Book uncovers story of Swarby-born Harry Quiningborough who entertained across the world

Harry Quiningborough in Hong Kong in 1912.
Harry Quiningborough in Hong Kong in 1912.
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Uncovering a treasure trove of photographs and information, author Richard Guise found himself retracing the steps of a relative born in Victorian times through India and the Far East.

Richard came across the belongings of Harry Quiningborough a few years, uncovering the long lost story of a comedian, singer and actor who travelled the world.

The Extraordinary Life of Harry Quiningborough by Richard Guise.

The Extraordinary Life of Harry Quiningborough by Richard Guise.

Harry was born in Swarby, the birthplace of another entertainer, Joe Brown.

Born in 1868, Harry was a renowned singer and comedian on the music hall circuit, touring all over the country in the early 1900s, both with a troupe called the So and So’s and with his own gang, the Hariquins.

In 1911 he joined the London Musical Comedy Company on an extended tour of India and the Far East, staying on as a theatre manager, before succumbing to smallpox in Calcutta four years later.

Harry’s great nephew, Richard, discovered a trove of theatre programmes, photos and notes collected by Harry on his travels abroad.

The Oasby family home of Harry Quiningborough, pictured in 1938.

The Oasby family home of Harry Quiningborough, pictured in 1938.

Inspired by his discovery, Richard, a travel writer now living in Quorn, Leicestershire, set about following in his illustrious relation’s footsteps.

This first took him to Oasby, where Harry lived in the old Shoemaker’s Cottage, his grandfather being the local shoemaker and his mother one of the Grantham Hornsbys, famous for their agricultural machinery. The trail took Richard to Derby, Cardiff and Colombo before finally to Calcutta, where he became the first member of his family to visit Harry’s grave – 101 years after his death.

The story both of Harry’s life and of Richard’s quest to trace it has now been published as ‘The Extraordinary Life of Harry Quiningborough – from Grantham to the Ganges on the trail of a long-lost music hall entertainer’. It includes 50 illustrations, most from Harry’s own photo album, bringing the days of music hall and of empire back into startling focus. Chapter one tells of Harry’s Lincolnshire childhood.

The book is available from www.amazon.co.uk or direct from the author at richard_guise@yahoo.com (£9.99 plus p&p).