Cavendish, Ada

BORN 1839 - DIED 5 Oct 1895, London
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (085/2 (25502))

Ada Cavendish studied for the stage under Fanny Stirling and Mrs. Walter Lacy and made her debut on 31 Aug 1863 at the New Royal Theatre, that was under management of the Misses Pelham at the time. In 1865 she played the leading part in "Pirithous, the son of Ixion" by F.C. Burnand and on 15 Feb 1866 she first performed at the Haymarket Theatre in "A Romantic Attachment". She played Juliet, Beatrice, Rosalind and many other roles in theatres in England.

She also played in the stage adaption of Wilkie Collins' stories, portraying Mercy Merrick in "New Magdalen" in 1873 and Miss Lydia Gwilt in "Armadale". She became close friends with Collins.

In 1878 she went to the United States, where she successfully played Mercy Merrick at the Broadway Theatre in New York. She toured the country and appeared in various parts in San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis and other cities.

In 1885 she married Frank Marshall (1840-1889), the son of William Marshall, MP for Carlisle and later East Cumberland. Frank Marshall published a scholarly Shakespeare edition.

In 1894 she fell in the Serpentine in Hyde Park after her dog suddenly seized a stick that she held in her hands. She was seriously ill afterwards. Like many other people at the time she was afraid of being buried alive and she left left instructions for her jugular vein to be severed before burial. She was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London in 1895.

Related persons
• was a friend of Collins, Wilkie

1879/0/0: Ada Cavendish plays Miss Gwilt in New York
"Miss Gwilt" was the stage adaption of Wilkie Collins' novel "Armadale". The play was produced for three weeks and didn't return after that. In London it had been staged for twelve weeks.
1889/9/27: Wilkie Collins is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery
According to his wishes he was buried in a simple grave. Among those present were his niece Jane Ward, Holman-Hunt, Pigott, George Redford, Edmund Yates, Charles Dickens the Younger, Frank Beard, Caroline Graves, Ada Cavendish, Arthur Pinero, Squire Bancroft, Sebastian Schlesinger, Andrew Chatto, A.P. Watt, Hall Caine and Edmund Gosse. In 1895 Caroline Graves was buried in the same grave.

• Peters, Catherine, The King of Inventors, A Life of Wilkie Collins, Seeker & Warburg, London, 1991


The grave of Ada Cavendish (with the broken cross) at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (14 Aug 1997)


Caylor, Rose

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 23 Sep 2016