William Henry Crump (17 April 1865 – 14 January 1942), better known by the stage name Harry Champion, was an English music hall composer, singer and Cockney comedian, whose onstage persona appealed chiefly to the working class communities of East London. His best-known recordings include "Boiled Beef and Carrots" (1909), "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am" (1910), "Any Old Iron" (1911) and "A Little Bit of Cucumber" (1915).
Champion was born in Bethnal Green, East London, to Henry Crump and his wife, Matilda (née Watson). He made his stage debut at the age of 17 at the Royal Victoria Music Hall in Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, in July 1882. He initially appeared as Will Conray and went on to appear in small music halls within London's East End. In 1887 he changed his stage name to Harry Champion and started to perform in London's music halls beyond the East End where he built up a wide repertoire of songs. He soon became known as one of music hall's most successful artists performing in his trademark style of a fast tempo and often sang about the joys of food.
As a sideline to his performing career, Champion was also a proprietor of a successful business hiring out horse drawn Broughams to fellow performers. His coach business evolved in the mid to late 1920s and was known as North London Coaches (WH Crump and sons), which later became a family business. He occasionally performed in halls and theatres around London, mainly in the East End. After more than 4 decades on the stage, he briefly retired following the death of his wife but returned in 1930. He appeared on radio, gaining a new, much younger audience as a result. During the great depression of the 1930s, music hall entertainment had made a comeback, and Champion, like other performers of the music hall genre, returned to performing and enjoyed popularity throughout the 1930s. By the early 1940s he was in ill health, and died just a month after he was admitted to a nursing home in 1942.
Links to Peel
Ginger You're Barmy! was selected from amongst Champion's extensive repertoire as the second song in the Peelenium for 1910: it could be seen as a surprising inclusion, being the B-side to another lesser-known item. (A possibility is that John was reminded of the character Ginger Habblethwaite from the Biggles books, which he admired and were authored by Captain W.E. Johns, although the former did not appear in the works until 1935. ) However, this was Harry's only entry to the feature, and JP neglected to explore his work further in the Pig's Big 78.
Festive Fifty Entries
- Peelenium 1910: 'Ginger You're Barmy!'
Other Shows Played