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The Life of Malvina Frazer – Fitzrovia London’s Long-Time Resident

The Life of Malvina Frazer – Fitzrovia London’s Long-Time Resident

The Birth of Malvina Fraser – Fitzrovia Central London

The long-term resident of 45 Fitzroy Street Malvina Fraser was born on 14 April 1906 at 29 Brenton Street in the Toxteth district of the city of Liverpool. Although to later become known as Malvina Fraser, she was born Melvinia Joseph.

Malvina’s mother was a woman called Susannah Joseph and her father was Adolphus Joseph, a seaman who worked on the Liverpool docks. London

Toxteth at the beginning of the 20th Century

The inner-city area of Liverpool that today is known as Toxteth was originally known as Toxteth Park (which is the name given to the district on Malvina Fraser’s birth certificate). The area remained predominately rural until the 18th century but by the time Malvina Fraser was born in year 1906 the area had become fully urbanized, primarily due to the industrial revolution. London

Toxteth was to become home to a large number of immigrants and also members of the Roman Catholic religion, a faith to which Malvina Fraser’s family almost certainly belonged.

Brenton Street – Fitzrovia London

Brenton Street, the birthplace of Malvina Fraser, was a typical Toxteth street. Situated in one of the poorer areas of the city, it consisted of traditional terraced housing with many of the buildings home to more than one family. London

Birth Certificate of Malvina Fraser (born Melvinia Joseph) page 2 Brenton Street during the 1960s page 3

Easter 1906 – Central London

Malvina Fraser was born on Easter Saturday 1906, an apt time of year for someone to be born into a Catholic family. On this same day, thousands of people attended nearby Goodison Park to watch Everton football club play a match against Derby County.

The previous day, on Good Friday, the traditional local derby match between Liverpool and Everton had taken place just down the road from Brenton Street at Liverpool’s famous Anfield ground. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Historic Events of April 1906

Just four days after Malvina Fraser was born disaster struck the city of San Francisco when, on 18 April 1906, an earthquake and huge fire killed nearly 4,000 people and destroyed 75 per cent of the city.

Meanwhile, on the day that Malvina Fraser came into the world, the Azusa Street Revival opened in Los Angeles. The historic series of revival meetings were believed to have been the primary catalyst for the revival of Pentecostalism during the 20th century.

Liverpool v Everton
Good Friday 1906 opposite

Adolphus Joseph – Father of Malvina Fraser | London borough

Adolphus Joseph, the father of Malvina Fraser, married Malvina’s mother Susannah Brown on 18 April 1898 at the Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Toxteth. The Joseph family were a family of seafaring folk, with Adolphus Joseph’s father Andrew Joseph also having worked on the Liverpool docks as a merchant seaman, just as Adolphus Joseph was doing at the time of his marriage. London

Stanhope Street – Central London

In April 1898 Adolphus Joseph was living in Stanhope Street, Toxteth, just a short distance from Liverpool’s dockland.

Greta Street – London

Adolphus Joseph lived with his wife Susannah and daughter Malvina at 29 Brenton Street in Toxteth until the year 1908. Electoral registers of the early 20th century also listed Adolphus as living at nearby 26 Greta Street.

In 1907 Adolphus Joseph and his wife Susannah had a son, who like his father was named Adolphus Joseph. However, Malvina’s father was to completely disappear from local records from 1909 onwards. – Inner London

1898 Marriage of Malvina’s Parents opposite 1908 Electoral Register page 8 Greta Street in the 1960s page 9

Susannah Fraser (formally Brown and Joseph)

Susannah Fraser, the mother of Malvina Fraser, was born Susannah Brown in Manchester circa 1873 and was the daughter of a brass finisher by the name of Walter Brown. Records show that she had a total of five children with her first husband Adolphus Joseph, two of whom sadly passed away in childhood. London

Both the 1901 census and 1911 census documents reveal that Susannah Fraser, then known as Susannah Joseph, worked as a laundress. In 1901 she was living at 39 Greta Street with her one-year-old daughter Amelia. There is no mention of Adolphus Joseph on this document, but given the nature of his work in the merchant navy, he could well have been away from home on the night that the census was taken.

