Daisy Burrell

Daisy Burrell (16 June 1892 10 June 1982), real name Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield Ratton, was an English stage actress and Edwardian musical comedy performer who also appeared as a leading lady in silent films and in pantomime.

Daisy Burrell
Daisy Burrell (circa 1912)
Daisy Ratton

16 June 1892
Died10 June 1982 (aged 89)
EducationGuildhall School of Music

In 1951 she appeared in The Golden Year, the first musical comedy produced for television.


Daisy Ratton was born in Wandsworth in 1892,[1] although according to Who Was Who in the Theatre 1912–1976 she was born in Singapore in 1893.[2][3]

She had a complicated family history, marred by early deaths. Her grandfather, Charles George Ratton, was a stockbroker from an Anglo-Portuguese Roman Catholic family. In 1867 he married Isabella Iphigenia de Pavia,[4] and they lived at Stoke Newington, but he died in 1873, aged only 25, leaving a young son and daughter.[5] His widow, Daisy's grandmother, married Hassan Farreed the next year [6] and died in 1890, aged 42.[7] In 1891, Daisy's father, Charles Morris Ratton, married Ethel Eaglesfield Griffith, the daughter of another stockbroker,[8] but in 1892, the year Daisy Ratton was born, he died at the age of 24. Her grandfather, E. J. Griffith, died in 1895 as a hospital clerk at Guy’s Hospital, leaving a modest £365.[9] Her mother, Ethel Ratton, later became the partner of Henry S. Burrell, a licensed victualler who was licensee of the Clarence Hotel, Stoke Newington,[10] and the Swan Hotel, Hythe.[11] They had a son, John, and a daughter, Edwina Ethel, born in 1908.[12] As the years passed, the Burrell family lived mostly in Kent, at Hythe and Folkestone.[13]

Early career

Taking her step-father's surname, at least as a performer, Burrell first appeared on stage at the London Hippodrome in July 1903, playing the part of Kitty in The Redskins, a water spectacular by Alicia Ramsey.[2][14] She went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music,[15] and in 1909 played the part of Youth in Give Heed, a modern morality play by Blanche G. Vulliamy, performed by students of the Guildhall School at the Court Theatre.[16][17]

On leaving, she went into pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and first came to wide attention in 1910, appearing at the Vaudeville Theatre in The Girl in the Train. After closing in London this production, starring Burrell in the title role, went on tour until 1911,[18] with the Gloucestershire Echo reporting that "Miss Daisy Burrell acts and sings delightfully Gonda Van der Loo".[19]

After that, Burrell was with George Edwardes's touring company for six years, appearing in the hit Edwardian musical comedies The Marriage Market, Peggy, The Sunshine Girl and others.[2][20] In The Marriage Market, she played a midshipman.[21] In 1912 she sang the part of Juliette in a production of Franz Lehár's operetta The Count of Luxembourg,[22][23] as one of the five principals, together with Phyllis le Grand, Eric Thorne, Lauri de Frece, and Robert Michaelis, who were collectively described by the Musical News as "all consummate artists in their own style".[24] The next year she appeared in his Gipsy Love.[25]

She played a boy, David Playne, in the original cast of Lonsdale, Unger, and Rubens's new musical Betty,[26] which opened at the Prince's Theatre, Manchester on Christmas Eve, 1914, and transferred to Daly's Theatre in the West End on 24 April 1915.[27] Interviewed in the Daily Sketch dated May 11, 1915, Burrell said this was the first time she had originated a part in London, and while she loved playing at Daly's, she was "tremendously envious of skirts and pretty clothes".[28]


