The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

I have been working on the Douglas-Pennant branch, filling in some of the gaps.

Along the way, I have been asked to identify where Sheila Douglas-Pennant fits into the line.  The 1937 American (Florida) press cutting below suggests that she was the BBC's first television compere (Not commerce!) and is the daughter of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

And here she is listed as the compere of Cabaret, a short BBC programme broadcast in 1938

At the time, The Right Honourable Captain Edward Algernon FitzRoy, DL (24 July 1869 – 3 March 1943) was Speaker of the House of Commons. He was married to Muriel Douglas-Pennant, elder daughter of Archibald Douglas-Pennant, second son of the 1st Baron Penrhyn who was created Viscountess Daventry, of Daventry in the County of Northampton, a viscountcy being the customary retirement honour for Speakers. To date, she was the last peeress to be granted a hereditary peerage.

They had four children, Robert, Nancy, Michael and John.  No Sheila.

Sheila Douglas-Pennant is listed in several theatre bills as an actress playing in plays and reviews. She is seen below with Arthur Askey rehearsing in her dressing room at His Majesty's Theatre.

So - who was she?

Was she the second wife of Admiral The Honourable Sir Cyril Eustace Douglas-Pennant, the son of Lt.-Col. Frank Douglas-Pennant, 5th Baron Penrhyn of Llandegai?  In 1917 he married Phyllis Constance Leigh.

Their daughter Sheila Florence Douglas-Pennant was born on 11th January 1918. Was this our Sheila Douglas-Pennant?

Following a divorce from his first wife, Cyril next married Sheila Brotherhood in 1937. Was this our Sheila Douglas-Pennant?

Or were they both actresses and/or BBC comperes?

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Comment by William Douglas on March 30, 2014 at 10:43

My friend Sally has solved the mystery - or maybe just part of it.


The Singapore Free Press, 22 August 1946, Page 3

ADMIRAL'S DAUGHTER ACTS WITH ASKEY Sheila Douglas-Pennant is now the leading lady in "Follow the Girls," with Arthur Askey at His Majesty's Theatre, ...

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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