Irene Augusta Ada Lloyd was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 27 August 1896. Marcus Worsley Blackden was also initiated that evening and it’s possible (though not very likely) that he and Irene knew each other already. Irene Lloyd chose the Latin motto ‘Per angusta ad augusta’, a nice play on one of her own names. Despite working for her living she did the study required to be eligible for the GD’s inner, Second Order, and was initiated into it on 1 July 1898. On the day of her second order initiation, she had been married a few weeks. A couple of months later, she and her husband left the UK.

This is one of my short biographies. There’s a great deal of information available on the web, and in Bristol Record Office, on Irene’s ancestors. However, information on Irene herself is lacking.

Sally Davis

June 2016

My basic sources for any GD member are in a section at the end of the file. Supplementary sources for this particular member are listed at the end of each section.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018, for which many thanks are owed to Freddy Ogterop of Cape Town, contributing editor to ESAT – the Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance. Access the database at

Though Irene is not in it, her husband Alfred is, and Freddy contacted me in June to let me know he was in the process of updating Alfred’s entry with a lot of new information. He has since sent me a timeline of Alfred Holtzer which I have used to cover Alfred and Irene’s later lives.

This is what I have found on IRENE AUGUSTA ADA LLOYD, married name Holtzer, later Lloyd-Holtzer.


I’m always intrigued to know who had recommended new GD initiates as suitable recruits. Irene was related to Charles Lloyd Tuckey, who was initiated in 1894. However, they were connected through several marriages and they might not actually have ever met; in addition, Dr Tuckey had resigned from the GD by late 1895 and presumably was no longer in regular contact with its more dedicated members by the time of Irene’s initiation. It must have been someone else who had put forward Irene’s name to the GD’s founders.

Although Irene became very interested in the western magical tradition, and worked hard to build up her understanding of it, her ability to take part in GD rituals was limited by her working hours: she was not an active member in that sense.

Irene doesn’t seem to have told the GD’s record-keepers what her married name was. I suppose she just forgot.

Irene was never a member of Stella Matutina or the Independent and Rectified Rite - the two daughter-orders of the GD.


Irene became involved in theosophy, but only after she left England; perhaps it compensated her for the loss of the GD. Her interest began after she and her husband, Alfred Holtzer, went to Cape Town. Theosophy came relatively late to South Africa, the earliest lodge (in Johannesburg) not being formed until 1899. The disruptions of the Boer War then intervened, and the TS lodge in Cape Town lodge was not set up until the autumn of 1904. Irene and Alfred Holtzer were mainstays of the lodge in its early years: Alfred was one of its founder members; it met in their house on Camberwell Road in Three Anchor Bay; and Irene served as its president in 1908 and in 1914. After 1914, however, neither of them was an active member; the reasons for Irene not being so are made clear below. A biography of the writer and political campaigner Ruth Schechter says that the TS lodge in Johannesburg had a reputation for political activism: many of its members knew Gandhi - he was a regular visitor at its meetings - and supported his campaign for more rights for Indians living in South Africa. There’s no indication in the biography that members of the TS lodge in Cape Town were politically involved.

I haven’t found any evidence that Irene was interested in spiritualism. This is a tricky one, however: spiritualism was a very locally, even family-based pursuit and there was no over-arching organisation with a membership list that can be consulted now. What I can say is that if Irene was a spiritualist medium, it was not on such a level that her name became even nationally known.


UK Theosophical Society Membership Registers 1889-1901, which had no membership entry for Irene. is the history of the Cape Town lodge of the Theosophical Society.

Website gives a more general history of theosophy in South Africa.

There are biographies of two early members of the TS lodge in Cape Town:

Abraham de Smidt 1829-1908 artist and surveyor-general of the Cape Colony. Self-published (I think) by the author Marjorie Bull 1981: p95.

The Cape Town Intellectuals: Ruth Schechter and Her Circle 1907-34 by Baruch Hirson. Witwatersrand Univ Press 2001; pxvi, pxxiv. Ruth and her husband arrived in Cape Town in 1907. There’s no mention in the book of either of them being a member of the TS in Cape Town. .


