Names on the buses

667 Dame Clara Butt




Connections with Brighton and Hove : The most famous woman ever to come from Southwick was the singer Dame Clara Butt. She was born at Adur Terrace in 1872 and baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Her father was an oyster trawler man. There was a commemorative plaque on her house until it was demolished in the Sixties and the site is now part of a parking lot. The family moved to Jersey before settling in Bristol where Clara was coached as a singer, having shown exceptional talent. By the time she was 18 she was six feet two inches tall and had a voice of amazing range. When only 21 she sang before the Prince of Wales and soon after gave private performances for Queen Victoria. This was the start of a glittering musical career. In 1900, she married the baritone Robert Rumford in Bristol and thousands of people were locked outside the cathedral. Sir Arthur Sullivan composed a special anthem for the occasion. But her marriage ended her operatic appearances as her husband would not allow her to take part in love scenes with other men. Her most popular performance was of Land of Hope and Glory which she sang so loudly that the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham swore she could be heard the other side of the English Channel. Her recording of it sold huge number of records. She toured the world and helped her three sisters join her as singers. During the First World War she raised more than 100,000 for charities. This led to her becoming a Dame in 1920. Personal tragedy dogged her later life. One son died of meningitis and another committed suicide. She developed cancer of the spine and was confined to a wheelchair. But she continued to work. When she died in 1936, it was at the same time as King George V and Rudyard Kipling and to many it seemed to foretell the end of the British Empire.

667 Scania Omnidekka - carried name since delivery in May 2006, Coaster vinyls removed September 2006.

Britain's Queen of Song