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Music Hall Artistes In Abney Park Cemetery

June 10, 2019
by the gentle author

In summer, I seek refuge in the green shade of a cemetery. Commonly, I visit Bow Cemetery – but recently I went along to explore Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington to find the graves of the Music Hall Artistes resting there.

John Baldock, Cemetery Keeper, led me through the undergrowth to show me the memorials restored by the Music Hall Guild and then left me to my own devices. Alone in the secluded leafy glades of the overgrown cemetery with the Music Hall Artistes, I swore I could hear distant singing accompanied by the tinkling of heavenly ivories.

George Leybourne, Songwriter, Vocalist and Comedian, also known as Champagne Charlie (1842 – 1884) & Albert Chevalier (1861- 1923), Coster Comedian and Actor. Chevalier married Leybourne’s daughter Florrie and they all rest together.

George Leybourne –Champagne Charlie is my name, Champagne Charlie is my name ,There’s no drink as good as fizz, fizz, fizz, I’ll drink every drop there is, is, is!”

Albert Chevalier – “We’ve been together now for forty years, An’ it don’t seem a day too much, There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land, As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.”

G W Hunt (1838 – 1904) Composer and Songwriter, his most famous works were “MacDermott’s War Song” (The Jingo Song), “Dear Old Pals” and “Up In A Balloon” for George Leybourne and Nelly Power.

G W Hunt

Fred Albert George Richard Howell (1843  – 1886) Songwriter and Extempore Vocalist

Fred Albert

Dan Crawley (1871 – 1912) Comedian, Vocalist, Dancer and Pantomime Dame rests with his wife Lilian Bishop, Actress and Male Impersonator. He made his London debut at nineteen at Royal Victor Theatre, Victoria Park, and for many years performed three shows a day on the sands at Yarmouth, where he met his wife.They married in Hackney in 1893 and had four children, and toured together as a family, including visiting Australia, before they both died at forty-one years old.

Dan Crawley

Herbert Campbell (1844 – 1904) Comedian and Pantomime Star. The memorial behind the tombstone was erected by a few of his friends. Herbert Campbell played the Dame in Pantomime at Drury Lane for forty years alongside Dan Leno, until his death at at sixty-one.

Herbert Campbell, famous comedian and dame of Drury Lane

Walter Laburnum George Walter Davis (1847 – 1902) Singer, Patter Vocalist and Songwriter

Walter Laburnum

Nelly Power Ellen Maria Lingham (1854 – 1887) started her theatrical career at the age of eight, and was a gifted songstress and exponent of the art of male impersonation. Her most famous song was ‘The Boy I Love Is Up In The Gallery.” She died from pleurisy on 19th January 1887, aged just thirty-two.

Nelly Power – Vesta Tilley was once her understudy

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Lewis Jones permalink
    June 10, 2019

    Thank you. This is wonderfully evocative.

  2. June 10, 2019

    Just out of interest, did you also see the white tomb for Frank Bostock? A rather magnificent lion lies on top of it!

  3. June 10, 2019

    Another trip down memory lane …..reminding me of some of the songs sung to me by my great grandmother. ” The boy I love is up in the gallery” was one of my favourites.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    June 10, 2019

    Having recently been to a gig at Wilton’s Music Hall I can just imagine all these wonderful characters performing there.

    But how sad that some of them died so young – what a waste!

  5. Jim Keltz permalink
    June 10, 2019

    Music Hall seemed an incredibly dangerous occupation. Few of your examples lived to be 50. Intrigued to know why they died so young.

  6. Pauline Taylor permalink
    June 10, 2019

    Thank you GA this has cheered me up on a very wet, dark Monday morning, I enjoy seeing photos of Abney Park Cemetery as several members of my family are buried there and I have, so far, never managed to visit it. The Music Hall Artistes interest me too as my grandfather was a friend of one whose name always escapes me, one side of his face was painted white and the other black, does anyone know who he was and whether he is buried in Abney Park?

  7. June 10, 2019

    I lived in a tower block in Cazenove Road the 70’s which is just over the road from this historic cemetery which is well worth a visit. There were a few sad events in the block and it was rumored that the Estate was built over a part of the extended cemetery which was excavated and the remains removed and the land reclaimed for building a long time ago . Apparently the cemetery was much larger . It could possibly have been a separate cemetery as Stoke Newington High Street separates the land . Some residents claimed this as the reason for the sudden cluster of unfortunate events which occurred whilst we lived there.
    A chilling story on a rainy day ! All I can say is that my family lived there quite happily for 10 years until we eventually moved.

  8. June 10, 2019

    I loved making the acquaintance of these new-to-me thespians. The photo of Herbert Campbell sent me into a reverie of imagination. I could picture him at his crowded dressing table, going through the paces of applying his grease paint, flipping on his wig (failing to straighten it) and pulling on the eternal regal robes. I imagine a back stage dresser, running after him……”Wait up — You forgot your crown, sir!”.

    Hurrah and huzzah!

  9. Virginia Heaven permalink
    June 11, 2019

    Thanks for another great post. Quite a few of my family are buried in Abney Park Cemetery. I remember visiting in the early 70s just on the off chance I would find my maternal grandparents and my cousin David. When I saw the size of the place I wavered, and thought it would be impossible. But after a short while I found them; it seemed so strange to find their graves amongst so many. Plus, our family sang many of the songs listed at our “knees ups”. So this post was a double memory pleasure for me.

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