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Roy Don
Variety Press

also known as
Thomas Henry Parker

Edinburgh

Questions

I know of two photos taken by Roy Don, Variety Press, 41 Craigentinny Road, Edinburgh.  This one is said to have been taken around 1945:

Central Restaurant, 5 Union Place - Fish & Chips - Party 1957-58 ©

The other, which I have included on the EdinPhoto web site, is believed to have been taken around 1957-58.  It is a photograph of Central Restaurant, a fish and chip shop in Union Street, Edinburgh.

I have not been able to find any reference to Roy Don or Variety Press in the Edinburgh & Leith telephone directories, so I don't know for how long the company was in business.  I have not been able to trace Roy Don's family or anybody else who may have been connected with Variety Press.

If you know how to contact anybody who was connected with this business, please email me so that I can discuss their business and the copyright of their photos with them.

Thank you.   Peter Stubbs.  September 9, 2009

Replies

Thank you to Sylvia Parker Northcott for sending me her replies below concerning her father, Henry Thomas Parker, and his photographic business.

Reply

1.

Sylvia Parker Northcott

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Sylvia Parker Northcott who wrote:

My Father - Entertainer

"I am the youngest daughter of the late Roy Don of the ‘Roy Don Variety Press’.

I came across your search for my father's business details by sheer accident whilst researching through Edinburgh theatre archives. 

I was so excited to see, what must have been one of his last photographs, as he sadly passed away in January, 1959.   He was only 59 years old and I was only 14 years old at the time."

My Father - Photogrpaher

"Recently, since becoming a ‘Silver Surfer’ I have searched in vain for information and recognition of my dad’s photographic career. 

You can thus understand how delighted I was to see his name in print on your web page, and subsequently the photo of the Central Restaurant in Union Street, Edinburgh.

Central Restaurant, 5 Union Place - Fish & Chips - Party 1957-58 ©

My Father's Photographic Business

"I remember going with my father when he collected his photographic material from Lizar's and Greenfield's in Leith Walk. 

I'd love to see his photo from 1945.  It would have been taken just after I was born in August 1944.

When I was older, my ‘job’ was to stamp the backs of all dad’s photographs before they were sent to customers."

Sylvia Parker Northcott, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  April 9 2013

 

Reply

2.

Sylvia Parker Northcott

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Sylvia Parker Northcott** for telling me more about her family.
**
  Full name Sylvia Rose Northcott (née Sylvia Rose Parker)

Sylvia is:

-  daughter of  entertainer then photographer, Henry Thomas Parker.
Also known as  'Jolly Tom Parker' in theatre, and as 'Uncle Jolly' by his family.
Later known as  Roy Don of Roy Don Variety Press, as a photographer.

-  grand-daughter of performer, Happy Tom Parker

Here is an extract from a tribute that Sylvia wrote in 2010:

My Family

"I'm Sylvia Rose Parker, one of Happy Tom Parkers' grand-daughters.  My father Henry Thomas Parker, was Happy Toms' eldest son, born in Sheffield on December 10th 1899.

I am the youngest of five children, two boys, Raymond and Derek Leslie and three girls, June, Malita May and myself. born to Henry Thomas and his wife, Jane also a theatrical performer.

Henry Thomas Parker
my father

Performer

"My dad, Henry Thomas Parker, left home as a 13-year-old to 'tread the boards' in theatre. He played the juvenile lead in the play 'The Speckled Band' when he was 14 yrs old.  An old press cutting describes him as a talented youngster with a promising future.

He further performed in Music Hall and in 'On The Bounce' under the name Jolly Tom Parker.  He was thereafter known as 'Uncle Jolly' by his extended family.

During the 2nd World War, he entertained the troops abroad in the guise of comedian, musician and dancer. In 1943 he took over the post of manager director at the Palladium Theatre Edinburgh under his new professional name of Roy Don.

Henry Thomas Parker

my father

Artist and Photographer

"Like his father (Happy Tom Parker), my dad was a multi-talented individual.  Besides being known for his performing talents, he became well known for his artistic abilities and photography.

He was responsible for hand-sketching posters for many well known Scottish Music Hall personalities. These in turn were presented as front of house adverts for forthcoming shows.. His art works have been exhibited at numerous theatrical events by his elder daughter June,

Following his impresario days, my father turned his hobby of photography into a successful business, the 'Roy Don Variety Press'.

As the resident photographer for many corporate events in and around Edinburgh, he continued to entertain audiences playing piano, dancing and singing until his untimely death. He died after a short illness, on 29 January 1959 at the age of 59 years. He is buried in Piershill Cemetery, Edinburgh."

