Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Gabrielle Ray – Lady Madcap – The Tatler – 1905

Lady Madcap - The Tatler - 29th November 1905


Miss Gabrielle Ray as the fascinating lady’s maid in “Lady Madcap” at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre. 

(The Tatler, 29th November 1905)

Miss Ray masquerading as her mistress, Miss Ray as a sailor, Miss Ray as herself.

Miss Gabrielle Ray, who is playing the part of Susan, maid to Lady Betty Clarridge, Lord Framlingham’s daughter, the heroine of “Lady Madcap,” is not an American as her curious cadences might suggest, but is quite English. She made her first impression in London by appearing as the maid in “The Girl from Kays“; then she appeared at the Gaiety as the secretary of the orchid-hunter; and from there passed to the Prince of Wales’s Theatre.

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lady Madcap, Social History, The Tatler, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Married Rich Gaiety Girls Unhappy – New York Dramatic Mirror – 1912

Married Rich Gaiety Girls Unhappy  - New York NY Dramatic  Mirror - 11th December 1912

October 24, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Eric Loder, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Betty – The Edinburgh Evening News – 1915

Betty - The Edinburgh Evening News - Saturday 30th January 1915

A New Edwardes’ Musical Play, “Betty”

We are accustomed to get most of our theatrical productions here with the London hall-mark upon them, but as he did in the case of “The Dollar Princess,” so Mr George Edwardes’ has done with his new musical play ”Betty.” He has sought first the verdict of Manchester, and “Betty” will be played in other cities before she goes to the Metropolis. The play comes to the Lyceum Theatre on Monday to begin a fortnight’s run. It has had a splendid send off in Manchester, where it has been performed before large audiences right on from Christmas till now.

“Betty” has a romantic plot; its music is said to be almost operatic in quality – and it is all British – while the staging is on a magnificent scale. The cast is a first-rate one and includes many excellent artists like Miss Winifred Barnes, Miss Daisy Burrell, Miss Avice Kelham, and the inimitably droll comedian, Mr G. P. Huntley.

The Edinburgh Evening News – Saturday 30th January 1915

October 24, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Holloway Sanatorium

Another famous inmate was the former “Gaiety Girl” Gabrielle Ray, born Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook in Stockport in 1883. The Gaiety Girls were the chorus girls in musical comedies of the nineteenth century and Edwardian period and would appear on stage in bathing attire (which at the time was so designed as to be somewhat chaste by modern standards) or in the latest fashions. They were the style icons of their time. Gaiety Girls were in fact polite, well-behaved, respectable and intended to be symbols of ideal womanhood.

Gabrielle Ray, or “Gabs” as she was known to her friends and admirers, was one of the most famous. A talented actress, singer and dancer, who appeared in other kinds of theatre including pantomime, she was considered among the most beautiful women in Britain by a Paris magazine and became one of the most photographed in the world. Sadly, upset by the philandering of her husband Eric Loder, she took to drink and suffering from alcoholism and depression – mental illness ran in the family – was forced to retire from the stage in 1924. Subsequently she was placed by her relatives in Holloway Sanatorium where she remained until her death in May 1973 aged ninety. She spent some of her time at the main site and some at Lyne Place.

Her long stay at the Sanatorium, where she was registered as Mrs Eric Loder, was a happy one. Everyone liked her – the infectious smile seen in her photographs gives a clue as to why – and she was treated with great kindness and affection. She was visited by other former Gaiety Girls such as Gertie Millar and Lily Elsie, who had become firm friends, and by Lord Dudley, the owner of Great Fosters. She loved her walks into the village for shopping, being taken on car rides several times a week, and sitting in the grounds feeding the birds and squirrels. She continued to take great care over her appearance, always wearing smart clothes and hats and dressing her hair immaculately. When she died, one of the last of the Gaiety Girls, her few surviving relatives were present at her funeral as well as people from the Sanatorium. She is buried in Englefield Green cemetery.


  • Blythman, G. (2014) “The Holloway Sanatorium” Egham and Runnymede Historical Society (p 65)

After further discussions with Guy Blythman about Miss Ray’s continued stay at The Holloway Sanatorium he said that her relatives didn’t want her back because of the stigma of mental illness and the alcohol/drugs involved. Also she needed to remain in a controlled environment because she wasn’t capable of looking after herself. He added that from his research, the Loder family never accepted Miss Ray and didn’t visit her at Holloway; one of her former nurses recalled “she was a very quiet lady, small and neat, who did not give any indication of the high life she must have enjoyed”.


October 23, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Betty – Daly’s Theatre – 1915

“Betty” Opened at Daly’s Theatre 24th April, 1915 for a run of 391 performances closing 8th April, 1916.

Miss Ray replaced Mable Selby as “Estelle” joining the production on Thursday 29th October 1915

  • Betty – The Times – Tuesday 2nd November 1915

“Miss Gabrielle Ray quickly proved that she has lost none of the attractiveness which made her so popular in the past…. Mr. Lauri de Frece, as “Jotte,” who was most amusing and entertaining, pleased the house immensely.”

“Miss Gabrielle Ray has gained in her art: both her singing and speaking voice has improved in quality. Her rentrée was a real success.”

“The whole production is delightfully gracious and debonair, and there are enough pretty scenes and prettier faces to rout the biggest battalion of war worries that ever besieged even the pessimist.”

