Léonce Charles BLUFF, known as Harry BLUFF
Music Hall Singer and Early Recording Artist

Léonce Charles Bluff was born in Shoreditch, London in 1869, the son of Robert Bluff and Mary Ann Mustiel m.1868. He was a Music Hall Singer who used the stage name Harry Bluff.

In the 1891and 1901 census he was descibed as a “vocalist” and he began to make cylinder records for Edison Bell in the 1890′s. In 1912 he was interviewed by the Talking Machine News. It appears that when he was sixteen years old he took part in a benefit concert where a number of the other artists did not turn up and he was asked to take their spot. In the audience was a musical hall artist by the name of George H. Chirgwin who was so impressed by Harry′s performance that he invited Harry to sing at a benefit concert he was organising. After this Chirgwin arranged for Harry Bluff to tour the halls. Soon he met Mr James E. Hough the director of the Edison Bell Record Company for whom he made many records until about 1904.

Harry Bluff had a powerful voice and a talent for mimicry. He could imitate London performers and record master cylinders for duplication all day long, a process which would have been impossibly expensive with top artistes fees. He was well known for imitating Dan Leno amoung others and many psuedonyms were used for his record releases up until 1916.

Harry and his wife Theresa Grace Kellaway took the first cinematograph show to the West Indies, contributing the musical portion of the show.

In 1912 he was musical director of Favourite records.

His last records were made for Edison Bell Winner in December 1927. By this time his style of singing was becoming out of date with the new “crooners” coming along.

Harry died in London in 1942 aged 73

Harry married another Music Hall Singer called Theresa Grace Kellaway in Islington in 1900. I have only found one possible child for them, a boy Frank born 1901 who died the same year.

Theresa was born in Newport Monmouth in 1874, the daughter of William Lemon Kellaway and Mary Ann who were originally from Hartland, North Devon. They later moved to Islington, London where William was a Builder who owned his own business in the area.

About 1903/04 Theresa made a few cylinders for the Edison Bell Company.

Theresa Grace Kellaway died in 1967, Hackney, aged 92 years.

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Harry Bluff
Last updated February 2010
Web Page by Les Haigh. Email: (les.haigh at btinternet.com)

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