand” Theatre at Islington she may be expected to exhibit great cleverness and ability in the choice of her companies. The “Mariners” are to be of Nelson’s time and Nelson himself not in this drama aided an one Enchantress is to be placed in the gifted hands of Mr. W. L. Abingdon an actor of knowledge, ability and taste and possessing the physique and voice necessary for a famous and beloved High Admiral. The hero proper of the play is to be a young seaman who is falsely accused of an attempt on Nelson’s life. Two other characters are to be Admiral Collingwood and an “infamous” Captain the impersonation of which latter will be left to Mr. Charles Glenney. It is matter of regret to Mr. Sydney Grundy who has an article in “Fortnightly” explanatory of his concern that Musical Comedy has begun to rule the roast so alarmingly in England. “For a moment” he observes “the old theatrical public is almost swamped; but a new public is in course of evolution . . . . this cloud will pass. Presently the public will discover that the variety shows are deadly monotonous.” I wonder what his feelings will be when he witnesses “Saucy Sally” by that most comic of all farcical comedians Mr. F. C. Burnand finding a long enduring home at the pretty Comedy Theatre. This, like the “Mariners of England” is to see the light for the first time this week. Mr. Charles Hawtrey so long associated with the eventful run of the “Private Secretary” will take a leading part. “Saucy Sally” by the way is not a girl, but a boat. Another part will be taken by that inimitable creator of comic female parts Mrs. Charles Calvert. The three scenes of the piece are to be placed in a drawing-room at a country house, in the Ship and Anchor Hotel at Southampton and in the heroine’s apartments in London. The “Saucy Sally” herself will put in no material appearance. I suppose it is the increased interest being taken everywhere over the country in the cry for the efficiency and manning of the Navy which is responsible for the unequalled popularity of nautical plays. “Black Eyed Susan” threatens to go on for years at the Adelphi Theatre. “Nelson and his Enchantress” is doing well at the Avenue and now also in London we are to have the “Mariners of England” and “Saucy Sally.” Incitement to enlistment in the Navy is, it is said, palpably evident in the volume of cheers which nightly greet “Black Eyed Susan.” By the bye the scenes both in “Black Eyed Susan” as well as in the “Mariners” are laid at that old fashioned and picturesque port in South Eastern England—Deal so old fashioned is it that the boatmen and fishermen on the beach there now may be seen wearing tall tile hats just as they did when the Queen came to the throne.



The New York Dramatic Mirror (10 April, 1897 - p.16)



The Mariners of England-- Saucy Sally--
Fregoll--American Plays.

(Special Correspondence of The Mirror.)

                                                                                                                             LONDON, March 12, 1897.

     The second of some three Nelson plays has at length made its appearance in London at the Olympic this week, after a six-nights’ trial trip in the historic town of Nottingham, which became much battered about in the late great wars between King Charles I. and the Roundhead Parliamentary Army led on by Oliver Cromwell. The latest Nelsonian drama is boldly and breezily called The Mariners of England, which is certainly a better title than that given to Nelson play No. 1—namely, Nelson’s Enchantress, of which I gave some account a week or two ago. Moreover, Nelson drama No. 2 has happily no enchantress in it—no Lady Hamilton or any such wholesale concubine.
     The authors of The Mariners of England, the poet-playwright, Robert Buchanan, and the actress-novelist-playwright, Harriet Jay, who of late prefers to be billed as “Charles Marlowe,” have wisely confined themselves to the purely heroic side of our great national hero; also, and still wisely, they have taken care not to make our G. N. H. the real leading character of the play. This function is fulfilled by one Harry Dell, a true British tar, who starting, like our young friend Tom Jones as a foundling, fights his way through difficulties and dangers to an important command in His Majesty’s fleet, and subsequently proves to be the long lost son of a fine old English Admiral. En route, however, the gallant Harry is a good deal handicapped and pegged back. His first important check occurs after he has at the risk of his life rescued the great Lord Nelson from being thrown headlong from Dover Cliff by a band of bold, bad smugglers engaged by a French spy. Harry is, in strict accordance with the canons of melodrama, forthwith falsely accused of the great sea lion’s attempted murder! Nay, more; he is promptly court martialed for the same. Yea, and he would have been also swiftly yardarmed, to boot, but that the good Nelson, seeing reason to give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt, straightway causes him to be released, and ships him aboard the good ship Victory.
     Once aboard this gallant craft, Hero Harry performs prodigies of valor, even becoming apparently the chief helper of Nelson in winning that never-to-be forgotten victory at Trafalgar. In connection with this episode, our authors show a couple of very striking tableaux, namely, the battle of Trafalgar, and the subsequent death of Nelson in the cockpit of the Victory. In short, The Mariners of England is a very good and stirring specimen of naval melodrama, and, whether it succeeds or not at the long ill-fated Olympic, it should do well on the road.
     Some of the acting is very good, notably that of Charles Glenney as hero Harry Dell; W. L. Abingdon, who has lately become quite virtuous in his histrionic functions, as Nelson; E. M. Robson, a son of the late great Robson, as a comic smuggler; Edith Bruce as his sweetheart; Herbert Sleath, who is running the show, as the Anglo French spy; and Keith Wakeman as the heroine, Mabel Talbot. Miss Wakeman looks very handsome and imposing; the only fault I have to find with her in this piece is that she lets her fine contralto voice go down, down, down too far towards her boots, which sounds all right for a persecuting villainess, but is not so appropriate for a persecuted heroine.



