Matthew Broadhead

Miss Maud Howard: A Short-Lived Victorian Actress

On the surface it is difficult to find much about the once famous actress Miss Maud Howard, however this only adds to the mystique surrounding her character.

The only census record with anybody by that name is in 1881, when a twenty-six year old actress Maud Howard was lodging at 88 Lambeth Road in Southwark. Head of the household was Cecilia Salas who was a widowed embroiderer with their young son of only four years old, Luis. The birthplaces of all the inhabitants ranged from Scotland to France with London in between.

So far we know that Miss Maud Howard was born in Bloomsbury, London in 1855. Immediately the next piece of substantial evidence was found in St Jame's Gazette published on Tuesday 5th May in 1885. 'A Theatrical Divorce Suit' details Mrs. Louisa Johnson's petition for divorce from her husband James Johnson on the grounds of their "adultery with Miss Maud Howard, an actress". From reading this newspaper report, we find out that Mr. James Johnson knew Miss Maud Howard since 1880, a year before the census record investigated before. By the time of this petition, their roughly five year relationship culminated in Miss Howard posing as James's wife. The outcome was a degree nisi, a court order that would have put the divorce into motion.

What happened next?


1881 England, Wales and Scotland Census

St Jame's Gazette - A Theatrical Divorce Suit