Hearty congratulations to Maisie Pather on her 100th birthday today – 30th October 2020. Maisie was part of the duo Koba and Kalee who appeared in the 1946 Royal Variety Performance. She was interviewed in 2016 by Edward Thomas for an article in The Call Boy and it is reprinted below.
The five talks that made up Music Hall Wednesdays in the Lambeth Heritage Festival have now been added to their youtube channel Music Hall Brixton and Beyond. So if you missed out on a talk, or enjoyed them so much you want to go back and see them again, they are all online for you to enjoy at your leisure.
A quick reminder about each talk:
Come round any old time – Brixton’s music hall community. Sue McKenzie looks at how and why Brixton was home to so many people from music hall, early cinema and variety in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She also tells the stories of some of the performers in what was a precarious and unpredictable world. Link to Sue’s talk here.
The Empress, Theatre of Varieties. Bill Linskey talks about the history of The Empress Theatre of Varieties. Opened in 1898 it quickly became one of Brixton’s best-known venues; described as ‘one of the finest of London’s suburban music halls’. Link to Bill’s talk here.
Researching Brixton’s Music Hall connections.Christine Beddoe and Tracey Gregory share stories of music hall people associated with Glenshaw Mansions on Brixton Road and sources they have used to uncover the stories. Link to Christine and Tracey’s talk here.
Music Hall Jugglers of Lambeth. Charlie Holland’s talk on music hall jugglers, featuring original props, posters, programmes and photographs, draws you into the globe-trotting lives of Paul Cinquevalli, the Mongadors, and Hanvarr & Lee. Link to Charlie’s talk here.
International Music Hall. A panel discussion on how music hall linked Brixton to the world and how performance names and personas disguised true identity. Featuring Alison Young (a solicitor who has turned her research skills to exploring the lives of her paternal family, of music hall performers); Steve Martin, (Brixton based historian and author specialising in Black British history); Amy Matthewson, (Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). Link to the panel discussion here.
In addition to the talks, the collection of Music Hall Brixton and Beyond collection on Layers of London continues to grow. There are now over 50 short histories of music hall people in and around Brixton. You can explore streets by street. https://www.layersoflondon.org/map/collections/508
Ghost Lights: Ivor Novello And His Leading Ladies is at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London, W1U 2QJ on Friday 11th December at 7pm. It is written and directed by BMHS member David Slattery Christy and features music by Ivor Novello and Noel Coward.
It will star Fenton Gray as Ivor Novello, Rosemary Ashe as Dorothy Dickson, Melanie La Barrie as Elisabeth Welch and Rebecca Louise Dale as Mary Ellis.
Dave Harker’s new book The Northern Minstrels: From Richard Whirlepipyn To James Allan has just been published. This is Dave’s 9th book about the North East’s songwriters and singers. It is an A4 book of 276 pages and priced at £25 plus £5 p&p.
Copies are available from Dave at 11 Ouseburn Wharf, St. Lawrence Road, Newcastle NE6 1BY,
BMHS Member David Garratt has just started a Facebook group devoted to Leicester’s Old Theatres – the Opera House, the Palace, Theatre Royal and the Pavilion. David plans to show posters and photos of people associated with those venues.
To view David’s posts, just go to Facebook and type in ‘Leicester’s Old Theatres
VLV (Voice Of The Listener And Viewer) is delighted that the Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, will be the first speaker in their Autumn series of online events which are being held in place of VLV’s usual Autumn Conference. The event will held on Tuesday 20th October between 10.30 and 11.30 am.
At a time when relations between the BBC and government have been strained by the row over free TV licences for the over 75’s and the choice of the next BBC Chairman is yet to be decided, it will be fascinating to hear Sir David’s thoughts on the best way forward for the BBC if it is to continue to deliver its mission to citizens in the UK and around the world.
VLV are not charging a fee to attend their online events, but VLV is a charity and there is a cost incurred in running events even when they are online, therefore they would appreciate a voluntary donation of £10 when you register for each event. Please also consider becoming a member of VLV if you are interested in supporting their work.
Brilliant pianist and BBC Radio 3 Presenter Paul Guinery has just issued a new CD of light music called Dicky Bird Hop. There are 22 items on the album including Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto, Jack Strachey’s Theatreland and In Party Mood (used as the theme tune to Housewives’ Choice), 3 pieces from Sir Noel Coward’s only ballet score London Morning, Geoffrey Wright’s revue classic Transatlantic Lullaby, Sandy Wilson’s The Centenarians’ Waltz from Valmouth, Vivian Ellis’s Alpine Pastures (used as the theme tune for radio’s My Word), and many others.
An Entertainment Provided By Peter And Christine Padwick
A light-hearted survey of banning and censorship over the past 100 years or so, touching on George Formby, Reith and the BBC, cricket, Marilyn Monroe, Sooty, G.B. Shaw, Donald McGill, the Crazy Gang, Dr. Crippen, Alfred Hitchcock, Eartha Kitt, Thomas Hardy, Henry Hall, adverts, Frank Sinatra, D.H. Lawrence, Max Miller, George Gershwin and much more along the way.
The log in details for this Zoom meeting were given in the autumn 2020 edition of The Call Boy and a reminder email has been sent to all BMHS members.
This is a ‘free event’ but donations are welcome to help cover the running costs of the event and support the society and artistes who present the events. Donations can be made by PayPal, Credit/Debit cards via our website at
Kate Garner is a singer/songwriter, pianist and the daughter of Chas Hodges from ‘Chas & Dave’.
Kate’s love affair with old songs from the Music Hall to the 1920’s & 30’s began with singalongs around the piano at family parties and the defining moment when her dad bought her a wind-up gramophone.
Since then, Kate has been committed to sharing her passion for vintage music, to highlight the exceptional songwriters and performers of the era, and to show that music is an experience best shared.
Join Kate at home for an evening of music and memories at the very piano that was such an important part of her childhood. Let Kate entertain you with the very best songs from the vintage period and hear stories about her fascinating musical journey which began as a tiny baby in a cot in Gracie Field’s ballroom and has taken her to the London Palladium & The Royal Albert Hall.
Kate’s infectious passion for vintage music and the style and colour of the Art Deco period has helped influence her own songwriting. As well as playing many of the classics from the era, Kate will share some of her own original songs inspired by the great songwriters of the time. And there will also be a sneak preview of her new ‘Mapp & Lucia’ musical based on the novels set in the 1930’s by E.F. Benson.
“Kate plunders this productive era with great aplomb and delivers some of the greatest songs of the century” Musical Theatre Review 2020
This Christmas Julian Clary will take you on a magical trip to Pantolandat The Palladium!
The home of pantomime will welcome back Palladium Panto favourites Paul Zerdin,Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot as well as the return of some past stars of the Palladium’s festive treat Ashley Banjo & Diversity and Charlie Stemp. Making their Palladium Panto debuts will be West End sensations Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow.
Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance and big show-stopping numbers, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially distanced audience for three weeks only, from Saturday 12th December 2020 to Sunday 3rd January 2021