Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bram Stoker in south Lanarkshire, Scotland

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death, on April 20 1912, of Bram Stoker the author of Dracula.Bram Stoker used to stay at Watermeetings a house near Elvanfoot in south Lanarkshire with Sir Henry Irving, whose secretary and business manager he was, and Ellen Terry, when they were touring Scotland with their theatre company. The fourth adult member of the party (Ellen Terry also travelled with her two children out of wedlock, one of whom - Gordon - she surnamed Craig after the rock) was Ellen Terry's secretary- cum -fan club manager  Eleanor Marx, daughter of the notorious political economist. The connection with a farmhouse in a remote valley in the southern uplands of Scotland is that a member of the theatre company in London was born in Crawford, a small village next along from Elvanfoot in the upper reaches of the Clyde, the daughter of the postmaster. After enjoying a brief period of success on the stage, she returned to marry a wealthy farmer many years her senior and would host the Terry-Irving entourage on their tours of Scotland. The River Clyde does not rise, it simply becomes the great river at an arbitrary point: the 'Watermeetings' after which the house was named, where two small streams, the Daer and the Potrail meet.

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