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Brrr November is here and we are all turning off the radiators to try and save on the electricity bills.
Anyways onwards and upwards…..
This month our Homepage features an article from one of our readers about the extraordinary Lancashire lass, theatre artist and singer, Victoria Monks. LHL featured a review of Lancashire artists and theatre stars from the turn of the twentieth century about a year ago and not surprisingly, the indefatigable Ms Monks was amongst those we mentioned. Now, two of our followers, Bob ‘The Books’ Dobson and Kenneth Vickers, have got together and forwarded on these great pictures and a small article on this sensational female personality. Put kettle on mum and enjoy this month’s updates.
This is my article on my great aunt Victoria Monks to get the
record straight.:- My great aunt Victoria Monks was born in
Duke Street, Blackpool in 1883, her mother died in childbirth.
She attended the Blackpool Convent School on Whinney Heys
Road, Blackpool, from where she absconded to London to seek
fame and fortune on the Music Hall stage.
Prior to the outbreak of the 1st World War, Victoria Monks was
reported to have been the highest paid female entertainer in
Britain. Gracie Fields, in the early part of her career , was said to
have been greatly influenced by her.
She had a fiery temperament (a family trait!) which got her into
trouble with the authorities and she was a frequent defendant
and plaintiff in the courts. This contributed to her dwindling
fortune. Many of the cases that she was involved in can be viewed in the London Times online archives. They make interesting reading.
On the 2nd March 1925, Victoria Monks topped the bill for one week at the Palace Varieties, Blackpool. The Blackpool Gazette and Herald reported that Blackpool’s own comedienne, Victoria Monks, popularly known as ‘John Bull’s Girl’, had received a splendid reception and had sung her signature song ‘Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey‘ to great acclaim. Her brother, Andrew Monks (my grandfather) and his Blackpool family were afforded box office seats on her opening night, and the memorable
evening was often talked about in later years amongst the family.
This was to be Victoria’s last performance in her home town.
In early January 1927, although unwell, she sang on the radio, delighting millions of listeners with ‘Bill Bailey’ and other songs from her repertoire. Victoria Monks remained in poor and deteriorating health due to Consumption.
She died in London on 26th January 1927, age 44.
This is a family photo of Victoria Monks left (in white dress), Thomas Monks, her father (my great grandfather) and Peggy Monks her sister, who was also on the stage.
It was taken at Victoria’s home in Tulse Hill, London in 1911. Her father was on a visit from Blackpool.
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