Nell de Silva

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Miss N. de Silva with family

Helena Margarita, Lady Martin-Harvey (née de Silva Ferro; 28 August 1858 – 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 (the year is disputed, with varying sources citing different years between 1858 and 1869), however the death registry gives the year as 1858, the daughter of Don Ramon de Silva Ferro, a Chilean consul. She married actor John Martin-Harvey (later Sir John Martin-Harvey) in 1889 and become a leading lady of his theater troupe.[3] They met at a performance of Goethe's Faust at Cambridge.[4] The couple had two children: Muriel Martin-Harvey and Michael Martin-Harvey, both actors, like their parents.[5]

During the Great War, 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.[5]


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

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.


  1. ^ "Search Results for England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007 -".
  2. ^ a b Dates of birth and death,; accessed 16 January 2016.
  3. ^ Nina de Silva (1869-1949) profile,; accessed 14 January 2016.
  4. ^ Thomas Power O'Connor (1901) In the days of my youth. London: C. Arthur Pearson, Limited.
  5. ^ a b Profile,; accessed 14 January 2016.