Oldbury Brough (1875-1919), American-born English entertainer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1907; postcard without printer’s or publisher’s credit, probably privately printed for Brough by the Rotary Photographic Co. Ltd. of London, bears a British postmark dated 2 August 1908, the message, addressed to Miss Kitty Francis, Highfields, Gt. Baddow, Chelmsford, reads: ‘Dear Kitty. This is a splendid comedian which [sic] I heard this afternoon. He is very good at musical sketches also. I am having a good time. With best love Dots.’)
William Oldbury Brough was the younger son of the Rev. Samuel Martin Brough (1842-1893), a Wesleyan, later Congregational minister, and his first wife, Martha (née Oldbury, 1844-1885). Although both his parents were British, Brough was born in Kansas City in 1875 during the family’s brief sojourn in the United States. They were back in England by 1881. Brough, who appears to have launched his career as an entertainer in 1896, was married in 1900 to Frances Nellie Whitby and by her had three children, Sidney Martin Brough (1901-), Cyril Edwin Brough (1905-1982) and Millie Brough (later Mrs Harold Ewart Percivall, 1910-2006). He died in Carlisle, Cumberland, on 10 February 1919 aged 44.
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‘THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ENTERTAINER,
‘Gives a refined and amusing programme (10 minutes to 2 hours) consisting of
‘HUMOROUS AND MUSICAL SKETCHES, SONGS, RECITALS, STORYETTES, ECCENTRICITIES, &c.
‘The Primrose League Gazette, January 1, 1903, says: ”A charming and most entertaining programme was carried out by Mr. Oldbury Brough, who had hot only a keen sense of humour, but is an accomplished and talented musician.”
‘Circular with full particulars, post free. Address –
‘48, FULHAM PARK GARDENS, LONDON, S.W.’
(The Primrose League Gazette, London, February 1903, p. 2a, advertisement)
Town Hall, Edmonton, north London, Thursday, 27 October 1904
‘A musical entertainment was given before a large audience at the Town Hall, Edmonton, on Thursay, the 27th ult, by the Edmonton Musical Association, under the patronage of the Rev E.A.B. Sanders, M.A., the president of the association.
‘The following programme was well rendered and much appreciated. Duet, ”Over the Heather,” by Miss Annie Bartle and Mr Alexander Tucker. Violin solo, ”Les Filenses” and ”Polonaise,” Miss Dorothy Bull. Musical sketch, ”A Suburban Soirie by Mr Oldbury Brough who also gave an amazing and musical absurdity aptly and artfully announced as ”A Musical Lesson.” Songs, ”Still is the night”, and ”The Old Trombone,” by Mr Alexander Tucker. Recitals, ”Boy Billie” [and] ”The Man who apologised” were rendered by Miss Elmie Kemp as was [sic] the songs, ”When the heart is young” and ”The waking of Spring,” by Miss Annie Bartle. Mr Alexander Tucker again obliged in the songs, ”Three for Jack,” and ”Big Ben,” in good style. A humorous song ”Play ze game” by Mr Oldbury Brough and ”Concerning the Telephone” was well received. Miss Dorothy Bull’s third appearance was admired in a violin solo, ”Hejie Katie.” The accompanist was Mr W. Emerson, to whom much praise is due.’
(The Edmonton & Tottenham Weekly Guardian, Edmonton, north London, Friday, 4 November 1904, p. 3a)