In October 1912, under her name at birth of Daisy Ratton, Burrell married T. W. G. Carleton (1887–1957), of Stoke Newington,[29] who was then a commercial traveller.[30] During the First World War, he was commissioned into the Royal Horse Artillery, serving with it until April 1920.[31] In 1919, Burrell filed a petition for the restitution of conjugal rights,[32] and in 1920 she petitioned for divorce.[33] By 1924 they were divorced, and in the spring of that year at Holborn Carleton married secondly Dorothy Knight, otherwise Hunt.[34] In Westminster on 1 November 1924, as Daisy Carleton, Burrell married Herbert William Young, of Liverpool.[13][35] Her second husband died in 1943, aged 81.[36] At the time of his death, he was living at Flat 6, 14 Pall Mall, St James's, and left an estate valued at £43,838, equivalent to £1,936,483 in 2018.[37]

Burrell's first husband, Carleton, died at King's College Hospital in June 1957, also leaving a substantial estate for that time, £16,162.[38]

Films and later career

Burrell's first screen role came in The Valley of Fear (1916), an early Sherlock Holmes film, in which she was the leading lady.[39] She was offered the part after the producer G. B. Samuelson saw her playing Cinderella at the London Palladium.[3] Burrell was represented by Julian Wylie, who boasted in The Stage Year Book: "During 1916 I made Contracts for the following Artistes: Bairnsfather's "Fragments from France", Daisy Burrell, Gladys Cooper, Phyllis Dare, ... Mabel Love ... Vesta Tilley, Madge Titheradge &c. &c."[40] Several other film roles followed. In her second film, Just a Girl (1916), she plays the Australian heiress Esmeralda, who spurns an English lord (played by Owen Nares) to marry a miner.[41]

In a 1917 film of Little Women she was Amy, the youngest of the four girls. In April 1920, a theatrical gossip column described her as "Miss Daisy Burrell, the well-known musical comedy star".[42] Later the same year The Straits Times called her "Daisy Burrell, the golden-haired film star".[3] In The Last Rose of Summer (1920), "a melodramatic tale of a spinster betrayed for the sake of a valuable tea set", she again had a leading role.[43] In December 1920 she received good reviews for her part in The Pride of the Fancy, a silent film about a champion boxer.[44]

During her years on the silver screen, Burrell continued to appear on stage. On 23 November 1916 she took part in the inaugural performance at the new St Martin's Theatre, the first night of Fred Thompson's extravaganza Houp La!, playing Aggie,[45] and this production ran until late February 1917.[46] In April 1917 she opened in a revue called £150 at the Ambassadors Theatre.[47] In September 1918 she took the leading role of Desirée in Emmerich Kálmán's operetta Soldier Boy at the Apollo Theatre, succeeding Vera Wilkinson.[48][49] In May 1919 she was the cover girl for an issue of the magazine Pictures and Picturegoer.[50] In July and August 1919 she played Mollie Maybud in Nobody's Boy at the Garrick Theatre.[51][52]

In 1920 Burrell returned to pantomime in the title role of Julian Wylie and James W. Tate's Cinderella at the Empire Theatre, Sheffield, continued in 1921 at the Empire, Cardiff, with Stanley Lupino.[53] From December 1922 to March 1923 she appeared again as Cinderella for Wylie & Tate at the London Hippodrome, opposite Clarice Mayne as Prince Charming and Lupino as Buttons, this production running to 176 performances.[54] The Times said of Burrell's Cinderella "She sings, dances and acts with equal ease."[55]

In October 1920 the Leeds Mercury reported that "Miss Daisy Burrell... is said to possess the tiniest feet in film-land."[56] In May 1924 Burrell entered a competition promoted by the sculptor and Royal Academician F. W. Pomeroy (1856–1924), who had offered a prize "for the most perfect pair of feet". She tied with the dancer Margery Prince for the first prize of £50, and The Miami News reported that Burrell had been chosen eight times to play Cinderella on account of the daintiness of her feet.[57] Pomeroy died on 26 May.[58]

