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R.B.Saxe -Author, Songwriter, Drummer

The fashionable Kit Cat Club in the Haymarket, which to many people epitomised the carefree days of the 1920s, was opened in the summer of 1925 and immediately became one of the most famous nocturnal haunts in London. Decked out with the last word in restaurant and dance floor equipment it was regarded as one of the most sumptuous nightclub venues in Europe and was the only club in London that had been built expressly for the purpose of a club. R.B.Saxe's family links to the club are referenced below.

Source Jazz Age Club.

Photo of R. B. Saxe - Source : Bear Alley

Located amidst a phalanx of headstones in Brockley cemetery lies the only visible reminder that Francis John Dickson d.1953 occupies his final resting place here. Born in Camberwell in 1889 it was recorded in the 1911 England Census that he was working as a Commercial Traveller  in the Wholesale Paper Trade and living in New Cross.During the First World War he was a balloon-based observer in France. But intriguingly he worked under the pseudonym of R.B.Saxe hailing from a family with a theatrical background.

The brief biographical information offered below is drawn from the Bear Alley website:

His father, Jimmy Dickson wrote music hall material for Fred Williams and Harry Randall. His day job was a salesman for a paper company. Francis's brother, James Augustine, was an actor, mostly in pantomime under the name Charles Cardiff. In later life, Francis adopted a third forename, Aloysius.

"Francis's daughter, was a musician, playing the piano in London department store bands before the war (Whiteley's in Bayswater). She also had a brief spell as a drummer at the Kit Kat club in the Haymarket."

So R.B.Saxe was indeed a musician and songwriter from at least as early as 1916 he was a drummer with Gerry Moore, a jazz pianist, who had a residency at the Trident Club, London, in 1928. He was also writing short stories as early as 1929 when "The Democracy of Love" appeared in the Daily Mail. However, he disappears from sight in the 1930s, apart from the co-writing, with Laurence Huntington, of an unproduced screenplay entitled Romance in Rhythm in 1933.

In 1940, the first of a series of novels, written in a hard-boiled American style that seems to me to be deliberately over the top and meant to be comical. Three novels appeared during the Second World War featuring amateur detective John Dobbs, also known as The Ghost. They were briefly popular, and one of the books was even translated into French for the Serie Noir series as Le fantôme sait nager (1954). The first novel, The Ghost Knows His Greengages, was described by one reviewer as "enormous fun; it lies largely in the transposition of Chicago gangsterism into the purer air of Belgravia; written in a slang which is fresh and very lively, and, what is more, immediately understandable.... It is very funny, very violent... a piece of high-spirited nonsense."

Saxe's last novel, also crime, was What Can You Lose?, published in 1947 and described as "another piece of light reading with a Hollywood background." He briefly disappears again until 1952 when he is suddenly credited with a series of biographical comic strips published on the back page of Eagle, all drawn by Norman Williams. Saxe then disappeared suddenly in 1953 ( death !), with two strips appearing in that year's Eagle and Girl annuals.

Source : Bear Alley.

A Rose in a Garden of Weeds written by Hubert David and R.B.Saxe was first released in 1927.

A delightful rendition of the song rose in a garden of weeds is available to listen to here 

Panama born Amru Sani was a singer and actress who experienced short-lived fame in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. Interestingly enough she once co-starred with Maurice Chevalier. Between 1956 and 1958 she made several appearances on the Ed Sullivan show including the episode on which Elvis Presley made his first Sullivan appearance!  The song was also covered by the late Dame Vera Lynn.

Francis John Dickson's grave (also of his brother James d.1969) Source: Billion Graves

The virtuoso trumpeter Walter Morrow 1850-1937 pictured above is also buried in Brockley cemetery.See this article for a fuller account of this gifted musician-