Born in Bradford in 1872, Marie Studholme began her theatrical career in the early 1890’s and was soon spotted by impresario, George Edwards of the Gaiety Theatre in London. He gave her a part in the musical, “A Gaiety Girl” and her long association with Edwardian Musical Comedy began.
Taking on lead roles in both London and on UK tours, Marie also crossed the Atlantic performing with the Gaiety company in both New York and touring the United States. Her popularity and beauty lead to Marie being perhaps the most photographed women of her day, appearing on many thousands of picture postcards and leaving us all with a visual legacy that remains collectable even today.
Marie retired from the stage in 1916 and lived in the home she had designed for herself in Hampstead until she passed away in 1930.
A commemorative blue plaque was erected to Marie Studholme by The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America on 10th March 2012, marking the 140th anniversary of her birth.
Born in 1894 into the “Royal Family of Greasepaint”, Stanley was the third son of George Lupino and a cousin to Lupino Lane. Like his father before him, Stanley was soon indoctrinated into the mysteries of the stage and joined the Lupino Troupe, touring extensively around the country and maintaining the family tradition by performing in the annual pantomime at the Lupino’s spiritual home, the Britannia Theatre in Hoxton.
Stanley’s first West End debut came in 1910, when he played the cat in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Lyceum and from here his career assumed an upward trajectory with regular stage work in the West End and beyond. During the 1930’s, Stanley was the “King” of the London Musical Comedy stage, using his considerable comedic talents to endear him to a whole generation of theatre-goers.
He would come to have two children - Ida and June Lupino. Ida would go on to have considerable success in Hollywood both as an actress and a trailblazing female director during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The plaque was erected by the Theatre and Film Guild at his family home in Herne Hill in 2016
When she died in 1972, after 60 years on the stage Hetty King was one of the very last stars of that golden age Music Hall. Still performing right up until the end, her survival is a testament to her extraordinary strength and tenacity built up over those many years in the spotlight.
Hetty began her career at a very young age performing with her Father, William King, in his act and touring with the family all around the UK until her solo career began in earnest and dressing in man’s clothes for the first time, she would in a very short time join that illustrious group of Music Hall’s premier Male Impersonators - the London Idol, Vesta Tilley and American, Ella Shields.
Known for her attention to detail, Hetty would spend time observing the mannerisms of her male subjects and incorporate many of these as part of her act - she even was able to roll a cigarette with one hand!
Her large repertoire of songs included the perennial favourite “All the nice girls love a sailor”, which can be still heard today and even the end of the Music Hall era did not diminish her popularity - touring with Don Ross’s Veterans of Variety in the 1950’s and performing as part of special variety bills right the way into her eighties.
Hetty lived here at Wimbledon with her sister Olive towards the end of her life and was the recipient of The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America's first commemorative blue plaque, which was installed on 8th November in 2010.
Regarded by many as the greatest comedian of the Music Hall era, Dan Leno, had, by the time he passed away in 1904, secured his place as a legendary figure in the story of popular entertainment. Born George Galvin in the maze of streets that are now underneath Kings Cross station, Dan Leno’s introduction to the stage was through his parents, who were both performers and billed their offspring as “Little George, the infant wonder, contortionist and posturer”. This would herald the start of a career that would see Dan perform with his family, as an Irish Comedian, vocalist and champion clog dancer.
He married fellow performer Lydia Reynolds in 1883 and then made his first solo appearance in London in 1885. A part in pantomime soon followed and this success propelled his career further - topping the bills at every occasion and joining Herbert Campbell in what would become an extraordinary comic partnership.
Dan Leno’s talent lay in his comic monologues and his impersonations of everyday people; contemporary accounts of Dan’s performances reveal an intimacy with his audience, with gales of laughter often greeting him as he skipped onto the stage - such was the anticipation of what wonderful talent they were about to be treated to.
Dan died, seemingly from nervous exhaustion at the very young age of 43, leaving behind a wife and children and an outpouring of popular grief never perhaps seen for a member of the Music Hall stage. There is no doubt, that Dan Leno, occupies a very special place in Music Hall history and this blue plaque, installed by the London County Council in 1962, goes someway to recognising this extraordinary legacy.
Hailing from Scotland, Harry Lauder would come to define the Scottish archetype for London audiences - dressed in kilt and sporran, Harry Lauder would sing Hibernian songs in his soft Celtic burr for much of his highly lauded career.
His debut in London came in 1900 and he experienced an instant success, securing him work for the rest of his career. Harry Lauder was also able to export his Scottish brand to America, where he toured 22 times and to Australia with equal success.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the then 47 year old Lauder, attempted to enlist for active service, but instead he was given the job of entertaining the troops stationed at the front line. These experiences are recorded in his book "A minstrel in France” and cast a light on the conditions he found there. Inspired by the bravery of the British Tommy, Lauder led a fundraising drive which saw him cross the dangerous waters of the Atlantic for a concert in the USA in 1917 for “Harry Lauder’s Million Pound Fund”. These efforts where recognised after the war when he was knighted in 1919 - an event that was no doubt, bittersweet, for the now Sir Harry Lauder, as he would himself, lose his only son, Captain John Lauder, who was killed in action in France in 1917.
