King Rat Harry Freeman

Water Rat number 001 - Our first King -1890

Harry was a prolific and highly reputable entertainer who performed countless very popular comic songs during his years on the halls. His name is not so well known as some of his contempories because he never left us a big song to be remembered by. His hits of the day included - 'Can't stop'; 'They're After Me'; 'It Never Troubles Me'; the 'Giddy Little Girl Said No'; these were the songs that made his name at the time.

Harry was born in either Stoke Works or Stoke Priors, near Bromsgrove Worcestershire on 29th July 1858. In his early teens he moved to Birmingham, his home until he died.

His first engagement was at a Free and Easy at the 'Imperial Theatre', Walsall in 1877 at the age of 19. He scored a distinct hit and, as a result, received engagements at all the principal Music Halls in the Midlands. His first London appearance was at 'Lusby's Music Hall' in 1881 and although widely accepted in the Capital and the provincial halls throughout the country, his tremendous popularity in major Birmingham venues was second to none.

Harry Freeman made his last appearance on stage in Norwich in May of 1922.

Following an abdominal operation he died in St Peter's Hospital, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London on 30th. July 1922. He was buried in St Mary's Churchyard, Handsworth, Birmingham on 4th August just yards from the resting place of James Watt, Mathew Boulton and William Murdock - all very eminent engineers and famous figures in life - but none of them a 'King'.

Past Scribe Rat Barry Balmayne

A quote from PKR Fred Russell OBE about King Rat Harry Freeman.

"He was a man of considerable intelligence, plain spoken, straightforward, far seeing and earnest. A fine mentor to whom many owe a great debt of gratitude for valuable advice in times of stress and difficulty. Against coarseness and suggestiveness of any kind on the stage he always set his face"