By the year 1911 Susannah Joseph was living at 4 Greta Street in Toxteth. By now she had given birth to five children but only three of these were still alive. The three children who survived childhood were Cordelia Joseph aged 9, Malvina Joseph (on the 1911 document spelt Malvena) aged 5 and Adolphus Joseph aged 3. Once again there was no sign of her husband Adolphus Joseph living at the house but the 1911 census does say that the couple were still married. – London’s West End

4 Greta Street – House of 5 Rooms

The 1911 census document for 4 Greta Street stated that the Liverpool house had a total of five rooms at this point in history. London

1908 Electoral Register opposite 1911 Census pages 12 and 13

Malvina’s Mother Gets Re-married

Malvina Fraser and her family continued to live in Liverpool during the First World War and in the year 1917, her mother Susannah was to re-marry. Her new husband was also a seafaring man and he worked as a ship’s cook. His name was Joseph Augustus Fraser. -Fitzrovia London

At the time of his marriage, Joseph Augustus Fraser’s address was given as the ship S.S. Akassa, also in the parish of Liverpool. His father, William Bertia Fraser, was a mariner. He was 6 years younger than Malvina’s mother and was born in Demerara, on the north coast of South America.

Up until 1917, Malvina had been known as Malvina Joseph but from 4 August 1917 onwards she acquired the name of Malvina Fraser. London

33 Powis Street

By the time of her mother’s marriage, Malvina Fraser and her family had moved to 33 Powis Street in Liverpool, which was still close to the family roots in the Toxteth district of the city.

1917 Marriage of Susannah Fraser opposite

The Sinking of the S.S. Akassa

Just four months after his marriage to Malvina’s mother, Joseph Augustus Fraser set sail from Liverpool on the S.S. Akassa to Sierra Leone. The journey was to prove to be a fateful one.

The S.S. Akassa was a merchant ship carrying 5,100 tonnes of cargo and passengers. The ship heading for West Africa was not long into its journey when it was torpedoed off the coast of County Cork, Ireland and sunk by the German submarine UC33.

As a result of the enemy attack, seven crew members drowned, and one of these was tragically the ship’s cook Joseph Augustus Fraser. Records show that Fraser was also the ship’s chief steward. Fitzrovia London

Joseph had been married to Malvina’s mother for just four months and two days.

Tower Hill London

The members of the crew who lost their lives are all commemorated on a memorial at Tower Hill in London.

The 1917 death of Joseph Augustus Fraser opposite (S.S. Akassa misspelt on this document)

Malvina becomes a Dressmaker

Malvina continued to live with her mother Susannah and her siblings in Liverpool during the First World War and into the 1920s. Fitzrovia London

Documents of the period reveal that by the age of 15 Malvina was working as a dressmaker. The 1921 census for the Fraser family shows that Malvina now had a younger sister, a four-year-old girl called Margaret Fraser. Young Margaret would have been born around the time that her father Joseph Augustus Fraser tragically lost his life.

Malvina’s mother used the surname Fraser on the 1921 census. However, her three eldest children Cordelia, Malvina and Adolphus all retained the surname of Joseph on this document.

Not only was Malvina working as a dressmaker at the age of just 15 but her younger brother Adolphus was working as an office boy at the age of only 13. Fitzrovia London

Malvina Moves to London

Malvina Fraser continued to live with her mother Susannah in Liverpool until circa 1930 when in her early to mid-twenties she moved to London.

Malvina’s first address in London is believed to have been 44 Liverpool Street, which was a multi-occupancy household. This was indeed quite an appropriate address for a young woman who had come to the capital from the city of Liverpool.

45 Fitzroy Street

Malvina Fraser continued to live in Liverpool Street until the mid-1930s when she then moved to 45 Fitzroy Street in Fitzrovia London.

