top of page

Latest News

music hall guld scroll.jpg

WELCOME to our NEWS page.

We hope you will find something of interest here

Vesta Tilley

Monday 13th May 2024 marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of British Music Hall star VESTA TILLEY (1864-1952) and in recognition of this, we have restored her prestigious memorial which stands prominently on a corner plot in Putney Vale Cemetery. 


The position of the memorial, however, means that it is occasionally damaged by vehicles as they turn the corner. 

To prevent this, we will be working with the cemetery authority to install a bollard to help protect the memorial for the future.  If you are a regular visitor to the cemetery and should ever see the memorial damaged, we would be very grateful if you will let us know. 




To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the great Music Hall star MISS MARIE LLOYD (1870-1922) we restored her final resting place at Hampstead Cemetery. 


The restoration included levelling the tall granite Celtic cross and kerb set, which was no easy task.  

As custodians of Marie Lloyd's family grave, we will continue to ensure that this memorial is preserved for future generations to pay their respects.



Music Hall Guild Marie Lloyd mhg.jpg

Remembering Music Hall Comedian GUS GARRICK


We are pleased to announce that on 30th December 2021 we marked the grave of the popular Music Hall comic vocalist GUS GARRICK (1868-1934) who died on 12th March 1934 aged 65 and who was laid to rest at Streatham Park Cemetery in South London.   


Gus was born JOHN JAMES GARRICK  on 18th July 1868 in Liverpool.  He married LILLIE KELLINO (1871-1966) of the famous acrobatic troupe known as THE KELLINOS and together they had four children. 

Gus was a popular Music Hall artiste whose comical songs include I Can't Now, No Flies on Him, I Had A Good Home and I Left and Johnny Get Your Gun.      




We are pleased to announce that on 13th July 2020, we marked the grave of the famous theatre costume designer PERCY ANDERSON (1851-1928) who rests in the churchyard at Crondall, Hampshire. 


Percy Anderson was a gifted portrait artist and prolific theatre costume designer,  who was particularly renowned for his historical and detailed work for theatre managers like Richard D'Oly Carte at the Savoy, Herbert Beerbohm Tree at His Majesty's and George Edwardes at London's Gaiety Theatre.  Percy made his debut for the comic opera Lady of the Locket (1885)  composed by his good friend William Fullerton Jr. 


Percy Anderson died on 30th October 1928 aged 77. 

If you would like to make a contribution to the restoration of a neglected grave or help mark an unmarked  grave with a new memorial, please go to our Donation page to do so.


To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Music Hall star MARIE LLOYD (1870-1922) on the 12th February 2020, we were very pleased to unveil a commemorative blue plaque at her former home: 73 Carleton Road in Tufnell Park in North London.  

This is our second commemorative blue plaque installation for Marie Lloyd and it is a recognition of the continued interest in her life and career.


Commemorating Dame THORA HIRD 

On Saturday 7th July 2019 we celebrated a legend of both stage and screen, the inimitable actress Dame THORA HIRD at her long-term Bayswater Mews home with the installation of a commemorative blue plaque, unveiled by her daughter, the actress Janette Scott and Granddaughter, actress, Daisy Torme.

This intimate, memorable occasion formed part of the annual summer party organised by the residents.  It was an immense privilege for us to be included in this special event to pay tribute to a much loved and revered actress who will never be forgotten.

Our heartfelt thanks go to lovely Janette, James and Daisy for their support.

Dame MARGOT FONTEYN commemorated

On 17th May 2019 we installed a commemorative blue plaque to the legendary ballerina DAME MARGOT FONTEYN in celebration of what would have been her 100th Birthday!


This plaque has been installed upon her childhood home at 3 Elm Grove Road in Ealing.    As a child Margot took her first ballet lessons just around the corner.    Dame Vanessa Redgrave had agreed to unveil this plaque but regretfully we had postpone the event, but nevertheless we are mighty proud that this plaque had been installed in time for this important anniversary.

Our sincere thanks go to the owners of 3 Elm Grove, Dame Vanessa Redgrave and to our dear friend Jennie Bisset.   

music hall guild margot fonteyn.jpg

If you would like to  make a contribution towards a forthcoming

Commemorative Blue Plaque installation, please go to our Donation page to do so.

Commemorating Actress GABRIELLE RAY 

On 14th November 2018 we were honoured to mark the grave of the British stage actress and dancer GABRIELLE RAY (1883-1973) with a fitting memorial at her final resting place in Englefield Green Cemetery, Surrey. 

Gabrielle Ray lived an extraordinary long life.  At the height of her fame, her dancing, singing, grace and beauty lit up the Edwardian stage and for many, she became the epitome of an English picture postcard beauty.  

As custodians of her resting place, we chose an English rose coloured granite memorial with simple gold lettering to echo her purity, elegance and endurance. 


Lest We Forget 

Singer ANNE SHELTON Remembered

On 24th August 2018 we restored the final resting place of British singer ANNE SHELTON, OBE (1923-1994) at Camberwell New Cemetery in South London.

Honey-voiced Anne began her singing career in the 1940s which  continued until her passing in 1994.  She was popular both here in the United Kingdom and in America and maintained a very long association with the armed forces.    She was awarded an OBE in 1990 for her work with The Not Forgotten Association.


