The Tillett Family

Anne Cynthia Mabel (Tillett) Northcott

Birth: 1904, in Hampstead district, London, England

Father: Pedro Juan Tillett

Mother: Mabel Gertrude (Plumbe) Tillett

Married: John H. Northcott in 1932, in Willesden district, Middlesex, England

1911: Willesden, Middlesex: Anne Cynthia Mabel Tillett is aged 6


Desmond Jackson Tillett

Birth: 1903, in Hampstead district, London, England

Father: Pedro Juan Tillett

Mother: Mabel Gertrude (Plumbe) Tillett

1911: Blean, Kent: Desmond Jackson Tillett is aged 8


Juan Hammett Tillett

Birth: April/May 1900, in Hampstead, London, England

Father: Pedro Juan Tillett

Mother: Mabel Gertrude (Plumbe) Tillett

Juan was a midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. He is recorded arriving in New York aboard the Mauretania on  7 April 1919 with a group of R.N.R. midshipmen in transit to San Francisco to join the L'Avenir there to return her to England.

1901: Hampstead, London: Ivan H. Tillett is aged 0, born in London Hampstead
1911: Blean, Kent: Juan Hammett Tillett is aged 10


Pedro Juan Tillett

Birth: 1872, in St Pancras, Middlesex, England

Father: John Hudson Tillett

Mother: Henrietta Jeanetta Theresa (Vert) Tillett

Married: Mabel Gertrude Plumbe on 22 July 1896 in St Andrew, Wells Street,  St. Marylebone, London, England
Musical Courier 6 August 1896 p12
    A Brilliant Wedding.
THE genial and highly-esteemed Mr. Pedro J. Tillett, a partner with Mr. N. Vert in the well-known Cork Street firm, must be a happy man. Not only has he won the affections of a beautiful and accomplished young lady, Miss Mabel Gertrude Plumbe, but the large number of people who gathered at the wedding to bid the young couple God-speed was certainly representative, and showed how many friends Mr. Tillett has already made. Nor did these friends come empty-handed. They brought upwards of 200 gifts, embracing such a wide variety of useful and ornamental presents that these young people will have plenty of souvenirs of this happy occasion through life.
  We are unable for want of space to give a complete, list of the presents, but take pleasure in recording here a few of the names of the donors. The marriage ceremony took place at St. Andrew's, Wells Street, on July 22nd, at 2 o'clock. The service was fully choral, and very impressive. Afterwards a reception was held at Queen's (small) Hall, when several hundred people proffered their congratulations and best wishes.
  Most of the presents were arranged on the stage of the hall in such a manner as to make an effective display. We noticed a complete set of table-glass and decanters by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lloyd; a case of silver spoons and sugar-tongs by Mr. and Mrs. Watkin Mills; a brass lamp and shade by Mr. and Mrs. Bantock Pierpoint; an inlaid writing-table by Miss Ella Russell; a corner cabinet and Japanese cabinet by Mr. N. Vert; an ivory silver mounted paper knife by Mr. C. A. E. Harris, of Montreal; dining-room and bedroom suites by Mr. Rowland Plumbe, father of the bride; a full service of cutlery by Mrs. Plumbe; inlaid table by Sir John and Lady Hutton; silver muffineer by Mr. Frank Dicksee, R.A.; two cloisonné vases by Mr. T. H. Watson, F.R.I.B.A.; bas relief by Mr. Frampton, A.R.A.; silver dessert spoons by Mr. W. Cutler, F.R.I.B.A.; plated fruit dish by Dr. Percy Down; case of silver spoons by Professor and Mrs. Bannister Fletcher; a pair of silver vases by Mr. and Mrs. J. Hunter Donaldson; a Satsuma vase by Dr. and Mrs. Gwynn; photo screen by Dr. Gollum; oak salad bowl, various dishes, and a chair by Miss Russell; piece of old china by Professor and Mrs. A. H. Church; pair of brass candlesticks and afternoon tea stand by Mrs. Tillett; wrought iron and copper flower stand by Mr. J. H. Tillett; Limoges china tea service and picnic tea basket by Mr. R. Leigh Ibbs.
  Among other musicians who contributed to the handsome array of presents were :—
  Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Clive, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Hoyte, Mr. G. B. J. Aitken, Mr. Charles Copland, Miss Louise Nanney, Mr. Arthur Barlow, Mr. and Mrs. W. Kuhe, Mr. Dan Price, Miss Meredyth Elliott, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Ramsden, Mr. and Mrs. Maybrick, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Powell, Mr. and Mrs. Rose (Mme. Clara Samuell), Mr. George Bell, Mr. George Holmes, Meister Glee Singers, Miss Carlotta Desvignes, Miss Florence Hoskins, Mr. F. Lewis Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Basil Tree, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Austin, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Salmond, Mr. Turner Lloyd, Miss Greta Williams, Mr. Ernest Meads, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Walker, The Misses Conway, Mr. George Clutsam, Mons. Jonannes Wolff, Miss Macintyre, Miss Hilda Wilson, Messrs. Réne and F. Payne, Mr. and Mrs. Fischel (Mme. Zippora Monteith), Mr. Kennerley Rumford, Miss Mabel Berrey, Mr. Braxton Smith, Mr. Douglas Beaufort, Mr. J. Berren (manager, Pleyel Wolff's), Queen's Hall staff, Mr. Barton McGuckin, Mme. Belle Cole, Mme. Alice Gomez, Mr. John Gill, and Mons. Joseph Hollman.
  Mr. and Mrs. Tillett have gone to Cornwall to spend their honeymoon, and will return about the first of September.

