Chair on which Henry Irving died
Varnished wood with engraved plaque
"ON THIS CHAIR HENRY IRVING BREATHED HIS LAST OCT 13TH 1905 / PRESENTED TO THE GARRICK CLUB BY SEYMOUR HICKS" (engr. on plaque)
Presented to the Garrick Club by the Midland Railway Co., 1908 [Gift 333]; lent by the Committee to Sir Seymour Hicks, by whom re-presented to the Garrick Club, 1937 [Gift 554]
Gift 333 and Gift 554
Sir Seymour Hicks recounted stories about the "great Henry Irving" and how he came about the chair in "The Sunday Express" of March 12th, 1939, as part of his regular column on famous people he had met:
"I possess the chair on which he died at the Midland Hotel, Bradford. He was assisted in a state of collapse from a four-wheel cab into the small hall entrance, sat down, and there died.
It is strange how the chair came into my possession. I was playing at Sheffield, and went immediately to Bradford and inquired if any one knew on which chair Sir Henry had died.
The night porter who had assisted him, I discovered, had been discharged. I eventually found him in a cottage on the outskirts of the city. He told me that I should recognise the chair by finding his initials in pencil under the seat. I asked him what had made him think of putting them there, and he said: - 'I knew Sir Henry Irving was a great man, and that some day some one might want the chair, as it would be historical.' The man was right."