There is plenty on the web and elsewhere about the Lloyd and Moffat/Duncombe families.


On her father’s side, Irene was a member of the Lloyd family of Tipperary who claimed descent from the Welsh Lloyds of Bodidris. I’ve found it difficult to tie down exactly how the Lloyds and the Tuckeys were related, but they definitely have common ancestors in the early 18th-century couple, John Lloyd of Lloydsborough and his wife Mary, née Otway. While navigating my way through Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland and an exhaustive pedigree of the Tuckey family of Cork and Waterford, I formed the impression that people named Lloyd had often married people named Tuckey, so Irene Lloyd and Charles Lloyd Tuckey were probably distant cousins several times over. Charles’ mother was a Lloyd, so their relationship may have been closer. There was also a connection over several generations, between the Lloyd family and Bideford in Devon, with some members of the family having houses there, and Irene’s grand-father being a curate there in the 1820s and marrying a local woman.

The pride of the Lloyd family in the early 19th century was its one connection with the Irish aristocracy, formed in 1786 when Julia Vereker, sister of the second Viscount Gort, married Frederick Lloyd of Cranagh, a great-grandson of John Lloyd and Mary Otway. Irene Lloyd was a great-grand-daughter of the Lloyd/Vereker marriage, through their third son the Rev Charles Lloyd. After several chaplaincies in Devon and nearly twenty years as a missionary on Prince Edward Island off the coast of Canada, the Rev Charles Lloyd was appointed curate of St John the Evangelist Durdham Down in Bristol, and so met the Vanderhorst and Duncombe families of Clifton.

On her mother’s side, Irene was a descendant of Elias Van der Horst of South Carolina. When he was appointed one of the first US Consuls to serve in the UK, he set up home in Clifton, the 18th-century suburb of Bristol. In 1798, his second daughter, Mary Cooper Vanderhorst, married John Duncombe Taylor of Brislington and Antigua in the Leeward Islands. Both families owned land in the Bristol area; and they also had an income from estates in America and the West Indies that were worked by slaves. John Duncombe Taylor had been born in Antigua, and he and his wife seem to have chosen to live there for most of his life; though the only child that survived him, Irene’s grand-mother Cordelia Duncombe Taylor, was born in Clifton around 1807.

Between 1807 and 1840, the slave trade and slavery were abolished in all places ruled by the British. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 allowed the payment of compensation to owners of slaves, and in the 1850s and 1860s Irene’s grand-mother was still doing nicely enough out of other investments; but as I was doing the research for this biography, I detected a slow decline in income and in social status in the family as the 19th century proceeded. The loss of the family’s more-or-less-free labour played a part in that, but so too did mismanagement, debt, and costly legal cases. By the time John Duncombe Taylor died, in 1835, he had many creditors and part of his estate at Sion Hill in Antigua was mortgaged.

Cordelia Duncombe Taylor married Alexander Moffat, who worked as a doctor on Antigua. Their daughter Jessica Mary was probably born in 1835, but the year was dominated by the death of Cordelia’s father and the cases brought by his creditors against his estate. Later in the year they were left money held in a trust fund by Cordelia’s aunt, Eliza Cooper Vanderhorst. However, a condition of that money was that they change their surname to ‘Duncombe’; so Alexander Moffat lost his surname. As Alexander Duncombe, he applied in 1837 for compensation for the freedom of two groups of slaves his wife had inherited from her father; but there were counter-claims from John Duncombe Taylor’s creditors, and he and Cordelia were not paid the amount of compensation they might have been hoping for.

Cordelia and Alexander Duncombe continued to live on Antigua during the 1840s, perhaps trying to make a go of the Sion Hill estate. By 1851, however, Cordelia - now a widow - had returned to England and moved into 47 York Crescent, Clifton, Bristol. Although she may have visited Antigua again - she was not in the UK on census day 1861, for example - she spent most of her time from then on in England. On census day 1851 she was at home in Clifton with her son Charles Duncombe (aged 6 and born on Antigua) and three servants including a 38-year-old woman called Elizabeth Aika who had also been born on Antigua and was perhaps a freed slave. Cordelia didn’t mention the estate on Antigua to the census official who interviewed her; perhaps it was no longer providing much of an income. She told the official that her income was derived from house rents (most likely in the Bristol area) and from investments (most likely in government bonds).


Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland editions of 1863; and 1871 p803: the Lloyd family of Lloydsborough and Cranagh/Cranna.

The Tuckey pedigree, compiled by Charles Lloyd Tuckey’s brother, Rev James Grove White Tuckey. First published in Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society edition of 1919. Full text and same page numbers now available online at beginning on p255, in 1627 with a Tuckey born in Worcestershire who settled in Cork.

At I noticed that Lloydsborough House was for sale in 2014, owned up to that point by descendants of John Lloyd and Mary Otway.

The Gorts of Galway: see wikipedia.

The online version of Cracroft’s Peerage sheds a little more light on the connection between the Lloyds and the Vereker/Gorts.

Irene’s grandfather, the Rev Charles Lloyd:

Alumni Cantabrigiensis seen online so no volume number but p186 in that volume.

A Yearbook of Missions 1847 p295.

Gentleman’s Magazine 1858 marriages p631.

The Vanderhorsts and the Duncombes, with one Moffat:

Via to a list of documents now held by Bristol Record Office: family and financial papers of the Vanderhorst, Duncombe and Cooper families, donated by

Miss E I M Duncombe; accession number 5097. Catalogued as BRO 8032/...

One item I didn’t mention in the main biography is 8032/14, an autograph book owned at one time by Irene’s grand-mother Cordelia Duncombe. It covers 1806-28 and contains entries by various members of the Buonaparte family who were known to Vanderhorst and Duncombe family members living in Italy.

Seen online: Vital Records from the Gentleman’s Magazine p274 has announcements of the marriage of John Duncombe Taylor and Mary Cooper Vanderhorst in 1798; and of his death, in Antigua, in February 1835.

Alexander Moffat’s compensation claims after the abolition of slavery: and view/761. University College London’s Legacies of British Slave Ownership database.

Alexander and Cordelia Moffat’s change of surname: The Court Journal issue of 1835 p758 issued 3 November [1835] at Whitehall. The details were also published in the London Gazette.

IRENE’S PARENTS who were very elusive!

I couldn’t find Irene’s mother Jessica Mary Duncombe, later Lloyd, on any census! She was always elsewhere. And I’ve only found Irene’s father Charles Lloyd once; in 1891, after the death of his wife.

Rev Charles Lloyd had married Elizabeth Tyeth, daughter of William Tyeth of Bideford, in 1826 while he was curate of Bideford. They had three sons and three daughters. Charles Frederick Lloyd was the eldest of the six, born in Devonshire around 1834 when his father was curate at Abbotsham. Charles Frederick will have spent childhood to adulthood on the more remote coast of Prince Edward Island, at the small settlement where Rev Charles was a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The family returned to England in 1857 and Charles Frederick set out on a military career by becoming an Ensign in the 3rd West India Regiment. I’m not sure, however, how much time he actually spent on active service, because in 1858 he married Jessica Duncombe, daughter of Cordelia and Alexander, and her family set up a trust fund which provided them both with an income. The family papers held at the Bristol Record Office suggest that Charles Frederick continued to be paid from this trust fund until his death; but that his children didn’t ever benefit from it. Charles Frederick was promoted to Captain in 1863, and to Major in 1877; but in October 1869, he went on half-pay and was never on active service again.

I haven’t found any record of Jessica Mary Duncombe’s birth. Her age at death makes it likely that she was born in 1835; and she was probably born on Antigua. She married Charles Frederick Lloyd at St Andrew’s Clifton in September 1858 and they had four children: Constance Julia Lloyd, born 1859; Irene Augusta Ada Lloyd born April 1861; Charles Vereker Lloyd born 1864; and Adelaide Camilla Lloyd born 1873.