The Era (22 January, 1898 - p.12)

     MR ROBERT BUCHANAN’S play The Mariners of England will shortly be sent on tour under the direction of Mr Herbert Sleath. The tour is being booked by Mr C. St. John Denton’s manager, Mr Frank Weathersby.



The Era (30 April, 1898)



     Sir,—On my own behalf and that of Mr Buchanan who collaborated with me in the play produced last year under this title, I wish to explain why our names will be withdrawn from future announcements and advertisements. On the understanding that this should be done, we have parted with all our rights and interests in the piece, so far, at least, as Great Britain is concerned, and have given the purchaser carte blanche to alter and produce it in any way he thinks expedient. We disclaim, therefore, all responsibility for future productions of the piece, from which our names will henceforth be absolutely disassociated. At the same time, we wish it all success, as the arrangement I have described is a perfectly friendly one, and we know that the play is in good hands.
     I am desired by Mr Buchanan to add that his chief reason for disassociating himself from this particular play is the fact that the attempt to celebrate the achievement of a real national Hero has been construed, in some quarters, into sympathy with more ignoble manifestations of the national (or Jingo) spirit, against which he has always protested in his writings. It is better, therefore, that the fame and name of Nelson should be relinquished altogether into other hands.
     Yours faithfully,                   HARRIETT JAY
     April 28th, 1898.             (“Charles Marlowe.”).



The Era (20 August, 1898 - p.9)

On Monday, Aug 15th,
the Drama, in Four Acts and Two Tableaux,
by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, entitled

     Stirring scenes by sea and land are to be found at the Elephant and Castle this week, where Mr Herbert Sleath’s company is presenting the Olympic play, produced for the first time in March of last year, entitled The Mariners of England. It deals with that most eminent mariner, Britannia’s pet hero, Nelson, a bulwark of England’s might and majesty, and a warrior of imperishable memory. The famous Battle of Trafalgar is placed before the eye with wonderful spectacular effects, to be changed with marvellous celerity to the solemn tableau of the dying admiral that concludes the piece. Mr Sleath, who was the original Captain Lebaudy, brings his ripe talent to bear on the part of Lord Nelson. He gives to the character the humane characteristics of the victorious sailor and all the necessary tragic intensity, while his appearance realises with extraordinary correctness the admiral’s pictures. Mr Ernest Leicester, stalwart and handsome, acts the much-injured Harry Dell with vigour and virility, and the effect of his admirable acting is to bring forth many manifestations of approval for his manly deed and his breezy sayings. Hatred undiluted and undisguised is aroused by the many-sided villainy of Captain Lebaudy, impersonated with strength and meaning by Mr Charles Whitley, an actor of much merit; while the victim of his heartlessness, Nelly, is thrillingly performed by Miss E. M. Hughes. Tom Tripp, in the hands of that well-tried actor, Mr T. P. Haynes, is the means of unflagging merriment whenever he is about, and every assistance is given in this respect by his sweetheart, Polly Appleyard, vivaciously represented by Miss Rosie Lewis. The acting of Miss Alice Underwood as Mabel Talbot pleads powerfully for sympathy, and a full measure of that quality is given her by her tear-bereft auditors, whose best feelings are aroused by the talented actress’s performance. Mr W. Parker has a fine appearance as Captain Hardy, and in the court-martial scenes displays elocutionary abilities of a high order. Mr John S. Wood distinguishes himself as Admiral Talbot, while as Marston Mr C. W. McCabe is resolute and convincing. Mr J. Sutton Pateman makes a capital Bill Buckett, and the other parts are wholly excellent. Too much praise could not be bestowed on the scenery and uniforms throughout, for which Bruce Smith and Morris Angel are respectively responsible; and the patrons of the theatre have given audible and vehement expression to their complete satisfaction with the spectacle. Mr J. Wakehurst is Mr Sleath’s business representative, and the orchestra, led by Mr Edward Parker, performs in the course of the evening an admirable selection of music.



