Trevor Jones

Trevor was 2nd mate of the "Winchester Castle" in 1958.  Very likeable and sociable, he will be remembered for having one of the first records of the musical My Fair Lady. His cabin being just abaft the chart room and bridge, by the end of the voyage we probably knew the music and words better than the cast!  


From The Times

August 2, 2008

Trevor Jones: front-of-house manager for the Royal Opera House

Trevor Jones

Jones: he had to help Pavarotti to find a bent nail before he would sing

Trevor Jones was a familiar figure at the Royal Opera House (ROH) for almost 40 years. Always immaculately dressed in a dinner jacket he acted as house manager, ensuring that everything worked smoothly front of house: mistakes and complaints were handled with a calm authority. He was a man of gentle but determined voice and made as little fuss as possible. He treated everyone the same: greeting royalty and the stars of yesteryear with the same warm welcome as he did everybody. Jones ensured everything went like clockwork, especially when the stalls were removed for the Covent Garden Proms and the live relays into Covent Garden piazza — of which he became a wonderful master of ceremonies. In his autobiography Sir Jeremy Isaacs (former general director of the ROH) called Jones “unflappable”.

Trevor Jones was brought up in Newport, South Wales, but in his teens worked on tramp ships carrying iron ore along the coast of Australia. In Durban he noticed how smart the uniforms of the Union-Castle Steamship Company were and joined up as third officer. He became a master mariner and chief officer of the line, spending most of his years on the South African to London route.

In 1959 he applied to the Royal Opera House as assistant front-of-house manager. Jones was interviewed by David Webster, then the general director. “He lolled in his black leather chair,” Jones recalled later, “smiled benignly and examined me slowly and carefully from top to toe.” Jones was then taken to a tiny office high up at Covent Garden — which was to become his office for 40 years — and John Tooley (Webster’s assistant and successor, now Sir John) introduced himself and asked if he was interested in food. Jones wondered if this was a trick question. In fact, he had the job and was responsible for catering.

Jones was to give Covent Garden distinguished and loyal service until he retired in 1997, first as assistant house manager, then as house manager in 1972. He semi-retired in 1994 until the ROH closed for redevelopment in 1997. His time as a seaman proved invaluable at Covent Garden. He took the attitude “worse things happen at sea” on an evening of crisis and likened the ROH to running a ship that did not leave the quayside.

Jones was often given the knotty task of appearing in front of the curtain with news of a cancellation. He did so with much grace — and without a microphone — and spoke foreign names to the manner born. There were the odd problems. A school bus with the urchins for Cavalleria Rusticana was stuck in St John’s Wood. Jones gleefully quipped that “the performance would start on time and the urchins may drift on later”. The fiery American soprano Kathleen Battle was to give a Sunday evening concert and the start was delayed: the audience was slow hand-clapping. Jones went to her dressing room and La Battle performed. Jones, the most discreet of men, never mentioned what had been said.

Before a similar concert Luciano Pavarotti delayed his entrance. Jones found the tenor anxiously searching for a bent nail. “I must have a bent nail!” Jones and Pavarotti searched all over the stage without success for this good-luck talisman. Eventually Jones phoned up the carpentry department and told them to bring a bent nail to the stage. The evening was saved.

But his calm reserve was best evidenced at a royal gala. The police warned him that they had found a suspicious package in the crush bar and insisted the gala be stopped and the theatre evacuated. With much self-control Jones inspected the package, realised it was not dangerous and crossed the road to Bow Street police station, informing the startled duty sergeant: “It’s your problem now.”

Jones’s wife, Rosemary Lowndes, predeceased him. He is survived by their son.

Trevor Jones, front-of-house manager, Royal Opera House, 1959-97, was born on August 14, 1929. He died on June 24, 2008, aged 78

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