The British Music Hall Society is delighted to announce that a blue plaque commemorating Victoria Monks, the Music Hall performer, is to be unveiled on Friday 19th April, 2pm at 24 Elizabeth Street, Blackpool, FY1 3JD by Jodie Prenger. All are welcome to come along and join us!

Actor and singer Jodie Prenger is best known as the winner of the television series I’d Do Anything, leading to her playing the role of Nancy in the last major West End revival of  Lionel Bart’s musical ‘Oliver!’. Her,extensive theatre and television credits include Casualty, Hustle, Annie, Calamity Jane, Spamalot, and Les Misérables. She recently joined Coronation Street as series regular, Glenda Shuttleworth. Like Victoria Monks, Jodie was born and bred in Blackpool.

Victoria Monks was hugely popular on the Music Hall stage and was known as “John Bull’s Girl” praised for her singing talents and comedic charm. She is chiefly remembered for her signature song, “Won’t you please come home, Bill Bailey?’ She first began performing as a child as “Little Victoria” and specialised in comic characters and songs. Her professional debut was at the Empire Theatre of Varieties in Blackpool.  She was extremely successful until an accident in 1915 at the Newcastle Empire curtailed her career (and her finances). Victoria was a feisty character who often found herself embroiled in litigation, even with her own family members and was also implicated in a bizarre jewellery theft case. 

Victoria (Anne) Monks was born in November 1882 in Revoe, a working class area of Blackpool.  The Monks family lived at 24, Elizabeth Street, Blackpool from the late 1890s to 1912 (and possibly beyond) and Victoria was living there at the time of the 1901 census. She used the address when advertising in the theatrical press.  Her son, Victor Hooper lived there for a period of time with Victoria’s family and was enrolled at St John’s Church of England School in Blackpool. We are delighted that pupils from St John’s will be attending and entertaining us with some classic music hall songs. Victoria died aged only 44 in January 1927 from pneumonia and is commemorated on the Monks family grave in Layton Cemetery, Blackpool although she is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

Thank you to Tony Barker for use of the image of Victoria Monks.


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