Occupation: Musical Agent.
In 1887, aged 15, Pedro joined the musical agency founded by his uncle, Narciso Vert and including Narciso's brothers, Fernando, Honorato and Pedro Vert, at 6 Cork Street, Burlington Gardens, London. Pedro reminisces in an article about him entitled "The Man who knows 2,000 Musicians" (Radio Times 20 April 1934 p178):
I entered the office of my uncle, the late N. Vert, for many years the leading impresario and concert manager. Here I learnt the business in all its aspects and came into contact with the foremost artists of the day - Adelina Patti, Trebelli, Albani, Melba, Marie Toast, Lillian Nordica, Antoinette Sterling, Emma Eames, Calvé, Sims Reeves, Edward Lloyd, Santley, and Foli the famous bass, Sarasate, World-renowned violinist, Vladimir de Pachmann, Hans van Bülow, Carreño, Saint-Saëns, Bottesini, the famous double bass player, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sir Charles Hall
é, Augustus Manns of the Crystal Palace Concerts. Life then was full of interest.

Pedro was made a partner in the agency on 14 January 1896 and in 1902 the agency entered into an agreement with Pedro's younger brother, John Hudson Tillett, to establish and manage a branch of the agency in New York. N. Vert died in June 1905, and despite the fact that two of his brothers still worked for the agency, control of the firm fell to Pedro Tillett, in practice when N. Vert fell ill and formally when he died. The company kept the name "Vert's Agency"
Pedro was interviewed for the obituary to N. Vert in the Musical Herald 1 July 1905:
  If he did not create the profession of concert agent, he was certainly a pioneer, and became foremost in that line... A business so well managed can scarcely lose its position. Mr. Vert, in fact, when his health began to fail, put it into the capable hands of his nephew Mr Pedro J. Tillett...
  We ask Mr. Tillett whether the public run after prodigies as much as ever. He says that too many prodigies have been brought forward and business has not been great in that line since Hofmann's highly successful appearances under Mr Vert in 1887.
  It is curious how orchestral concerts have come to the fore without injuring the best vocal concerts. An orchestral concert used to be quite an event, musically but not financially. Now everybody goes to them, even people who did not go before to the ordinary concert.
  'Do the public prefer foreign artists?', we ask. 'It is true', says Mr Tillett, 'that the public still seem to be drawn by a foreign name more than an English one, especially in the instrumental line. But it must be remembered that the foreign names represent the whole of Europe. Isolated cases of specially successful artists can be given in any country, English or foreign. Great artists who are English are perhaps not as plentiful as they might be, but they still create a position for themselves. Leonard Borwick and others might be named as examples, but the fact remains that violinists, cellists, and pianists bearing foreign names and having a Continental reputation are preferred to English artists with an English reputation'.

