David Slattery-Christy, Rosemary Ashe & Roy Hudd
A Blue Plaque to the Edwardian musical star Lily Elsie was unveiled at Stanhope House, Stanhope Place (near Marble Arch in London) on Friday 16th August at 11.30am. This was Lily’s home from 1911-1938. The driving force behind the plaque was the author and playwright David Slattery-Christy. David has also written a biography of Lily called Edwardian Beauty – Lily Elsie And The Merry Widow.
The event was officiated by West End star Rosemary Ashe, who told the guests that Lily was born in Leeds and started her career on the music halls, billed as ‘Little Elsie’. She eventually moved to London and as she was now a young woman felt that the name ‘Little Elsie’ was too juvenile so changed it to Lily Elsie. She became a Gaiety Girl and a protege of the theatre impresario George Edwardes . It was Edwardes who cast her in the title role of the original London production of Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. The show was a smash hit and Lily became a huge star, also appearing in the operettas The Count Of Luxembourg, The Dollar Princess and A Waltz Dream.
Among the guests at the unveiling were the President of the British Music Hall Society Roy Hudd OBE and his wife Debbie.