Born Matilda Alice Powles in Worcester in 1864 and later became
Lady de Frece.
She was a male impersonator and did her first such impersonation at
the age of five so presumably her parents started her on it.
She adopted the name of Vesta Tilley and was one of the most
celebrated of male impersonators in the English music hall of
the late 1800's/early 1900's because of her sartorial
elegance and attention to detail.
She wrote her autobiography "Recollections of Vesta Tilley" in
She died aged 88 in 1952.
Her most well known songs were "Burlington Bertie" (see note below), "I'm Following in Father's Footsteps", "Sweetheart May" and "Jolly Good Luck to the Girl who loves a Sailor".
Details of her records can be found on http://www.214b.com/MHDisco.html.
Editor's note: This bio provided by Dudley Chubb. Thanks, Dudley. According to some authorities this song "Burlington Bertie"
is not the same as "Burlington Bertie from Bow". Does anybody have a copy of the music and lyric of Vesta's Burlington Bertie?