Happy Tom Parker

my grandfather

Performer

"It saddens me not to have known my grandfather, but hopefully through this technology I will be able to  contact other members of the Happy Tom Parker ‘Clan’."

Sylvia Parker Northcott:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  April 14, 2013

 

Reply

3.

Sylvia Parker Northcott

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Sylvia Parker Northcott** for writing again with further information.
**
  Full name Sylvia Rose Northcott (née Sylvia Rose Parker)

Sylvia wrote:

Fairley's Ballroom

Leith Street

"My dad, Henry Thomas Parker, was one-time manager of ‘Fairlie’s Ballroom’ in Leith Street (in its classic days before I was born).

Fun City

Portobello

"My dad was also the photographer and artistic designer who re-designed and painted the ‘Ben Hur’ at the ‘Fun City’ Portobello."

Maybury Roadhouse

Corstorphine

"Whilst acting as resident photographer and entertainer, my Dad gave his final performance on piano on 31 December 1958 at the ‘Maybury Roadhouse’ Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

I remember him arriving home just after midnight on New Year's Day 1959, saying he felt unwell (He was always our ‘first foot’.) He died three weeks later with ‘silent’ pneumonia.

Sylvia Parker Northcott:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  April 17, 2013

 

Reply

4.

Sylvia Parker Northcott

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Sylvia Parker Northcott for writing again with further details of her father's life and achievements.  This time, Sylvia writes about Roy Don's theatre work.

Sylvia wrote:

My Dad's Achievements

Roy Don

"As you may know by now, I am determined to have my dad’s memory acknowledged for the work he did in his short lifetime, both as a theatrical manager/performer, and photographer.

To date, apart from mention on your EdinPhoto web site, I've found absolutely no mention of his name anywhere on the Internet, especially with regards to the Palladium.

Music Hall Guild

of Great Britain and America

"I've received an email from The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America, about my grandfather ('Happy Tom Parker') and my father ('Roy Don').

The email from The Music Hall Guild begins:

'Happy Tom Parker'

"Our volunteers have found our file on Happy Tom Parker and all that we have is a yearly list of his theatrical footsteps.

It appears Happy Tom had an extensive career on the halls and shared the bills with some of the greatest in the business, like Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley, Lillie Langtry, George Robey, Alfred Lester, Ella Shields and others

We have evidence that earlier on in his career, that his act involved him dancing on skates as well as clog dancing. He was often applauded trice nightly, became known as a 'fun maker' and became a very popular droll comedian, dancer and vocalist. He's act is very similar to that of Austin Rudd."

The email from  The Music Hall  goes on to list the venues at which 'Happy Tom Parker' performed each year from 1898 until 1922 with a final performance in 1928.  Between 10 and 40 theatres are listed for  many of the years.

It ends with a comment about Roy Don:

'Roy Don'

"It appears that his son, 'Roy Don' was a successful producer, particularly in Scotland."

Palladium Theatre

Leith Street

"Here is a receipt sent to my dad, 'Roy Don', at the Palladium Theatre, Edinburgh' dated 30 May 1942.

   Receipt sent to Roy Don, Manager, Palladium Theatre, Edinburgh
©   Reproduced with acknowledgement to
Sylvia Parker Northcott, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Sylvia Parker Northcott:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  May 8, 2013 (2 emails)

Please click on the receipt above to enlarge it.  It is a receipt for payment made by Roy Don, Palladium Theatre, Edinburgh to George Binnie, Edinburgh for a song and a monologue written by George.

 

Reply

5.

Sylvia Parker Northcott

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Sylvia wrote:

Giant Mural

Fun City, Portobello

"It has been brought to my attention that my dad, 'Roy Don', painted a giant mural of the Queen and Prince Phillip which was displayed at the Fun City, Portobello

I'm now trying to find relevant photos of that. I’m sure someone somewhere must have a copy."

Sylvia Parker Northcott:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  May 8, 2013 (2 emails)

Sylvia added:

Giant Mural

Fun City, Portobello

"I am now making enquiries into the mural of The Queen and Prince Philip.  My dad seemingly painted it, to commemorate the Coronation in 1953.

Amazingly, a number of people I have now spoken to remember seeing it, but as yet, no one has come up with a photograph.  I hope upon hope, that through your EdinPhoto web site, someone somewhere will have one tucked away!"

Sylvia Parker Northcott:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  May 10, 2013

 

Edinburgh Professional Photographers

Edinburgh  Recollections

 

__________________

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere     Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks