29 July

365 Great Things About Staffordshire - Gertie Gitana “Vera Lynn” of World War One

Described by some as the “Vera Lynn” of World War One; Gertie Gitana was born in Stoke-on-Trent and became a music-hall star, entertaining people at the home front and injured soldiers in hospital.

She did a lot of fundraising for the war effort, including selling studio photographs of herself and holding signings.

Gertie also recorded several songs before and during the war and saw a number of them appropriated and altered by soldiers.

Her legacy also includes being “Cockney Rhyming Slang” for a banana!

Music hall was one of the dominant entertainments of WW1, primarily for the working class and, as well as entertainment, was also used for propaganda and recruitment. It saw increasing competition from the rising importance of cinema during the period.

Location:

Gitana Street,
Stoke-on-Trent,
ST1 1DY

Find out more on the Potteries website

You can also listen to this BBC World War One at Home Podcast which explains more. 

Thanks to the BBC - and World War One at Home for the information.
Signed photograph of Gertie Gitana courtesy of John Booth. Gertie’s songsheet courtesy of Ray JohnsonPodcast presented by Allen Cook.

Find more information about Gertie Gitana on the BBC website. 


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