Her best selling hits included Lay Down Your Arms, The Village of St Bernadette, Sailor and the evergreen  I'll Be Seeing You. 


Lest We Forget

music hall guild anne shelton 2018.jpg

"The Female Max Miller"

Actress, comedienne and singer NORA FORD (1909-1970) was unknown to us before we began our extensive work in Abney Park Cemetery at Stoke Newington,  to identify the final resting places of the many Music Hall and Theatre performers buried there. 

It was John Baldock of The Abney Park Trust who helped us to locate Nora's grave,  which was positioned in a very overgrown, inaccessible part of the cemetery grounds.

The memorial itself was found to be resting on top of someone else's memorial, as it had not been repositioned following the funeral of husband Cecil Frederick Suter (1898-1874),  who was interred there in 1974.  

Nora was born Nora Edith Ethel Posford on 21st November 1909 in Islington.  Her stage career began in 1921, when she was 12 years old, playing the part of The Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland at London's Garrick Theatre alongside Hayden Coffin (Mad Hatter) and Phyllis Griffiths (Alice).     


From the late 1920s she appeared on the legitimate stage as well as the Variety stage as a comedienne and following a Canadian tour in 1932, with Sir John Martin Harvey's Company she changed her name to Nora Ford.   By 1933 she  appeared with him as Annette in The Bells at the Bournemouth Pavillion.  In the late 1930s, she was billed as chic and cheeky and the popular comedian Max Miller gave Nora permission to use one of his songs in her Variety Act. She would go on to present an impersonation of him, becoming known as The Female Max Miller. 

Throughout the 1940's and 1950's Nora appeared regularly on variety bills with some of the biggest names in the business and was hailed as a "Personality comedienne with sauce in her patter and a merry twinkle in her style"

She married musician Cecil Suter in 1953 and together they lived in Hackney until her passing on 15th August 1970.   Devoted husband Cecil died four years later in June 1974.


Upon restoring their memorial we added Cecil's name. Together may they rest in peace. 

music hall guild nora ford.jpg
music hall guild nora ford grave.jpg

If you would like to make a contribution to the restoration of a neglected grave or help mark an unmarked  grave with a new memorial, please go to our Donation page to do so.


On 23rd December 2017 we installed a new memorial on a previously unmarked grave in Streatham Park Cemetery to celebrate the lives of two professional and very talented Variety Artistes.  


ANTHONY  WALSH (1884-1968) professionally known as TONY  WALSH was a skilled juggler and popular entertainer.


JOHN DAVIDSON McDONALD (1891-1968) professionally known as AGAR YOUNG was an accomplished acrobat and pantomimist.      


Both gentleman were beneficiaries of The Variety Artistes Benevolent Fund, now known as The Royal Variety Charity who were laid to rest in the same grave in 1968. 

Lest We Forget

Grave of Tony Walsh and Agar Young - music hall guild.jpg

If you would like to make a contribution towards the restoration of a long forgotten theatrical grave or help us to instal a new memorial on an unmarked theatrical grave, please go to our Donation page to do so.  Thank you! 


On the 25th November  2017 as part of our ongoing memorial restoration programme, we restored the final resting place of the great Music Hall Artiste  KATE CARNEY (1869-1950) who rests with her family at Putney Vale Cemetery.   


Kate's impressive white marble memorial had to be lifted, levelled, repaired and cleaned to help bring it back to its former glory and as custodians of Kate's resting place, it was a great honour for us to restore the memorial in this way. 


Kate was a wonderful performer who had a huge repertoire of sMusic Hall songs that include:  Oysters a Shilling a Dozen,  A Donkey Cart Built for Two,  From Poverty Street to Golden Square,  Liza Johnson,  When the Summer Comes Again  and  Are We To Part Like This Bill? 

Lest We Forget

If you would like to make a contribution towards the restoration of a long forgotten theatrical grave or help us to instal a new memorial on an unmarked theatrical grave, please go to our Donation page to do so.  Thank you! 

Shakespearean actor-director

On the 2nd October 2017 we restored the final resting place of that esteemed Shakespearean actor, director and theatre manager SIR BEN GREET (1857-1936)

who rests with his family in Charlton Cemetery, South East London.  

As custodians of Sir Ben's grave, we were able to arrange to have the granite memorial lifted, levelled and cleaned.  The only thing that we could not repair, was the damage caused from shell fire which happened during the second world war, which affected several memorials in this cemetery. 



If you would like to make a contribution towards the restoration of a long forgotten theatrical grave or help us to instal a new memorial on an unmarked theatrical grave, please go to our Donation page to do so.  Thank you! 

music hall guild ben greet grave 2017

Comedian HARRY WELDON remembered

We are pleased to announce that on the 11th

September 2017 we restored the grave of the

popular Music Hall actor-comedian HARRY

WELDON (1881-1930) at his final resting

place in Hampstead Cemetery.  


Harry Weldon was born on 1st February 1881

in LiverpoolHe made his debut in 1900 at the

Tivoli Theatre in Barrow and went on to join

Fred Karno's Company, often playing a

character called Stiffy in a popular comedy

sketch called The Football Match, which also

featured a young Charlie Chaplin

He married twice, his second wife being the

Music Hall performer HILDA GLYDER

Harry sadly died on 10th March 1930 aged 48.

