Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 21, 2018
Webpage updated: August 21, 2018

To go to the Home Page          To go to the A-Z Contents Page



Henry Erastus Reed was born at Devonport on December 18th 1827.  His father owned a hotel in the Town.

He was educated at the Grammar School in Chapel Street, Devonport, and afterwards became a pupil of Mr McDonald, a teacher of pianoforte and the organist at Charles Church, Plymouth.  He became well known as a violinist and in 1852 he was the leader of the Devon and Cornwall Philharmonic Society's orchestra.

In 1849 he took the position of musical director at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, under the manager and lessee, Mr John Reilly Newcombe (1803-1887).  On May 15th 1851 he married Miss Emily Newcombe, the eldest daughter of Mr Newcombe.  He remained at the Theatre Royal until 1866 when he, in collaboration with Mr John Snawdon, erected the Saint James's Hall in Union Street.  It was the home of high class concerts until the opening of the new Plymouth Guildhall.

Mr Reed was in 1870 appointed musical director at the Strand Theatre in London but returned to his old position at the Theatre Royal after four years.

At the time of the 1881 census, Henry and Emily were living at 1 Buckland Street, Plymouth, close to the Theatre.

Upon the death of Mr Newcombe in 1887 he became lessee of the Theatre Royal.  His eldest son became the manager and another, Mr Frank Reed, became the musical director.  However, soon afterwards he lost the lease and secured a site in Union Street, East Stonehouse, upon which he erected the Grand Theatre.

When the New Palace Theatre of Varieties opened Mr Henry Erastus Reed retired to Brighton, Sussex, where he died on Thursday June 9th 1910, at the age of 83.  He was survived by his widow and one son.