THOMAS M. M. HEMY (1852-1937) - PAGE 26

HENRI F. HEMY (1818-1888)

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My purpose in these pages is to assemble such data as I can about Thomas M. M. Hemy, the artist. And really nothing else. BUT, when one searches for 'Hemy' one cannot help but see the many references to Henri F. (Frederick), (1818-1888), the artist's father. He clearly was very famous indeed for his achievements in the field of music. I am really not qualified to talk of those accomplishments in any way at all, but he would seem to have had a distinguished musical career  to have been a pianist of great distinction. He wrote many hymns used, maybe to this very day, in the Catholic Church. He wrote too, what seems to have been THE definitive tutor of its time for assisting young people to learn the piano.

Now my own mother was a very fine pianist indeed, for most of her lifetime at least, until arthritis made it impossible for her to play. She had ambitions for the concert stage before she married my father & family matters became of greater priority. But it is sobering to me to think that she may very well have learned how first to play the piano via this very 'Hemy' tutor.

I found a copy of that instructional work at a sale near Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It is by no means a first edition, in fact far from it, being a 1907 edition. (The first edition was published way back in 1858 - but read below that date is probably correctly 1855 - with a great many later editions) But my copy does seem to be complete even though the condition could be better. In the front of the book, Henri talks of nearly 300,000 copies of the tutor having been sold by early 1879. A major achievement today, let alone 130 years ago!

A listing on e-Bay in April/May 2003 seems to suggest that the work was reissued in the 1960s by Paxton. It would seem that the book is still 'state-of-the-art', musically speaking!

Anyway, here is the cover of my copy of the tutor and its lead page.

Henri F. Hemy Pianoforte 1907

And here, at left below, is another Hemy tutor, 'Hemy's Scale and Arpeggio Manual', for your interest. It was, I learn, a supplementary course to the above tutor 'with extended five-finger exercises and melodic studies'. It was edited by G. H. Clutsam & published by Metzler & Co (1909) Ltd. in London, England. And at right, 'Hemy's Popular Melodies', published by Metzler & Co (1909) Limited in London. An e-Bay item in Aug. 2009. Which sold for GBP 11.50 or approx U.S. $18.76. I have no more knowledge about the item than what you can see.

Henri F. Hemy Pianoforte Tutor 1907 'Hemy Popular Melodies'

Henri Hemy had his own band, though not, I am sure, a band like today's bands! Hemy & Watson's Band. Here is 'True Love Waltz', a waltz that Henri Hemy both wrote & performed with that band! It was an eBay item in late Jan. 2007. Described as follows: "This beautiful, late 19th century sheet, is dedicated to Mrs. Edward Potter, Cramlington House. Music is "True Love Waltz," composed and arranged by Henri F. Hemy, London. Music was performed at the "Balls of the nobility & gentry" by Hemy & Watson's Band. It appears that the lithography was done by Stannard & Dixon. There are 9 pages of music.  Sheet measures 9 1/2" x 13 1/2."

Henri F. Hemy 'True Love Waltz'

I read that Henry F. Hemy, was born on Nov. 12, 1818, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He died on Jun. 10, 1888, at Hartlepool, & was buried at St. Andrew’s, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, all in England, of course.

Now there used to be data about Henry Hemy (or maybe 'Henri') on a 'British Library' web site that closed at the end of Mar. 2007. But the data it contained about Henry F. Hemy survives, on this very page at least. With text as follows.

HENRY F. HEMY (1818 - 1888)

Hemy's father, Henri Hemy (1780-1859) was born in Germany. He volunteered for service as a military musician with the Duke of Buccleuch and came to England in 1797. He married Nancy Napier and chose Newcastle as his place of residence, evidently at 17 Eldon Place. There he taught the flute to the local gentry and many local bands. He eventually emigrated to Australia in 1852 with his brothers and sisters.

