The Family of John & Eliza Southbeer

Eliza Brookbanks
b. 1816
St James, Westminster. London
d. 1893
St Saviour
John Southbeer/South Beer/Beer/Johnstone
b. 1806? (1803-1891)
d. sometime after 1891

29th July 1833
St James, Westminster, London

Nine children including Fanny Southbeer (later Fanny Finch Leicester):
Eliza Alice, Margaret, John, Margaret Sarah, Fanny Dorothy, Emma, William, Clara, Walter

John Southbeer was born in Southwark in 1806. Eliza Brookbanks was born in 1816 in St James and died in 1893 in St Saviour. He was ten years older than her. When Eliza was just seventeen or eighteen years old, they married on 29th July 1833, at St James, Westminster, London.The marriage is listed under the name John South Beer. John and Eliza had their first child in 1836 and they named her Eliza (confusing!). They had a total of nine children and Fanny was their fifth child.

In 1841, the Southbeer family were living at 6 Duke Street, Parish of St Georges in Southwark. The family is listed as John Southbeer/Southbier (comedian age 35), Eliza (wife age 25), Eliza (daughter age 5), John (son age 6 months).

Their fifth child, Fanny Dorothea Southbeer, was born 21st December 1845, in Lambeth in London or Southwark, Surrey. Her birth seems to have been registered in early 1846 at St George, Southwark using the name Fanny Dorothy Southbeer. The 1881 British Census lists her birth place as Lambeth, Surrey.

In 1851, the family are listed on the census with the surname "Beer" as living at 5 Gibraltar Row, in St George the Martyr in Southwark. John Beer (comedian), Eliza (35), Eliza (15), John (10), Margaret (7), Fanny (5), William (1).

By the 1861 census, the family have moved to 56 Eliots Row in St George. John is now called John S. Johnstone. He lists himself as a "Dramatic Author". Eliza is listed as "Author's Wife". Their son, John, is an artist and age 20. Margaret is an actress and age 17. Fanny is also an artist age 15. Clara is 7 and Walter 5.

The 1871 census shows them living at 18 Lambeth Road: John B Johnstone, Eliza (55), Eliza (35), Clara (actress age 17) and Walter (artist age 15). They have two lodgers living with them.

By 1891, John Johnstone is 88 and Eliza is 77. Living with them, at 36 Lambeth Road in the borough of Southwark, is their daughter Eliza (artist, 55) and their younger daughter Clara Earle who was a widow (age 36) and her four children (Robert 13, Clara 11, Lily 9, and Eliza). (Clara's husband, Robert John Earle, had died in 1885 in St Saviour.)

It is interesting that ten years later at the time of the 1901 census, John and Eliza's daughter, Clara E. Earle (46), and her son Robert J. (23) and daughter Lilian (19) lived at 22 Vicarage Terrace next door to her nephew (sister Fanny's son) and his family - William and Eliza Finch and their children (21 Vicarage Terrace, Wandsworth). Clara and Lilian are both listed as "actress".

John Southbeer
(aka John Beer, J. B. Johnstone, John B Johnstone)
b. 1806, Southwark

Father of Fanny Southbeer
On census listings, he calls himself a comedian and a dramatic author.
He was still working at age eighty.

