(b. Shoreditch, London, 1866; d. London, 14 Jan. 1942) music hall and variety artist. Only 15 when he made his debut on the London halls as Will Conray, a blackface singer of ‘coon songs’, he soon changed his name and persona for that of the ‘Quick-fire Comedian’, which brought him immediate popularity and was to sustain the remainder of his long career. Its essential ingredients were simple but inimitable: Cockney patter and songs delivered with gusto and at a breathless pace. These included such ethnic gems as ‘Any Old Iron’, ‘I'm 'Enery the Eighth, I Am’, ‘Boiled Beef and Carrots’ and others about working-class culinary delicacies.
From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.