Bransby Williams (Bransby William Pharez, 1870-1961) is little remembered now but was a regular on the music hall stage, famed for his impersonations of great actors of the time, for his humorous monologues, and particularly for his performances of Dickensian characters. He recorded extensively from at least 1905 to 1948, starting with Edison cylinders, then HMV and Zonophone, Pathé, Winner, Columbia and Decca. He recorded his interpretation of Scrooge in 1905, 1906 and 1912 (Edison), 1909 (HMV), 1912 (Winner), 1912, 1924 and 1926 (Columbia) and 1948 (DECCA). His Scrooge of 1928 was the first Dickens sound film. Ha later performed the role for an early BBC TV production on December 27th 1950. He also appears in a couple of British Pathé shorts.

Mediafire link for Dickens and other recitations – Bransby Williams

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Dickens – David Copperfield: Micawber and Uriah Heep
Cuthbert Clarke & Charles H Taylor – Devil May Care
Bransby Williams, actor

His Master’s Voice C 501 (first side also on Gramophone Monarch 01011)
Matrices 2631f, 2634f (01011, 01021)
Recorded 9th October 1908

Both sides recorded at about 80rpm

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge No.3 The Awakening
Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities – Sydney Carton’s Farewell
Bransby Williams, actor

His Master’s Voice C 500
Matrices 3704f, 2636f (01031, 01014)
Recorded 7th October 1909, 9th October 1908

Recorded at about 81rpm and 80rpm respectively

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge: Before the Dream; After the Dream
Bransby Williams, actor

The Winner 2533
Matrices 1033D, 1034K
Recorded 1913
Available from January 1914

Milton Hayes – The Green Eye of the Yellow God
Chas J Winter – The Caretaker
Bransby Williams, actor

Columbia 388 (80rpm)
Matrices 6352-3, 6353-3 (1054/5)
Recorded 2nd May 1924
Available from June 1924 to May 1926

These sides were recorded 3 times. First in 1913 (6352-1, 6353-2), available from July 1913 to June 1924. They were then replaced with versions recorded on 2nd May 1924 (6352-3, 6355-3). These were in the catalogues until May 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 1st April 1926 replaced them (WAX 1400-1, 1401-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1943

Dickens – The Pickwick Papers – Tony Weller
Dickens – Oliver Twist – Bill Sykes
Bransby Williams, actor

Columbia-Rena 400
Matrices 6354-1 or -2, 6355-2
Recorded 1913
Available from September 1913 to June 1924

Columbia 400
Matrices 6354-4, 6355-4 (1056/7)
Recorded 23rd and 21st May 1924
Available from June 1924 to July 1929

These two versions of the same “Dramatic Recitals” show how Williams’s performances varied. The broad outline of each version is the same, but there are differences in the details. Another, slightly cut, version of the Tony Weller scene was filmed for British Pathé

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s advice to David Copperfield
Bransby Williams,
actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s Advice to David Copperfield (1912) – Bransby Williams

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Columbia 347-8
Matrix 6275-2, 6276-2, 6277-1, 6278-1
Recorded 1912, London
Available from December 1912 to May 1924 (replaced by recordings made April 1924)
Play at 81.1rpm

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s advice to David Copperfield
Bransby Williams,
actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s Advice to David Copperfield (1926) – Bransby Williams

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Columbia 347R (81.8rpm)

Matrices WAX 1397-2, 1396-2 (6043, 6042)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from May 1926 to February 1944

Columbia 348R (81.8rpm)

Matrices WAX 1398-1, 1399-1 (6041, 6040)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from June 1926 to February 1944

This set was recorded 3 times. First in 1912 (6275-2, 6276-2, 6277-1, 6278-1), available from December 1912 to May 1924. It was then replaced with versions recorded on 14th and 4th April 1924 (6275-3, 6276-3, 6277-4, 6278-3). These were in the catalogues until May (347) and June (348) 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 31st March 1926 replaced them (WAX 1397-2, 1396-2, 1398-1, 1399-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1944.

Dickens, Lee, Weston – A Charles Dickens Christmas
Bransby Williams, actor
with various other performers

Columbia DX 554
Matrices CAX 6971-1, 6972-1
Recorded October 1933, London

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle

Bransby Williams, actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle – Bransby Williams

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

DECCA AK 1963-4
Matrix AR 12497-1, 12498-1, 12499-1, 12500-1
Recorded 7th July 1948, London

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle

Bransby Williams, actor

Dickens – David Copperfield – Wilkins Micawber – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Dan’l Peggotty – Bransby Williams

(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

DECCA F 9277
Matrix DR 12529-1, 12530-2
Recorded July 1948, London