J. B. Johnstone (John Beer) wrote many plays including:

"Admiral Sam, or, Deeds of old London." - performed week beginning Monday 8 October 1849 at Albert Saloon
* "Balaclava" -
performed week beginning Monday 10 June 1878 - a drama in three acts
"Captain John Luck." -
performed week beginning 12 August 1854 at Pavilion Theatre
* "Fannette, or, Up in the dark"
- performed the week Saturday 24 October 1868 at Pavilion Theatre
(written for Miss Emily Levettez)
"Gale Breezely, or, The tale of a tar" - performed 17 June 1850 and 19 May 1855 at Pavilion Theatre
"Gipsey of Fairlop Fair, or, The forest child" - performed July 1854 at Pavilion Theatre
Gipsy farmer, or, Jack and Jack's brother" -
performed 1849,1854, 1855, 1856, 1861, 1862, 1863
* Holly-Tree Inn" -
performed January and February 1856 at Pavilion Theatre based on Charles Dickens
"Jack Long of Texas, or, The shot in the eye" -
performed in 1860, 1861, 1869 at New Royal Pavilion Theatre
"Jenny Wren" -
performed 16 February 1881 at Britannia Theatre
"Life's luck, or, The navigator's bride" -
performed July 1854 at Pavilion Theatre
"Mary Blane" -
performed April 1855 (founded on the popular song)
"Ned Kelly, or, The perils of the bush" -
performed Monday 25 October 1880 and every evening until further notice at Britannia Theatre
"Old mint of Southwark, or, Admiral Sam & the orphan sailor boy" -
performed Sept and Dec 1854 at Pavilion Theatre
"Paved with gold." -
performed October 1873 at Pavilion Theatre
"Phoebe Hessel"
performed March 1855 at Pavilion Theatre
"Rats of rat's castle".- performed 1854, 1859, 1860 at Pavilion Theatre
"Sailor's wife, or, Lilian Ryland : a tale of forty years ago" -
performed Feb and Sept 1854 at Pavilion Theatre
"Sea weed hall, or Jack and Jill!" -
performed March 1870 at Variety Theatre
"Shepherd's star, or, Capricorne and the Planet Sprite" -
performed 1879 and 1880 at Britannia Theatre
"Storm at sea" -
performed April 1855 at Pavilion Theatre
"Three thieves, or, The monkey of Frankfurt"-
performed June 1850 at Pavilion Theatre
* "Three women"-
performed December 1866 at Pavilion Theatre
(founded on the popular novel published in the London Journal)
* "Woman and her master"
- performed May 1854 at Standard Theatre in Shoreditch
(based on a work serialised in the London Journal, by J.F. Smith)
"The Sailor of France"

Gale Breezey!
"Gale Breezely" by JB Johnson was performed at the Pavilion Theatre
on Saturday, 19th May 1855.
Ben Bolt 1861
"Ben Bolt" - An original drama in Two Acts by John B. Johnstone, first performed
at the Royal Surrey Theatre on Tuesday, March 28th, 1854.

Performed Friday 3rd May 1861 at Eastern Opera House, White Chapel Road
JBJ Three Women 1866
"Three Women" - performance date: Saturday 1, and Monday 3 December 1866, and during the week.
Seaweed Hall
Sea Weed Hall doublespread
John B Johnstone was the stage manager and the author of this piece
and played a part as Greensea Greenwich in"Sea Weed Hall" that was performed in March 1870.

Lord Chamberlain's Plays
From 1737 to 1968, the Lord Chamberlain’s office licensed and retained a copy of
every play newly performed in London and later throughout the provinces as well.

Play published in 1856:‘Tafelhausen, or, The legend of a lawyer’, drama in two acts by J. B. Johnstone.
Licence sent 18 March for performance at the Surrey 24 March 1856. LCO Day Book Add. 53073 records the
stipulation that the words ‘Lord’ and ‘Oh Lord’ be omitted. Two different types of paper used.
Songs included in MS. Published in Lacy’s, vol. 27, no. 403. Keywords: law and the legal
profession, Early Modern settings, disguise.

Excerpt after John Johnstone's death from a newspaper article in The Argus
(Melbourne, Australia), Monday 15th June 1891:
The London Daily Telegraph remarks that " One who is surely the oldest actor on the London stage has been allowed to pass away with scant recognition. Old John Beer Johnstone (Jack Beer Johnstone), the father of that clever actress, Miss Eliza Johnstone, actor, dramatist and an estimable old gentleman, died in his 80th year on April 25, and was buried at Brompton Cemetery. Old Johnstone, well known at the minor theatres, acted with Edmund Kean, and attended his funeral. He was the author of over 150 dramas and pantomimes and was the trusted adviser of Thomas Robertson in most of his dramatic work. The old gentleman had acted in almost every London theatre, his last engagement being with Mr. Wilson Barrett at the Princess's, where he played at the age of 83." Miss Eliza Johnstone will be well and favourably remembered in Melbourne m connection with Mr J. L. Toole's company.

In the 1911 census, Fanny's youngest brother is listed as Walter Johnstone (rather than Southbeer). Walter is 54 (born Southwark) and is a "scenic artist". He has been married to Maria Barrier (age 56 and born in Birmingham) for 36 years. Their three youngest children are living at home. Their son Sidney is a clerk minor (age 21). Their son Alick is also a scenic artist (age 18). Their daughter Winifred is at school (age 14). All three children listed were born in Battersea, Surrey. Their address is listed as 60 Bolingbroke Grove SW, Wandsworth. London (in the Parish of Battersea).

The whole family seem to have been in the theatre world - mostly as actors and actresses or as scenic artists. Fanny's nephew, Alick Johnstone, was a scenic artist in London. This is a painting by Laurence Irving (1970) from the Victoria and Albert Museum of Alick's studio, called Alick Johnstone's Scenic Studios.

