Kondo Fudekichi and Isabella

1828 Fudekichi born in the Musashi province in Eastern Japan (according to church records) to Tatsukichi, a cooper and Otose.

1835 Fudekichi born according to 1873 marriage certificate

1840s/1850s worked in the Emperor’s stables in Japan, then hired by Shinjiro, an acrobat in Yokohama’s Koyocho district.

1867 Shinjiro’s troupe hired by the American agents Baldwin, Gilbert & Co as part of the Great Dragon Troupe. Passport obtained for 1 year to go to Paris Exhibition, via the United States.

1867 June – Great Dragon Troupe (Baldwin & Gilbert group combined with Lenton & Smith group) performed in San Francisco. Fondi Keedjie is billed as a bamboo pole walker

1867 July – Great Dragon Troupe in New York

1867 August – Great Dragon Troupe arrive in Dublin – Fondi Keidjie/Kudji/Keedjie “terrific ascent of a bamboo pole suspended from the ceiling!!!”

1867 September – Great Dragon Troupe in Glasgow – Fondi Keedjie, Bamboo pole walker.

1867 October – Great Dragon Troupe leave Britain – Baldwin & Gilbert section probably go to the Paris Exhibition and then tour Europe through 1868.

1869 May – Great Dragon Troupe (mostly Baldwin & Gilbert group) in Portsmouth, then Brighton Concert Hall, Crystal Palace, London. Fudekichi not mentioned in the billings.

Great Dragon Troupe in 1869-1870 – Kondo Fudekichi maybe standing at the back – second from left?
November 1870, Perth. Kondo Fudekichi is standing on the right.

1871 April – census – Kondo Foudokitchi, aged 35, born in Edo, in a lodging house in Luton with Blekman, Omoto, Kondo Torrokitchi (13) and Kondo Yassokitchi (18).

1871 July – Fudekichi appears in court with Blekman acting as his interpreter as a witness for his purse being stolen by a prostitute in Merthyr Tydfil.

1872 October – “Fudie” in the Great Dragon Troupe in Bury performing bamboo swinging with one or two boys and “Fuideson” in Bath.

1873 May 4th – Fudekichi marries Julia Knight, a prostitute from Bristol, who already had a son, at St Paul’s Dock Street, Whitechapel, London. Fudekichi gives his occupation as umbrella maker. Julia’s father as a lamp lighter. Both are living at Wellclose Square off Cable Street. Fudekichi is a widower.

1873 Ipswich. Fudekichi standing on the right, showing off his wedding ring.

1873 May 24th – Fudekichi and Julia’s son Frank Kondo Fudekichi is baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Paddington. Fudekichi is not mentioned in the records.

1875 – Fudekichi and Julia move to Amberley in West Sussex, where Fudekichi had a job as a groom in the stables.

1875 – Fudekichi and Julia’s second son William John Fudiekitche born.

1876 January – William John Fudiekitche dies.

1876 Fudekichi and Julia move to Brighton and Fudekichi becomes a verger at St Bartholemew’s Church.

1880 Fudekichi and Julia’s daughter Isabella Mary is born

1881 – April – census – John K Fudiekitche (41), church verger, Julia E (30) charwoman out of employ, Isabella (1) and Franklin D (11) living at Francis Street, Brighton.

1881 – October – Fudekichi and Julia’s daughter Henrietta Rose is born.

1883 August – Henrietta Rose dies

1891 April – census – John K Fudekichi (56), Church Verger, Julia E 40, John F.D. Knight stepson, 21, machinist, Isabella, 11 and Isabella Sarah aged 10, Julia’s sister Sarah’s daughter. Sarah had died in 1890. At 30 Francis Street Brighton.

1897 Isabella Mary marries aged 17, Percival Valentine Lomas, a 25 year old insurance clerk at St Bartholomew’s Church. They move to Lower Kennington Lane in Lambeth.

