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Hannah Hotten


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In a letter to Elizabeth Hotten dated 15 February 1981 Winifred Coleman (née Hotten) wrote…

My Uncle Jim remembers being told, as a boy, of a cousin of his father - Hannah Hotten - who was taken and brought up by ‘better-off people’. She became a well-known singer and his parents told of how they stood in Stratford (East London) Broadway and saw her name on a banner on the door of West Ham Town Hall, advertising a concert there. Then, in later life, Uncle Jim was asked by an associate if he was related to Hannah Hotten, “the singer with a beautiful voice”. She was evidently performing around 1890/1900.

Hannah Hotten’s musical career is recorded on pages 65 and 66 of the book ‘Musical Women in England, 1870-1914’ by Paula Gillett. (Extract from pages 65 and 66).

The Times newspaper reported in 2000…

‘The prodigy violinist Marie Hall and the aspiring singer Hannah Hotten came from unambiguously working class origins, while the musical talents of Adelina de Lara made her the family breadwinner at the age of ten. As shown in the examples of Hall and Hotten, scholarship assistance at England’s major conservatories was insufficient for a girl whose parents could neither help with living expenses nor forgo her contribution to family income. Hall grew up in grinding poverty, performing with her father for coin-handouts on the docks and waterfronts of Bristol. Hotten’s lovely voice was discovered as she sang to lift her spirits while scrubbing the floors of a Gospel Temperance Mission”

Notes by Malcolm Knight