(b. 1883, Kingston Jamaica – d. 1933, Forest Hill, Lewisham)
Drysdale was a singer and later vocal teacher, known as Professor Drysdale. Drysdale was part of the Jamaican Choir that visited the UK in July 1906. Later vocal teacher, specialising in working with Black theatre performers. He taught Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Florence Mills and extended hospitality to visiting Black musicians who needed somewhere to stay. He advertised his services as a ‘Specialist in Breath Control, Diction and Style. Pupils carefully trained for opera, oratoria and concert platform’ (Thanet Advertiser 01/04/1922) ‘Bel Canto’ singing teacher, 11 Westbourne Road, Forest Hill, SE25.
He sang ‘Fall In’ as part of Southall Brotherhood in a ‘patriotic musical concert’ in 1914. By the 1920s, he advertised widely to the public as a former pupil of Signor Lenghi Cellini and Giovanni Cleriei, as a vocal coach and elocution teacher. He taught Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Florence Mills and extended hospitality to visiting Black musicians who needed somewhere to stay.
There is surprisingly little on Drysdale’s life, however he features in Marian Anderson’s biography, Marian Anderson
A Singer’s Journey by Allan Keller.
This podcast by Mike Guilfoyle, a local South London historian, uncovers more about Drysdale’s life in Forest Hill