"Laurence Irving (1897-1988), grandson of the actor Henry Irving, trained at the Royal Academy and became an artist and set designer working in the theatre and for films. He would have known Alick Johnstone's scene painting studio very well. Johnstone established his studio in 1922 and for the next 50 years was responsible for the scenery for major West End productions.

Irving's painting emphasises the space and light required for the painting of scenery and shows two large backdrops stretched over the paint frames. It brings together two productions that actually took placed at different times. The two figures in the centre are Alick Johnstone (on the right) and the designer Charles Ricketts who is looking at the drop curtain on the left hand paint frame. This is the backdrop for the final scene of Shakespeare's Henry VIII which opened at the Empire Theatre in 1925. The right hand backdrop is for Laurence Housman's play, Victoria Regina, staged at the Lyric Theatre in 1937. It is being examined by its designer, the artist Rex Whistler (wearing the suit) with one of Alick Johnstone's assistants. In the foreground, stirring a bucket, is John Bryan, another assistant, who went on to become a successful film designer."

Clara's daughter, Clara Elizabeth Earle or Eliza Earle, was an actress and was on tour as a child in America 1904-5.
She receives good reviews as Betty in "The House of Burnside" and as Markham in "The Passport".
In 1911, Clara was in a play "The Duquesne" in Pittsburg

(Above information on the Southbeer family researched and shared by Anthony Barrier of Alkham, Kent, England.)

(six survived)

1. Eliza Alice Southbeer (Eliza Johnstone artist/actress)
. 1836, St George, Lambeth
chr. 6 November 1836, St John the Evangelist, Lambeth, Surrey
d. 1899, St Saviour

Accident - Eliza Johnstone
13th August 1892

Death of Eliza Johnstone
12th August 1899

2. Margaret Southbeer
b. 1838, St George, Lambeth
d. 1840 St George, Lambeth

3. John Southbeer/Johnstone (scenic painter)
b. 1840, St George, Lambeth
m1. Ellen / son John South Bee age 2 census 1871

1881 living at 93 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth. Occupation: Artist.
1891 living at 31 Oakden Street, Lambeth. Occupation: Scene Painter.
1901 living at 9 Walnut Tree Walk, Lambeth. Occupation: Scene Painter.

1911 living at 54 Crewason Road, Brixton?.Occupation: Scene Painter for theatre.
They had three rooms including the kitchen.
The 1911 census says that John Johnstone was 70 years old and
his wife is listed as, Mary Ann Johnstone, and was 56 years old. It says they had been married for thirty years.
They had five children born alive and four were still living:
Minni Johnstone (age 28) who is a typist for shipping agents and Richard Johnstone who is a painter's laborer(age 22)

m2. 1880 Lambeth, Surrey, to Mary Ann (b.1855)
Five children:
i. Muriel Johnstone Southbeer b 1883, Battersea, London
ii. Nellie Johnstone Southbeer b 1885, Lambeth, Surrey
iii. Dorothy Johnstone Southbeer b 1886, Lambeth, Surrey
iv. Richard Conrad Johnstone Southbeer b 1889, Lambeth, Surrey
v. Alexander Conrad Johnstone Southbeer b. 1891, Lambeth, Surrey, London

4. Margaret Sarah Southbeer (actress - Madge Johnstone)
b. 1844, St George, Lambeth

m. John Boles Watson (actor - J Boles-Watson)
In 1851 census, John B Watson was age 22 and an actor born in Scotland and living as a lodger in Huddersfield.
John B Watson d. 1881 in Auckland, Durham

SEVEN CHILDREN (six living): Fanny, Margaret, Ida, John, Henrietta, Sidney, Alexander, Elizabeth?

i. Frances (Fanny) Eliza Watson b 14 April 1865 Greenock, Scotland. (Father's name John Boles Watson) Actress. Never married.

ii. Margaret (Maggie) Clara Watson b 5 May 1871 Dundee, Scotland.
[Actress - she played children's roles as no child actors were allowed on stage]
(Father's name listed as John Robert Watson)
married Beresford Whitcomb in 1892 at St Pancras.
Son Guy Beresford Whitcomb b 5 November 1893, Southwark, d 1934 S Pancras.
Margaret petitioned for divorce in 1902.
[Jim McGeary was told about his family from his grandmother, Henrietta (Watson) Gregory Carter.]

