Frodsham, Bridge (DNB00)

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FRODSHAM, BRIDGE (1734–1768), actor, was a native of Frodsham, Cheshire. He was admitted on the foundation of Westminster School in 1746, but forfeited his position by running away. In 1748, however, he was received back at the school, being apparently the only instance of a boy twice admitted on the foundation. He ran away a second time, and making his way to Leicester attached himself to a troop of players in that town. He was encouraged by J. G. Cooper of Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire, once also a Westminster boy, to make acting his profession, and joined the company at York. He quickly attained a very high degree of popularity, became the idol of the theatre-going public, and was known as the ‘York Garrick.’ Tate Wilkinson, with whom Frodsham acted more than once, considered his abilities unquestionable, and thought his Hamlet unequalled save by Garrick and Barry. Frodsham himself told Garrick, on whom he called as a brother genius, that he believed his own assumption of that character was almost equal to that of the better-known actors. With the exception of a fortnight, during which Frodsham paid a visit to London, because he thought he and Garrick ought to know one another, he rarely left York. He died 21 Oct. 1768 at Hull, his end being accelerated by drink. He had played at the theatre three nights before, and had announced that his next appearance would be in ‘What we shall all come to.’ Frodsham's too sympathetic friends put it about that his death was caused or hastened by ill-usage at the hands of Wilkinson, who was, however, exonerated by Frodsham's widow, Isabella.

[Wilson's Wonderful Characters, iii. 239; Wilkinson's Memoirs, iv. 33–48; Wilkinson's Wandering Patentee, i. 27–8, 58–9; Welch's Alumni Westmonasterienses; Forshall's Westminster School Past and Present, p. 241.]

A. V.