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Tom B Davis - Theatrical Producer

Thomas Buffon Davis 1868 - 1931

Thomas was born in 1868 in Southgate, London. In 1884 at the age of 17 he passed his law examinations and became a solicitor with a practice in Adam Street, Adelphi, London.

He had married Alice Clara Telfer in Paddington in 1892, but in January 1896 he was suspended from practising as a solicitor f or one year on the grounds that he had been guilty of professional misconduct.

Deciding that a change of was in order, Thomas embarked on a career as a theatrical producer, which proved much more successful. He began to call himself Tom B Davis and produced a long line of shows at the Lyric Theatre in London. He was successful from the start, with ‘Little Miss Nobody’ running from September 1898 to March 1899.

His greatest show was ‘Floroadora’, which was based on the music of Leslie Stuart. This show opened at the Lyric Theatre on 11 November 1899 and ran for 455 performances. It became one of the most successful shows of the early 20th century, showing on Broadway and in all English speaking countries.

By 1908 Tom B Davis was the manager of the Lyric, the Apollo and the New Royalty Theatres in London as well as Birmingham’s Theatre Royal which he had been instrumental in renovating in 1904.

In 1915 he was elected President of the Theatrical Managers’ Association, resigning in 1928 owing to ill-health. By this time Tom and his wife were living in Tunbridge Wells at 6 Oakdale Road, Boyne Park. He took an interest in all local theatrical productions and was a shareholder in the Great Hall Cinema in Tunbridge Wells. (The Great Hall was converted to a cinema in 1920 and closed in 1949).

He died suddenly on 14th December 1931 aged 63 leaving almost £8,000. His wife Alice died in 1937. They had no children.

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