The Belfast News-Letter (12 September, 1899 - p.5)



     In “The Mariners of England” we have a play which should bring everybody to the Theatre Royal. Its claim to be a drama has been emphasised by several adjectives which need not be adopted, but all the same it is a drama, a powerful and a healthy one, recalling Britain’s greatest triumphs at sea, idealising her dearest hero, and freshened by salt breezes in all their recuperative realism. In a day when melodrama of the mechanical type fills most of the place unoccupied by so-called musical comedy such healthy and well-enacted pieces are especially welcome. The programme issued last evening did not contain the name of the author, possibly because certain departures have been made from Robert Buchanan’s original text, but the work is apparently his in substance. The plot is worked out with no little success, though its patriotic flavour is perhaps marred by the fact that a naval officer is the leading exponent of villainy. But the interest centres naturally upon Nelson, who occupies as prominent a part in “The Mariners of England” as does Napoleon in “A Royal Divorce”—a piece which in point of historic interest and accuracy of contemporary setting much resembles it. The Lord Nelson of the play (admirably impersonated by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott, who has marshalled the excellent company at present appearing at the Royal) is pourtrayed acceptably as a man cool in the presence of mortal peril, stern in discipline, unerringly sound of judgment, and—as we, his admirers, wish to think of him—kindly of heart, and gifted with the gentlest conception of humour. The other personages introduced are drawn with a master hand, are attired in the costume of their period, and speak its language. This much may be said before mentioning spectacular effects, which should always be subservient to the play and its players. They are, however, completely realistic, from the scene depicting the ancient town of Deal to the cockpit of H.M.S. Victory, where in the closing act one witnesses again the scene so sadly familiar to all patriotic students of England’s later history. Mr. Abbott’s performance is dignified, subdued, and effective—free from the too brilliant colouring which would prevent us from identifying our hero. Mr. Fred Terris, a cultivated elocutionist, with great command of appropriate gesture, represents the true-hearted sailor, Harry Dell, who is submitted to a court-martial under circumstances faintly suggestive of Dreyfus; and Mr. W. H. Garbois in the impersonation of a villainous traitor never forgets that Captain Lebaudy must necessarily have learnt the speech and manners of a gentleman. Miss Ida Phillips is a graceful, refined, and womanly Mabel Talbot, and Miss Rosie Lewis a sympathetic Nellie Dell. Mr. T. P. Haynes infuses a great deal of robust and breezy humours into the part of Tom Tripp, the frequent supporter of the hero, and Mr. George Croft as the spy Marston achieves a triumph in what may be termed “deputy villainy.”


The Folkestone Herald (28 October, 1899 - p.11)


. . .



     Owing to the success and the cordial reception accorded to “The Mariners of England” or “The Days of Nelson” on the occasion of its first production in this town at the above Theatre just twelve months ago, Mr. Rowlands, with his usual business tact, has made arrangements for its revival next week. The play, which is written in four acts, is from the pen of that very clever writer and dramatist, Mr. Robert Buchanan, and is as its title suggests purely a nautical one. For the edification of our readers who did not avail themselves of the opportunity of witnessing the performances last time, we might say that the plot of the play is founded upon the leading historical events connected with the life of Lord Nelson, from the time he achieved such a grand and glorious victory at the Battle of the Nile to his sad and somewhat tragic ending at Trafalgar. The chief scenes of the play are laid on board the old ship Victory—which at the present time is lying in Portsmouth Harbour—and shows a court martial during the commencement of this century, also the Battle of Trafalgar as seen from the “poop” of the Victory at the time Nelson receives the fatal wound and his subsequent death in the cockpit. The Company, as on the last occasion, is an all round excellent one although it has undergone several changes. It is now under the proprietorship of Ernest R. Abbot, who is responsible for the entire production as well as the difficult role of Admiral Lord Nelson. No matter where this piece has been produced, it has always met with the success it deserves, and the press have stated the tableaux to be the masterpiece of scenic art. When we add the fact that the Company again bring with them all the elaborate scenery and costumes that were used during its original production at the Olympic Theatre, London, where it had a most successful run, crowded houses should be the order of the day at the Pleasure Gardens Theatre next week.



