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Q I AM a tutor of family history and hope that some of your readers can help me with the following.

I am trying to find any information concerning Billy Sherlock, a musichall entertainer who was married to Emma Pallister-Sellers. I am conducting this search on behalf of one of my students who is the only remaining child of the marriage, and who is now in her 80s. She would like any information concerning her father and his career.

We do know that in 1919 he was presented with a certificate from Birmingham Athletic Club.

She would also like any knowledge of her mother's family who are believed to have owned coalmines in Yorkshire and the Midlands, and possibly a printing firm.

Thank you very much for any help that you can give to me or my student. D WILLMINGTON-FOLEY, Dover

A WE can't find any mention of Billy in our archive but the combination of music-hall entertainer and sporting star is an unusual one that a reader may recall.

Local publisher Brewin Books, however, has two titles that will help build a picture of what life would have been like for Billy. BAI - Birmingham Athletic Institute Remembered by Marjorie Waterman (pounds 5.99) describes the development of the Birmingham Athletic Institute from 1866 to 1992. It shows the importance of the BAI to the city's sporting history, and reproductions of historic documents are included.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Theatres by Victor J Price (pounds 11.95) is a history of Birmingham's theatres, music halls and concert halls from the 18th to the 20th centuries. It contains many photographs of buildings, interiors, posters and stars who trod the boards.

Visit website for more details, or to order copies.

Another resource you may wish to try is an excellent website devoted to the development of pantomime and its roots in music-hall tradition. Click on Here, you'll find photographs of Birmingham theatre and music-hall posters of the period, together with brief biographies of the city's leading performers of the day.

If readers can assist further, write to Family Tree, Sunday Mercury, Weaman Street, Birmingham B4 6AY, or e-mail We'll pass on the details.


STARSTRUCK: here's one of the music halls Billy Sherlock might have played. Holder's Music Hall - pictured in 1857 - later went on to become the Gaiety Theatre.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2006
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