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Albani [married name Gye], Dame Emma [née Marie Louise Cécile Emma Lajeunesse] (1847–1930), singer, was born on 1 November 1847 at Chambly, Quebec, Canada, one of three surviving children of Joseph Lajeunesse, organist, and his wife, Mélina Mignault (d. 1856)...

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Allan, (Maria Caterina) Rosalbina Caradori- [Carradori-] (1800–1865), singer, was born in Milan. Her father, Baron de Munck, was an Alsatian and a colonel in the French army. Her mother, whose maiden name, Carradori, she adopted (and always so spelt in Italy), came from ...

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Arne, Thomas Augustine (1710–1778), composer and musical performer, was born in King Street, Covent Garden, London, on 12 March 1710, the son of Thomas Arne (bap. 1682, d. 1736) [see under Arne family], upholsterer and undertaker, and his second wife, Anne, ...

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (1745?–1786), actress and singer, was born, according to her friend and biographer Elizabeth Steele, in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, the daughter of the trumpeter Valentine Snow (d. 1770). Her baptism is not recorded in the register of ...

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Baillie, Dame Isobel [real name Isabella Douglas Baillie] (1895–1983), singer, was born on 9 March 1895 at 2 Princes Street, Wilton, in the border town of Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, the youngest in a family of a son and three daughters of Martin Pott Baillie...

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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce 'to her business' (...

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Barnes, Frederick Jester (1885–1938), singer, was born on 31 May 1885 at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, the only child of Thomas William Barnes (1860/61–1913), butcher, and his wife, Mary Alice Jester (d. 1899/1900). The family moved across to 214 Great Lister Street...

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Billington [née Weichsel], Elizabeth (1765–1818), singer, was born in Litchfield Street, Soho, London, on 27 December 1765, the first of the three children of Carl Friedrich Weichsel (1728–1811) and his wife, Fredericka Weirman (d. 1786). Weichsel, a native of Freiburg, Saxony...

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Blow, John (1648?–1708), musician and composer, was baptized at St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, on 23 February 1649. The record of his doctorate at Lambeth Palace confirms the identification; the age on his marriage allegation suggests that he was born in 1648. He was the second of three children of ...

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Bowlly, Albert Alick [Al] (1899–1941), singer, was born on 7 January 1899 in Delagoa Bay, Portuguese East Africa, the fourth of the ten children of Alick Pauli (1867–1927), a general dealer, and his Lebanese wife, Miriam (Mary) Ayoub-NeeJame (1874–1949). The couple married in ...

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George Biddlecombe

Braham, John (1777?–1856), singer, was probably born on 20 March 1777 in London. The year of his birth has often been given as 1774, but two accounts published during his lifetime—in The Harmonicon (10, 1832, 1), and in the Illustrated London News...

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Broadwood, Lucy Etheldred (1858–1929), musician and folk-song collector, was born on 9 August 1858 at Pavilion House, Melrose, Scotland, the youngest of the eleven children of Henry Fowler Broadwood (1811–1893), piano manufacturer, and his wife, Juliana Maria, née Birch (1816–1898). She was the great-granddaughter of ...

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Butt, Dame Clara Ellen (1872–1936), singer, was born on 1 February 1872 at 4 Adur Terrace, Southwick, Sussex, the eldest daughter and eldest surviving child of Henry Butt, a captain in the mercantile marine, and his wife, Clara Hook, great-granddaughter of Theodore Hook...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Catley, Ann (1745–1789), singer and actress, was born in an alley off Tower Hill, London, the daughter of a washerwoman and a hackney coachman, Robert Catley. According to The Life and Memoirs of the Late Miss Ann Catley (1789–90) she was a pretty and sexually precocious girl who earned money singing at public houses and to officers at the ...

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Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923), comedian and actor, was born on 21 March 1861 at 21 St Ann's Villas, Royal Crescent, Notting Hill, London, the eldest son of Jean Onésime Chevalier, language teacher, and his wife, Ellen Louisa Mathews; his name at birth was registered simply as ...

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Cibber [née Arne], Susannah Maria (1714–1766), actress and singer, was born on 14 February 1714 at 34 King Street, Covent Garden, London, the fourth child of the eight children of Thomas Arne (bap. 1682, d. 1736) [see under Arne family], an upholsterer and undertaker, and his wife, ...

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Coborn, Charles [real name Colin Whitton McCallum] (1852–1945), music-hall entertainer and songwriter, was born Colin Whitton McCallum on 4 August 1852 at 25 Sydney Square, Mile End, London, the son of Colin McCallum (1799–1872), shipbroker and freeman of the City of London...

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Cuzzoni [married name Sandoni], Francesca (1696–1778), singer, was born in Parma on 2 April 1696, the daughter of Angelo Cuzzoni, a professional violinist, and Marina Castelli. She was taught by Francesco Lanzi and made her operatic début at Parma in 1714. She sang in ...

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Dacres, Desmond Adolphus [known as Desmond Dekker] (1941–2006), singer and songwriter, was born on 16 July 1941 in St Andrew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica. Little is known about his childhood except that after his mother's early death his father, desiring a proper education for his son, sent him to live with relatives in the quiet country town of ...

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Dawson, Peter Smith (1882–1961), singer, was born on 31 January 1882 in Adelaide, South Australia, the youngest son and the eighth of the ten children of Thomas Dawson (1842–1919) and Alison, née Miller (1841–1916). Both his parents were Scottish; his father, originally from ...