Jennifer Carnell

Henry Neville in 1879.

Henry Neville was born in Manchester in 1837, the son of the actor manager John Neville (for a biography of John Neville and his other children, see Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Victorian Theatre). He acted in the provinces with his father's company from a young age, and made his debut in London with the company of Madame Celeste. In 1861 he joined the company of Emden and Robson at the Olympic Theatre, and made his name in 1863 as Bob Brierly in The Ticket of Leave Man by Tom Taylor. Two years later, aged only 28 (Dunbar is considerably older), he starred in Tom Taylor's adaptation of Braddon's novel Henry Dunbar, with Kate Terry as Margaret Wentworth.

Neville as Henry Dunbar in 1865.

After four years at the Olympic, Neville moved to the Adelphi Theatre, and his roles included the lead in Put Yourself in His Place (adapted by Charles Reade himself). From 1873 - 1879 Neville was the lessee of the Olympic and produced many successful plays, including revivals of Lady Audley's Secret and Henry Dunbar.

He and his wife Harriett Jane Neville (née Waddell, c.1836-1903) had sons called Albert George Francis Gartside Neville (1864-1930), Thomas Willoughby Gartside Neville (1866-19?) and Ernest John Gartside Neville (1871-1929). His sons became successful stockbrokers and ran the company Neville and Co. Albert Neville continued his father's interest in freemasonry and was a Paster Master of the Drury Lane Lodge.

Neville also became a friend of Braddon and her husband, and became close to their son Gerald Maxwell, a fellow freemason. He died in Seaford in 1910.

The Stage: Its Past and Present in Relation to Fine Art by Henry Neville, published by Richard Bentley in 1875.

A presentation copy from Henry Neville to Braddon's son Gerald Maxwell:
'To my dear friend & brother Gerald Maxwell, from Henry Neville 1909-10.'
'brother' refers to their membership of the Drury Lane lodge of Freemasons.

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