On census day 1861, Constance Julia Lloyd was staying with her grand-parents Rev Charles and Elizabeth Lloyd. The rest of the family were not in the UK. It’s just possible that Charles Frederick Lloyd was on military in the West Indies or elsewhere, but I think it’s more likely that they were visiting his relations in Ireland - they were all back in Bristol for Irene to be born there a couple of weeks after census day.

Charles Frederick and Jessica Lloyd were not in the UK on census day 1871. They had left Irene, Adelaide and Charles with Cordelia Duncombe in Clifton; Constance was at a boarding school elsewhere in Clifton. The census official in 1871 noted down Cordelia’s income as being solely from shares, including shares in railway companies; perhaps the income from the property she had had in 1851 was now being paid to her daughter. Cordelia was still very comfortably off, however: she employed a nursemaid for her grandchildren, a cook, a house-cum-parlourmaid, and a lady’s maid for herself. The job of lady’s maid may have been what Elizabeth Aika had been doing in the household in 1851; but Miss Aika was not living with Cordelia in 1871.

Cordelia Duncombe died in 1875. She left personal estate valued at under £4000 - less than I would have expected. There was a dispute over the Will’s contents which ended in the Chancery Courts where one of the executors - William Cross, a Bristol surgeon - opposed one of the other executors - Cordelia’s son Rev William Duncombe Vanderhorst Duncombe. Charles Frederick Lloyd was named on Rev William Duncombe’s side in the dispute, as legal representative of his wife and daughters (but not his son for some reason). I haven’t looked at the records of the case to see how it was resolved; but I think I can be sure that it further eroded the wealth of the family as a whole.

Charles Frederick and Jessica were not in the UK on the day of the 1881 census; and this time none of their children were either. However, at some point after Cordelia Duncombe’s death they settled at 154 Elm Park Brixton Jessica died there in 1885 and the family scattered to the four winds (and three continents). Charles Frederick Lloyd - at least, I think it’s him - is on the 1891 census, at Constantine Road in Hampstead, as a boarder in the household of Elizabeth Baker. If it is him, none of his children were with him on that day though Irene was visiting friends on that day and might have been living with him normally.

The trust fund records held at Bristol Record Office say Charles Frederick Lloyd died, in England, in 1901; they must be right, but his death doesn’t seem to have been registered and there is no probate record for him.


Charles Frederick Lloyd:

The South Wales Borderers 24th Foot 1689-1937 by Christopher Thomas Atkinson published 1937 by the Regimental History Committee and the University Press; p504.

Via google so it’s a snippet to Bulletins and Other State Intelligence 1856 part 2 July-December, published 1857. I couldn’t see the page number: Charles Frederick Lloyd to be an ensign.

United Service Magazine volume 121 issue 1869 p614.

London Gazette 30 April 1878 p2779.

Freebmd; probate registry records.

There are some details about him at family history website myheritage; but without any sources. BRO 8032/32/a-b which covers September 1881 to May 1900: details of trust funds benefiting Charles Frederick Lloyd and wife Jessica Mary.

BRO 8032/33: Will of Major Charles Frederick Lloyd of Tonbridge; and solicitors’ letters 1887-1900 about his estate.

Marriage of Charles and Jessica:

Familysearch England-VR GS film number 1595529.

Via genesreunited to Western Daily Press of 1 October 1858, where the relationship of the groom to the viscounts Gort was part of the marriage announcement.

Familyseach England-VR GS film number 1596358: baptism of Constance Julia Lloyd 1859.

Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 1595532: baptism of Irene Augusta Lloyd at St Barnabas Bristol 25 April 1861.

Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 1749585: baptism of Charles Vereker Lloyd 28 October 1864 at St Andrew Bristol.

Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 1749585: baptism of Adelaide Camilla Lloyd 19 June 1873 at St Andrew Bristol.

Death of Cordelia Duncombe:

Probate Registry 1875.

At, records of Cross v Duncombe, PRO reference C16/997/C181.

Death of Jessica Mary Lloyd:

Probate Registry 1885

IRENE’S SIBLINGS seem to have accepted the family’s declining financial status: her sisters married men who worked for a living; and her brother worked as an engineer in India.

