Nell de Silva

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Angelita Helena Maria de Silva Ferro
Nell de Silva (ca.1900).jpg
NationalityUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
SpouseJohn Martin-Harvey

Helena Margarita, Lady Martin-Harvey (née de Silva Ferro; 28 August 1867 – 29 March 1949)[1][2] was an English actress, known by such stage names as Miss N. de Silva or Nell de Silva.

She was born in London between 1864 and 1867 (as an actress she was reluctant to reveal her true age which wasn't registered when she was born; on her marriage she claimed to be 21; her parents married in 1863),[3] the daughter of Don Ramon de Silva Ferro, a Chilean consul. She married actor Sir John Martin-Harvey in 1889 and become a leading lady of his theater troupe.[4] They met at a performance of Goethe's Faust at Cambridge.[5] The couple had two children: Muriel Martin-Harvey and Michael Martin-Harvey, both actors, like their parents.[6]

During World War I, she and her husband toured the UK, giving military recruitment lectures and raising money for the Red Cross and other charities, most notably the Nation's Fund for Nurses. They raised enough money to buy a building for the College of Nursing in 1920, which became a rest home for nurses.[6]

Lady Martin-Harvey died from undisclosed causes in 1949, in Surrey, England; she was believed to be 90 years old.[2]


  1. ^ "Search Results for England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007 -".
  2. ^ a b Dates of birth and death,; accessed 16 January 2016.
  3. ^ " London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010". Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  4. ^ Nina de Silva (1869-1949) profile,; accessed 14 January 2016.
  5. ^ Thomas Power O'Connor (1901) In the days of my youth. London: C. Arthur Pearson, Limited.
  6. ^ a b Profile,; accessed 14 January 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Disher, Maurice Willson. The Last Romantic. The Authorised Biography of Sir John Martin-Harvey. London: Hutchinson, n.d.
  • Martin-Harvey, Sir John. The Autobiography of Sir John Martin-Harvey. London: Sampson Low, Marston, n.d.

External links[edit]