Mamie Watson

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mamie Watson

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 23 January 1920
Given by John Culme, 1996
Photographs Collection
NPG x101303

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  • Bassano Ltd (active 1901-1962), Photographers. Artist or producer associated with 42746 portraits.

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Watson is shown here at around the time she appeared at the Gaiety Theatre as Miss Robinson (A fitter at Parker's Stores) in the 1920 revival of The Shop Girl. Ivan Caryll's 'musical farce' had been one of the great successes of the 1890s, running for 546 performances and its 1920 staging with many new songs was almost as big a hit. One of the highlights was the duet sung by Mamie Watson and Roy Royston ; 'Oh, oh, jolly Japan/ Oh-ho, her little man/Tokio-Tokio/ We are in love on the Japanese plan.' Her recording of it is included in the CD Gaiety Girls (2004).

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Current affairs

The Government of Ireland Act (Fourth Home Rule Bill) partitions Ireland into the Irish Free State with a devolved parliament in Dublin and Northern Ireland with a devolved parliament in Belfast.
The Communist Party of Great Britain is founded in London, uniting a number of independent socialist and Marxist parties into a single, united party.

Art and science

Queen Alexandra unveils a monument to Edith Cavell in St Martin's Place opposite the National Portrait Gallery. The English nurse was executed in Germany for helping hundreds of allied soldiers to cross the border from occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands.
George V officially opens the Imperial War Museum at the Crystal Palace.


The Kapp Putsch threatens the newly formed Weimar Republic. In defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, the leaders of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt refused to disband and marched on Berlin, occupying it on the 13th March. With the general army refusing to defend the city, the government fled to Stuttgart. The rebellion, however, failed after the workers joined a general strike, disabling their plans.

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