forest of deanweb Will Bint - Comedian





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Will Bint - Comedian & Vocalist
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William Richard Bint was baptised at Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire on the 29th of September 1850.

In the earlier years he followed his father's trade as a carpenter and this was recorded on the 1871 census return when he was still living at home. 

By 1875 he was on the music hall circuit and his daughter Beatrice's 1875 birth certificate gave his occupation as a serio comic singer. (Serio is a combination of serious and humour).

An 1881 poster describes him as a comic and another from 1891 as  author, vocalist and composer. The 1891 census shows him on tour in Aberdeen, Scotland where he is a vocalist. In 1901 he was staying with his sister Caroline in London, and in 1911, two years before his death, he was on tour at Sheffield with his wife Fanny Robina.

Judging by the amount of sheet-music published with his name as composer he must have had a steady income from royalties in those times when many homes had a piano. 

He died at Epsom, Surrey in 1913.

So far, this is the only photo of Will Bint (he's number 92) that we have. Its from the very first Royal Variety Command Performance at the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus in July 1912. Will (Billy Bint) is standing behind a very popular star of the first half of the 20th century, Lupino Lane.

The first performance, on 1 July 1912, was called the Royal Command Performance, and this name has persisted informally for the event. It was held in the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary. 

After correspondence with Sir Edward Moss the King said he would command a Royal Variety show in his Coronation Year 1911, provided the profits went to the Variety Artistes' Benevolent Fund, as the EABF was then known. 

It was planned to be in the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh, part of the vast Moss Empires group, but the building went on fire a month before the show. After the death of Sir Edward Moss, Alfred Butt was chosen as the impresario and it was staged in 1912. This was a lavish occasion, and his London Palace Theatre was lavishly decorated, complete with some 3 million rose petals.

Top performers included Vesta Tilley, George Robey, David Devant, Anna Pavlova (ballerina), Harry Lauder and Cecilia Loftus. The organisers did not invite Marie Lloyd, because of a professional dispute. Her act was deemed too risqué and her three public, unsuccessful marriages made her unfit to perform in front of royalty. She held a rival performance in a nearby theatre, which she advertised was "by command of the British public". The name of the event was changed to prevent possible royal embarrassment. The Royal Variety became an annual event at the suggestion of King George V from 1921 and the British Broadcasting Corporation began to broadcast it on radio.



  1886 Poster







         21st June 1906                                                                                                                    


                    'The Stage'  Feb 22, 1894

Will Bint's Songs

Comedian Arthur Roberts (1852-1933).

Arthur Roberts (21 September 1852 - 27 February 1933) was an English comedian, music hall entertainer and actor. He was famous for portraying the pantomime dames and later for his comic characters and "gagging" in farces, burlesques and musical comedies. He is credited with coining the word "spoof".

Luckily he is alive today, but unfortunately we do not see enough of him. He began his professional life in a little sixpenny "ding-dong" called Poppy Lords in Marylebone, where he got eightpence a night and a cup of coffee ! I wonder what our dandified golfing stars would say to such an offer today! Arthur did five or six songs a night for this munificent sum, and carried his "props" and make-up in a carpet bag.

Poppy Lords was one of the real old-fashioned places where they had a "chairman".

He was a lordly and imposing personage, with an enormous buttonhole in his coat, an enormous cigar in his mouth, and a still more enormous whisky and soda in front of him. He sat at a table in front of the stage, and announced the various turns in a voice of thunder.

If a turn did not turn up, the chairman got up and sang songs until the turn arrived.

Harry Fox, Billy Bint, and Bob Courtnay were the giants among chairmen. It was the height of fame and honour for a young man to be allowed to sit at table with any of them and "find the drinks".

About a dozen could be accommodated at one of these tables, and each was packed every night. It was an expensive honour - at least five shillings, or a "cartwheel", as we called it----but it was worth it.

The shafts of "wit" and lurid repartee which the chairman discharged at disorderly or critical members of the audience were an education----not exactly Etonian in character but marvellously inspiring.

Chuckers-out, great, hairy ex-soldiers and ex-policemen, ex-burglars, too, I should imagine from their faces, were employed at all these places. They would throw out anyone with or without the slightest encouragement. The bigger the man the better the deed.

The Pavilion, the Palace, the Oxford, all the big music-halls, in fact, employed them. We artists had to pay them five shillings a week to ensure a quiet hearing during our turns. "from Memory by DATAS" (William John Maurice Bottle (1875-1956) otherwise known as 'Datas, the Memory Man', star of the music halls from 1901 with his amazing memory feats. )

One Victorian publication was the illustrated broadside, The Music Hall Songster, advertised as containing the lyrics to 17 songs, printed by WS Fortey, Monmouth Court, London. The two songs on the reverse of the sheet are 'The Tricks of the Trade' and 'There's another Jolly Row Downstairs', both published by Francis Bros & Day, 351 Oxford Street, London, sung by Herbert Cambell and W Bint respectively.

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