1900 – Fudekichi retires. Continues to work at home making objects from paper

“The verger of St Bartholomew’s, Brighton, is being pensioned off. St Bartholomew’s thus loses one of the most interesting church officers in the Kingdom. Mr J. K. Fudiekitchi is a Japanese, born at Moosach in 1828, and in early life was in service under the Mikado. He came to Europe in 1866 with a performing troupe, embraced Christianity, and since 1876 has been employed at St Bartholomew’s.” Brighton Gazette 19th May 1900

1901 December – Isabella appears under the name of Nellie Valentine as Sir Koker Nutte Kandy in Dick Whittington and his Cat at the Brighton Aquarium. Sings The Honeysuckle and the Bee and dances.

1902 February – Isabella at the Brighton Aquarium as “a winsome Daisy Maitland” in The Arabian Nights.

1902 autumn – Julia E dies of uterine cancer aged 51. Isabella’s name is on the death certificate.

1904 – Isabella has the title role of The Girl from Japan, a musical play written by Wilfred Carr with music by Colet Dare.

1907 January – Fudekichi dies in Brighton, aged 76.

1908 – Isabella appears in the Girl From Japan

1910 July – Isabella goes on tour and writes to Percival Lomas that she has met another man.

1911 February – advertisement in The Stage promoting “Nellie Valentine, Soprano and Sydney L Hampton, Musical Director. At Liberty for part and M.D. in Musical Comedy or Sketch. Address. 14 Chatsworth Street, Leicester.

1911 April – census – Nellie aged 31, born in Brighton, living with Walter Leonard Elton aged 26, in North Tidworth, Wiltshire. Elton is a musical director, employed by the Garrison Theatre in Tidworth. They claim to have been married for a year.

1911 June – Isabella “the original girl from Japan” at the Theatre Royal York with Dan Leno junior. Percival Lomas is living on his own at 15 Richford Street Hammersmith. He files for divorce on the grounds of Isabella’s adultery with Walter Hampton (aslso known as Sydney Leonard Hampton and Walter Leonard Elton)

1912-1917 Hampton is musical director at the Regent Theatre, Salford.

1919 Isabella and Walter marry in Chorlton, Lancashire. Hampton is musical director at The Euston.

1919 Isabella appears as Nellie Valentine “very good” as Maude in the King of the Air, a drama in seven scenes, at the Willesden Hippodrome.

1920 Hampton moved to The Penge Empire, where Isabella as Nellie Valentine was in the lead role of Mrs Florence Sefton, in The Widow and the Maid, a musical farcical comedy, book by WL Elton, lyrics and music by Sydney L Hampton.

1922-1930 Hampton/Elton is musical director at the East Ham Palace. They live at 35 Hartley Avenue in East Ham. Hampton is also director of Ampo’s, band book makers in Gerrard Street, London. “orchestrators, Transposers, Copyists, Authors and Composers”

1931 Hampton/Elton is musical director at the Chelsea Palace and the Regent, London

1932-1944 Hampton/Elton is musical director at the Brixton Empress Theatre

1934 Hampton/Elton is living with Doris, 22 years his junior, at 163 Fentiman Road in Kennignton.

1939 Isabella is at 35 Hartley Avenue in East Ham, living with Joseph Dawson, cinema manager aged 55, and Elton/Hampton’s sister Beatrice May Elton, aged 53, kitchen hand. Isabella is 59. Elton/Hampton is living with Doris as husband and wife at 3 Grayscroft Road in Streatham.

1941 May – Isabella dies at the age of 61, leaving the administration of her will to her husband Walter Elton.

1941 June – Elton marries Doris Fleming

1951 June – Elton dies, administration of his will to sister Beatrice May Elton.

1951 July/Sep – Doris marries Albert Stone.

Further reading on Kondo Fudekichi: Bakumatsu no gekyuubushi wa naze igirisu ni hone o uzumetanoka 幕末の下級武士はなぜイギリスに骨を埋めたのか Murata Sumi/村田寿美 祥伝社 Shodensha (July 31, 2015)