With a host of popular songs such as “I love a lassie” and Keep right on to the end of the road”, Harry Lauder was a Music Hall legend and this plaque, erected in 1969, on the Tooting house he lived in during his most successful London engagements, just 19 years after his passing in 1950 is a mark of the extraordinary impact made by this coal miner from Portobello, Scotland.
Perhaps the greatest of the “Coster” comedians, Gus Elen was born in Pimlico in 1862 and began his stage career as a London street busker, before appearing on Music Hall bills and joining the band of minstrel troupes that were so popular at seaside destinations, such as Ramsgate during the 1880’s.
By the early 1890’s, Gus Elen is billed as the “famous London Comedian” and in 1891, had introduced his audiences to the first of his “coster” songs that would come to define his performance and style for the rest of his career. Filled with cockney humour and irony, Gus Elen’s songs immediately appealed to his London working class audience and some still resonate even today; songs such as “If it wasn’t for the ‘ouses in between” and “It’s a great big shame” were hugely popular at the time and through these and many other songs, Gus Elen would reach the zenith of the Music Halls.
Following a long and successful career of nearly 30 years, Gus Elen retired - we are however very fortunate to have been able to catch a glimpse of him in action when he was filmed by Pathe in the 1930’s and you can really see the extraordinary talent and characterisation that earned him a place in our popular entertainment history.
The blue plaque was erected by the Greater London Council on his long term residence in Balham in 1979.
Born in the heart of the East End in Hoxton, Marie Lloyd would go on to become “Queen of the Music Hall” and would leave a legacy of songs and stories that are still alive in popular culture today.
Singing with her sisters from an early age, Marie Lloyd, or Matilda Alice Victoria Wood, as she was known by her family, would enter the world of Music Hall at the very height of its dominance of working class entertainment during the 1880’s and soon established herself as a popular artiste.
Her ability to engage with the audience through songs and gestures saw her rise to prominence and there was a continued fascination with the scandals that surrounded her private life as well as a determined attack by the authorities on the apparent obscenities contained in her acts. Both of these newsworthy items would keep Marie Lloyd in the public eye, but did not diminish her popularity and in July 1912 when she was excluded from taking part in the first Royal Command Performance, she put on her own performance at the London Pavilion.
Marie’s family always stayed close by and Woodstock Road saw Marie living with her sister, here at this house towards the end of her life. She died here in 1922 and was mourned by her adoring London public, with many thousands attending her funeral, which made its solemn way from this property to Hampstead Cemetery, where Marie Lloyd was laid to rest.
The Music Hall Guild installed this plaque in 2012 on the house where Marie Lloyd died, to acknowledge the huge contribution she made to our collective cultural heritage.
Although not a Londoner by birth, Gateshead born George Leybourne would find his success on the London Music Hall stage and would be propelled to Music Hall stardom almost overnight with his song Champagne Charlie.
It was in 1864 that George Leybourne first sung his ubiquitous hymn to the merits of Champagne and soon all of London was joining in with the tune. It would be the start of a career that saw George Leybourne produce a large repertoire of similar drinking songs, spurred on by the success of Champagne Charlie as well as topical, character and satirical songs that were the mark of this greatest of the “Lion Comiques” of the age. The most famous of these topical songs is to the great Belgian trapeze artiste, Leotard, as the original “Man on the Flying Trapeze” - who was wowing the audiences at the Alhambra with his high wire act in the 1860’s.
Towards the end of his career George Leybourne worked with his daughter Florence, who had married fellow performer Albert Chevalier and it was here at this house in the fashionable “De Beauvoir” town that George Leybourne would take his final bow at the young age of 42 in 1884.
The plaque was erected by the Greater London Council in 1970 and honours the extraordinary legacy of this great Music Hall star.
A giant of a performer, London born Herbert Campbell would start his stage career as one part of a burnt cork minstrel trio - Harman, Elston and Campbell. After a number of years touring the provinces, Herbert Campbell decided on a solo career and was soon established as a “warm favourite” among audiences with his resonant voice and talent for choosing very popular chorus songs, with a popular line in “Dame” numbers.
A very successful career followed which would lead him to an association with the pantomimes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, produced by Sir Augustus Harris, for nearly 25 years. These pantomimes enabled Herbert Campbell to be seen by a much wider audience than those who would frequent the Music Hall’s and he would prove a huge success. Using his giant frame of nearly 6 foot 4 inches, Herbert Campbell would play almost every pantomime character - from a very oversized Babes in the Wood, to the archetypal Dames, Queens and Kings that litter the nursery rhyme and fairy tale land of Pantomime.
For many of those 25 years, Campbell was partnered with Dan Leno; and their contrasting physicality was humour in itself - with the energetic Dan Leno, standing at a diminutive 5 foot - their comedy partnership was immediately established and continued until their last pantomime, Humpty Dumpty in 1904 - a year which would also see both of these music hall legends take their final bows.
