08 Dec

Fredrick Rendell Burnette

Allanna Brough, Archive, People of the Picture House

Samuel “Frederick” Rendell Burnette was an early shareholder and first Managing Director of Campbeltown Picture House.

From his humble beginnings as a painter, Frederick had an interest in theatrical performances. He became a conjurer and showman, well known in the west of England as “Professor Burnette, The Modern Magician”. Fredrick married twice, with both of his wives being theatrical performers. His second wife, Emily D’Arc was the sister of William D’Arc who was also a performer and shareholder of the Picture House. Fredrick’s varied occupations show that he had a wide skill set. He was also a very astute businessman, becoming manager of several Cinemas and the owner of the Theatre de Luxe in Rothesay.

Allanna Brough (May 2017)


Biography File: People of the Picture House
Full NameFrederick Rendell Burnette
Maiden name / other namesBorn: Samuel John Rendell
Career name: Professor Burnette
Birth date1860Birth place: Maiden Newton, Dorset
Death dateJune 10th 1940Death place: Rosemount Cottage, Ardbeg Road, Rothesay
Father’s full nameThomas John Rendell
Occupation: Blacksmith
Mother’s full name
(maiden name in brackets)
Sarah Green
Spouse(s)(1) Jessie Rose Cottle, married St Peter’s Church, Twerton, Somerset 1884
(2) Emily D’Arc, married Blythswood, Glasgow 1938
  • Jessie Emily Jane christened 1884 Twerton,
  • Hettie Ellen christened 1886 Bath,
  • Marie Dorothy christened 1889 Roadhill
  • Victor Burnette christened 1889 Twerton
  • Grace Mona christened 1891 Bath
  • Daisy May christened 1892 Bath
  • Herbert Alford Dore christened 1894 Bath
Places of residence
  • Born Maiden Newton, Dorset
  • 1861 Census: Frome, Vauchurch
  • 1871 Census: Dorchester
  • 1909 12 Douglas Street, Glasgow
  • 1914  421 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow
  • 1915 22 Hamilton Drive, Glasgow
  • 1920 Hamilton Drive, Glasgow
  • 1920 22 Hamilton Place, Glasgow
  • 1926 Hope St, Glasgow
  • 1940 Rosemount Cottage, Rothesay
Occupation history


  • 1884 Painter
  • 1886 Musician
  • 1886: Wizard
  • 1889 Legerdemain
  • 1891 Professional
  • 1892 Conjurer
  • 1893: Western Mail Newspaper article: “Professor Burnette’s Great Living Marvels and Stage Performances”
  • 1893: Performed at D’Arc’s theatre, Cardiff
  • 1894 Actor
  • 1900: Conjuror
  • 1906 Traveller
  • 1909 Electrical Engineer
  • 1911 – 1914 Photographer at 55 Argyll St, Glasgow
  • 1911 Manager Argyll Electric Theatre Glasgow
  • 1911 Manager at Theater De Luxe, Sauchiehall St, Glasgow
  • 1912 Manager at Theatre De Luxe, Rothesay
  • 1912 Manager at Partick Picture House, Glasgow
  • 1912 Managing Director Campbeltown Picture House
  • 1914 Electrical Engineer
  • 1914 Commissions film made for Campbeltown Picture House showing 6, 7, and 9th Battalion of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders marching up from the Old Quay
  • 1914 Commissions film for Rothesay Cinema showing Bute Territorials departing for war on Clyde Steamers
  • 1917 Engineer
  • 1920 Founded the Mystic Twelve magic club in Glasgow (motto: Fraternity, Fidelity and Progress)
  • 1920 Photographer, 55 & 186 Argyll St, Glasgow. Office 108 Renfield St, Glasgow.
  • 1924 Elected Honorary President of Scottish Conjurers Association
External source references (e.g. census, BMD, valuation rolls, probate index, wills, parish records etc.) include ref. numbers
  • Dorset Church of England Baptisms
  • Somerset Church of England Baptisms
  • Somerset Marriage Registers
  • UK Census Collection
  • Lanarkshire Electoral Rolls
  • Statutory Registers Death 558/97
  • Scottish Conjurers Association
  • Early Cinema in Scotland/Glasgow University
  • Pollokshields Heritage
  • Glasgow Annual Post Office Directory 1920
CPH archive or object collection referenceShareholders Ledger
Other notesThe earliest listing found naming Frederick Rendell Burnette as “Professor Burnette” is from the Western Gazette and The Shepton Mallet Journal, dated 3 September 1868 where he is described as a “Wizard”.

In 1888 he was presenting his show of “Parisian Wonders” and his “Cabinet of Mystery” both listed in The Weston Super Mare Gazette. In the same newspaper dated 20 October 1888, he is listed as a Mind Reader.

By 1891, listed in the Gloucester Citizen, he is presenting a show called “She at the Stake”.



Dr. James P Brown. December 8, 2017 James Macalister Hall December 8, 2017