The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (10 April, 1900 - p.9)



     A piece of entirely different character to “The Gay Lord Quex” holds the boards at the Theatre Royal this week. It is the drama, “The Mariners of England,” a play with a strong smack of the sea about it, now being produced by Mr. Ernest R. Abbott’s Company. Though the play is not new, this is the first visit of Mr. Abbott’s company to Sheffield, and dealing as it does with military events and a martial period, the piece should fall in just now with the popular taste. The story, which is from the pen of Robert Buchanan, centres round the actual events of the latter part of Nelson’s career; from the Nile to Trafalgar. The treasonable plot of a rascally Frenchman, Captain Lebaudy, and a French spy, Marston, afford the basis of the plot, and there is also a love episode concerning Harry Dell, a sailor, and Mabel Talbot, a retired admiral’s niece. Dell is suspected of an attempt upon the life of Nelson, of which Lebaudy is the real author, and in the third act there is a realistic representation of the court-martial before which he was tried. Satisfactory proof of his innocence is forthcoming, and the play ends with a realistic scene representing the battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s death. Mr. E. R. Abbott takes the part of Lord Nelson, of whom he gives a life-like interpretation, and the part of Harry Dell is excellently borne by Mr. Wilson Howard. Mr. George Harris appears as Captain Lebaudy, and Mr. John Lester fills the role of Admiral Talbot, Mabel’s uncle. That young lady herself is charmingly represented by Miss Ada Abbott. Humorous roles are allotted to Mr. T. P. Haynes and Miss Rosie Lewis, and there are many subsidiary characters, whilst the historical accuracy maintained in the costumes and scenes gives a life-like tone to the whole play. The first scene represents the old town of Deal; the second the Cliffs near Dover, where the attack upon nelson is made; the third act takes place on board the Victory, and subsequently there is the battle tableau, which is a very elaborate panorama indeed, and faithful to history, the artists having worked from sketches of the old flagship, taken where it lies in Portsmouth Harbour. The piece had a good run in the Metropolis, and has been well received elsewhere. —On Good Friday evening there will, of course, be no theatrical performance, but a sacred concert has been arranged which promises to be a great musical attraction. The principal artistes will be Miss Eleanor Coward, Miss Marie Stiven, Mr. William Foxon, and Mr. Joseph Lycett, with a large choir and orchestra under the direction of Dr. Henry Coward.



The Stage (24 July, 1902 - p.11)


     Good audiences are being drawn to the great Hoxton playhouse during this, the second, week of the stock season, the drama chosen being The Mariners of England. This successful work, by the late Robert Buchanan and his sister-in- law, loses none of its popularity as presented at the Britannia, the picturesqueness of the staging reaching its height, of course, in the various scenes on the Victory, with the closing tableau representing the death of Nelson in the cockpit of his ship at Trafalgar. The famous Admiral receives a capital character sketch from Mr. Algernon Syms, whom Britannia audiences love to see acting as well as stage managing. Made up according to the accepted portraits, Mr. Syms gives a very effective, impressive, and dignified impersonation of Nelson. Mr. Ernest E. Norris is a bluff and breezy tar as Harry Dell. The wronged Nellie Dell is played feelingly by Miss Judith Kyrle, and Miss Louisa Peach is a graceful and charming Mabel Talbot. Mr. W. S. Hartford successfully makes an out-and-out villain of the treacherous Captain Lebaudy, and Mr. Arthur St. John gives a strong representation of the spy, “Black Jack” Marston. Miss Marie Brian is as bright and vivacious as usual as Polly Appleyard, and Mr. Fred Lawrence, an amusing Tom Tripp, does especially well in the ditty, “The Wonderful Crocodile.” The esteemed Mr. G. B. Bigwood’s grandson, Mr. Jack Bigwood, acts in a praiseworthy manner as Bill Buckett, an old salt. Admiral Talbot and Captain Hardy are played with effect by Mr. Edwin Bennett and Mr. Edwin Fergusson, and other parts are filled capably by Messrs. James Dunlop, W. Barrett, and so on. In the music hall section of the programme a new series of pictures is being exhibited on Forster’s Cinematograph; and other varieties are by Charles Bignell, the Great Zarmo, Minnie Palmerston, Cassie Walmer, Payne’s Vagabonds, and Read and Wright.



Sunderland Daily Echo (9 September, 1902 - p.5)

The Theatre Royal.

