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Fannie Leslie, ‘The Little Pirate of the Nore’

July 3, 2013

a full-length colour lithograph portrait of Fannie Leslie (1856-1935), English singer, burlesque actress and music hall serio-comic, at the beginning of her career in 1871/72, featured on the song sheet cover of ‘The Little Pirate of the Nore,’ published by Simpson & Co, London, early 1872

‘NEW MUSIC … The Little Pirate of the Nore is a serio-comic song, sung by Miss Frances Leslie with great applause. As a musical composition we cannot rate the air very highly, but it is effective enough for the purpose.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 14 January 1872, p. 4c)

* * * * *

Fannie Leslie, whose real name was Fanny Catherine Annesley, was born on 13 June 1856, the daughter of Frederick Annesley (1817-1868), a solicitor, and his wife, Louisa (née Hook, 1824-1887), and baptised at St. Anne, Soho, on 5 September 1856.

She was married in Brighton on 8 April 1878 to Walter Gooch (1850?-1899?), sometime manager of the Princess’s Theatre, Oxford Street; their son, Walter Leslie Gooch (1881-1956) became a theatrical manager. The marriage ended in divorce in 1891, when the co-respondent was named as William Freeman Thomas, for many years lessee of Covent Garden Theatre. Freeman died at the age of 54 in 1898 and his funeral took place at Kensal Green (The Era, London, Saturday, 22 August 1891, p. 8a). By the time of the 1901 Census Miss Leslie, describing herself as a widow, was living at Ridgmont Gardens, Bloomsbury, with the 27 year old William Charles Broughton Wilson (commonly known as Broughton Wilson, 1873-1949), who later became a property valuer and estate agent. The couple were married in 1902, about three years before Miss Leslie retired from the stage. She died in Camden on 8 February 1935.

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