“With all the new things put into it “Betty” seems likely to continue its success indefinitely.”


  • Liverpool Echo – Tuesday 23rd March 1915

Royal Court Theatre.

There would seem to be no end to the public appetite for musical comedy. The latest of Mr George Edwardes’s productions is “Betty,” and she is neither better nor worse than her numerous predecessors. The piece, however, provides a welcome relaxation at this time, and there are several old favourites in the cast. Miss Nellie Taylor, in the title role, is particularly charming, and possesses a singularly sweet voice, while she is ably supported by Miss Mary Ridlley and Miss Annie Kelham; The humour is divided between Mr Mark Lester and P.A. Gawthorne gives a perfect representation of a lordly snob.


  • Reading Mercury – Saturday 8th April 1916

 A successful musical comedy

“Betty” is being taken off the boards of Daly’s Theatre after tonight, so those who have not seen this charming and successful musical play should take the opportunity of visiting the Royal County Theatre Reading tonight where George Edwardes’ powerful company is appearing once nightly. “Betty” is not the least worthy of the long series of productions which has been associated with the name of George Edwardes and coming under such auspices success is assured. The play contains many of the features which belong to the modern musical comedy. They are all more or less variations on the same themes. Nevertheless, its central idea is not without a touch of novelty. Betty is charming, almost mid-Victorian, in her retiring and unobtrusiveness amid the gay and frivolous life by which she is surrounded. “The blushing beauties of a modest maid,” however, still have power to captivate and the last incident in a play brimful is the capitulation of the Earl of Beverley, her husband in name though not in fact. Paul Rubens has composed some delightful music, and the play is one of the best that has appeared in Reading.


October 17, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Betty – Prince’s Theatre, Manchester – 1914

Betty a musical play in three acts by Fredrick Lonsdale and Gladys Unger. Lyrics by Adrian Ross and Paul Rubens. Music by Paul Rubens. Additional numbers by Ernest Steffan, Merlin Morgan (and Haydn Wood). Produced at the Prince’s Theatre, Manchester, under the management of George Edwardes 24th December, 1914 and played there until 30th January, 1915 then toured through Edinburgh x 2, Glasgow x 2, Newcastle, Birmingham x 2,Liverpool, Leeds, Blackpool and Sheffield (to 17th April). Opened at Daly’s Theatre 24th April, 1915 for a run of 391 performances closing 8th April, 1916.


  •   Ganzl, K. (1988) “The British Musical Theatre” Volume 2, 1915 – 1984, The Macmillan Press Ltd; Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire. (p14)

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Betty, Gabrielle Ray, Plays, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – The Girl From Kay’s – The Tatler – 1903

Gabrielle Ray - The Girl From Kay's - The Tatler - 12th August 1903

Nancy Lowley.

October 9, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Girl from Kay's, The Tatler | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lily Elsie’s Romance Shattered – The Times Dispatch – 1913

Lily Elsi's Romance Shattered - The Times Dispatch - 31st August 1913

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basil Loder – Census 1911

Basil Loder - Census 1911

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Basil Loder, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basil Loder – Marriage – 1908




Announcement is made of the marriage of Miss Barbara Deane who has been appearing with so much success in “The Gordons” at the Aldwych, to Mr. Basil Loder, of the Scots Guards. Miss Deane (Kate Davies), who is twenty-eight, was born Pembroke, and made her first appearance in “The Cherry Girl” the Vaudeville when the piece was produced at Christmas, 1903, and subsequently played in “The Catch of the Season” and “The Beauty of Bath.”” She was under a long engagement with Mr. Frohman and Mr. Seymour Hicks, but is stated that she has now definitely retired from the stage. Mr. Loder is a Second Lieutenant in the Scots Guards, having joined the regiment in August last.


Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Tuesday 21st January 1908




 The marriage of Lieutenant Basil Loder the Scots Guards to Miss Barbara Deane, of the “Gay Gordons” Company, has had an unlooked-for sequel. Mr Loder has resigned his commission, having sacrificed his promising career with that famous regiment to wed girl of his heart, rather than seek partner from some other rank in society.

The “”New York World” announced last week that Lieutenant Basil Loder had been requested by his brother officers to resign account of his marriage to Miss Deane. At the headquarters of the Scots Guards in London it was ascertained by a “Sunday Chronicle” representative that Mr Loder had sent in his papers a few days ago, and that they had been accepted.

The statement of the “New York World” was submitted Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Romilly, the officer commanding the Scots Guards.

“It true that Lieutenant Basil Loder has resigned,” said Colonel Romilly, “”but he resigned quite voluntarily. Having married an actress he would, of course, retire from the regiment. An officer of the Guards cannot marry an actress and remain in the regiment. If a person in one rank of  life marries a person another rank – well!”

“And was Lieutenant Loder aware this at the time his marriage?”

“Certainly. He knew that married an actress must resign.”

“Had he counted the cost, then?”

“Yes. You see, his wife could not be presented at Court.”

“I am very sorry to lose Lieutenant Loder,” said Colonel Romilly at the close the interview. “He was a young officer who was doing very well.”

Mr Basil Loder is 22, and rich. Mr Seymour Hicks’s company has already provided three peeresses.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal – Tuesday 11th February 1908

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Actress, Basil Loder, Eric Loder, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment