Poster for Christmas & New Year holiday entertainment at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties
Printer: Upton, James
Medium: Print on paper
One of the performers advertised on this playbill for entertainment over the Christmas and New Year's holidays is Bessie Bellwood (1847-1896). Born Elizabeth Ann Katherine Mahony, her life was something of a "rags to riches" story. As a child she was employed skinning rabbits in Bermondsey. However she started her singing career in the saloons and taverns of the East End. After being turned down at the Royal Music Hall, High Holborn for being too quiet she later enjoyed success with her rousing cockney songs, particularly 'Wot Cheer, 'Ria!', performed at the major London music halls. Known for her strong character and quick wit Bessie Bellwood delighted audiences with her retorts to hecklers.