Minor Player / Variety Act for the week ending
Saturday, 4 October 2008

Nellie Darrell (Mrs Harry Cambridge, fl. 1880s/1890s),
English burlesque actress and music hall serio-comic,
Harry Cambridge (d. 1892), English music hall comedian

Nellie Darrell

Nellie Darrell

(photo: W.M. Phillips, Southampton, England, circa 1890)

'Mr Editor. - Sir, - Allow me to state that I introduced the electric light in a song and dance, my dress being adorned with coloured lights (upwards of forty), each light changing colour while dancing. I may state I first produced the novelty in the year 1888, having had the sole right to work the same. Since my husband, Mr Harry Cambridge, has been seriously indisposed, I was compelled to discontinue the idea, as I could not trust any one but him to work the electric battery. Miss Harriet Laurie was the first lady to introduce the idea of the electric dance, and myself, the undersigned, was number two. Yours truly, NELLY DARRELL, ''the Electric Spark'' (title registered, No. 23,839), Cromwell's Varieties, Sheffield, Dec. 6th, 1892.')
(The Era, London, Saturday, 10 December 1892, p. 17c)

Harry Cambridge

Harry Cambridge

(photo: George Aynsley, South Shields, England, circa 1890)

'DIED, Mr Harry Cambridge, vocal comedian, Dec. 28th, 1892. Gone, but not forgotten.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 December 1892, p. 18c)

'The news of the death of Mr Harry Cambridge, who succumbed on the 28th, was not altogether unexpected. The deceased comedian, who had been ill for some time, was better known in the provinces than in London. His widow, Miss Nellie Darrell, serio-comic and burlesque actress, is known to fame chiefly as one of the first ladies on the music hall stage to utilise the pretty effects of electricity in her costumes.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 December 1892, p. 19a)

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© John Culme, 2008