Homes and Haunts
of Basil Rathbone

The "Homes and Haunts" page is divided into four parts. Browse the pages in order, or jump to the one you're most interested in.

England
Repton School and the London theatres
New York 1
Rathbone's home in the 1920s
New York City Theatres
Hollywood
Rathbone's homes and haunts, 1935-1946
New York 2
Rathbone's later years in New York City, 1946-1967

REPTON SCHOOL

As a boy, Rathbone (known to his friends as "Ratters") attended Repton School in England. Below are three photos of Repton School today. To learn more about Repton School, visit www.repton.org.uk.


A modern photo (2013) of Repton School library

Photos courtesy of Catherine Charlwood


Basil Rathbone lived in this building, called The Old Mitre, formerly a boys boarding house.

This plaque, on the front of The Old Mitre, reads: "Philip St. John Basil Rathbone, 1892-1961, well-known for his screen portrayal of Sherlock Holmes attended this school from 1906 to 1910."
(Oops! Repton made a mistake. Rathbone died in 1967, not 1961.)

LONDON, HENDRICK AVENUE

Rathbone's parents lived in London while he was growing up. In the book Famous 1914-1918, the authors wrote that Basil contracted measles in February 1917. "After a week in a military hospital he was sent home to 24 Hendrick Avenue, close to Wandsworth Common in London. Here he shared the house with his brother John who was recuperating from a serious gunshot wound."1  "Home" in this case meant the home of Basil's parents, not the home that Basil shared with his wife and son.


A map of the south central portion of London, showing the locations of both Hendrick Avenue and Connaught Square, where the Rathbones lived in the early 1930s. (See below for more on Connaught Square.)

Thanks to Google maps, we can see what Hendrick Avenue looks like today.

These are homes on Hendrick Avenue, where #24 would have been. These may not be the original homes that existed in the early 20th century.

PANGBOURNE

In the early 1920s, Basil Rathbone was living in the United States and appearing in plays on Broadway in New York City. In 1924, he was starring in The Swan. When the play closed for a summer vacation, Rathbone returned to England for a visit. He was separated from his wife Marion but still legally married, and since he was dating Ouida at this time and intending to marry her, he needed to get a divorce. Rathbone traveled to England with his friend Jack Miltern. Rathbone wrote, "Ouida had preceded us and taken a charming little house on the River Thames at Pangbourne in Berkshire."2  Jack and Basil joined Ouida at the house in Pangbourne, and they spent the summer of 1924 there.


A postcard picture of that "little" house on the Thames

The reverse side of the postcard, on which Ouida wrote "The Wierpool [?] my county house on the Thames in England."

LONDON, CONNAUGHT SQUARE

In his autobiography, Rathbone wrote, "It was in 1929or was it 1930 (William the Conquerer, 1066it could have been 1065 or 1967does it really matter? The only part of history I hated at school ... is its chronology!) I was very homesick for my motherland. ... It was a beautiful afternoon in October that we moved into the house in Connaught Square that we had rented."3

According to 1930 U.S. census, the Rathbones were living in California. We also know that Basil Rathbone appeared in seven films that were produced by studios located in California and released in 1930. These facts suggest that Rathbone moved back to England in late 1930. He admitted to not being sure about the date! Assuming that 1930 is the correct year, the Rathbones lived in that location from October 1930 to June 1931. Both of the London maps on this page show the location of Connaught Square.

PENN (BUCKINGHAMSHIRE)

Rathbone also mentions living in Buckinghamshire. "May had arrived with unusually seasonable weather, and it was time to think of moving to our little place in the country, near Penn in Buckinghamshire."4  The Rathbones moved there directly from Connaught Square, London, most likely in June 1931. They lived in their country home near Penn throughout the summer.

Sometime in late 1931 Rathbone returned to Hollywood to star in A Woman Commands, which was released in Feb 1932. Rathbone returned to England in 1932 and made three films in London: After the Ball, One Precious Year, and Loyalties. Rathbone made no mention of where he lived while working on those films. In the autumn of 1932, Basil, Ouida, and Moritz traveled to Katherine Cornell's chalet near Garmisch, Bavaria (Germany).5 They returned to the United States in 1933 and began rehearsals for the tour of Romeo and Juliet, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, and Candida.

Below (left) is a map of England showing the locations of places Rathbone lived (Penn [in Buckinghamshire], Pangbourne [in Berkshire], and of course Repton School) as well as places Rathbone performed in the theater. Below and to the right is a partial map of London showing the location of Connaught Square and the locations of London theatres where Rathbone performed.

England

Click on the map to see it larger.

London

Click on the map to see it larger.


London Theatre District

 

Continue to Page Two (New York City).

Notes

  1. Famous: 1914-1918, by Richard van Emden and Victor Piuk (Pen and Sword, 2010) p. 157
  2. In and Out of Character, by Basil Rathbone (Doubleday, 1962) p. 61
  3. In and Out of Character, p. 71
  4. In and Out of Character, p. 79
  5. In and Out of Character, p. 119

 

 

 

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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2013