Born Henry Cornelius Samwell to Stephen and Roseler Samwell, Henry followed his step-father Cedric Wright’s career as an upholsterer.
However, for a brief time, using the name Harry Samwells, he took to the stage as a comic vocalist from 1879 to 1881. There are few records of his appearances, beginning in Bath in 1879 where he was billed as a baritone and character vocalist, then in other English locations where he was called a comic.
He advertised his services with a range of skills: Star Topical Vocalist, Versatile Comique, and Singing and Talking Clown.
By the early 1890s he was back working as an upholsterer, his entertainment career now over.
(Advertisement from The Era 29 October 1881. Image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.)
Contact Caroline Cavanagh at email@example.com to purchase a copy of Once a Famous Circus which provides much more detail on the Saunders and Samwell travelling circus families.
Text © Caroline Cavanagh 2017.