The Palace Theatre 1900 to 1903

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The Palace Theatre was well known for the its reputation of putting on variety shows in this era.  In 1902 the amazing Florrie Fforde appeared. She was known as ‘the Queen of the sing-along music hall in her day.’  If she was a star today she would have had many No 1 hits.  Below you can hear her singing some of her famous songs, I’m sure most people will know these songs and will be able to sing along with her

Also appearing in the same year were the The Poluski Brothers , a popular music hall comedy double act who started out as tumblers and musical clowns with Duffy’s Circus in the 1870’s.  Another famous artist appeared in that same year was the famous Hollywood icon W C Fields, this must have been at a very early stage of his career.

In 1903 ‘Whimsical Walker‘, the world famous clown appeared at the Palace Theatre. An interesting fact is that in 1886, he appeared in a Command Performance with his singing donkey before her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. In commemoration of this visit the Queen presented Mr. Walker with the beautiful diamond tie-pin.

whimical walker

Another stunning star to appear in 1902 was  Marie Lloyd, who enjoyed fame with her renditions of so many music hall numbers and her career spanned over 40 years,

1903 saw a very unusual act on the stage of the Palace theatre, it was George Hackenschmidt , a professional Wrestler who put on a  demonstration bout on stage of his wrestling skills. In 1905 he went on to become the first World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion. He died at the grand old age of 90 in London. I wonder who was his partner when he displayed his skills on stage.


Harry Randall, the famous comedian appeared in August 1903 treading the boards and in December that year he went on to play the second pantomime dame in Humpty Dumpty at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.  The main pantomime dame was Dan Leno.  How unusual to have two pantomime dames in one panto.

Another interesting act Chung Ling Soo ,  who was an American magician, his real claim to fame was that he died after a bullet catch trick went wrong.


In 1903 Will Conray, a comic who changed his stage name to Harry Champion and then went on to gain fame as a composer, singer and cockney comedian whose songs appealed to his many working class audiences, he was another artiste who appeared at The Palace Theatre, Here he is singing one of the songs he is famous for which he also wrote.

Marilyn Shalks

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