Presidents and Committee


Alderman John Edwin ‘Teddy’ Longman, JP

January 1957-March/April 1976

A keen theatre-goer, ‘Teddy’ Longman was mayor of Southend from 1952-53. For many years he headed the carnival committee; he is pictured here with Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, on 17 May 1955, when she unveiled a plaque at the opening of “the old folk’s bungalow estate, for which money was raised by Southend’s famous carnival” (according to the caption to this Echo photograph). On the left is that year’s mayor, Alderman Bride.

‘Teddy’ Longman was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Southend-on-Sea in 1968. His term of office as Palace Theatre Club President sadly ended when he died.

We would welcome further information about Teddy, who appears to have been quite a character, as a saucy remark, recorded in the ‘History of the Palace Theatre Club’ section, indicates! 

Stella Saunders, MBE

May 1976-22 July 1994

Stella Saunders and actress Geraldine Wright cut the cake to celebrate the Palace’s 70th birthday after a gala performance of Spider’s Web (left). Stella celebrates her 100th birthday (right)

Stella Saunders and actress Geraldine Wright cut the cake to celebrate the Palace’s 70th birthday after a gala performance of Spider’s Web (left). Stella celebrates her 100th birthday (right)

Born and educated in Manchester, Stella moved to London in 1925, arriving on the day of Queen Alexandra’s funeral (29th November). She moved to Southend in 1944 and, in 1950, was awarded an MBE for ‘secret’ work she carried out in the civil service during the war. She was a founder member of the Palace Theatre Club and an ardent supporter of it, and the Palace Theatre, for the rest of her life.

Theatre was in her blood – her great-grandfather had been a barnstormer – and she was a fine actress. She taught drama, wrote poetry, and was President of the Southend Shakespeare Society and an active member of the North Country Association. She travelled the world, and spoke seven languages. When, in 1982, awards were instigated to recognise the best performances by an actor and actress at the Palace, each year, they were named the Stellas, in her honour. Stella was made Life President of the Palace Theatre Club in 1981.

She spent her final years in Uplands Private Nursing Home, Westcliff, where she gave a rousing speech from Shakespeare on the morning of her death, at 100 years of age! Fittingly, her cortege paused for one minute outside the Palace. Her funeral service was held at St. Mark’s, Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, before the committal at Southend Crematorium. Her wake was held in the Dixon Studio.

Margaret Haine, BA

August 1995-27 June 2004

Margaret Haine presents Robert Demeger with the ‘Stella’ award for best actor for The Merchant of Venice (2000). Outside the Palace Theatre (September 1995).

Margaret Haine presents Robert Demeger with the ‘Stella’ award for best actor for The Merchant of Venice (2000). Outside the Palace Theatre (September 1995).

Margaret was born in London in 1920 within the sound of Bow Bells. She was educated at Camden School for Girls and University College London, and began her teaching career at a small grammar school in Kent. She moved to Chatham Grammar School, where she became Head of English, before being appointed Deputy Head at Palmers Girls’ School in Essex. In 1969 she became headmistress at Southend High School for Girls, where she remained until retirement in 1984.

Soon after retirement she began her second career, and was elected as a Conservative councillor for Southchurch Ward. In 1994 she was selected as Mayor of Southend.

She had many interests and her services to charity were many and various: in all, she raised over £28,000 for a number of charities. Perhaps her greatest achievement was being instrumental in raising the money to build the Margaret Haine Sixth Form Centre at Southend High School for Girls. A great supporter of the Palace Theatre, she was, for a time, a member of the Palace Theatre Trust.    


We celebrate those who have given, and continue to give, their valuable time to the running of the Palace Theatre Club. It is thanks to their efforts that we are blessed with the healthy and active Club we enjoy today. Thank you to you all!

Please note: Club records in the early years are incomplete, and some more recent AGM minutes are missing. So the lists below have been supplemented from Committee meeting minutes, PTC Newsletters and other records.

Also, prior to the early 1980s, only those holding the offices of President, Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were routinely mentioned by name. So we are unable to give full credit to Committee members who held other roles, such as Membership Secretary, before that time. There are also, perhaps inevitably, some question marks and there are bound to be omissions, for which we apologise. We therefore welcome updates, so we can give credit where it is due. Please contact our Archivist, David Simpson, on 01702 464733 or email [email protected]

Please also note: Where Officers have also served without portfolio, those periods of time are shown separately under “Other Committee”. 

Current Committee members are shown in bold.


May 1968-? Stanley Tandy
April 1967-May 1974 Hilda Reidel
April 1967-May 1976 Stella Saunders, MBE

The post of Vice-President has not been mentioned after the AGM in 1974. (Stanley Tandy had been appointed Treasurer in April 1972. Stella Saunders became President in May 1976.)


