Amos Bailey

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Amos Bailey (1855-1924) was a Cape Town businessman and theatre lover.


Born in 1855, he later established himself in the growing suburb of Woodstock to build a career as a grocer, provision merchant and draper, eventually owning his own double-story premises in Lower Road Woodstock. His business soon expanded to also serve Salt River and other suburbs. A 1897 advert in The Cape Town Guide of 1897 states that he was an importer of "Drapery, Grocery, Hardware, Lampware, Brushware, Cutlery, Boots and Shoes, Clothing, Stationery, Fancy Goods and every description of Merchandise. Also importer of Pianos and Organs."[1]

Married to Catherine Gamman (1855-1922), with whom he had a son, Joseph Gamman Bailey, and a daughter, Millicent Kate Bailey. Amos passed away in 1924 and he and his family are buried in a family grave in the Woltemade Cemetery in Maitland, Cape Town.[2]

Contribution to South African theatre and performance

As an amateur theatre lover, performer and musical director, he was the founder and leading light of both the Musical and Dramatic Society (in 1888) and of the Woodstock Amateur Operatic Society in Woodstock, Cape Town.

He also participated as an actor in many of their productions, (e.g. playing the "Pirate King" in The Pirates of Penzance).



"Cape Town Firms: Amos Bailey, Board of Executors, R. Cane & Sons", The Cape Town Guide 1897 , p, 127[3]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 51, 302, 423.

P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica

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