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Death of Variety Star Nosmo King

1949

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Mr Vernon Watson was born in Thorney in 1885, in his youth, a clerk  at Barclays Bank in Peterborough. His interest in the stage began with performances at smoking concerts and when, in 1911, he appeared at the old Empire, Leicester Square, he became an overnight success. He took part in many subsequent productions there and as a single turn on the music halls. At first he relied entirely on his voice in his imitations of the popular comedians of the day. His imitation of Wilkie Bard - exact in every way - was as remarkable a piece of virtuosity as the variety stage has produced. Among his favourite subjects were Harry Champion, Fred Emney and Frank Tunney.  His stage name Nosmo King was inspired by seeing two open doors at a music hall which had split the notice 'No Smoking' into Nosmo King.  He was later assisted by 'Hubert' - his son (Petty Officer Jack Watson) He appeared at the Embassy in Peterborough in April 1947 as Colonel Blimp in a G.I. Bride farce 'For the Fun of it' Though it was 39 years since he had been a clerk at Barclays, he still remembered his old friends in and around Peterborough. Mr Watson died at his home in Chelsea on January 13th 1949. His funeral was held at Thorney Abbey and he is buried at Thorney cemetery, with 'Nosmo King' on his headstone.    





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Opening of the Hippodrome Music Hall

1907

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The Hippodrome music hall opened on Broadway. In 1908 it was taken over by Fred Kelso and under his management leading stars of the time including Marie Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Vernon Watson (Nosmo King) trod the boards there. With the coming of motion pictures music hall became less popular and in 1922 the theatre was modified to show films and renamed the Palladium then later the Palace. The building was demolished in 1937 following the building of the Embassy Cinema next door. References: Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 27 July 1955; The Peterborough Book of Days, Brian Jones, The History Press 2014