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Allen, William Ernest (Chesney) (1894–1982), comedian and singer, was born at 7 Hamballa Road, Battersea, London, on 5 April 1894, the son of Edwin Allen, a prosperous builder, and his wife, Louisa, née Cridland. Allen's first employment on leaving school was as a solicitor's clerk. In 1912, at the age of eighteen, he made his début as an actor in repertory at the ...

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Bard, Wilkie [real name William August Smith] (1874–1944), music-hall performer, was born on 19 March 1874 at 19 Alderley Street, Hulme, Manchester, son of William Herbert Smith, a bookkeeper, and his wife, Marie Stetzer. He was educated in Manchester, first worked there in a cotton spinner's warehouse, and became well known as a concert singer, performing at such local venues as the ...

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Bygraves, Walter William [Max] (1922–2012), singer and entertainer, was born on 16 October 1922 at 7 Rye Buildings, Rotherhithe, London, the son of Henry Bygraves, dock labourer and professional boxer, and his wife, Lilian May, née McDonnell. He was brought up in abject poverty in the ...

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Herbert Campbell (1844–1904) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Campbell, Herbert [real name Herbert Edward Story] (1844–1904), music-hall performer, was born on 22 December 1844 at 16 Hamilton Street, Kennington, Surrey, the son of Henry George Story, smith, and his wife, Hannah Fisher. Little is known of his early life beyond the agitation which resulted whenever ...

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Harry Champion (1865–1942) by unknown photographer, 1938 © Getty Images

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Champion, Harry [real name William Henry Crump] (1865–1942), music-hall entertainer, was probably the William Henry Crump born at 30 Grafton Street, Mile End, London, on 8 April 1865, the son of Walter Henry Crump, a tailor who was later a butcher and licensed victualler, and his wife, ...

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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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Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis Chevalier (1861–1923) by B. Knight [Mafekin' Night] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chirgwin, George (1854–1922), music-hall performer, was born on 14 December 1854 at 4 Great St Andrews Street, St Giles, London, the fourth of the four children of Edward Chirgwin (d. 1877), shoemaker, journeyman, and circus performer, and his wife, Caroline (d...

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Charles Coborn (1852–1945) by unknown photographer [in costume for the Monte Carlo song] Mander & Mitchenson Theatre Collection

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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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Charlotte Louisa Collins (1865–1910) by London Stereoscopic Co. Getty Images – London Stereoscopic Co.

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Collins [married names Cooney, Tate], Charlotte Louisa [Lottie] (1865–1910), music-hall entertainer, was born on 16 August 1865 at 50 Richard Street, St George-in-the-East, London, the daughter of William Alfred Collins, wood-turner, and his wife, Charlotte, née Atkinson. Her father was also a ‘blackface minstrel’, and at the age of eleven ...

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Cornelys [née Imer; married name Pompeati], (Anna Maria) Teresa [known as Madame Trenti, Mrs Smith] (1723?–1797), singer and impresario, was born in Venice, probably in 1723, to the Genoan actor and impresario Giuseppe Imer (d. 1758) and his wife. Many particulars of her life, especially before 1759, derive from ...

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J. W. Ebsworth

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Cowell, Samuel Houghton (1820–1864), actor and comic singer, the son of Joseph Cowell and his first wife, Maria Murray, was born in London on 5 April 1820. He was taken by his father to America in 1822, and educated in a military academy at ...

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Ivor Cutler (1923–2006) by Angela Deane-Drummond, 1974 Getty Images

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Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006), humorist and singer, was born Isadore Cutler on 15 January 1923 at 3 Ralston Drive, Govan, Glasgow, the second son and third of five children of Jack Morris Cutler, draper and jeweller, and his wife, Paulina (Polly), née Goldberg. Both his parents were Jewish, and had arrived in ...

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Elen, Ernest Augustus [Gus] (1862–1940), music-hall singer, was born on 22 July 1862 at 103 Pulford Street, Pimlico, London, the fifth of eleven children of Edwin Elen (1821-1887), a viewer of cloth in the Royal Military Clothing Depot, and his wife ...

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Ernest Augustus Elen (1862–1940) by unknown photographer, c. 1905 © National Portrait Gallery, London