Holloway, Winifred

Also known as: Shuldham-Shaw, Winifred


Collection date: Jan 1899

Area: London

Winifred Holloway (Mrs Shuldham Shaw, known as Holly) 1888-1930: Winifred Agnes Holloway was born in Plymouth on 11/3/1888, eldest of 2 daughters of Frederick Isaac Holloway, a sewing machine agent, and his wife Eliza Agnes. Frederick was from Gloucestershire and Eliza was a Londoner. In the 1901 census the family had moved to Balsall Heath, Birmingham (RG13/2813 f167 p22). In 1911 the family was in Redland, Bristol, Frederick having become the District Manager for the sewing machine company.

Winifred happened to be at home for the 1911 census, aged 23, but it’s known that she was already based in London. She began her singing career in London at the age of 19 (1907) and was receiving singing lessons in Clapham from John H Kennedy, father of Helen and Douglas Kennedy. Winifred obviously became friends with Helen in particular, as Helen later signed Winifred’s wedding register as a witness. Between 1907-09 Helen Kennedy was a student at the South Western Polytechnic in Chelsea, where Sharp started his School of Morris Dancing. Winifred was thus drawn into Sharp’s circle at this time but it’s not exactly clear how much folk dancing Winifred may have done herself. She appears with the dance teams in a photograph taken at Stratford but she is not ‘kitted out’ like the other women dancers.

Winifred’s strengths were on the singing side. Her style of singing was particularly suited to folk song and she played the harpsichord, piano and clavichord. She was a pupil and great friend of the Irish baritone singer Harry Plunket Greene. Winifred had the gift of mimicry and enlivened many EFDS gatherings with her ‘turns’ (Simona Pakenham biography of Maud Karpeles p167). She was on the Executive Committee of the EFDS from 1918.

On 17/3/1917 Winifred married Henry Shuldham-Shaw at Christ Church Chelsea – she was 29, he was 58, a widower. Henry (1859-1944) was born nr Dublin and had been a tea planter in Assam till he returned to London in 1912. His first wife Kate died in 1915. Winifred and Henry had a son Pat Shuldham-Shaw (b Dec1917 d Nov1977), whose reputation as a choreographer of folk dances, musician and singer is well known (http://www.patshaw.info).

After Cecil Sharp’s death in 1924, Winifred (often performing as ‘Holly’ Shaw) put her career on hold and spent the final 6 years of her life as Hon Sec of the Cecil Sharp Memorial Fund that delivered the building known as Cecil Sharp House nr Regents Park in London. This was opened on 7 June 1930 but Winifred was too ill to attend. She died two months later, aged only 42, on 14/8/1930 at her home at 7 Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead.

See tribute to Winifred by Harry Plunket Greene Journal of the English Folk Dance Society no.4 (1931).

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