history

The following was written by Past King Rat Charlie Chester for his book "The Grand Order of Water Rats - A Legend of laughter". (Published by W.H. Allen, 1984). We cannot vouch for the accuracy of this account but it makes great reading....

The Mastodon Minstrels were at Drury Lane, playing to capacity. Eugene Stratton was at the Canterbury and Arthur Reece with his 'Sons of the Sea' was knocking them cold at the Oxford. Vesta Tilley was still on the crest of a ten year wave of success, far away in Australia was a ten year old girl named Florrie Forde who was destined to join the ranks of these legendary artistes, sharing stardom alongside Dan Leno was another famous comedian, Joe Elvin.

Joe happened to be working his act in Newcastle, in one of a chain of music halls owned by a wealthy man named Richard Thornton, who also owned several racehorses and a small trotting pony named 'The Magpie'. All theatre owners are happy when their top of the bill lives up to his or her reputation, and Joe Elvin did.

How did we begin?