Lest We Forget

music hall guild restoration harry weldon.jpg

Actress and dancer



We are pleased to announce that on September 1st 2017, we restored the final resting place of the music hall singer and skirt dancer LOTTIE COLLINS (1865-1910) who rests at St Pancras and Islington Cemetery.

Lottie is perhaps best known for performing the song "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay."

She was both a Music Hall artiste and a  Musical Comedy actress at London's Gaiety Theatre and with her two sisters Marie and Lizzie Collins, who started out as The Sisters' Collins. 


Lottie's second husband was the popular Music Hall artist  James W. Tate and two of her three daughters became popular actresses:  Lucia Collins and Jose Collins (1887-1958) 


nelly power commemorated

On the 14th August 2017 we installed a commemorative blue plaque for the famous music hall star Miss NELLY POWER (1854-1887) at her former home at 97 Southgate Road, Islington. 

Nelly's performing career began at the tender age of 7, after her mother Agnes recognising a spark of talent, steered her towards the stage.  It was not long before she was lauded and billed as a celebrated juvenile comedienne.   Throughout her career Nelly appeared in Burlesque, Music Hall and Pantomime, appearing alongside many of the great performers of the day.

She had an extensive repertoire that included songs like  Tiddy Fol Rol, One Little Kiss,  Racketty Jack,  La Di Da and The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery. 

Her life can to an abrupt end when she died of pleurisy at the age of 32.

Music Hall comedian

On 29th July 2017 we restored the final resting place of the Music Hall comic vocalist and Pantomime star HARRY RANDALL (1857-1932) who rests at Hampstead Cemetery with his family. 

Harry Randall became a successful Music Hall artiste and had a vast repertoire of comical songs.  He was also well-known for his annual appearances in Pantomime, where he often played the part of the Dame.  From 1904 he took over from Dan Leno at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane. 

music hall guild harry randall grave restoration.jpg

Musical comedy actor

On Sunday 16th July 2017 we celebrated the life of the great Edwardian Musical Comedy star


at his former home in West Heath Avenue, Hampstead.   

Circus performers remembered


The world of Circus is celebrated with our memorial restoration of two luminaries of this ancient form of entertainment, which took place in two cemeteries in South East London between 30th June and 2nd July 2017.

WILLIAM PINDER (1828-1916) and SAMUEL LOCKHART (1851-1933) both came from Circus families and plied their itinerant trade all around the UK and Europe.   


Pinder’s Circus eventually settled in France, where it still operates today and Samuel Lockhart, was connected through his mother to the Pinder family and was renowned as an elephant trainer, developing his own Elephant Act.

The family grave of the Pinder family is in West Norwood Cemetery.  This ornamental memorial required a full restoration that included the return of three ceramic family portraits.   


The final resting of elephant trainer Samuel Lockhart and his family is situated in the heart of Ladywell Cemetery and was subject to a significant restoration including the replacement of original lead lettering.

We were very happy to have worked, not only with members of the Pinder family, but also The Friends of West Norwood Cemetery and The Friends of  Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery;  We are grateful for their help and support in this project.

Lest We Forget.

If you would like to make a contribution towards the restoration of a long forgotten theatrical grave or help us to instal a new memorial on an unmarked theatrical grave, please go to our Donation page to do so.  Thank you! 


music hall guild edward lewis.jpg

On 24th February 2017 we restored the final resting place of British actor, comedian and Pantomime star EDWARD LEWIS (1864-1922) at Brockley Cemetery in South East London. 

Edward Honition Lewis, the son of a travelling actor was born on 11th January 1864 in Honiton, Devon. 

His father, Jeremiah, professionally known as Walter Lewis at that time ran a theatrical company that toured small towns and villages and Edward would soon become part of this troupe, even as a babe in arms, he would be carried onto the stage, which would, in the best theatrical tradition, inevitably, set him on the path to a career on the dramatic stage.

Edward’s early memories remind us how hard life was for a young member of a touring company; at Nottingham he tells us in his memoirs that he once acted "ninety nine times in 3 days in 33 performances a day, beginning at nine in the morning and going on until eleven in the evening”. Edward also admits that he had little time for school but that his father made him learn parts from Shakespeare, that at the time, was a great burden to the young Edward, but later, would be something he would be “deeply grateful” for.

At the age of eighteen, in 1882, Edward joined the touring company of “New Babylon” playing the jockey, Tiny Spurts and this saw the start of an extensive career in stock companies,  performing both straight and comedic roles, as well as leading parts in burlesque and, most famously, pantomime, in which Edward Lewis would play, across the course of his extensive and successful career, almost every principal pantomime part in almost every theatre around the UK and abroad. Perhaps it is fitting that he would play his last stage role in a pantomime, Sinbad, at the Theatre Royal Bristol and it is from there he was forced to relinquish his part due to the illness that would, only a few months later, see him take his final call.

His fulsome obituary in The Stage newspaper and the many expressions of regret found in newspapers published in all parts of the United Kingdom, is testament to his talents and capabilities and his early death from cancer in 1922, at the age of 58,  robbed the stage of one of its leading lights.

Lest We Forget.


We are thrilled to announce that on 6th November 2016 we restored the final resting place of the great Music Hall star GEORGE LEYBOURNE (1842-1884), who rests in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington with his daughter, actress FLORRIE LEYBOURNE (1868-1931), her husband, the actor, comedian, singer and composer ALBERT CHEVALIER (1861-1923) and their son FREDERICK GEORGE CHEVALIER (1887-1909). 