Malvina lived on an upper floor at 45 Fitzroy Street and at around the time that she became a resident the lower floor of the building became a cafe. The cafe, known as the Fitzroy Cafe, was run by a gentleman by the name of Pietro Martinelli.

Malvina becomes a Dancer

By the late 1930s, whilst living at 45 Fitzroy Street, Malvina Fraser was earning a living as a dancer. The 1939 register for 45 Fitzroy Street actually listed her occupation as a dancing traveller, which would suggest that she belonged to some kind of travelling dance group.

At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War Malvina was sharing the upstairs premises at 45 Fitzroy Street with, amongst others, a cigarette maker by the name of Sinnanis Constantine. Two other ladies also lived above the Fitzrovia cafe at this point in history, one of whom was a cleaner. Fitzrovia London | University College London

Malvina Stars in the West End Production of Show Boat

In the year 1943 Malvina Fraser starred in the wartime production of the famous musical Show Boat in London’s West End. Malvina played the part of La Belle Fatima in the show that was performed at the Stoll Theatre in Kingsway.

The Stoll Theatre

The Stoll Theatre, where Malvina Fraser appeared on numerous occasions during the year 1943, was considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in London’s famous theatre land. Originally an Opera House, the grand building was opened on 13 November 1911 and was the project of the American impresario Oscar Hammerstein. Fitzrovia London

The building went on to become a large cinema, known as the Stoll Picture Theatre, and during the Second World War, it staged a number of musicals, including Show Boat.

It continued to host many shows, plays and also ice skating productions after the war before sadly being demolished in the year 1958 to make way for an office block.

The Stoll Theatre opposite

Show Boat

Malvina Fraser starred in the musical Show Boat as the belly dancer La Belle Fatima. The music for the production was by Jerome Kern and the lyrics were by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Show Boat was based on Edna Ferber’s best-selling 1926 novel by the same name, and it follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Mississippi River showboat known as the Cotton Blossom. Its themes included racial prejudice and tragic enduring love. Fitzrovia London

A number of classic songs came out of the show, including Ol’ Man River, Make Believe and Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man. A joyful production, the performance at the Stoll Theatre in 1943 would have no doubt been a great relief to Londoners living in the city during a period in history when they were constantly under the threat of enemy bombing during World War Two.

Programme for the 1943 production of Show Boat opposite continued pages 26-28 1943 London Directory page 29

45 Fitzroy Street

Malvina Fraser was to remain at 45 Fitzroy Street right up until the very end of her life. While she lived at 45 Fitzroy Street the area was known to be the haunt of second-hand car dealers.

One of the car dealers who frequented the area was a man by the name of Stanley Setty. Stanley Setty, known as Stan the Spiv, was said to have used the cafe at 45 Fitzroy Street for business purposes. He was notoriously murdered in the year 1949. Fitzrovia London

Car Dealers outside the cafe at 45 Fitzroy Street

April 1961

Malvina Fraser passed away on the 4th of April 1961 at the nearby University College Hospital. She was 54 years old, with the cause of death being given on her death certificate as hypertension.

Malvina was laid to rest on Roman Catholic Ground at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery in North London.

Islington and St Pancras Cemetery Burial Ground April 1961 Malvina Joseph Fraser 5th entry on document
Malvina Joseph Fraser Death Certificate 32

Fitzrovia London – The Home of Pall Mall Barbers

45 Fitzroy Street was built circa 1790. The street, along with neighbouring Fitzroy Square, was named after Charles Fitzroy and his family. A Whig and later a Tory Member of Parliament, from 1768 to 1780 Charles Fitzroy was Queen Charlotte’s Vice-Chamberlain.

During the early to mid-19th century the premises at 45 Fitzroy Street were used as a tailor’s shop. Several different businesses were to follow, with a cafe arriving on the ground floor of the building in the 1930s known as the Fitzroy Cafe and run by Pietro Martinelli.

A number of residents lived above the café at 45 Fitzroy Street, including a lady by the name of Malvina Fraser. Malvina was a dancer who performed during the Second World War in the West End production of Showboat. It would be wonderful to have an image of Malvina, so if anyone knew her here during her time at 45 Fitzroy Street then please do get in touch.