     “The Mariners of England,” which Royal patrons are fortunate in having presented for their approval this week, is one of the very best dramatic works the late Robert Buchanan—clever poet, novelist, and dramatist that he was—wrote. Though somewhat of what is known as the “transpontine” character, it never outrages one’s sense of possibility, and the many stirring incidents which thrill the observers follow in natural sequence. Besides, there are many appeals to that patriotic feeling which is so easily aroused in the Briton; and the brightest side is shown of the character of Lord Nelson, who takes a large part in making everything right for the falsely-accused hero, a seaman in the fleet. The plot will be fresh in the memory of playgoers, as the piece was here not very long ago. As to the representation, of course the grand performance of Mr Ernest R. Abbott as Lord Nelson stands out most prominently as a very satisfactory and finished interpretation, and a big share of the frequent applause fell to his lot. Also first-class are Admiral Talbot and Capt. Hardy (Messrs Clifford-Clifford and J. Lester). The hero, Henry Dell, is breezy and manly, as he should be, in Mr G. C. Doughty’s hands. The villainy is placed in strong contrast to the foregoing by Mr W. H. Garbois as Capt. Lebaudy and Mr John May as his henchman, Marston. Mr Edwin Keene, with Miss Ada Abbott, share the funmaking between them; he being very droll as a bashful swain and she vivacious as his rather pert sweetheart—a well-matched pair. Miss Claire Medwyn does well with the small part of Nellie Dell, and Miss Mercandelli is pleasing as the hero’s sweetheart. All the small rôles are carefully played. The scenery and costumes are excellent, and the continuous rounds of applause that followed each rousing speech or clever piece of acting were most gratifying.



The Cheltenham Looker-On (5 March, 1904 - p.13)

     A PATRIOTIC Naval Play by the late Robert Buchanan, entitled The Mariners of England, will occupy the Theatre stage next week. This piece, though now in its seventh year of tour, has not yet, we believe, been seen in Cheltenham. It is a story of the days of Nelson, and the hero of Trafalgar is the central figure. Mr. E. R. Abbott, who appears in this character, has already played the part over fifteen hundred times. The last act includes a “stirring and realistic picture” of the Battle of Trafalgar, and concludes with the death of Nelson on board the Victory, on which a large portion of the play is supposed to take place.





The scenes involving Nelson at Trafalgar were later extracted from The Mariners of England and were performed on their own, originally at the Coliseum, Glasgow on 29th May, 1911, under the title, ’Twas In Trafalgar’s Bay. The first production in London took place at the South London Palace on 4th March, 1912, with the title amended to Trafalgar.


Sheffield Daily Telegraph (3 June, 1911 - p.10)

     The bill to be presented at the Empire is a particularly strong one, having as its premier attraction a grand nautical and spectacular sketch, entitled “’Twas In Trafalgar’s Bay,” written by the late Robert Buchanan. It will be presented by the well-known London actor, Herbert Sleath, who will be supported by a powerful company of artists.



The Manchester Courier (30 March, 1912 - p.11)


The Middlesex Chronicle (3 October, 1914 - p.6)


     Mr. Herbert Sleath’s company in a grand nautical spectacular production entitled “Trafalgar,” will be the main attraction at the Chiswick Empire on Monday. The piece, which is in four magnificent scenes, was written by the late Robert Buchanan. The first scene, which represents between decks of the “Victory,” deals with the court-martial of a seaman accused of attempting to take Lord Nelson’s life. The next scene is the upper deck on the night before the battle. The weather is stormy; the clouds roll across the sky, and the waves beat over the vessel in a most realistic manner. Captain Hardy implores Nelson not to wear his medals in the coming fight, but Nelson refuses, and Hardy leaves him in deep prayer. In the third scene a thrilling representation of the battle is given. The sails of the French Fleet are seen as the ships pass the “Victory,” and as the scene closes, Nelson drops wounded. In the last scene, which represents the cock-pit of the “Victory,” Nelson lies in the arms of Captain Hardy, who is surrounded by the officers and men. The news arrives that they have won the day, and Nelson, whispering “Thank God! I have done my duty!” falls back dead. Mr. Herbert Sleath, the popular actor, will play the part of Nelson. Ella Retford, the delightful vocalist and dancer; Jimmy Godden, the comedian from the Empire, Leicester-square; Fennel and Tyson, the American novelty duo; Syd Walker, comedian; Josephine Langley, the double-voiced lady ventriloquist; Carlton Brough, in patriotic songs and recitations; and the Sisters Webb, vocalists and dancers, complete a powerful programme. Seats may be booked locally at Messrs. Webb Bros., High-street.


[Poster for the Leeds Hippodrome, week beginning 30th November, 1914. Click the picture for a larger image.]


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