GEORGE LEYBOURNE is considered by many to be one of the finest music hall stars of the 1860s and 1870s.   His talent, charisma and expertise endeared him to the audiences of the day and his choice of songs that include Champagne Charlie, Up in a Balloon and The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, have secured his place in our collective cultural heritage. 

ALBERT CHEVALIER is perhaps best known for his sentimental ballad “My Old Dutch '' and for the more raucous “Knocked ‘em in the Old Kent Road' ' in which he cultivated his character as a coster comedian.  Albert, however,  was born of fairly middle class stock in West London, not in the East, and only after a career in the legitimate theatre did he find a popular outlet for his wide range of characters and sketches in the Music Hall’s of London and the provinces.

Both George and Albert are in many ways the epitome of Music Hall and exemplify the extraordinary talent required to succeed not only in the rowdy halls of the nineteenth, but also the more refined, but nonetheless demanding audiences of the early twentieth century.


We are pleased to announce that on 5th November 2016 we restored the final resting place of Minstrel and Music Publisher HARRY HUNTER (1840=1904)  who was buried at Abney Park Cemetery.


The world of burnt cork minstrelsy is rightly considered a completely inappropriate form of entertainment in these more enlightened times; but for the Victorian Public it was a most refined way to spend an afternoon.


Minstrelsy, with white faces covered with burnt cork, alongside its sentimental ballads and part songs was a major form of entertainment from the 1860’s and many groups were established including one by HARRY HUNTER, which was called the Mohawk Minstrels.  Harry, born William Henry Jennings in 1840, enjoyed great success before leaving the stage and joining forces with music publishers, Messrs. Francis and Day to form what would become one of the biggest publishing house of popular music of the early twentieth century, still known as Francis, Day and Hunter.


Harry passed away in October 1904 and his grave is marked with an impressive white marble memorial,  which for many years was concealed by undergrowth and required a deep professional clean to help bring it back to its original state.


music hall guild Harry Hunter grave rest

Music Hall artiste
Tom McNaughton

As part of our continuing efforts to restore memorials that have fallen into disrepair, we have undertaken the restoration at Hampstead Cemetery of the grave of Music Hall comedian Tom McNaughton.


Tom was born on 1st July 1866 and began his stage career appearing in a double act with his brother Fred. They would soon establish a very successful cross-talk patter act that toured not only all over the UK but also the USA and South Africa.

Music Hall Guild Archive Grave of Tom McNaughton.jpg

Tom married actress Alice Lloyd, sister of Marie Lloyd.  Together they toured the USA, where their success continued to grow.


Tom McNaughton died on 28th November 1923.  His grave, just feet away from the family grave of Marie Lloyd,  is marked with a large marble, low kerb memorial with an engraved oval plaque.


music hall legend

Music Hall Guild Jenny Hill Trio.jpg

On 15th September 2016 we restored the grave of a legendary Music Hall star of the late nineteenth century at Nunhead Cemetery.


There can be little denying the sheer popularity of  JENNY HILL (1848-1896)  amongst the Music Hall going public of the late Victorian era.  Her own story of near destitution fed into her immaculate portrayals of poor East End waifs, performed with great pathos, which themselves endeared her to her adoring audience.



Image: Before and after images of our memorial restoration

Sadly, Jenny's grave is now part of an area in Nunhead Cemetery which has shamefully been designated by Southwark Council, as a Nature reserve and although the grave is fairly close to the path, it remains surrounded by unmanaged trees and shrubs which continue to pose a risk to its integrity in years to come.   It is a miracle that the memorial has remained relatively unscathed in the intervening years and our restoration sought, as a reminder of how important Jenny's grave is and how much her memorial needs to be preserved.


Actress & Comedienne

On 14th August 2016, we restored the final resting place of Music Hall comedienne and pantomime star FANNIE LESLIE (1856-1935) who was laid to rest in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery.

Fannie's grave was without doubt the most difficult to access, due to the extreme wild conditions within this cemetery,  where certain areas have been left to nature and memorials put at risk.     


We are very grateful to Cemetery Manager Sean Holloway for helping us to locate Fannie's grave within this dense,  unmanaged area.

Actor & comedian harry nicholls remembered

We are pleased to announce that on 12th August 2016, we restored the final resting place of the famous British theatre actor, comedian, composer and playwright HARRY NICHOLLS (1852-1926) in Old Chiswick Cemetery.

Harry Nicholls, the famous Victorian actor, comedian, songwriter and dramatic author was born Henry Thomas Nicholls on March 1st 1852 in London and educated at The City of London School. 


As a youth he had some clerical experience in a railway office and for quite some time he was apprenticed to an auctioneer. 


Nicholls’s first London stage appearance was on October 3rd 1874 at the Old Surrey Theatre, playing Honeybun in Sterling Coyne’s farce “Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell?”


It was whilst performing at The Grecian Theatre that he met and partnered up with the music hall comedian Herbert Campbell and together they became one of the standing features of Drury Lane pantomimes.


Under the management of Sir Augustus Harris, Nicholls was associated with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 1880 until 1893 and performed in many comedy dramas and Pantomimes.   In 1894, he transferred his allegiance to the Adelphi Theatre and also appeared in musical comedies at The Gaiety Theatre under the management of the great George Edwardes.


