The Eight Lancashire Lads

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The Eight Lancashire Lads was a troupe of young male clog dancers who toured the music halls of Great Britain and Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


They were founded by Bill Cawley and J.W. (William) Jackson (1863–1940) of Wigan, Lancashire. As they became more successful, they recruited other members such as Charlie Chaplin, who got his first professional break with them at the age of eleven.[1]

Former members[edit]

  • Charlie Chaplin[1]
  • Nat Jackley[2][3]
  • Brothers Richard, Eric and Clem White went to Sydney, Australia in the 1910s and formed theatre companies including Edgley and Dawe. They had changed their names from White[clarification needed] and the successful Australian theatrical empressarion Michael Edgley is descended from Eric Edgley. His brother, Richard White was for a period the choreographer of the female chorus at the Tivoli revue theatre in Sydney. Michael White (aka Wijaya) an exotic dancer and humorist, who has been resident in Bali since 1973, is Richard White's grandson.[citation needed]
  • Percy Joshua Norman (Pip) was also one the lads. He was in the troupe c. 1921. His wife Pat Norman is now 91 (as of 16 March 2013) and living in Bradford. Also his son Chris Norman was in the band Smokie who had some worldwide hits in the 1970s. Chris has had a solo career since the 1980s and is still touring and recording;[when?] he resides in the Isle of Man with his wife and family.
  • Gabriel Winestein was another of the lads. Born in Leeds, Gabriel joined the troupe in about 1905.
  • Percy Frederick Kenyon Connor (later Percy Frederick Smith) was in the group and was a friend of Charlie Chaplin's in London. Percy went on to become a professional dancer who danced all over Europe with his wife Edith Elsie Smith (née Roy). Percy's brother-in-law was Ernest G Roy, the film Producer. When Edith died in about 1925, Percy disappeared and no further information about him is known.
  • Gordon Stretton[4]


All of the Eight Lancashire Lads performances which featured Charlie Chaplin are listed in A. J. Marriot's book Chaplin: stage by stage (2005).[5]


  1. ^ a b "Clog dancing kid who became a global superstar". 3 March 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Bring on those Wonderful Dames!". It's Behind You. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  3. ^ "Manchunian Film Studio - The Stars". it's a hot'un. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  4. ^ Rand, Lisa. "The global music star from Liverpool you've probably never heard of". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  5. ^ Marriot, A. J. (2005). Chaplin: stage by stage. Hitchin: Marriot. ISBN 978-0-9521308-1-9.