In August 1878 Charles Augustus James appeared in court because he had set up his caravans on the corner of Percy Road and Pembroke Road (later renamed Granville Road) in South Kilburn. He traded here as a hawker or ‘cheap jack’ selling various goods. Thomas Diggins, a builder from Devon who lived and worked on the new houses in Pembroke Road, had taken out a summons to stop James trading. James had previously set up his vans nearby on vacant ground in Malvern Road but had been evicted by the owner. So he hired the land in Pembroke Road, moved the vans to the new site and issued the following handbill:
In June 1893, James advertised the attractions of Monsieur Erskine, shadowographer and Marcella, the Midget Queen. As publicity, he released a balloon from the building and said that anyone returning it to Marcella would receive a five shilling reward. As late as 1899 some people who hadn’t seen her were uncertain if Marcella might be a waxwork: but she was a real person. She was born with dwarfism as Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ellen Paddock in Liverpool on 7 October 1877. Her father George, who came from Gloucester, was a boot closer who sewed the upper part of the shoes. In the 1881 census they were living at 4 Bolton Street Liverpool. This was a small house shared by 14 people. After George’s death in 1888 his widow Elizabeth was left to bring up their five children. She died in 1893 and at this point Lizzie became Marcella, The Midget Queen with Charles James in Dublin. Her card said she was ‘The Smallest Lady Vocalist in the world.’ She sang the songs of the day in the theatre at the top of 30 Henry Street and the audience joined in. Lizzie came on stage in a little carriage drawn by a pony. She had a sweet voice and a good sense of humour. In her contract dated 9 July 1894 she agreed to perform from 2 to till 5, and 6 till 10 pm for the sum of £2 10 shillings a week. It also included the cost of third class fares from Liverpool, where her family still lived, to Dublin.
|Charles James, his wife Minnie and Marcella at Washington Hall (Victor W. Pitcher)