March 2023: Ann Whittington
June 2022-March 2023: Ann Whittington (Acting Chair)
February 2000-May 2022: Peter Warden (died in office)
April 1996-February 2000 Daphne Anderson
March 1994-April 1996 Denham Ford
April 1993-March 1994 Peter Grumbridge
April 1991-March 1993 Jack Clouting (died in office)
May 1989-April 1991 Jean Byford
April 1986-May 1989 Barry Anderson
May 1980-April 1986 Jean Byford
November 1979-? Richard Wood (Acting Chair)
April 1973-November 1979 Mr. Pearce
October 1971-April 1973 Freddie Puttock
April 1970-June 1971 Gwynne Nelson Griffiths
May 1968-April 1970 Alexander Bridge
March 1965-May 1968 Sidney Corbett
By April 1964-March 1965 Alderman J. E. Longman
January 1957-? Mr. Ewart Crown


At April 1998-February 2000 Peter Warden
May 1994-? Barry Anderson
April 1993-March 1994 Denham Ford
April 1991-March 1993 Peter Grumbridge
April 1987-April 1991 Joyce Herrington
October 1985-June 1986 Barry Anderson
April 1964-? Stanley Tandy


February 2004: Janet Brown (later Wallis)
February 2000-February 2004 Paddi Cole
April 1995-February 2000 Barry Anderson
December 1993-April 1995 Margaret Price-Stephens
April 1991-December 1993 Jean Byford
May 1980-April 1991 Margaret Price-Stephens
April 1966-November 1979 Edna Bunclark
January 1957-April 1966 Sydney F. Armstrong


March 2011: Peter Knight
August 1992-March 2011 Vivienne Finch (later Axson)
April 1991-August 1992 June Back
May 1981-April 1991 Mary Godridge
May 1979-May 1981 Michael Chivers
January 1977-May 1979 Mary Giddings
October 1971-January 1977 Stanley Tandy
April 1971-April 1972 Edward Thomas
April 1970-1970/1971 Douglas Wood (died prior to April 1971)
pre- April 1971-April 1970 G. Nelson Griffiths
April 1967-June 1969 Sydney F. Armstrong
April 1966-April 1967 William Cornish
By April 1964-April 1966 Sydney F. Armstrong
January 1957-? Mr. J. C. Walton


March 2010: Ann Whittington
March 2005-March 2010 Marianne Thomas
December 1993-March 2005 Janet Tricker
May 1989-December 1993 William Byford (left through ill-health)
October 1987-May 1989 Daphne Anderson
April 1985-October 1987 Eileen Newman
June 1978-April 1985 Joyce Herrington
April 1977-June 1978 Mary Godridge
May 1975-April 1977 Kenneth Brown
January 1965-? Stanley Tandy


February 2000: Theo Rakusen
February 2000: Priscilla Mason
April 1995-February 2000 Daphne Anderson
April 1990-April 1993 Vivienne Finch (later Axson)
April 1990-April 1995 Win Middleton
Visits also arranged by Jack Clouting
By June 1981-April 1990 Mary Godridge


At April 1986-May 1989 Peter Grumbridge


August 1989-April 1995 Win Middleton
October 1987-August 1989 Joyce Herrington
October 1983-October 1987 John Wyss
?-October 1983 Mary Godridge


April 1987-April 1988 Penny Sampson


A lack of interest from young members led to closure in February 1968. Jean Spenceley was co-opted onto the Main Committee
April 1967-pre-February 1968 Frank Wilson
April 1967-February 1968 Jean Spenceley
September 1966-February 1968 Tony Homyer
August 1966-pre-February 1968 Miss McIlveen
February 1966-August 1966 Garry Stephens
January 1966-September 1966 Elaine Douglas
November 1965-April 1967 Edward Thomas
March 1965-September 1965 Simon Whalvin
March 1965-September 1965 Hilary Clulow
March 1965-January 1966 Juanita Barnes