A popular songwriter and author, Harry Nicholls achieved great success with the musical comedy “The Toreador” (1901) written with James T. Tanner.


In 1878, Harry married Lucy Jane Pettitt, the sister of dramatist Henry Pettitt at Islington and they had three children.


Harry Nicholls died on 29th November 1926, aged 74.

Image left: Greta Trevers, Great Niece of Harry Nicholls at the

grave before the restoration.



Musical comedy couple remembered

We are pleased to announce that on 29th July 2016 we completed our restoration of the grave of the popular actor, comedian and singer FRED ALLANDALE (1872 - 1921) and his wife, the actress and dancer MAIE ASH (1888 - 1923) who rest together with members of Maie's family at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.


This restoration project took some time to complete because a dead self-seeded sycamore tree,  which was being held up by wild ivy, posed as a threat to this and other memorials in the area.  When we first came across the grave, the memorial was totally hidden by a dense bramble bush, which took a long period of time to cut away and remove.

Access followed and the rotting tree was carefully removed and laid down for the insects to deal with.    Fred and Maie's memorial was then lifted, levelled and professionally cleaned and all missing lead lettering were replaced.   


The National Association for the Protection of Cemeteries and Graves (NAPCG) informed us that they receive more complaints about the condition of cemeteries that have been 'left to nature' than anything else.   A sad situation indeed and not very respectful to the dead, their families and the people that visit cemeteries, who could easily lose their life by a fallen dead tree.   We have informed Hackney Council several times and The Abney Park Trust are aware of our grave concerns and we have asked for more tree management to help the cemetery become a safer place to visit and to show more respect for the graves and those buried there. 

Fred and Maie were very popular artistes in their own right and were married for just 8 years, until Fred sadly died suddenly of a heart attack in 1921 at the age of 49. Maie died 2 years later at the age of 35.



fred kitchen trio.jpg


On the 27th March 2016 we undertook the restoration on the family memorial to famous British comedian FRED KITCHEN (1871-1951)

in West Norwood Cemetery, South London.


The memorial is marked by a symbolically broken column surmounted by the traditional theatre masks of Comedy and Tragedy.   The inscription above Fred's name, to the left of the memorial, makes fine use of one of

his best loved catchphrases, from one of his most famous sketches

“The Bailiffs” which states wryly “Meredith, we’re in!” 


Also resting with Fred is his father RICHARD HENRY KITCHEN (1830-1910), who was also known as a famous pantomimist during his long career on the stage.


Fred Kitchen memorial restored by Music Hall Guild..jpg


On 16th February 2016 we were delighted to commemorate not only a famous theatre and movie comedian but also his equally famous daughter, who was born at their former home in Ardbeg Road, Herne Hill, South London and went on to become a Hollywood star! 


British comedian STANLEY LUPINO (1893-1942)  and his pioneering Hollywood actress and director daughter IDA LUPINO (1918-1995), were part of “The Royal Family of Greasepaint” that included ballet master GEORGE LUPINO, acrobat and animal impersonators HARRY LUPINO and ARTHUR LUPINO,  stage and screen star LUPINO LANE and his musical comedy actor brother WALLACE LUPINO,  comedians MARK LUPINO and BARRY LUPINO.    The Lupino's had been entertaining as acrobats and dancers for nearly two centuries and by the time the “Fabulous Lupino Troupe” were performing in the nineteenth century, they were part of the cultural firmament of this nation.


Stanley earned his place by the hard work required to perform constantly, travelling with his family around the Music Halls and Theatres of the United Kingdom, before turning his attention to the burgeoning British Film Industry and finding continued success in the light musical comedies so beloved in the 1930’s. 


Ida Lupino, no doubt inspired by her talented Father, turned her attention to Hollywood and carved her own niche playing “femme fatale” parts during the golden age of the 1950’s.  It is well known now that Ida became one of the first female Hollywood directors, in what was then a very male dominated industry, which in itself is a testament to her talent and strength of character.


We are thrilled to be able to recognise both Stanley and Ida in this way and hope that these plaques will lead others to want to find out more about this incredibly talented family. 

comedian AUSTIN RUDD commemorated

On the 5th September 2015 our commemorative blue plaque to Music Hall comedian and vocalist AUSTIN RUDD was unveiled in London's busy Edgware Road on the site of Austin's former home, once a public house, now a hotel with a branch of Costa Coffee on the ground floor. 

Austin Rudd was a very popular Music Hall comedian, composer and vocalist, whose career spanned well over over forty years, which took him to many parts of the world. 

We were thrilled that Austin's granddaughter Angela Gotzke and her family travelled all the way from Germany to unveil the blue plaque to both a captive audience and the curiosity of those passing by.   This commemorative event was both poignant and moving, especially for Angela, who is extremely proud of her family and theatre heritage.

Music Hall & Pantomime star

On 25th November 2015 we installed a commemorative blue plaque to that larger than life Music Hall comic vocalist and star of Theatre Royal Drury Lane pantomimes HERBERT CAMPBELL (1844-1904) at one of his former homes, now known as 44 Lawford Road in Hackney.

LEW LAKE remembered

On 30th May 2015 we completed our restoration of the grave of British actor and comedian LEW LAKE (1875-1939) who rests in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington.   When we first located the grave, the memorial was in a bad way, sadly like so many other memorials in this wilderness of a cemetery, which has been left unmanaged for many years. 


