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Who? Better known as Victor Leopold and Noreen Bush

Noreen BushFor reasons not known, on a date between 1887 and 1889, Rafello Lazzarini with his wife, Viobella (Isobel) and their six children, left their native Florence in Italy to settle in Nottingham, England. Whilst living at No.18 Bath Street, their eldest daughter, Polissena (Pauline), born in 1882, married Arthur Bush, a cardboard box manufacturer, in 1904. They had one daughter, Noreen Mary, born in 1905.

Victor Leopold

Eight years earlier in 1897, in Islington, London, Victor Henry Leopold Kimm was born to Val Kimm and his wife, Bertha Alice Kelly. Both had parents who were actors by profession. The name Leopold is believed to derive from the Kelly side of the family who produced a large number of music-hall entertainers managed most probably by Val in his capacity as a well known theatre impresario. (See Bush Telegraph>Miscellaneous>Letter from Judith Ingram).

It was he who Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet Company, recalled in 1977, "In the days of my youth my first professional engagement in 1913-14, was under the management of Val Kimm. I can well remember his strict professionalism. During the Second World War he came to my rescue once more when he toured as manager with the then Sadler's Wells Ballet. During the '40s Sir Val KimmRobert Helpmann asked him what I had been like at age 14, he promptly replied: 'Well you know, she always was a little Madam'!" This was in 1913 when she was appearing with Lila Field's Celebrated Company of Children. The following is an Ninette de Valoisextract from a review in the Exeter Express and Echo of a performance at Torquay Theatre: "Miss Ninette de Valois is claimed to be a second Pavlova and those who had seen the great Russian Artiste will readily concur. In the death of The Swan dance the audience were so swept away by the beauty of the movement and expression shown by Miss Valois they insisted on an encore."

Click here to see three photographs relating to Val Kimm.

We shall be returning to Victor Leopold Kimm and Noreen Bush later. They married on 1 July, 1930 in Nottingham but throughout their lives would continue their work using their birth names, often causing puzzlement, especially to some parents and students. However, 'at home' they were always, Kimm. Their son, Paul Leopold Kimm was born in 1932 and daughter, Jane Noreen Leopold Kimm in 1935.

Victor and Noreen



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