March 2023: Pam Ayres
March 2023: Carol Tutt
March 2020: Jan Pope
May 2018-November 2022: Ivor Earl
May 2018-November 2022: Anne Earl
March 2012 – October 2020: Delia Costello (died in office)
March 2006-March 2009 Linda Moore
March 2006: Diana Kemp
March 2005-March 2006 Janet Tricker
March 2005-March 2010 Ann Whittington
February 2004-March 2005 Marianne Thomas
February 2000-February 2004 Janet Brown
February 2000-March 2024: Kathy Axson
February 1999-March 2005 Beryl Frost
April 1997-August 2013 Marjorie Warden (died in office)
April 1997-February 1999 Roger Rapp
April 1996-April 1997 Wendy Conlan (also visits “Booking Officer”)
April 1996-April 1997 Joe Conlan (also visits “Booking Officer”)
April 1995-February 2000 Priscilla Mason
April 1995-February 2000 Theo Rakusen
April 1995-February 2000 Peter Warden
March 1994-April 1996 Daphne Anderson
March 1994-April 1995 Barry Anderson
April 1993-February 2000 Paddi Cole
April 1993-March 1994 Janet Tricker
June 1992-post-November 1994 Doris Harris
April 1991-April 1992 Mary Godridge
April 1991-April 1993 Margaret Storr
April 1991-February 1992 Joyce Herrington (died in office)
April 1991-December 1993 Margaret Price-Stephens
May 1989-April 1991 Frank Axson
May 1989-April 1990 Win Middleton
May 1989-April 1990 Vivienne Finch
April 1988-April 1995 Ron Montague
April 1988-April 1990 Mrs. J. Harrison
April 1987-April 1988 Daphne Anderson
April 1986-May 1989 William Byford
April 1986-May 1989 Jean Byford
April 1986-April 1987 Penny Sampson
April 1986-April 1987 Janet Tricker
April 1986-May 1989 Margaret [Peggy] Grumbridge
April 1986-April 1988 Peter Grumbridge
May 1984-March 1988 George Welsh
May 1984-April 1985 Eileen Newman
May 1984-April 1986 Barry Anderson
April 1982-April1991 Jack Clouting
April 1982-April 1984 Elsie Bottrill (died in office)
May 1981-January 1986 David Simonds
May 1981-April 1986 Gladys Middleton
May 1981-October 1985 Kenneth Brown
February 1981-May 1989 William Byford
May 1980-February 1981 Blanche Moore
May 1980-March 1992 Daphne Johnson
May 1979-April 1981 Douglas Wood
May 1979-August 1980 Mary Giddings
May 1978-June 1978 Joyce Herrington
April 1977-May 1978 Mr. Warne
April 1977-May 1978 Otto Deutsch
May 1976-April 1977 Mrs. Donavon
May 1976-October 1979 Mrs. Warne
May 1976-May 1981 Mary Godridge
May 1975-May 1976 Mrs. Dipple
May 1974-June 1980 Jean Byford
April 1973-May 1975 Miss McKrill
April 1973-May 1976 Mrs. Childs
April 1972-April 1988 John Wyss
April 1972-April 1973 Mr. Pearce
April 1972-April 1973 Mr. Harris
April 1972-May 1975 Kenneth Brown
April 1972-April 1977 Mary Giddings
July 1971-? Mrs. Walker
April 1971-October 1980 Kay Sanger
April 1970-April 1971 Mrs. Y. Turner
June 1969-May 1975 Ron Montagu
June 1969-May 1975 Mrs. Montague
June 1969-April 1972 Freddie Puttock
June 1969-April 1971 Mr. Bissenden
June 1969-April 1970 Mr. Herbert
June 1969-April 1970 Mr. Buckley
June 1969-April 1971 Mr. D. Griffiths
June 1969-April 1970 Miss Sendell
June 1968-April 1971 Mrs. Donovan
June 1968-April 1970 Mrs. Brown
June 1968-April 1984 Gracie Wood
June 1968-January 1969 Miss Grover
June 1968-September 1968 Mr. Digby
February 1968-? Jean Spenceley
April 1967-June 1969 Bill Cornish
April 1967-June 1969 Mr. Donat
April 1967-June 1969 Mr. Harrison
April 1967-June 1969 Cllr Beryl Scholfield
April 1967-April 1970 Douglas Wood
August 1966-June 1969 Mrs. Gadd
August 1966-January 1967 Alan Hoare
April 1966-June 1969 Mrs. I. Lucas
April 1966-June 1969 Mr. W. Thorn
April 1966-April 1967 Juanita Barnes
April 1966-April 1967 Mr. Casemore
October 1965-January 1966 Miss J. Street
March 1965-October 1965 P. Emerton
March 1965-April 1966 William Cornish
At March 1965-July 1966 Miss B. Cartwright
At March 1965-April 1966 Edna Bunclark
At March 1965-May 1968 Stanley Tandy
At March 1965-April 1966 Mr. E. J. Cranfield
By April 1964-March 1965 Mrs. Backhouse
By April 1964-March 1965 A. Douglas Wood
By April 1964-August 1964 E. Ray Iliffe
By April 1964-January 1965 J. Spendlove
By April 1964-March 1965 R. Youens
January 1957-April 1967 Hilda Reidel
January 1957-April 1967 Stella Saunders
January 1957-February 1966 Mr. J. Smurthwaite
January 1957-? Mr. J. R. Windley
January 1957-? Miss Lesley
January 1957-? Mr. F. Gamble
January 1957-? Mr. J. Spreadborough
January 1957-? Miss D. M. Parker
January 1957-? John G. Giles
January 1957-July 1966 Hilda Hayward

This page was added by Ian Grant on 14/05/2014.