Sunday 12 March 2023

Dorothy Bartlam

 Last week  was  International Women's Day and a local facebook post mentioned Goole born  film actress Dorothy Bartlam. Dorothy starred in several films in the late 1920s and early 1930s and there is much information about her film career on the internet.

The local history group that I attend on Thursday mornings had talked about her and one of our members has carried out a lot of research on Dorothy and her family and her Goole connections.  So I thought I would include a brief summary of his work here.

Dorothy Ezard Bartlam was born 8th November 1897 at Leighton, 2 Airmyn Road (then known as 173 Boothferry Road), Goole and baptised on 25th November at St David's, Airmyn. Her parents had married in the same church 1st June 1895, her father having recently come to Goole to enter into an ironmongery partnership with George Thompson. 

Her father, Charles Ruby Bartlam, had come from Ironbridge, Shropshire, where he had been an assistant in his father's ironmongery. Dorothy's mother was Henrietta Ezard, who had been born in Earswick Station House. Her father was the station-master. Henrietta was the younger sister of Herbert W Ezard. In 1913, when Dorothy was around 6, the ironmongery business was dissolved and the Bartlam  family moved to Torquay where Charles opened his own ironmongery. 

As a young woman, Dorothy won several beauty competitions and found casual employment in the film industry as a "crowd extra." It did not take long for her to be cast in more prominent roles and soon to become a "star." Film reviews in the national press sometimes referred to her as “the girl from Goole” or “the Yorkshire actress.”When she married David Rawnsley, the film art director, in September 1933, the wedding photo appeared in the Sunday newspaper "The People."

As Mrs David Rawnsley, her portrait was shown in the National Portrait Gallery, she was featured on cigarette cards and appeared extensively in advertisements for Pond's Cold Face Creams 

This is  Dorothy Bartlam (1907-1991} as shown on a  cigarette card from Modern Beauties, 4th series, issued by the British-American Tobacco Company.

Some extra information which might be interesting

Bartlam and Thompson were in business at 106 Boothferry Road. The partnership was advertised in 1901. After the Bartlams left Goole George Herbert Thompson continued the business at 106 as ironmonger and plumber until at least 1920. 

Bartlam and Thompson had their shop at 106, Boothferry Rd in the block on the left

Before he married George lived with his widowed mother Martha at 186 Boothferry Road. She died in 1933

Dorothy Bartlam's mother Henrietta Ezard was the sister of enterprising shipowner  Herbert W Ezard. He  lived at 'Haxby'  [4 Airmyn Road/ then 175 Boothferry Rd] which he built in 1907. His initials HWE are over the door.

He died in 1938 and his obituary is below

1938 DEATH OF H. EZARD Former Goole Shipowner and Local Preacher The death has occurred of Mr Herbert Wm. Ezard, aged 68, of White House, Stepney-drive, Scarborough, a former Goole shipowner, and for many years a promiment local Methodist. Mr Ezard was only 21 years of age when he formed his first shipping company, the Goole and West Riding Steamship Company. Later he became managing director of the Yorkshire Coal and Steamship Company, and was also a principal the firm of H. and C. M. Ezard, shipbrokers and coal exporters. For years he was a lay preacher, and while at Goole was closely associated with the North - street Methodist Church. He had been twice married, and leaves a widow and two sons. The funeral took place at Goole Cemetery.

In later years Dorothy turned to writing and her first novel was published in 1931. She seems to have retired from acting following her marriage in 1933. The divorce was in June 1936. The 1939 register describes her as "divorced writer," living at  Mockham Down, Brayford, Devon {a large detached rural property}.She seems to be living there alone.

She married Maurice Gleeson in 1946 (in 1939 he was described as "chef and waiter") and remained Mrs Gleeson until she died. Whenever she was mentioned in any newspaper article (usually in connection with dogs) she was just Mrs Gleeson.

Our Thursday morning group  is very friendly and we never know where our researches are going to take us. We have never yet run out of things to talk about! And it is fascinating to find out more the many interesting people of Goole.