Lew Lake's long career included a successful partnership with fellow comedian BOB MORRIS (1866-1945) where they played The Bloomsbury Burglars to captive audiences. 

At the time of his death Lew was the proprietor of Collins Music Hall on Islington Green and it was there that he died, aged 64.    Lew Lake rests in this grave with his wife Jessie and son LEW LAKE JR (1902-1956).




music hall guild gus elen x 5.jpg

GUS ELEN (1862-1940) was born Ernest Augustus Elen in London's Pimlico and he would become the definitive Coster comedian of his generation.  He enjoyed a long career which began on the sands at Ramsgate and would end with him coming out of retirement to take part in the Royal Command Performance in 1935 before King George V.

The kerbside location of Gus's prestigious grey granite memorial at Streatham Park Cemetery meant that it was always at risk of being hit by cars and recently there was evidence that this had happened because the granite kerbs had been pushed out of alignment and needed to be both levelled, straightened and pinned back into place,

which is exactly what our amazing stonemason did.


It was a true honour for us to restore Gus Elen's memorial.   

He was a fine, highly respected and gifted performer and his grave now remains part of our ongoing Memorial Restoration programme.


Lest we forget. 


On the 2nd October 2014 we restored the final resting place of one of the brightest stars of London's Victorian stage, actress NELLIE FARREN (1848-1904), who died on 29th April 1904 and laid to rest in London's Brompton Cemetery. 


Her son, the Edwardian Musical Comedy actor FARREN SOUTAR

(1870-1962) was laid to rest there too in 1962. 

Grave Restoration for Nellie Farren.jpg
Music Hall Guild Nellie Farren and Farren Soutar.jpg

KAY KENDALL commemorated

kay kendall x 3.jpg

On 6th September 2014, exactly 55 years to the day of her passing, we headed up from London to the coastal town of Withernsea in East Yorkshire to celebrate the life of the British stage and screen actress KAY KENDALL (1927-1959) for the installation of a commemorative blue plaque at the house where she was born, which was unveiled by her sister, former actress Kim Campbell, who had travelled all the way from America to be there.  It was a joyful event with many of Kay's fans, friends and relatives in attendance, alongside the wonderful Withernsea community.  


We would like to thank Kim Campbell, Kath Jones, Fiona Kendall, Tony Simpson from the Withernsea Lighthouse Museum, BBC Look North, Philip Wright and Claire Thundercliff for their kindness, generosity, unfailing support and collaboration.



Kay was born - Justine Kay Kendall McCarthy on 21 May 1927 at 61 Hull Road, Withernsea to parents Terence McCarthy, professionally known as Terry Kendall the Variety Artiste and Gladys Drewey.  She lived here with her sister Kim (actress Kim Kendall) and brother Terry (actor Cavan Kendall).

The contribution made by the Kendall family to our cultural landscape is impressive and Kay played her part in keeping up the family tradition which goes back to her paternal grandmother, the famous Music Hall Star Marie Kendall – and it was at the unveiling of our commemorative plaque to Marie Kendall that the idea of a plaque to Kay was first discussed; so just as then we celebrated the Kendall’s and Music Hall, so today we celebrate the natural progression of this theatrical dynasty into film. 

But before the bright lights of the silver screen, Kay trained at the Lydia Kyasch dancing academy, and then partnered with sister Kim, and toured all around the UK in revue and musical comedies. After the war, Kay made her first foray into films notably London Town made in 1946 which also starred Sid Field, Tessie O’ Shea, Mary Clare and Petula Clark; a series of roles follows before Kay lands a part in the film, that will for many define her career.

As Rosalind Peters in Genevieve, Kay delivered a performance that showed off her beauty, acting and her acute sense of comedy timing and along with her co-stars, Kenneth More, Dinah Sheridan and John Gregson, Kay ensured that the film would become an evergreen classic. And of course Kay will always be remembered for the famous scene, when slightly the worse for wear, her character, plays the tune “Genevieve, Sweet Genevieve” on the trumpet – which was dubbed by jazz musician Kenny Baker – who coincidently was also born in Withernsea.  

A number of other roles followed, both on screen and on the stage, where in 1954, she received excellent notices for her role as Noel Coward’s choice Elvira in Blithe Spirit. Kay worked continuously during the 1950’s working with many of our greatest film actors including Margaret Rutherford, Stanley Holloway, Dirk Bogarde, Angela Lansbury, Peter Finch, Joan Collins, Cesar Romero and Yul Brynner and then in 1958, secured herself a best actress Golden Globe for her part in Cole Porter’s musical Les Girls which was directed by and stared the legendary Gene Kelly.

This award gave Kay the recognition that she rightly deserved and, had Kay not been taken from us so young, I believe, would have been the start of a maturing film career that would have seen many more accolades for this multi-talented actress, that we can only imagine.  But when we look back at Kay’s film and theatre contribution, we should consider it in the context of the opportunities available for an actress such as Kay and it has been suggested that had Kay been around for the screwball comedies of the 1930’s, or if she had lived into the 1960’s then we would have seen the full and unbridled extent of Kay’s talents and her star would have shone ever brighter than it already does.

