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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

ABC Wednesday: Unveiling

Today's post for ABC Wednesday is U for "Unveiling". The occasion was the unveiling of a 'Blue Plaque' last Saturday. The plaque commemorates George Formby Senior, who was born a few yards from this spot, on Hodgson Street, in 1875.

Although his son George Formby Junior became very famous for his ukulele-accompanied songs, such as "When I'm Cleaning Windows", and his records and films, George Senior was a well-known music-hall entertainer in his own right.

He was born as James Booth and lived in Ashton until moving to Wigan at the age of 15. The plaque is on the site of the Music Hall Inn, one of the first places where the young Jimmy Booth performed. he adopted the stage name of George Formby and became known nationally for his music hall act. He suffered from ill health and was known for his catchphrases "Coughing well tonight!" and "It isn't the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in!"

The plaque was unveiled by Geraldine Smith, grand-daughter of George Formby Senior (and niece of George Formby Junior).

This photo shows the small crowd that had assembled for the unveiling.

George Formby Senior's grand-daughter, Geraldine Smith, poses with the plaque's promoters, historian Trevor Rowley and local authors David and Philip Williams.

Members of the George Formby Society brought their ukuleles along and entertained the crowd with several of George Formby Junior's well-known songs. By clicking the following links, you can see and hear their rendering of "Leaning on a Lamp Post" and "My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock".

The plaque was paid for by public subscription and the writing says: "George Formby Snr 1875 - 1921 Music Hall's legendary comic genius and father of George Formby Jnr was born James Booth at 26 Hodgson Street, Ashton under Lyne. Remembered by the people of Ashton under Lyne and the George Formby Society."

See Google Street View of this location.

(Click photo for larger version. Press Back button to return here.)

"Unveiling" is a contribution to ABC Wednesday. For more "U" posts from around the world please follow this link.


  1. An exciting event, well documented!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. Nice U--looks like a fun day


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