Irene’s older sister, Constance Julia Lloyd, was the only one of the siblings who remained in England all her adult life. She married Lewis Behrens in 1887. Lewis Behrens was a teacher, firstly in schools, later as a self-employed teacher of languages. Lewis and Constance lived in East Anglia - though true to the family form I couldn’t find them on the censuses for 1891 or 1901. Constance died, in Sudbury Suffolk, in 1902.

Charles Vereker Lloyd was a civil engineer. He went to India to work for the Indian Civil Service but had retired and returned to England by 1911. On census day 1911, he and his wife Elizabeth were amongst the guests at the Blenheim House Hotel in Church Street, Brighton. They had been married for one year; but had probably got married in India as I couldn’t find a registration on freebmd. Charles moved to Clevedon in Somerset; but died in Clifton in 1956.

Adelaide, the youngest of the four siblings, went to Australia; I don’t know quite when. I never spotted her on any census after her childhood, and I think she had moved to Australia by the mid-1890s. She married Julius Homan, probably in 1895, and probably in Tasmania. They had one child, Tasman Vanderhorst Homan, born in Tasmania in 1897. He became an engineer and inventor. Tasman Homan lived all his life in Australia but Adelaide returned to England. She died, in Stockbridge Hampshire, in 1945.

I couldn’t find any evidence of any children being born to Constance Behrens or Charles Vereker Lloyd.

Sources for Irene’s sisters and brother:


The very little I found on Lewis Behrens was, unfortunately, from after Constance’s death:

Kelly’s Directory of Lincolnshire 1909 p423 Lewis Behrens is a teacher in a school whose name I couldn’t see on the snippet.

Edinburgh Gazette 4 June 1926 p619, also in London Gazette in a list of people subject to receiving orders under the Bankruptcy Act 1914: Lewis Behrens “teacher of languages”, living in lodgings at 25a City Road Cambridge.


Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers issue of 1904 p180 Charles Vereker Lloyd is in the list of members. I also found him on the web, as a member, in the Minutes of Proceedings 1908 p195; and volume 190 1912 p241.

Probate Registry 1956

London Gazette 24 April 1956 p2440 list issued under the 1925 Trustees Act which is a set of procedures to be followed when winding up a Trust.

Adelaide Camilla.

My source for Adelaide’s marriage is myheritage; which doesn’t give sources for its statements.

Probate Registry 1945.

On Tasman Vanderhorst Homan, who seems to have been an only child:

Via Familysearch to only there’s no grave as he was cremated. Record added in 2012. Tasman Vanderhorst Homan born 1897 Tasmania, died 1979 at Glebe NSW.

Also at Familysearch there are two records of journeys he made by ship; both of which give his year of birth as 1897:

1 = arriving Sydney New Zealand (not the one in NSW) from San Francisco. New Zealand Passenger Lists 1839-1973. Folder no 004440010 image 00138. Dated March 1941.

2 = New York Passenger Lists 1925-1957. GS film number 1758217 for an arrival in New York from Australia 1940.

At Intellectual Property in Australia. Patent number AU1956020650 filing date 10 August 1956 was filed by Tasman Vanderhorst Homan: a means for coating solid surfaces with comminuted material.


I couldn’t find any direct evidence at all about Irene’s education. However, there are two pieces of indirect evidence that suggest she was well-educated for a middle-class girl of her time. Firstly, there was the job she was able to get (see below). And secondly, on census day 1871, Irene’s elder sister Constance was a pupil at the small boarding school for girls run by Mary Jenkins at 10 Arlington Villas Clifton. Perhaps, in due course, Irene was sent there too. It’s always hard to gauge the education given pupils in 19th-century girls’ schools such as this, and I’m not going to speculate on it, except to say that it enabled her to get a job in the rapidly-expanding field of schools inspection.

On the day of the 1891 census, the official wrote down that Irene was working as an “Assistant Needlework Inspectress (Education Dept)”. No more details were needed for the census return and I haven’t found out anything more from any other source; but then, I haven’t known quite where to look. I’m not able to say, therefore, what her qualifications were for the work she was doing; who her current employer was (although the entry reads as if it was the government); how long she had had that job; and whether she had been employed anywhere else previously. On census day 1891 Irene was 29 or 30, and she could easily have been in paid employment for a decade.

