Nelly Power

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nelly Power
Nelly Power.jpg
Born(1854-04-10)10 April 1854
Died19 January 1887(1887-01-19) (aged 32)
Islington, London, England, UK
OccupationSinger and actress

Nelly Power[1] (10 April 1854 – 19 January 1887) was an English singer, actress and performer in music hall, Victorian burlesque and pantomime.[2] Her funeral attracted three to four thousand spectators at Abney Park Cemetery and a further great crowd at the start of the procession from her home.[3]


Power was a performer in music hall from the age of 8 when, as a pupil of Mrs J W Gordon, she appeared, singing two comic songs, at Gordon's Music Hall in Southampton.[4] She continued to sing and also performed impersonations and developed a comic style mimicking that of George Leybourne, which brought her fame by the age of 15[5]

She made her first appearance on the legitimate London stage in 1868 in the pantomime Robinson Crusoe at the Surrey Theatre.[6] She then moved to the Vaudeville Theatre performing as principal "boy" in a number of burlesque plays by Robert Reece and Henry J. Byron: Don Carlos, Elizabeth Camaralzaman, The Orange Tree and the Bumble Bee, The Very Last Days of Pompeii, and Romulus and Remus. This was followed by a further spell in pantomime at the Surrey Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre where, in 1881, she had the title role in the pantomime Sindbad the Sailor, with Vesta Tilley as Captain Tralala.[7] She achieved national fame in the music halls with an act in which she caricatured dandies with comic songs such as "La-di-la".[2] She was the original singer of "The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery", which was written for her by songwriter/composer George Ware.[8][9]

Power died from pleurisy in 1887, aged 32, and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery in London. A commemorative blue plaque was erected in 2017 at her former home, 97 Southgate Road, Islington, by the theatre charity The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America.[10]


  1. ^ While her name is given variously as Nellie or Nelly in contemporary press reports and in advertisements for her appearances, Nelly is the name on her gravestone.
  2. ^ a b The Era, 22 January 1887 "Death of Miss Nelly Power"
  3. ^ The Era, 29 January 1887 "Funeral of Miss Nelly Power"
  4. ^ London Music Hall Database
  5. ^ Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 24 January 1887 Death of Miss Nelly Power
  6. ^ "Gleanings", Birmingham Daily Post, 25 January 1887
  7. ^ Pantomimes at Drury Lane
  8. ^ Simon Sladen (2010). "The Boy I Love Is Up In the Gallery". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  9. ^ Alexander Baron. "The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery by Marie Lloyd". Songfacts. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Nelly Power is Commemorated", The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America, accessed 14 August 2017

External links[edit]

  • Profile, FootlightNotes (includes picture and obituaries)