In July 1924 she joined a touring company for George M. Cohan's musical Little Nellie Kelly,[2] playing the lead part of Nellie. In late August, she was taken ill and Patrina Carlyon stepped into the role.[59] By this point in her stage career she was represented by the Akerman May Agency, of 16 Green Street, London WC2.[2] Who Was Who in the Theatre, 1912–1976 records no performances for Burrell after 1924,[2] which was the year of her second marriage, but until February 1925 The Stage continued to carry a notice that she was disengaged.[60] Palmer's British Film Actors' Credits, 1895–1987 identifies her with the Daisy Burrell who played two minor parts in the British films Woman to Woman (1947) and Green Fingers (1947), as does the online database of the British Film Institute.[61] She later appeared on BBC Television in The Perfect Alibi (1949) and in The Golden Year (1951), the first musical comedy produced for television,[62] and disappeared from the performing record again after that.

The National Portrait Gallery in London has fourteen portrait photographs of Burrell by Bassano, dated between 1919 and 1922. Several of these are in Cinderella costume, and four include Clarice Mayne.[63]

Burrell died on 10 June 1982, a few days short of her 90th birthday, leaving an estate of £66,170. Her address at the time was 203, Nell Gwynn House, Sloane Avenue, London SW3.[64]


Burrell appeared in the following films: [61]