I shall assume that Irene worked until she got married; though I haven’t any information on that either.

On census day 1891, Irene was visiting Edwin Luke and his wife Lucy in north London. Both Lucy and Edwin had been born in the west country. Edwin was working as the manager of a jewellery shop and Lucy was at home with her daughters Muriel and Marjory. They were able to employ two live-in servants: a nursemaid and the basic general skivvy. I would guess that it was Lucy Luke that Irene knew; they were the same age and had perhaps been at school together. Edwin and Lucy were living at 6 Quernmore Road Hornsey. George William and Anne Holtzer and their family were living a few streets away, at 42 St Mary’s Road Hornsey. In 1898, Irene married Alfred Holtzer.

Sources: 1891 census.


There has been a spot of social climbing on websites that mention Alfred Holtzer; when it comes to his father’s work: several state that Alfred was the son of a barrister. I think the source of this is Alfred himself, speaking to the press later in life and allowing himself some dramatic licence when it came to his early days. The late 19th-century census returns all agree that George William Holtzer, Alfred’s father, worked as a barrister’s clerk - that is, he was employed in the chambers of a barrister or firm of barristers, doing the financial and management side of the business while the barristers did the law and appeared in court. Quite a difference, not only in income, but also in social status.

While George Holtzer was a Londoner, his wife Anne Elizabeth Cairn was from Devonport; perhaps her family knew the Luke family, who came from Plymouth. George and Anne were living in Hornsey by census day 1871. Alfred was the youngest of their six children; born in 1869 and so several years younger than Irene Lloyd.

George and Anne’s four sons all went into office work as clerks. On the day of the 1891 census, Alfred’s work was noted down as “merchant’s clerk”; so he was probably working, like so many others, in the City of London. He was stage-struck, though. One source says that he went as far as studying drama at the London Polytechnic (probably in the early 1890s); though he doesn’t ever seem to have thought he could be a professional actor. Alfred was a regular at the West End theatres in the 1890s, though, and saw Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Johnston Forbes-Robertson and Mrs Patrick Campbell.

Irene Lloyd and Alfred Holtzer married in the spring of 1898 and in October, they went to South Africa. Alfred’s health was causing concern, and the sources for his life suggest that for several years at the end of the 1890s he was not well enough to work. He and Irene settled in Cape Town and Alfred’s health improved so that in 1900 he was able to work again. He got a job with the Standard Bank and remained an employee until he retired, in the late 1920s. What he’s remembered for in South Africa, though, is his contribution to Cape Town’s intellectual and social life; and particularly for his part in the early days of amateur and professional theatre there.

Alfred Holtzer became one of mainstays of Cape Town’s Owl Club, a men-only dining-cum-literary club formed in 1894. He was its honorary secretary from 1914 until he died. He did do some acting in South Africa but he is better known now for his work as a theatrical producer, lecturer in voice-production, playwright; and most importantly as one of the founders (in 1919) of the Cape Town Repertory Society.

All the references I found to Alfred’s involvement in theatre in Cape Town date from 1914 and after. It’s probably just a coincidence but in 1914, Irene went on her own on a trip back to England. She never returned. While going through Alfred’s papers in the South African National Archives, Freddy Ogterop found the letter Irene wrote to Alfred on 16 November 1918. The date is significant, I think – it was a few days after the Armistice. Perhaps Irene had kept up a fiction, during the war, of intending to return to South Africa but being unable to because travel by sea wasn’t safe. Now that wasn’t going to be true any more. Irene didn’t want to go back to Alfred; instead she asked him for a divorce. Probably for financial reasons, though, matters rested there for several years: Irene in England, Alfred in Cape Town; not divorced but not living as married either. In 1924, however, Alfred began divorce proceedings, in South Africa. A short time after his divorce was granted, he got married again, to Dorothy May Kemp, née Kuys (1890-1987).

