British Music Hall Artists - Florrie and Arthur Gallimore

 

There seems to be continuing interest in Florrie Gallimore. However, some of the information that appears, in print and on the web, about Florrie and her brother Arthur Gallimore (my great grandfather) is incorrect.

This site will aim to present the facts about their origins and what (little) I know about their life.

  florrie and arthur

 
The menu across the top of the page gives access to further photographs of Florrie and Arthur as well as other music hall artists.  The inclusion of Florrie and Arthur in the illustrious cast of the first Royal Command Performance in 1912 shows how high a profile they must have had.  A photograph and cast list can be seen from the menu above.

Their Early Life

Florence Gallimore was born on 3 December 1867.  John Arthur Gallimore was born on 9 March 1870. They were born in Sheffield into a family who all worked in the cutlery trade.   Their father Henry Gallimore was a spring knife cutler.   Their mother Mary (née Holland) had been a buffer girl.   The area of Netherthorpe where they lived and worked had one of the worst living conditions in Sheffield.   Of Henry's and Mary's 13 children only Florrie, Arthur and their brothers George and Charles survived to adulthood.   More information about the Gallimore family can be found on the 'Family History' page from the menu above.

Florrie Gallimore married Florian Funk in 1888, an Austrian acrobat who was later to become her agent.  They had a daughter, Josephine, in 1890.  Florrie, Florian and Josie used the surname Fretelli.   In 1910, after divorcing Florian, Florrie married Samuel Naylor, a music teacher and some 18 years her junior.

Arthur married Polly (Mary Eliza Wright) in 1888.  Her stage name was Pauline Fox but after a short career she became a midwife.  They had two sons Henry Kenyon Gallimore (my grandfather) and Gilbert Karl Gallimore.  After his return from America in 1907 Arthur left Polly and set up home with his common-law wife Alma Gallimore (born Sarah Alma Wright - no relation to Polly) with whom he had a daughter.

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Florrie's Career

Florrie Gallimore made her first appearance in pantomime at the age of seven at Sheffield's Theatre Royal.  She went on to play children's parts in the main company and then in 1882, at the age of 14, she appeared at Sheffield's Gaeity Music Hall as a male impersonator.  She made her debut in London at the Metropolitan Music Hall on 28 April 1884 singing Tyrolean ditties.

Florrie played pantomime in provincial theatres from 1883 and subsequently appeared in every leading music hall in the United Kingdom and also toured in America, Africa and Australia.  She was an actress, a dancer and a singer with a string of successful songs.   You can find a list of forty-four of Florrie's songs in Michael Kilgarriff's book 'Sing Us One of the Old Songs' (see the 'Links Page').

Florrie had the very unique distinction of having played Principal Girl opposite her daughter Josie Delaine as Principal Boy in 'Dick Whittington' at the Theatre Royal in Sheffield.

Sheet Music  

This is the front cover of just

one of the 65 songs

so far documented

that were made famous by

Florrie Gallimore.

One of her most popular was

'Tis the Poor That Help the Poor

and she was the original singer of

My Girl's a Yorkshire Girl.

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Arthur's Career

Arthur Gallimore also started on the stage at an early age.  By the time he married at eighteen he was already a professional artist.  He worked at first on his own, then with his wife Pauline Fox and then formed a double act with Harry Kenyon.  They toured in Britain and on the continent for about ten years.  In about 1898 they joined the Moore and Burgess Minstrels.

Arthur was still with the Moore and Burgess Minstrels in 1901 (then the Mohawk Minstrels) but by 1904 had joined Fred Karno's Company.  In 1905 he was in Fred Karno's 'Early Birds' and later that year embarked on a fifteen month tour of America with the Company.  Polly's postcard collection tracks the itinerary.

In 1907 Arthur returned to Minstrelsy and joined Harry Reynolds' minstrel troupe.  I don't know how long he stayed with the Reynolds Minstrels but at some point before 1924 Arthur Gallimore left minstrelsy and formed his own touring company 'Arthur Gallimore and Co.' and of course in between he appeared at the Royal command Performance in 1912 as already stated.

A photograph of the Gallimore and Kenyon double act can be seen on the 'Artists' Photos' page.  Photographs of the Minstrels, programmes from 1898 to 1900 and Arthur's songs can be seen on the Moore and Burgess page.  See also a cutting from a Dublin newspaper c1898 which reviews Arthur Gallimore's and Harry Kenyon's performance with the Moore and Burgess Minstrels who were on tour in Ireland.  It contains a report of an interview with Arthur in which he gives an account of his career and association with Harry Kenyon

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Footnotes

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Created October 2006

Last updated 24 March 2007

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