Musical theatre

This list is not complete


  1. "Ratton, Daisy Isabel E" in Register of Births for the Wandsworth Registration District, vol. 1d (July–September 1892), p. 690.
  2. Who Was Who in the Theatre, 1912–1976 vol. 1, p. 339
  3. The Straits Times dated 2 November 1920, p. 8
  4. Register of Marriages for Islington Registration District, vol. 1b (1867), p. 504
  5. "RATTON Charles George late of 24 Clissold-road Stoke Newington", in Probate Index for 1873.
  6. "FARREED, Hassan, & RATTON, Isabella Iphigenia", in Register of Marriages for Hackney Registration District, vol. 1b (1874), p. 699
  7. "Farreed Isabella" in Register of Deaths for Portsea Registration District, vol. 2b (1890), p. 262
  8. "Ratton Charles Morris & Griffith Ethel Eaglesfield" in Register of Marriages for Croydon Registration District, vol. 2a (1891), p. 521
  9. ”GRIFFITH Edward John” in Probate Registry Index for 1895
  10. Clarence Tavern at pubshistory.com, accessed 25 July 2016
  11. Kelly's Directory for Kent (1913 & 1918)
  12. "Burrell, Edwina Ethel", in Register of Births for Hackney Registration District, vol. 1b (1908), p. 348
  13. Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald dated Saturday 8 November 1924: “MARRIAGES ... YOUNG—CARLETON— On Nov. Ist, 1924, in London, Herbert William Young, of Liverpool, to Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield Carleton (Daisy Burrell), eldest daughter of Mrs. H. S. Burrell, of 9, Langhorne Gdns, Folkestone.”
  14. Walter James MacQueen-Pope, The melodies linger on: the story of music hall (1950): "The Bandits was followed by The Redskins in which Indians in canoes shot rapids seventy feet high, or deep"; 'London Hippodrome', in Marquee, vols. 25–26 (Theatre Historical Society, 1993): "water spectacles which made history at the Hippodrome were "Siberia," "The Bandits," "Tally Ho," "The Redskins" (in which a one-legged diver plunged into the seething waters below from a height of 30 feet)"
  15. "The Guildhall School of Music", The Musical Times, Vol. 58, No. 890 (April 1917), p. 177 (subscription required)
  16. The Era Almanack (1910), p. 163
  17. The Playgoer and Society illustrated (1909)
  18. Swansea Grand Theatre Archive 1911–1925 at swanseasgrand.co.uk, accessed 22 January 2012
  19. "The Girl in the Train" in Gloucestershire Echo (Gloucestershire, England) dated 27 October 1911
  20. Who's Who in the Theatre (Pitman, 1930), p. 135
  21. Phyllis Ismay Inshaw Rodway, Lois Harford Slingsby, Philip Rodway and a tale of two theatres (1934), p. 239: "The Cinderella of the season, Daisy Burrell, had been hitherto unassociated with such a part, as her latest appearance in Birmingham had been that of a midshipman in The Marriage Market."
  22. W. J. MacQueen-Pope, Shirtfronts and sables: a story of the days when money could be spent (Hale, 1953), p. 59
  23. Daisy Burrell at Scottish Theatre Archive, accessed 16 January 2012
  24. Musical News and Herald, vol. 42 (1912), p. 194
  25. Rodway & Slingsby (1934), p. 177: "In these months were also comprised the first visit of Gipsy Love (with Blanche Tomlin, Leonard Mackay, Daisy Burrell, Ian Colquhoun, and Billy Spray)."
  26. W. J. MacQueen-Pope, Nights of Gladness (1956), p. 192
  27. Colin Johnson, Betty Original Cast, Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, 2005, accessed 31 March 2018
  28. Mrs. Gossip, What Women Are Doing: Behind the Scenes With "Betty", The Daily Sketch dated 11 May 1915, p. 14, digitized by University of Pretoria, 2015.
  29. "Ratton, Daisy I E & Carleton, Thomas W G" in Register of Marriages for Hackney Registration District, vol. 1b (1912), p. 1,144
  30. Bowdens F179 at ancestry.com, accessed 22 July 2016
  31. The London Gazette, Supplement dated 18 January 1921, p. 539
  32. Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, File 5666. Appellant: Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield Carleton. Respondent: Thomas William G Carleton. Type: Wife's petition for restitution of conjugal rights; Reference: J 77/1479/5666
  33. Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, File 1396. Appellant: Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield Carleton. Respondent: Thomas George William Carleton. Type: Wife's petition for divorce; Reference J 77/1653/1396
  34. "CARLETON, Thomas William George, and KNIGHT otherwise HUNT, Dorothy" in Register of Marriages for St. Giles in the Filelds & St. George Bloomsbury Registration District, vol. 1b (1924), p. 1,092
  35. "Young, Herbert W., and Carleton, Daisy I. E." in Register of Marriages for St Martin's Registration District, vol. 1a (Dec 1924), p. 1,236
  36. "Young Herbert W., 81" in Register of Deaths for Westminster Registration District, Dec 1943