Alfred Holtzer died in November 1958 in Cape Town. He was buried in the cemetery at Plumstead. As originally planned, his divorce from Irene was not of his making, and it’s clear from Alfred’s Will that he felt responsible for Irene’s financial position, even many years after he had last seen her. Alfred left £50 to his niece Enid Carrick, daughter of his much older brother Arthur. His second wife Dorothy was the main beneficiary, but Alfred stipulated that she or her heirs must pay £8 per week to Irene until Irene’s death. I wonder if the £8 weekly income might be a continuation of payments that Alfred had been making to Irene for her living expenses for many years: I’m not sure that she had any other income.

For a time there was a bust of Alfred Holtzer in South Africa, done by Moses Kottler at some stage before Alfred’s retirement from the Bank; not as a commission but because “the man had an interesting face”. However when Freddy Ogterop enquired after it, he discovered it had been destroyed in a fire. A portrait of Alfred by Frank Wiles does still exist.


freebmd; censuses 1901, 1911 - Irene and Alfred do not appear in UK on either of them.

Via Ancestry to UK Outward Passenger Lists 1890-1960: the ship ‘Greek’ left Southampton for Cape Province on 15 October 1898; amongst the passengers were Mr and Mrs Holtzer.

I couldn’t find any evidence of Irene’s return to England in 1914.

For Alfred in South Africa my information for the September 2018 update is from Alfred’s file in the National Archives, seen during 2018 by Freddy Ogterop: divorce papers; b, m and d certificates; Alfred’s Will, dating from 1944, etc. Thanks again Freddy for doing my research work for me!

The Standard Bank is one of the biggest in Africa: see

A family history tale of Alfred Holtzer, some elements of which are contradicted by evidence from other sources: via

//, to a posting by Tony Davis dated 9 June 2003. The posting asked descendants of Alfred and Irene Holtzer to contact the site. None had done so as far as June 2016. In the absence of web-based family history data covering Cape Town, this is my main source for them having no children.

The Owl Club has a short wikipedia page. There are several histories; which draw on Alfred’s reminiscences as a long-serving member. See, for example, The Third Tuesday: A History of the Owl Club 1951-1981 by Owl Club member Eric Rosenthal. Published for the Club in Cape Town 1982: 15-16.

Webpage is part of the online Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT); hosted by Stellenbosch University. NB as well as exaggerating his family background, Alfred may have cut a few years off his age when reminiscing to people in Cape Town: his year of birth is given as 1874. The profile of Alfred uses these sources amongst others:

Eric Rosenthal’s The Third Tuesday.

The Cape issue of 8 March 1929.

Who’s Who in South Africa 1940.

The Flag is Flying by Leonard Schach.

Stage by Stage: The Leonard Schach Story by Donald P Inskip. Cape Town and Pretoria: Human and Rousseau Pubns (Pty) Ltd 1977. Published in a limited edition; British Library’s copy is number 146 of 1250: p41-42 where Alfred Holtzer is described as “the Grand Old Man of Shakespeare in Cape Town and protagonist of the Irving-Tree approach”. Alfred gave Schach one of his earliest roles, as Curio in Twelfth Night. See pp118-23 Schach became one of the mainstays of classical theatre in South Africa in the years after World War 2.

Lantern volume 38 1989 p20.

The bust of Alfred is mentioned in Moses Kottler: His Cape Years by Kottler and J de P Scholtz. Tafelberg 1976 p61.


After finally admitting to her husband that the marriage was over, Irene remained in England. It’s difficult to find out where people were living between the 1911 census and September 1939 but she might have set up home in north London, near friends she had known from the 1890s; though of course, it was also near where her husband had grown up and some of his family still lived. She didn’t marry again. On the day the 1939 Register was taken, she was living, on her own, at 68 Carleton Road Islington. Perhaps she didn’t stay there once the bombing began because she died in Wells, in June 1959, aged 98.


Findmypast’s transcription of the 1939 Register; information collected on 29 September 1939.

Probate Registry entries 1959. Irene is listed under Holtzer, but also under Lloyd-Holtzer, perhaps reflecting her status as a divorced woman in a society where divorce was still not very common.

BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.

Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.

For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.

Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.

Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.

Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.

Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.

Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.


16 September 2018

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