A café was to remain on the premises until the late 20th century and today 45 Fitzroy Street is home to Pall Mall Barbers.

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia, one of the most respected Barbers Fitzrovia, grew into an international barber with barbers shops across London,  serving Londoners since 1896. Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia is a name synonymous with men’s barbershops – providing the best mix of barber services for the modern man. Pall Mall Barbers is one of the oldest and most respected barbering brands in the world.

We have set the benchmark for the style-conscious gentleman, giving the perfect grooming treatment to any gent who walks through our doors. We are empowering and developing every gentleman’s distinct style with over 500 years of combined experience in the industry and we know exactly how to make your first impressions count. One of the first things that people notice when they meet you is your hairstyle. Make sure you leave a great first impression!

About Our Services at Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia

With our Fitzrovia barber shop services including the sharpest men’s haircuts, finest wet shaves, and beard trims – using our very own award-winning barber product range, it’s an experience that seamlessly blends our history with excellent services from the very best Fitzrovia barbers. One of the first things that people notice when they meet you is your hairstyle. Make sure you leave a great first impression! With our impeccable barber services, we support men in their ambitions and comprehensively serve men’s lifestyle needs.

Every hair styling at Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia starts with an in-depth consultation to understand your individual style and requirements. This enables our barbers to recommend the right cut to suit you. During the haircut, your hair and scalp will be cleansed and prepared using the invigorating Pall Mall Barbers’ cleans and treat range.

Every barber service starts with an in-depth consultation which helps your barber deliver the perfect barber service, so you can look and feel fantastic and make the right impression, every time. Not sure what you want? Why not have a chat with our barbers to see what would best style to suit your face shape and personality?

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia – Best Barber in London. Our Fitzrovia barber services include quality men’s haircuts, beard styling, and luxury wet shaves from the best barbers in London, styled with our range of award-winning men’s barber products that can be purchased in-store too. From classic techniques to modern men’s haircuts, our refined barber services add an element of relaxation and good looks to our client’s life.

Make your first impression count – We are on a mission to be the best Barbers Fitzrovia has to offer for our clients.

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia Team

Our Fitzrovia Barbers are known in the industry as some of the best barbers in Fitzrovia  – we have trained barbers from all over the world. Some of our barbers have been featured on TV, Media across the press, and we’ve won lots of awards for our service and skills as barbers, most recently Best Male Grooming Salon at the Salon Business Awards.

We’re determined to keep up that momentum and deliver the high-quality barber service that our clients deserve and demand. We like to consider ourselves as consultants as well as the master Barbers Fitzrovia. The team of Barbers Euston is on hand to advise and guide you toward healthier hair and a style you are truly happy with.

It is important that both you and your master barber have a clear image of what the end result should resemble – before any scissors or blades are picked up for any purpose. At our esteemed barbers Baker Street, we love imparting our wisdom to you so that you can maintain your haircuts at home. With the help of our premium product range, the barber will assort, explain and pluck out for you.

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia Location

Pall Mall Barbers Fitzrovia is between Warren Street and Great Portland Street tube stations, and a short walk from Euston. At the north end of Tottenham Court Road, our Fitzrovia barbers are a leisurely stroll from nearby Regent’s Park.

Fitzrovia barbershop is one of our most popular thanks to its perfect location. Our master barbers are experts and executioners in all men’s haircuts, shaves, and beards from classic to modern haircuts. That’s what makes Pall Mall Barbers the best barber in London. Near Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Warren Street, Oxford Street and Great Portland Street, you will find our Fitzrovia Barbers Located close to the BT tower which stood as the UK’s tallest building until 1980, it is only right that we offer services of barbers Baker Street which make you feel tall and proud as you leave.

Nearest Tube Stations

Book an appointment with our awesome Fitzrovia Barber team, this can be done via our Website Booking System or by using the free PMB app (available on iOS and Android). Alternatively, call the shop and speak to one of our friendly team members, who will be delighted to make a booking for you.

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