iii. Ida (Elizabeth) Watson b. Aberdeen, Scotland (actress 1870-1931)
married Walter Gregory in 1893.
One child Henrietta Watson Gregory b. 1895/6 married George Carter
(Henrietta and George had one child, Mary Elizabeth Carter)
Mary Elizabeth Carter had 6 sons and 2 daughters (their son Jim McGeary contacted me in 2015)

iv. John (Jack) Watson (age 12 in 1888 census) b. Birmingham?
[Jim McGeary says Jack had one son, Jack Watson]

v. Henrietta Watson b. 11 March 1873 Dundee, Scotland. (actress)
m. 1900? Walter Thornton-Radcliffe (d.1909 in Bradford)
[Jim McGeary says that Radcliffe was a well-to-do man who was a Grenadier Guard]
d. 29 September 1964 age 91, London
(Henrietta and Walter's daughters: Maude Thorton Radcliffe (fall from carriage)
Mary Thornton Radcliffe b.1905? London who was a ballet dancer with Pavlova's ballet.)

vi. Sidney Johnstone Watson b. 1856 Dundee, Scotland (age 25 in 1901)
m. 2 August 1899, Kennington in Surrey, Lilian Gertrude Mary Wilbey b. 1878 (father of bride Julius Edward Wilbey)
1901 census says "stage manager" and he was a boarder in the Parish of Leicester.
[Jim McGeary says Sidney had a daughter, Barbara, and a son, Bunty]

vi.?? Alexander (Alec) Watson b. 1880 Dundee, Scotland.??
[Jim McGeary says Alec had one son, Philip
and that Alec was "Keith Prowes" theatrical ticket sales]

In the 1881 census, the Watson family were lodging at 1 South Street, Whitworth, Durham:
John Robert Watson (age 44) Comedian Actor,
Margaret Watson (age 35) Actress,
Fanny E Watson (age 15) Actress,
Margaret C Watson (age 9) Scholar.

In the 1881 census, five of the Watson children were living at 35 Northumberland Road, Hartlepool:
Ida Watson (age 15), Housekeeper for Father
John Watson (age 12), schloar
Hettie Watson (age 8), scholar
Sidney Watson (age 5), scholar
Alex Watson (age 1), infant born London

In the 1901 census, Margaret Snr (age 56). and Fanny (age 34) were living at 36 Margaretta Terrace, in Chelsea, with
Alexander Watson (age 21), Manager Box Office, born in Dundee. It lists Margaret as married (not widowed).

In the 1911 census, Margaret was living with two daughters and one granddaughter and 2 servants
at 6 Maitland Park Villas, NW London:
Henrietta Radcliffe (head) age 38 widow born Dundee, occupation actress, 9 years of marriage,
2 children born (1 died, 1 living).
Margaret Sarah Watson (mother) age 67 widow born London, occupation none 7 children born (6 living, 1 died).
Fanny Eliza Watson (sister) age 46 spinster, born Greenock, occupation none.
Mary Thornton Radcliffe (daughter of head) age 6, born London.

henrietta watson

copyright National Portrait Gallery, London
Photograph by Alexander Bassano

Henrietta Watson
in 1914
b. 11 March 1873, Dundee, Scotland
(daughter of Margaret Sarah Southbeer)
grand-daughter of J.B. Johnstone
neice of Eliza Johnstone
She left school in 1888.
Lived at Ornan Road, Hampstead in 1901. She enjoyed swimming and yachting.
First appearance on London stage at Olympic Theatre in September 1891.
In 1892-3, she was in Sydney.
In 1896-7, she toured the United States.

Henrietta Watson - back of postcard henrietta watson postcard

Miss Henrietta Watson on a postcard. The back of the postcard shows the stamped date of July 21st 1907.
(Kindly given to Karen by Anthony Barrier)

Who's Who in the Theatre 1922 (a resume of all Henrietta's work up until 1920).

"1922 Who's Who in the Theatre"
WATSON, Margaret, actress; daughter of J. Boles-Watson and his wife Madge
(Johnstone); e. Dundee; m. W. Wallace Aston; has been on the stage since early childhood,
her parents being well-known provincial actors; played a number of juvenile parts
before going to school; after completing her education, toured for several years in the provinces,
and for two years played the Empress Josephine in "A Royal Divorce", in 1907,
toured with Mrs Patrick Campbell, playing "seconds" in the "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray,"
"The Notorious Mrs Eddsmith.", "Madga," "Hedda Gabler", "Electra" and "The Flower of Yamato";
accompanied her to America and appeared at the Garden Theatre, New York, Feb 1908,
in the last-mentioned plays; during 1901

henrietta watson at the Saville Theatre 1932.

Cover for the Program, "Tell Her the Truth",
Henrietta Watson at the Saville Theatre in 1932

Henrietta Watson
The Sketch - Henrietta Watson, 15th December 1897.