Which makes her passing from us at just 32 all the more of an injustice, as we have been denied more chances to see the beautiful Kay; but we can still celebrate her legacy and her unique contribution to our theatre and film heritage – which makes this plaque all the more touching and important.

As for her personal qualities, those are known to those who knew her and loved her but for the rest of us, it is her talents, her beauty, her on screen vitality and how the British public took Kay to her hearts that we celebrate today. 


I can do no better than to end this appreciation with a quote from the actor Ian Carmichael, who worked with Kay on the film “Simon and Laura” in 1955, he said;  “Katie (Kay) had a bounce, a vivacity, an ebullience that would be difficult to exaggerate. She sparkled like a roman candle from 7am to knocking off time. She was warm, she was funny, she was tall and beautiful and her effervescence permeated everyone around her. Everybody loved her – it was impossible not to do so.”

So I think that Withernsea can be rightly proud of Kay Kendall and we too at The Music Hall, Theatre and Film Guild feel very honoured that we have been able to commemorate Kay in this way and be linked to Withernsea to help play a small part in its future development.


On the 21st August 2014 we restored the final resting place of Music Hall comedian JOE O'GORMAN (1863-1937) who rests in Putney Vale Cemetery.


Joseph O'Gorman was an Irish-born comedian and popular Music Hall artiste.   He was one half of a popular cross-talking Music Hall double act called Tennyson and O'Gorman with fellow comedian JOSEPH TENNYSON.     


Joe was the father to JOE and DAVE O'GORMAN who went on to form the popular Variety Act The O'Gorman Brothers.   


Joe O'Gorman was also a founder member of The Grand Order of Water Rats and The Variety Artist's Federation


Gaiety Theatre star EDMUND PAYNE remembered

On 29th June 2014 we restored the final resting place of London's Gaiety Theatre star EDMUND PAYNE (1863-1914), who rests with his family in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington.


Edmund Payne was born in Hackney and came from an artisan family.


He made his professional stage debut as Man Friday in Robinson Crusoe at Market Harborough in 1880.   He learnt his trade and honed his skills with stock companies during the early part of his career, before accepting a role at The Gaiety Theatre in London.


Edmund soon found a home at the Gaiety Theatre – where, under the direction of impresario George Edwardes, known as “The Guvnor”,  he starred in many lavish musical comedy productions there.    


His first Gaiety role was as Mephistopheles in a revival of "Faust up to date" and following his immediate success in this show, most of Edmund's subsequent career was spent there.


Edmund was a very accomplished comic actor, dancer and was able to make great use of his diminutive stature and elastic facial expressions.


Although Edmund Payne took his acting very seriously, he was also a family man and a devoted father to his children.


The Stage newspaper gave him a very full obituary, saying that offstage, “he was a man of quiet and rather serious tastes with a fondness for gardening and a hobby in cycling”


The late great Edmund Payne died on Wednesday 1st July 1914 in a Hampstead nursing home after a long illness of cancer – he was just 49. 



On 15th June 2014 we celebrated the life of one of theatre's greatest comedy stage and screen stars LUPINO LANE (1892-1959) with the unveiling of a commemorative blue plaque at one of his former London homes in Maida Vale. 

Lupino Lane, affectionally known as Nip is perhaps best remembered for originating the role of Bill Snibson in the stage musical Me and My Girl and for immortalising The Lambeth Walk, but as a comedian, singer, acrobat, writer, director, producer and eccentric dancer, he did so much more: pantomimes, musical comedies and a pioneer of the British film industry.  In the 1920s Nip even found himself becoming a part of the Golden Age of Hollywood. 

It was Nip's granddaughter Sara Lupino Lane who unveiled our commemorative blue plaque to a very captive audience.

British actor David Streames,  who played Bill Snibson in a tour of Me and My Girl coaxed guests to singalong to The Lambeth Walk.  It was a day enjoyed by all. 

ALICE LLOYD commemorated

On the 20th October 2013 we installed a commemorative blue plaque to the British Music Hall star ALICE LLOYD (1873-1949) at her last home Little Trees, Banstead, Surrey. 

Alice was a younger sister of Music Hall star MARIE LLOYD (1870-1922) and just as talented and successful, especially in America, where she was an overnight success.


The theatrical Lloyd family were close-knit and shared in each others lives.  It is documented that wherever Marie Lloyd lived, her family went to and after Marie died, Alice appears to have continued that tradition here at Little Trees, which was in part why we chose this dwelling for Alice's blue plaque, especially as the Lloyd family had such a presence in the Banstead area:  Alice's sister DAISY WOOD (1877-1961) herself a great artiste lived just over the road, Alice's father John lived at Little Trees towards the end of his life and in the church at Nork, there is a stained glass window, in the lady chapel, dedicated to Marie Lloyd by her family and friends.   Alice and other family members were laid to rest in the Parish Church of All Saints, Banstead. 

Alice's plaque was unveiled by her granddaughter Luanne Beaton, surrounded by family members and friends and we are grateful to the owners of Little Trees for enabling this commemoration to take place. 


On 7th October 2013, we installed a commemorative blue plaque to the The Queen of the Music Halls  MARIE LLOYD (1870-1922) at the house where she sadly died at Woodstock Road, Golders Green on  what would have been the 91st anniversary of her passing.

