Née Frances Lucy Adelaide Adey (aka Dale Laurence)

b. 1865, Guildford, Surrey

d. 14 May 1946, Hampstead, London


Adey was the daughter of Fanny Maud Mary East (b. 1841, Wallingford, Surrey) and farmer Sydney Hamilton Adey (b. c1831, Tasmania). Her mother and brother, Sydney Hamilton Adey (b. 1862, Edmonton), died in 1872.

She married solicitor Reginald Brunel Harris (b. 1865, Devon, later Brunel-Norman, son of Worthing schoolmaster Joseph P. Harris) at Kensington in 1888. She is the mother of director Adrian Brunel (b.1892), mother-in-law of Irene “Babs” Brunel, and grandmother of editor/producer John Christopher Brunel (b.1920, London).

In 1901, the couple lived in Hampstead and Adey worked as a “lecturer and reciter”, appearing several times at the Steinway Hall before 1910. She also gave private lessons and ran classes in elocution and dramatic art. A reviewer of one of her poetic recitals given at the Steinway Hall in 1901, which consisted entirely of selections from the works of Browning and D.G. Rossetti, remarked:

Mme. Brunel starts with the advantage of a musical voice, and the gracefulness and restraint of her gestures make her a pleasure to watch. But she occassionally fails in what is of prime importance in a reciter – to let the audience hear every word that is said; and therefore she should guard against a fault to which she is inclined when speaking softly of slurring her words and thus rendering them inaudible even to those sitting within a few feet of her. She was, perhaps, best in the Rossetti sonnets and the more purely narrative poems; thus “A Tale” was excellent, and so was “Count Gismond,” except that she was a little lacking in dramatic intensity and scarcely told her story with the depth of feeling that would naturally be expected of a girl recounting such a personal experience. On the other hand, “How they Brought the Good News” was least successful of all, for she failed to bring out the sense of strenuous effort conveyed by the words, and indeed treated the poem in a fashion that would not have been very inappropriate to a set of vers de societe” (‘Mme. Adey Brunel’s Poetic Recital’, Times, 8 July 1901).

Adey wrote the stories for two films. Alongside her son, who worked as scenario editor, she is credited for writing the screenplay for Lady Clare (1919, British Actors), a film starring Mary Odette and based on the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. In The History of the British Film 1918-1929, Rachael Low notes that Adrian Brunel and Angus MacPhail scripted A Light Woman (Trade Shown December 1928, Gainsborough, alternate title Dolores) from “a novelettish story” written by Adey under the pseudonym Dale Laurence. The film starred Benita Hume and Gerald Ames and, according to Low, was “liked for its locations in Malta and some Spanish dancing but considered weak in dramatic value and criticised for poor acting and characterization” (Low, p.170). The film was directed by Adrian Brunel and shot by Claude McDonnell. (CW)

Read Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Lady Clare

See Filmography for Adey Brunel

See Posts for Adey Brunel

Other references

Bioscope, 23 October 1919, pp. 86-7, Advertisement for Lady Clare which reprints verses from ‘The Lady Clare’.


Christine Gledhill

Janice Healey

Clare Watson


From Adrian Brunel, Nice Work (London: Forbes-Robertson, 1949), facing p.30.

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