Conquest family



  • The English actor-manager Benjamin Conquest (Benjamin Oliver;1805 - 72), his son George Augustus Conquest (1837 - 1902),who was a playwright, acrobat, pantomimist, and manager, and George'ssons, the comedians George Conquest (1858 - 1926), Fred Conquest(1871 - 1941), and Arthur Conquest (1875 - 1945).

    In 1851 Benjamin Conquest took over London's Grecian Theatre,previously a venue for light opera. After losing money producing Shakespeare,he staged more than 100 melodramas written by his son George, whowas educated in France and adapted many works from the French theater.George also collaborated with Henry Spry on nearly 50 pantomimes notedfor their flying ballets, acrobatic effects, and stage mechanics (oneplay used 30 traps). He helped to manage the Grecian, which was rebuiltin 1858, and inherited it on his father's death.

    George rebuilt the theater again in 1876 and sold up threeyears later when he left for an ill-fated tour of America, duringwhich he was crippled in a stage accident. In 1881 he took over theSurrey Theatre in Lambeth, where he continued to present his own sensationalmelodramas and Christmas pantomimes with great success. When he diedhis eldest son George, who excelled as a pantomime dame, ran the Surreyfor three years before selling it. His younger brothers were bothnoted animal impersonators, Fred being famous for his pantomimeGoose, and Arthur for his music hall performances as Daphne, the chimpanzee.