Henrietta - Ogden Cigarettes

Miss Henrietta Watson features on a cigarette card.
(Kindly given to Karen by Anthony Barrier)

Henrietta Watson as Mrs Carew
From The Sketch: Nov. 13 1901
Miss Henrietta Waston, now playing Mrs Carew in "The Likeness of the Night" at the St James's Theatre.

Henrietta Watson 1906
From The Sketch 1906: Far Right: 3. "Miss Henrietta Watson, who is to play the housekeeper."
Henrietta Watson in There and Back
Miss Henrietta Watson
who plays with delightful humour as Mrs Lewson in "There and Back" at the Prince of Wales's.
5. Fanny Dorothy Southbeer (actress) (Fanny Johnstone/Fanny Finch Leicester)
b. 21 Dec 1845, St George, Lambeth
m. 1 Nov 1865, St Mary's Church, Oldham, Lancashire
John George Guard Finch (later Finch Leicester) b. 1844
Four children (William, Hellen, Eliza, Lily ?)
d. 1943, Torquay, Devon

Fanny Johnstone in Lucky Dog 1893

Fanny Johnstone in "Lucky Dog" at Prince of Wales Theatre, April 1893

6. Emma Southbeer
b. 1848, St George, Lambeth
d. (1849 Brighton?) before 1851 census
7. William Southbeer
b. 1850, St George, Lambeth
d. 1852, St George, Lambeth
8. Clara Elizabeth Southbeer (actress) (Clara Earle)
b. 1853, St George, Lambeth
m. Robert John Earle (died 1885 in St Saviour)
d. 1902 Wandsworth, age 49

Four Children: i. Robert Earle, ii. Clara Earle, iii. Lily Earle and iv. Eliza Earle.
Daughter Clara Elizabeth Earle or Eliza Earle was an actress and was on tour as a child in America 1904-5.
She receives good reviews as Betty in "The House of Burnside" and as Markham in "The Passport".
In 1911, daughter Clara was in a play "The Duquesne" in Pittsburgh.
In December 1898, Clara marries George Howard and they honeymoon in Brighton.
9. Walter Southbeer/Walter Johnstone (artist)
b. 1855, St George, Lambeth
d. 1924, Wandsworth. London
burial 16 September 1924, Morden Parish, Surrey

(In 1881 artist, 1891 sculptor, 1901 and 1911 scenic artist)
m. 10 May 1875 (Birmingham) Maria Mary Ellen Barrier
(Maria Mary Ellen Barrier was born 6 Nov 1853,
christened 27 December 1854 St John Bedwardine
died 1920 in Wandsworth, London and buried 17 April 1920 at Battersea, Morden Parish, Surrey.)

Nine children: John b 1875, Walter b. 1877, Philip b. 1885, Sydney, Alick b. 1892 and Winifred b. 1896
i. JOHN JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1875, Exeter, Devon.; d. 1960, Stepney, London.
ii. WALTER JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1877, Wolverhampton, Stafford.
iii. MALE SOUTHBEER, b. 1879, St Saviour.; d. 1879, St Saviour.
iv. MARIA JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1882, Wandsworth.; d. 1882, Wandsworth..
v. PHILIP JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1885, Wandsworth..
vi. MARY SOUTHBEER, b. 1887, Wandsworth.; d. 1887, Wandsworth..
vii. SYDNEY JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1889, Wandsworth.; d. 1918, Wandsworth, London..
viii. ALICK JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1892, Wandsworth.; d. 1965, Brighton, Sussex.; m. IDA ELEANOR
WEDBERG, 1922, Kensington.; b. 1887, Cheltenham.; d. 1967, Hove, Sussex.
ix. WINIFRED JOHNSTONE SOUTHBEER, b. 1896, Wandsworth.

Son Alick Johnstone was responsible for the scenery for 50 years for major West End productions
(from age thirty when he established his studio in 1922).
Census information for Walter:
1875 King Alfreds Place, Birmingham.
1881 Living at 9 Afgan Road, Battersea, Surrey. Scene Painter (Artist).
1891 Living at 60 Bolingbroke Grove, Southwark. Occupation: Artist (sculptor).
1901 Living at 60 Bolingbroke Grove, Southwark. Occupation: Scenic Artist. Also living at the same
address Bertha Johnstone, daughter-in-law, granddaughter Mabel Johnstone (b.1900), granddaughter
Winifred Johnstone (b.1900) and a servant Ethel Ward from Clapham.
Scene Painter 23/4 Macklin Street, Drury Lane. C. 1892-1924