East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972

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A famous eighteenth century actor who owned a house in West Molesey, then known as Grove Cottage but now as Mole Abbey Cottage. When he died in 1794 he left the house to form a home for aged and infirm actors, to be known as "Baddeley's Asylum", and enough money to pay the inmates a pension so that they would appear "respectable in the eyes of their neighbours". However the terms of the will were never observed. The trustees sold the house and diverted the money to the Drury Lane Theatrical Fund. Baddeley is perhaps best remembered for another of his bequests, that in which he gave 100 for the purchase of wine and cake to be enjoyed by the company of actors who are performing at Drury Lane each year on Twelfth Night. This little custom still continues.

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