There was a dispute between the estate of N. Vert and John Tillett over debts and losses incurred by the office in New York. Whether it was this dispute or other reasons is unclear, but in March 1906 John and another Vert employee, Robert Leigh Ibbs, left the firm and formed a new agency, Ibbs and Tillett which was to dominate the British musical agency scene for the next 50 years. Despite losing a number of clients to the new rival, Vert's continued on under Pedro's management, and the two brothers were in direct competition for a number of years. It was a battle that Pedro lost. In 1910 the agency was recapitalised as N. Vert Ltd, of which Pedro was the profit-sharing managing director, but without an ownership stake. This did not solve the problems, Pedro resigned on 24 May 1911 and it was decided to wind up the company in November 1912, a process completed on 10 March 1914.

Advertisement for Pedro Juan Tillett
Advertisement for Pedro Juan Tillett (1914)
Pedro continued as an agent on his own, operating out of 17 York Place and an advertisement in The Musical Times in 1914 shows him as sole agent for Doris Woodall, John Harrison and Thorpe Bates. Pedro then became the manager for various performers. The Radio Times 20 April 1934 p178, in an article about Pedro entitled "The Man who knows 2,000 Musicians", Pedro remembers that:
  I was drawn into the theatrical world and toured with Violet Vanbrugh, and in 1921 I managed Sir Harry Lauder's season at the Palace Theatre. In August of this year I went to America as General Manager  for Marie Löhr and her company, returning the following March to manage another London season for Harry Lauder, whose success was so phenomenal at the Palace Theatre. On this occasion we were obliged to split the season between the Princes Theatre and the London Pavilion. Following this I became manager to Robert Loraine, who had a season at St James's Theatre followed by a tour. In December 1923I was asked to undertake the management of the first series of Symphony Concerts to be given under the auspices of the British Broadcasting Company. These concerts took place at the Central Hall, Westminster, in February, March, April and May 1924. They were six in number, conducted by Percy Pitt, Sir Landon Ronald, Eugene Goosens, Sir Hamilton Harry, Stanton Jeffries, and Sir Edward Elgar. In July 1924 I joined the Staff of the Company

Pedro Tillett became the booking manager at the BBC in 1924, a post he held until his retirement in 1934. On his retirement he received this letter from Adelina de Lara:
  I have read with sorrow and surprise that you have retired from the BBC. In this case may I once again thank you for all you have done for me in connection with BBC engagements and for all your courtesy and patience. Whatever your future plans may be, I wish you the greatest luck and happiness.

Ibbs and Tillett: the rise and fall of a musical empire (Christopher Fifield, 2005) contains some examples of the impression made by Pedro Tillett on his acquaintances.
Percy Grainger writes to his mother from Wakefield on 20 February 1908 (p58):
  Tillett & I are going to see a Melodrama tonight. It ought to be fun. He's such a nice little chap; nothing coarse about him, I think. Nice & human & kind-thinking
and later that same day, to Karen Holten he wrote:
  What do you think I have just done? I and our agent (Tillett; he is a kind man - poor chap, I believe he has had an unhappy life) have been together to theatre in this little town.

Census & Addresses:
1881: 35 Fitzroy Rd, London, Middlesex
1901: Hampstead, London: Pedro J. Tillett is aged 28, born in London St Pancras. He is a Musical Agent.
1911: Willesden, Middlesex: Pedro Juan Tillett is aged 38
1918: 62 Cranhurst Road, Willesden Green, London  (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
1919: 62 Cranhurst Road, Willesden, London  (manifest of the Mauretania 7 April 1919)


Ramon Pedro Rowland Tillett

Birth: 1899, in Hampstead, London, England

Father: Pedro Juan Tillett

Mother: Mabel Gertrude (Plumbe) Tillett

Death: 22 September 1918, in action, aged 19. Ramon was a gunner in A Batallion, 79th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.

St Sever cemetery extension, Rouen
St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France, where Ramon Tillett is buried
Buried: St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. Most of the servicemen buried here died in military hospitals in Rouen.

Notes: The birth registration lists his name as Pedro Ramon R. Tillett, but the 1901 census has Ramon P. R. Tillett and the casualty details at the Commonweath War Graves Commission also lists him as Ramon Pedro Rowland Tillett.

1901: Hampstead, London: Ramon P. R. Tillett is aged 2, born in London Hampstead
1911: Blean, Kent: Raymart Pedro Roland Tillets is aged 12

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