10. May, 2021
10. May, 2021

Cassie Louise Bruce. Born February 1st 1875. Actress and singer, married Edwin Archibald Maskelyne of the famous Maskelyne magician family. She performed in their plays and illusions from 1896 onwards.

27. Aug, 2019

The Author

Susanne Holt

Susanne Holt,(me - pictured some years ago in my old passport photo) also born February 1st (some years later than Cassie Louise!)

Cassie's grandmother, Louise Emma Bullen, who features prominently in these pages, is my great great great aunt.


What, How and Why.

Sophie Elinor Holt. Cassie's cousin removed by three generations.

This Blog is my attempt to document the story of my paternal family; going back to my father's great-great grandparents who were Frederick Thomas Augustus Bullen and Catherine Gibb. They were travelling actors in the first half of the 19th Century and had eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood. I am trying to piece together the lives of these six, including my own great-great grandfather, who was the seventh child. During my research, I have been amazed by the things I have found: a marriage to the son of one of the most famous British magicians ever known, links to Charles Dickens as well as some of the most famous and well known actors of the Victorian stage. This is for my grandmother who always knew there was 'something somewhere,' and so gave me the impetus to start searching. It's also for anyone else who's interested and to show that you never know what or who you may have come from - finding out gives an insight into the past which can be extraordinary. You don't have to come from a rich or famous background to discover a story to tell.

The picture above which I discovered quite by accident is that of Cassie Louise Bruce, my second cousin removed by two generations. When I first saw the picture, I thought I was looking at my own daughter and then someone pointed out that she looked like me as well!

An amusing footnote to writing this blog has come about through the genealogy site I use to help with some of my research. A few people have contacted me and sent me my own blog pages as well as links to this site telling me I might find it useful which I found very funny seeing as I'm the writer. I hope I do find it useful when it comes to writing the book I'm going to base on it - in the meanwhile I hope they keep reading!


 Some of Cassie's early Work.


Costume design by Wilhelm (Charles William Pitcher, 1858-1925) for Miss Cassie Bruce as Holly and Miss A Drayton as Mistletoe in the pantomime Santa Claus as performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre on 27th December 1894, Wilhelm Pantomime Designs.

The designer Wilhelm (William Charles Pitcher RI, 1858-1925) was one of the most inventive and prolific late 19th century costume designers, whose early passion for stage spectacle led to his employment designing pantomime costumes for Drury Lane Theatre. His attention to detail and his ability to create visually stunning and decorative costumes appealed to producers and public alike and led to a constant stream of work.

Costume design by Wilhelm for Miss Cassie Bruce as Holly and Miss A Drayton as Mistletoe. Holly wears a dark green, floor-length dress trimmed with red holly berries, an holly wreath on her head and holds a staff also trimmed with holly. Mistletoe wears a light green, floor-length dress of the same style but this time trimmed with white mistletoe berries, a mistletoe wreath on her head and holds a staff also trimmed with mistletoe. Costumes for the pantomime Santa Claus as performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre on 27th December 1894.
























































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