Imagine the grand sight of two thousand musicians and choristers in “a daylight procession [starting] from the Pavilion at six in the evening and having marched with music and banners along the Kings-road to Brunswick-terrace, will return by the same route to the Pavilion grounds.” (Daily Telegraph and Courier).
What the advert above does not highlight is that almost each one of these two thousand performers was a Frenchman (with a few French-speaking Swiss and Belgians in the mix for good measure). Conference delegates descending on Brighton en masse is nothing new, for this event took place in 1881.
In 2014, the following announcement appeared in The Argus:
The Stage Thursday 20 April 1967 (c) British Newspaper Archive
The announcement is deceptively bland. It gives very little clue to the life of this charismatic man, chanteur and chef/owner of the Laughing Onion Restaurant in Kemp Town.
If you read no further, watch Stephen Matthew’s wonderful short video about Jean-Jacques
Jean-Jacques looked every bit the French pin-up ‘boy’ of the time and spent 18 months in the early 1960s performing in Britain. Continue reading
Sarah Bernhardt aged 20 in 1884
On Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th June 1881, the ‘Divine Sarah’ trod the boards of the Theatre Royal Brighton. With a name like Bernhardt, can she justifiably be included as French? Continue reading