  37. Probate index for 1944 at probatesearch.gov.uk, accessed 31 March 2018: "YOUNG Herbert William of Flat 6 14 Pall Mall London died 20 December 1943"
  38. Probate index for 1957 at probatesearch.gov.uk, accessed 12 March 2019: "CARLETON Thomas William George of 4 Claremont-court Queensway London W. 2 died 8 June 1957 at Kings College Hospital Denmark-hill London... Effects £16,162 16s 6d." (equivalent to £382,743 in 2018)
  39. R. Haydock, Deerstalker!: Holmes and Watson on screen (1978), p. 38
  40. The Stage Year Book (1917), p. xv
  41. Connelly (1988), p. 132: "Just a Girl** (1916, Brit.) 7 reels Samuelson/Moss bw Owen Nares (Lord Trafford), Daisy Burrell (Esmeralda), J. Hastings Batson (The Duke), Minna Grey (The Duchess), Paul England (The Miner). In another of those British social-class soap operas, an Australian heiress rejects an impoverished lord to marry the miner she really loves. d, Alexander Butler; w, Harry Engholm (based on the novel by Charles Garvice)."
  42. Fra Diavolo, 'Theatre Gossip' in Marlborough Express newspaper dated 3 April 1920, p. 6
  43. Kenton Bamford, Distorted images: British national identity and film in the 1920s (1999), p. 8
  44. 'The Film World' in The Times, issue 42598, 20 December 1920, p. 8, col. C; "Films of the Week", The Times, issue 42968, 1 March 1922, p. 8, col. C
  45. J. P. Wearing, The London stage, 1910–1919: a calendar of plays and players, vol. 1 (Scarecrow Press, 1982), p. 542
  46. "Theatres" in The Times dated 24 February 1917, p. 8
  47. "Theatrical Plans: Last Performances and New Revues", The Times, issue 41453 dated 16 April 1917, p. 11, col. E
  48. Caption to quarter-page photograph in Everyweek magazine dated 12 September 1918: "Miss Daisy Burrell, who is appearing in "Soldier Boy" at the Apollo"
  49. Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, vol. 89 (1918), p. 725: "...the next witness, who was MISS DAISY BURRELL, who is now appearing as Desirée, in succession to Miss Vera Wilkinson, in “Soldier Boy” at the Apollo Theatre..."
  50. Pictures and Picturegoer magazine dated 10–17 May 1919 (cover, illustrated)
  51. "The 'Old Mogul' in New Guise Mr. Huntley Wright's Return"' The Times, issue 42088 dated 1 May 1919, p. 15, col. D; The Times, issue 42147, 9 July 1919, p. 12, col. F
  52. J. P. Wearing, The London Stage 1910-1919: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel (London: Scarecrow Press, 1982), p. 872
  53. "The Impresarios: Wylie-Tate" at Its-behind-you.com, accessed 15 January 2012
  54. 'Cinderella. Hippodrome Theatre, London', in cin8 at lib.rochester.edu, accessed 16 January 2012: "Opened 21 December 1922 to March 1923. 176 performances... Cast: Daisy Burrell (Cinderella)..."
  55. 'Cinderella's Slipper. New Pantomime Incident at the Hippodrome' in The Times, issue 43221, dated 22 December 1922, p. 8, col. A
  56. "Daisy Burrell's Feet" in Leeds Mercury dated 22 October 1920
  57. The Miami News dated 29 May 1924, p. 9, col. 2
  58. 'POMEROY, F. W., RA 1917 (ARA 1906)' in Who Was Who 1916–1928 (London: A. & C. Black, 1992 reprint; ISBN 0-7136-3143-0): "died 26 May 1924"
  59. "LOCAL AMUSEMENTS" in Nottingham Evening Post dated Tuesday 26 August 1924: “Miss Patrina Carlyon plays Nellie attractively in the absence through indisposition of Miss Daisy Burrell... ”
  60. The Stage dated Thursday 19 February 1925, p. 1
  61. Daisy Burrell at bfi.org.uk, accessed 19 January 2012; Scott Palmer, British Film Actors' Credits, 1895–1987 (McFarland, 1988), p. 102
  62. The Annual Register of World Events: A Review of the Year, Volume 193 (Longmans, Green, 1952), p. 400
  63. Daisy Burrell portraits at npg.org.uk; accessed 15 January 2012
  64. Probate index for 1982 at probatesearch.gov.uk, accessed 22 July 2016: "Young, Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield Ratton otherwise Daisy Isobel Eaglesfield of 203 Nell Gwynn House Sloane Av London SW3 died 10 June 1982 Probate London 8 September £66170 820015182A"
  65. Scott Allen Nollen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Cinema (1996), p. 255
  66. Robert B. Connelly, The silents: silent feature films, 1910–36, vol. 40 (December Press, 1998), p. 35
  67. Connelly (1998), p. 334
  68. Connelly (1998), p. 219
  69. Jay Robert Nash, Robert Connelly, Stanley Ralph Ross, Motion Picture Guide Silent Film 1910-1936 (1988), p. 145
  70. "Plays of the Year" in The Stage Year Book, p. 86
  71. "Burrell, Daisy" in Who's Who in the Theatre (1922), p. 112


  • Robert Connelly, ed., Motion Picture Guide Silent Film 1910–1936 (Cinebooks, 1988) ISBN 978-0933997103
  • Who Was Who in the Theatre, 1912–1976: a biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, directors, playwrights, and producers of the English-speaking theatre, vol. 1 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978)
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