His son Henry (sometimes spelled Henri) Frederick Hemy became a celebrated musician in the North East. He had spent time at sea as a young man, and emigrated to Australia in 1850 with his family. Unable to make his way satisfactorily as a musician in Melbourne, he returned to Newcastle, where he resided on Northumberland Street for some eight years. He later lived in Gateshead and North Shields, before becoming Professor of Music at the famous Ushaw College. He had long been a Catholic convert. His many hymns include the tune 'Stella', and he may have originated the tune we know as 'Jingle Bells'. Hemy's works, including waltzes, galops, quadrilles and polkas, often with local names, fill two pages of the British Library catalogue of printed music. He also wrote a famous pianoforte tutor in 1855. He was pianist to Lord Ravensworth for many years and his orchestra played at all the fashionable venues in the region, including Alnwick Castle. Like his father, he was a member of the Theatre Royal orchestra, and possessed a fine baritone voice.

Hemy wrote entertainingly in the local press of his days in the band (particularly in the Newcastle Chronicle) on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Theatre Royal. Hemy was also active in local politics and published a manifesto in the Shields Daily News of 3 September 1872, after failing to be elected for the Tynemouth ward. He was aggrieved at his opponents' use of professional canvassers. Hemy's proposals testify to his humanity and public spirit.

He died at his home in Hartlepool and was buried in St Andrew's cemetery in Newcastle. Eight sons survived Hemy, of whom Henri Christopher (1854-1934) of Lovaine Place, North Shields, was a musician and composer, as was Oswin Bede Hemy (1855-1916). The famous marine painter Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917) was another. Thomas Hemy (1852-1937), also a marine painter, was well-known for his 'Women and Children First', alluding to the heroic troops and crew aboard the Birkenhead in 1852. He also painted the Mauretania leaving the Tyne on her maiden voyage.

In Oct. 2009, Anthony Hemy kindly advised the webmaster of a publication of the North Tyneside Council, Heritage and Museums. Issue No. 5 of December/January 2008/9. Which contains a page of data re the Hemy family with especial emphasis on Henry F. Hemy. You can see that publication as a 'pdf' file here, & are specifically directed to page 8.

OBITUARY NOTICE RE HENRI OR HENRY HEMY

A guestbook message was kindly received in May 2010 from Mr. Grenville Davies. Who seeing where I live - in Toronto, Canada - advises that he lives 23.9 miles east of Toronto and 26.4 miles south east of Quebec! I have been able to spot 'Quebec' on my British Road Map, located west of the cathedral city of Durham. And while 'Toronto' is not on my map, it is located, I see, just north West of Bishop Auckland. So both are County of Durham place names & Grenville lives in Hartlepool.

Grenville has kindly provided the following text about Henry or Henri Hemy, from the 'South Durham Herald', of West Hartlepool, dated Jun. 16, 1888 (a text with capital letters is below):-

death of henri hemy
to those who were personally acquainted with him, and indeed the whole musical community at large, the announcement of the death of mr henry hemy, the composer, will come with painful suddenness. the sad event occurred unexpectedly shortly before six o'clock on sunday, at his residence, 10 regent street, hartlepool, in which town he has resided for the past three years, having removed from newcastle, where most of his masterpieces were composed. deceased, who was in his 70th year of his age, and of exceedingly unostentatious habits, has composed during his lifetime several important works, notably among which we may mention the revised service for the catholic church, "the crown of jesus", "the royal modern pianoforte tutor", and "hemy's vocal school". nearly the whole of longfellow's works were set to music by him, and he was engaged upon "the history of the organ", the completion of which he has not been spaed to see. deceased, who, besides being pianist to the earl of ravensworth was musical instructor of ushaw college, and leaves a grown-up family, several of his sons occupying high positions in the musical and artistic world. the funeral early on thursday, the coffin containing the remains of the late mr henri hemy was removed from his late residence, 10 regent street, hartlepool, to st mary's catholic church. in that sacred edifice a solemn requiem mass was said, the celebrant being the reverend father buckley. the reverend father van hoof and children attending the catholic schools were also present, and the church was quite filled with townspeople desirous of showing sympathy for the bereaved friends. as has already been stated in these columns, the composer. who was in his 70th year, died somewhat suddenly from an attack of pneumonia on sunday last. at the conclusion of the service the coffin was conveyed to the station and thence removed to newcastle by rail, where the interment will take place in the moor edge cemetery. on the 10th inst., at 10 regent street, hartlepool (from pneumonia), henri f hemy, aged 69 years. the principal mourners were messrs alfred hemy, c napier hemy, and wilfrid hemy, sons of deceased; mrs oswald and mrs alfred hemy, and messrs a and w hardy, nephews of deceased.