Marie Lloyd's great nephew Ian Munro and great niece Luanne Beaton joined us to commemorate Marie, followed by a short graveside service of remembrance at Hampstead Cemetery, where Marie rests with her parents and daughter.

Even 90 years after Marie Lloyd's death, her legacy remains strong with biographies, stage plays, radio and TV dramatisations still being produced: all of which are a testament to her extraordinary talent, life and career. 

Alice Lloyd remembered

On 20th September 2013, we restored the final resting place of the Music Hall artiste ALICE LLOYD (1873-1949) who

rests with her family in the parish churchyard of All Saint's Church in Banstead, Surrey.



Alice Lloyd x 3.jpg
The Music Hall Guld Archive - The Grave of Alice Lloyd.jpg

Kay Kendall remembered

On the 22nd September  2013 we restored the final resting place of British actress KAY KENDALL (1927-1959) who rests with her brother, the actor CAVAN KENDALL (1942-1999) in St John's Churchyard in Hampstead.


Kay and Cavan were the children of Variety Artiste Terry Kendall and the grandchildren

of the famous Music Hall star Marie Kendall.  Their sister is actress Kim Kendall and their cousin the actress/novelist Fiona Kendall.


Comic vocalist FRED ALBERT remembered

On 8th May 2013 we restored the final resting place of Music Hall Vocalist and Composer FRED ALBERT in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.

Fred Albert was born George Richard Howell on 6th November 1843.

He would come to the attention of the public as the "Royal Comical, Topical Vocalist" and like many of the Music Hall performers of the 1860's and 1870's, he wrote many of his own comic songs that often reflected the topical news of the day.  His stage persona would see him billed as one of the "Lion Comiques" alongside great stars such as Walter Laburnham, George Leybourne (Champagne Charlie) and Alfred Vance (The Great Vance), performing at all the major Music Hall's in London and the provinces to great acclaim throughout his career.

He died on 12th October 1886 after a short illness aged 42.


Music Hall comic vocalist

On 20th October 2012 we restored the final resting place of Music Hall star

WALTER LABURNUM (1847-1902) who rests with his family in Abney Park Cemetery.

Walter Laburnum was born George Walter Davis on 15th June 1847 at Frith Manor House in  Hendon.  He was the son of a Licensed Victualler and spent his childhood at The Wheatsheaf Tavern in Hammersmith. 


By the mid 1850s, Walter was living in Stoke Newington where his father was the proprietor of The Pegasus Tavern, and it was from here that he would begin his training as an auctioneer.   This profession would stand him in good stead for his eventual stage career, as it was here that he learnt the art of rapid speech that he was able to use so successfully in his act.    With a command of Cockney and Yiddish slang all delivered at breakneck speed, Walter would prove to be, not only a popular comic singer and patterer but also an MC and racing commentator. 


Walter's  stage persona was very much in the style of his good friend GEORGE LEYBOURNE and he was highly regarded for his "heavy swell" repertoire of both comic and topical songs.


Walter Laburnum died on Good Friday, March 28th 1902 in Islington, aged 54.



Comedy Impresario FRED KARNO commemorated

On 30th September 2012 we celebrated the life of acrobat and comedy impresario FRED KARNO (1865-1941) with an unveiling of a commemorative blue plaque at Clockwork Studios, the former site of Fred Karno's Fun Factory

Devon-born Fred Karno would, after a hard upbringing of earning his living as an itinerant acrobat, find his success as perhaps one of the greatest comedy impresarios of the Music Hall era. 


It was here at these buildings that Fred Karno had his “Fun Factory”; the headquarters for his empire of comedy; rehearsal space, prop making, printing and scenery construction would all take place here and support the troupes of performers who would tour both the UK and the world and provide the breeding ground for the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Fred Kitchen to make their own significant impact in the world of comedy.

Fred Karno would dominate the stage with his comedy sketches from the late nineteenth century  right through to the 1930’s where the inevitable rise of the both radio and movies would see the end of the Music Hall world inhabited by “Fred Karno’s Army”

Fred Karno died in Lilliput, Dorset in 1941 and this plaque was erected to not only celebrate his life and achievements but to also mark the extraordinary role this building has played in our popular culture.

Composer G. W. Hunt remembered

On 27th August 2012 we restored the final resting place of the popular and very talented Music Hall composer G. W. HUNT (1837-1904) who rests in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. 

Music Hall Guild Archive - G W Hunt restoration.jpg

REMEMBERING the Music Hall star
100th anniversary

On 3rd August 2012 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing of the great Music Hall Vocalist and Pantomime Dame DAN CRAWLEY (1872-1912) with the restoration of his final resting place and a blessing of his memorial stone at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, in the presence of his three great grandsons.

Dan Crawley was born Daniel Crowley in County Cork. 


He moved from Ireland to London when he was 6 and by the age of 16 he was appearing as a dancer and comedian on the halls. His first recorded London performance was at the Royal Victoria Music Hall at Victoria Park in 1891.


He married a fellow Music Hall performer LILIAN BISHOP (1876-1917) a popular male impersonator in 1893 and together they toured the Music Hall Circuit, even as far as Sydney, Australia.  

It should also be noted that Dan Crawley was particularly successful as a Pantomime Dame.


Sadly, his career was cut short and he sadly died on 22nd October 1912,  aged just 40.  His wife Lilian died five years later on 17th February 1917, aged 41. 


bottom of page