Down in a diving bell

2. Lee, Alfred, d. 1906

George Leybourne's great song : Down in a diving bell / written & sung with the greatest success in London and the provinces by George Leybourne ; composed by Alfred Lee. London : Hopwood & Crew, [1867?]

Sheet music from the Victoria era is notable for its chromolithographic covers. Homes commonly had a piano or reed organ, and people were encouraged to learn to sing and play. On display is a mixture of popular songs, dance tunes and piano music.

George Leybourne (1842-1884) was a popular music hall singer, best-known for his character “Champagne Charlie” and the song, “The daring young man on the flying trapeze.”

One of Leybourne’s obituarists attributed his success to the composer Alfred Lee, “Fully sixty per cent of the successful comic songs played and whistled and barrel-organed about the world for the last twenty years have been composed by him,” including the song “Champagne Charlie”(1867). The cover illustration features a diving bell.

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