And here, with capital letters added by the Webmaster, on a best efforts basis:-

Death of Henri Hemy
To those who were personally acquainted with him, and indeed the whole musical community at large, the announcement of the death of Mr. Henry Hemy, the composer, will come with painful suddenness. The sad event occurred unexpectedly shortly before six o'clock on Sunday, at his residence, 10 Regent Street, Hartlepool, in which town he has resided for the past three years, having removed from Newcastle, where most of his masterpieces were composed. Deceased, who was in his 70th year of his age, and of exceedingly unostentatious habits, has composed during his lifetime several important works, notably among which we may mention the revised service for the Catholic Church, "The Crown of Jesus", "The Royal Modern Pianoforte Tutor", and "Hemy's Vocal School". Nearly the whole of Longfellow's works were set to music by him, and he was engaged upon "The History of the Organ", the completion of which he has not been spared to see. Deceased, who, besides being pianist to the Earl of Ravensworth was musical instructor of Ushaw College, and leaves a grown-up family, several of his sons occupying high positions in the musical and artistic world. The funeral early on Thursday, the coffin containing the remains of the late Mr. Henri Hemy was removed from his late residence, 10 Regent Street, Hartlepool, to St. Mary's Catholic Church. In that sacred edifice a solemn requiem mass was said, the celebrant being The Reverend Father Buckley. The Reverend Father Van Hoof and children attending the Catholic Schools were also present, and the church was quite filled with townspeople desirous of showing sympathy for the bereaved friends. As has already been stated in these columns, the composer. who was in his 70th year, died somewhat suddenly from an attack of pneumonia on Sunday last. At the conclusion of the service the coffin was conveyed to the station and thence removed to Newcastle by rail, where the interment will take place in the Moor Edge Cemetery. On the 10th inst., at 10 Regent Street, Hartlepool (from pneumonia), Henri F. Hemy, aged 69 years. The principal mourners were Messrs Alfred Hemy, C. Napier Hemy, and Wilfrid Hemy, sons of deceased; Mrs Oswald and Mrs Alfred Hemy, and Messrs A. and W. Hardy, nephews of deceased.

And the following from the Northern Daily Mail, of West Hartlepool, dated i) Dec. 11, 1911 & ii) Nov. 8, 1921.

i) hemy on december 11th, at 13 milton street, laura letitia, dearly beloved wife of oswin b hemy. interred wednesday 2-30.
ii) hemy on the 7th inst., at 34 york road, isabella, dearly beloved wife of herbert william hemy, and daughter of the late william and elizabeth hildreth. cortege leaves above address on friday at 9-45 for requiem mass at st joseph's church.

Again with capital letters added by the Webmaster, on a best efforts basis:-

i) Hemy on December 11th, at 13 Milton Street, Laura Letitia, dearly beloved wife of Oswin B. Hemy. Interred Wednesday 2-30.
ii) Hemy on the 7th inst., at 34 York Road, Isabella, dearly beloved wife of Herbert William Hemy, and daughter of the late William and Elizabeth Hildreth. Cortege leaves above address on Friday at 9-45 for requiem mass at St. Joseph's Church.

Thomas M. M. Hemy datapages 01, 02 & 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible though the index on page 05.

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