This house was occupied by Herbert Campbell and his family during xxxx and was located in a fashionable and convenient part of the growing London suburbs. The plaque was installed by The Music Hall Guild in 2015, to acknowledge the immense contribution made by Herbert Campbell to our popular culture and to recognise his role in the development of pantomime into the annual favourite we see today.
Austin was born, Arthur Rudd, in Lambs Conduit Street, just a couple of miles down the road, in Holborn in 1869. There must have been an attraction to the stage because in August 1889, when only 19 years old, we find him on a bill at Deacons Music Hall with a notice in The Era that notes him as “ a young comedian who promises well”.
His comic talent must have been evident from the start for very quickly over the next few months he begins to ascend the bill. This marked the start of a long and extensive career on the Music Hall stage that would come to last over 40 years and would see Austin Rudd, billed variously as; “The Star Comique”, “The Choice Comic” Austin’s stage life was spent performing at all the major halls in the capital and it is interesting to note that he always seems to have long residencies - averaging 3-4 weeks at a time, which perhaps is an indication of his popularity, reliability and dependability as a performer. He travelled the length and breadth of the UK and, and in 1898, would work the circuit in Australia in a very successful tour.
As well as performing on the Music Hall stage and in Pantomime , we should also acknowledge Austin’s work as a songwriter. His large repertoire of comic songs, was supplemented by his own composing skills and as well as writing for others, we should remember that his biggest successes, like “Sailors don’t care” and “She was in my class” were from his own pen.
It is difficult to find a period in Austin’s life when he was not working. However, his life and career was sadly cut short at the age of 60, in 1929, but not before, after a lifetime on the stage he had established himself as a premier Music Hall comic vocalist who has left us a legacy of songs and memories to treasure him by.
This plaque, erected by The Music Hall Guild was installed on September 5th 2015 on the former Public House, The Kings Arms where Austin was to live in retirement with his son, Edwin.
Born in Hoxton, East London, Lupino Lane worked his theatrical apprenticeship with his family, performing at theatres and music hall’s all over the capital.
Perhaps the brightest star to shine from this “Royal Family of Greasepaint”, Lupino Lane, or Nip as he was affectionately known lived in this house during the 1930’s following his very successful foray into silent movies in Hollywood.
Working with many of the greats from this golden age of cinema, Nip established himself as an actor and producer and used his lifetime of stage experience to great effect on the silver screen. Once he had returned to the UK in 1930, Nip revived his stage career in a series of musical comedy productions that would see him develop the character of Bill Snibson during that decade. This character, would attain his legendary status in the production of Me and My Girl when it arrived at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1937 and the song, “The Lambeth Walk” would enter the popular consciousness that still resonates today.
It was during this successful period that Nip lived here at Maida Vale and this commemorative blue plaque was installed by The Theatre and Film Guild and The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America on June 15th 2014 to honour his memory.
London born Marie Kendall made her stage debut at the tender age of 5 and began a lifelong career which saw her appear in all the top London Halls and regularly in pantomime often as principal boy for the next 6 decades.
With a very wide repertoire of excellent songs, Marie Kendall had her biggest and most enduring hit with the song; “Just like the Ivy, I’ll cling to you”; was recorded many times and appeared in a British Film of 1934, “Say it with Flowers” as part of a variety bill singing both the ever sentimental “Just like the Ivy” and displaying her perfect comic timing in a wonderful song - “Did your first wife ever do that!”
Marie Kendall had a long and distinguished career, which came to an end when she retired from the stage in 1939 - she would however live for the next twenty years, only passing away in 1964 at the age of 91 - perhaps one of the last links with the Golden Age of Music Hall, that we shall never see again. However, the Kendall name lived on in show business through Marie’s nieces, actresses Kim Kendall and most famously Kay Kendall, who starred in the 1953 film, Genevieve and actor nephew Cavan Kendall.
Marie Kendall lived at this apartment block overlooking Clapham Common towards the end of her life and her presence here, alongside her life and career was acknowledged with the installation of a blue plaque by The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America on 25th September 2011.
Devonian, Fred Karno would, after a hard upbringing of earning his living as an itinerant acrobat, find his success as perhaps one of the greatest comedy impresarios of the Music Hall era.
It was here at these buildings that Fred Karno had his “Fun Factory”; the headquarters for his empire of comedy; rehearsal space, prop making, printing and scenery construction would all take place here and support the troupes of performers who would tour both the UK and the world and provide the breeding ground for the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Fred Kitchen to make their own significant impact in the world of comedy.
Fred Karno would dominate the stage with his comedy sketches from the late nineteenth century right through to the 1930’s where the inevitable rise of the both radio and movies would see the end of the Music Hall world inhabited by “Fred Karno’s Army”
He died in Dorset in 1941 and this plaque was erected by The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America on the facade of Fred Karno's former Fun Factory on September 30th 2014 to acknowledge Fred Karno's contribution to our cultural heritage and highlight this extraordinary place of entertainment.