“Think of me as pleading with the Vivisectors for the dear dogs I love so well.” – Edith Cole (1861? – 1927)
The photo is by – Mons Sala Arbus, Reading. M(argaret Solom)ons & Sala Arbus, 40 Friar Street, Reading. – opticians & photographers. To-date we have discovered almost nothing else about these photographers – but they sound ‘interesting’. Sala Arbus. London Gazette. No link whatsoever found to the rather more famous photographer Allan Arbus (or to Diane Arbus!
The Ernest Bell Library has always focused on collecting and preserving the records of anti-vivisection societies, details of anti-vivisection campaigns, anti-vivisection literature & anti-vivisection ephemera.
The early anti-vivisection societies cooperated with many celebrities – very effectively – but the battle against the vivisectors is still going on today!
Above this is a battered anti-vivisection postcard from ‘The National Canine Defence League’ (NCDL) – from circa 1905 – featuring the then-famous English theatre actress Edith Cole – aka “Mrs. William Wallace Kelly” aka “Mrs W. W. Kelly”.
In the late 1890s & into the early 20th C – Ernest Bell, Jessey Wade, Gertrude and Harold Baillie-Weaver (Gertrude wrote the book Suffragette Sally using the pseudonym – Gertrude Colmore) – plus many other friends were running & promoting NCDL. It was founded in 1891.
In our Ernest Bell Library we have a lot of the NCDL’s archival material.
NCDL were very active in fighting the vivisection of animals.
The Dog’s Trust is the current name of the former – ‘The National Canine Defence League’.
From the book –
Twentieth-Century British Theatre: Industry, Art and Empire
By Claire Cochrane
– p 62.
~ The Irish-American actor William Wallace Kelly owned the rights to W. G. Wills’s hugely popular Napoleon and Josephine drama, A Royal Divorce, and made a fortune touring it with his wife Edith Cole. Play ownership was bolstered by building interests on Merseyside. In Birkenhead from 1897 Kelly was the proprietor of the old Theatre Royal and the lessee of the Metropole. In Liverpool in 1909 he bought the Queen’s Theatre from Granville Theatres Ltd. which had financed the reconstruction of the 2,000 seat theatre in 1904 out of the shell of an older and much renamed and relaunched venue. The theatre was renamed Kelly’s Theatre and programmed with popular dramas which attracted audiences from the dock areas.
Kelly the prominent citizen served on Birkenhead Council, was made an alderman in 1929 and three times refused a mayoralty. Kelly the showman cultivated the image of the flamboyant actor-manager – frock coat, silk top hat and huge buttonhole – further enhanced by the anecdotes which collected around his famous touring show. ~
Edith & William – possibly ‘opening’ the ‘Edith Cole Home for Dogs’ for the NCDL – in Birkenhead, Liverpool, England – date unknown – estimated to be circa 1915.
William is standing top left – to the left of the door displaying his – “…frock coat, silk top hat and huge buttonhole…”. – for sure they had not gone ‘all the way to vegan’ – but not too many people had at this time.
Edith is standing top right – to the right of the door.
The 6 dogs & the other 3 humans have not yet been identified!
An item from the Ernest Bell Library Collection.
An earlier image of Edith.
An item from the Ernest Bell Library Collection.
An earlier image of William.
[Image Number – ULPA 1980.20.0764], Macauley’s Theatre Collection, 1980.20, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
Edith Cole & William Wallace Kelly – notes –
Edith Julia Cole
Record Type: Baptism
Estimated Birth Date: abt 1861
Baptism Date: 10 Nov 1861
Father’s name: Charles Cole
Mother’s name: Julia Ann Jane Cole
Parish or Poor Law Union: Whitechapel St Mary
Borough: Tower Hamlets
Edith & William’s marriage
Name: William Wallace Kelly (Irish-American actor)
Age: 41 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1857
Spouse Name: Edith Julia Cole Spouse Age: 37
Record Type: Marriage Marriage
Date: 10 Aug 1898
Parish: St Thomas, Clapton Common County: London
Father Name: William Kirkwood Kelly
Spouse Father Name: Charles Cole
In the 1901 census, they were living at – 8 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Cheshire
William W KELLY, Head, 47, Manager Theatrical, Employer, born in United States
Mrs KELLY (Edith COLE), Wife, 39, Actress, Own Account, born in Middlesex London
Julia COLE, visitor, married, 58, born in Middlesex London (Edith’s mother)
Edith’s Death in 1927 – from here.
Papers of Stanley Morison – an interesting archive – the family were Edith’s friends.
The Ernest Bell Library is actively preserving & sharing: –
items related to veg(etari)an products.
veg(etari)an books & other publications.
items related to veg(etari)an organisations.
items related to veg(etari)an businesses.
items related to animal rights organisations.
animal rights publications.
items related to humanitarian organisations.
items related to rambling clubs run by members of the above groups & related publications.