27 Nov

The Picture House – Plans, and Dr Ormonde

Archive, Norman Mowatt

I was intrigued by one of the old local newspaper adverts we looked through yesterday. I thought that since it was raining today I would spend some time indoors having a look online to see what I could find out about Dr Ormonde and his Great Sunflower Coterie.

Dr Ormonde and his talented family came to Campbeltown in 1901 to present what was billed as an unparalleled programme which consisted of his Vivograph animated pictures and was supported by the variety acts performed by Ormonde’s family.

When I found out that Ormonde, whose real name was Andrew Garrioch Omond, was born in Kirkwall, Orkney I was even more engaged since I have Orcadian ancestors myself.  I found birth, marriage, and death details, journeys across the Atlantic, children (who also performed), a poster, adverts for performances, newspaper articles, obituaries, photographs from Ireland which a poster in the background advertising Ormonde’s show, and that he wrote several books (which seem to be unobtainable or very rare although I have discovered two cover photos). He was himself a stage hypnotist, exposer of spiritual fraud, magician, and friend of Harry Houdini. Quite a story of success and enterprise for someone who started life as a comb maker and established himself as a well known performer.

Image credits
1.) Campbeltown Picture House Plans (1912), courtesy of Argyll & Bute Council
2.) Dr Ormonde appears with Mddles Ormonde and the World Famous Ormonde Family (29th July 1901, © Campbeltown Courier

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