Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Frank Ivall (1901-86), Professional Singer

Frank Ivall was born on 4 November 1901 in Hackney. I don’t know the names of his parents. He was adopted by William Frank Ivall, a descendant of Charles Ivall (1779-1832). Adoptions at this time were either arranged by adoption societies or privately between individuals, a formal system was not introduced until 1927. An article about the life of William Frank Ivall is on this blog.

School records show that Frank was admitted to Eleanor Road School, Hackney on 28 January 1907, aged 5. His address was 342 Mace Street, which is in area of East London called Globe Town. He left the primary school on 22 August 1910 (aged 8) and transferred to the boys’ school on the same site.

The 1911 census lists William Frank Ivall (aged 39, a postman), his wife Sarah Jane (42) and Frank (9, their adopted son) living at 64 Navarino Rd, Dalston, Hackney. In 1924, Frank married Dora Gardner Crocker in Hackney. They were both aged 22.

Frank was a professional singer. He appeared in a musical comedy revue called “Stunts of 1924” which toured the UK. The Gloucestershire Echo, 30 December 1924 had the following item under the heading “Cheltenham Amusements”.

Coliseum Theatre

“Stunts of 1924” presented by Mr George Perry’s company at the Coliseum this week, provides one of the brightest and most enjoyable entertainments that we have the pleasure of seeing for quite a long time. It is a comparatively new show, and one that is certain to have a successful run. Much cleverness is shown in its construction. While it embodies the revue element, it also contains much that is original and novel, combined with scenes that approach very closely to the spirit of pantomime, and it is these features that give the performance its chief distinction, and lifts it both in tone and colour above the average revue level. An astonishing amount of entertainment is crowded into the performance. There are about fourteen scenes in all, and many of them are picturesquely mounted and dressed. Grand opera sung to rag-time, pretty vocal scenes symbolical of toyland, a charming butterfly scene by Miss Pauline Stone and the “Pearl Girls”, graceful dancing by little girls, and excellent singing and dancing by Miss van Biene, Miss Stone, Mr Louis du Cane, Mr Frank Ivall, and other members of the company, are some of the chief features of the show. Miss van Biene is also an accomplished cellist, and Mr Ivall reveals a phenomenal voice almost soprano-like in tone and flexibility. A breezy humour runs through the performance, and some sparkling comedy is seen in the several sketches in which Mr Perry, Mr Du Cane, Mr Glenroy, Mr Pat Allen and Mr Ivall collaborate.

The Aberdeen Journal dated 24 February 1925 refers to “Frank Ivall’s male soprano singing” saying that “Mr Ivall has a remarkable falsetto, which he uses to excellent purpose.


The Era (a British weekly newspaper noted for its theatrical content) dated 23 May 1925 contained the item below.
The Era dated 18 May 1927 says Frank Ivall’s fine voice is heard to advantage in “Perhaps You’ll Think Of Me” and “Forgive Me” which he is featuring at The Palace, Blackpool this week with enormous success.

Electoral Registers for 1924 and 1927 show Frank Ivall living at 64 Navarino Road, Hackney with his parents William and Sarah Ivall. In 1928 the voting age for women was reduced from 30 to 21. The 1929 and 1934 registers show Frank’s wife Dora also living at this address. Frank Ivall is listed in the telephone directory at 64 Navarino Road between 1928 and 1934. Not many people had telephones at this time, so this seems to indicate that Frank was comfortably off.

Electoral registers show that Frank and Dora moved to 124 Graham Rd, Hackney (which is near Navarino Road) in 1935 and were still living there in 1963. Records indicate that they had no children.

The National Register prepared in September 1939 lists Frank, a vaudeville artist, and Dora at 124 Graham Road. He is a shown as a member of the Police War Reserve, which was introduced in 1939. War Reserve Constables (WRCs) were volunteers, who were part of the British Police Force and were given the full powers of a police officer. Duties of a WRC included the usual activities of a Constable, as well as enforcing blackouts, combating black market activity, assisting in evacuations and air raids, and capturing deserting soldiers. Uniform and equipment was the same as a regular Constable, with the exception of uniform epaulettes which were detailed WRC. Despite British police traditionally being unarmed, during the war officers were armed with rifles for protection from enemy action, enemy sabotage and to assist with the armed forces.

Frank’s mother Sarah died in 1943 and his father William in 1953. Perhaps surprisingly, the administration of his father’s estate was not performed by Frank but by his father's housekeeper, Annabelle Beatrice Cohen, who was the main beneficiary of his (incomplete) will. Some china and an oil painting were left to Frank.

Frank died in May 1986 aged 84 in the Epping Forest registration district. His wife Dora died 5 years later aged 89. Probate was not issued on either of their estates.

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