Letter dated 3 February 1911 from
Fred Godfrey assigning the rights to Tell Them You’re A Londoner (and several other songs) to Billy Williams. Interestingly, Williams
had already recorded the song for the Zonophone Twin
label when this letter was written.
Billy Williams & Fred Godfrey, 1911; manuscript of lyrics in author’s collection.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
A song of working-class London pride that must have gone over well in
the Metropolitan Halls, complete with the obligatory reference to that
hoary thoroughfare, the Old Kent Road:
Tell them youre a Londoner,
Just an ordinary little Londoner.
You dont come from the best end, boy
But youre as good as anybody in the West End, boy.
Your mother, too, was a Londoner,
Proud of her tiny abode.
So when they ask you where you come from,
Tell them you were born
Somewhere in the Old Kent Road.
Billy Williams recorded two versions of this song: 26 January 1912 for
Zonophone Twin (reissued on Cinch and Australian Zonophone), and ca. April
12 for Edison Amberol.1
1 For comprehensive discographies of recordings by Billy Williams, see Brian Rust, British Music Hall on Record (Harrow, UK:
Gramophone, 1979); and Frank Andrews and Ernie Bayly, Billy Williams’ Records: A Study in Discography (Bournemouth, UK:
Talking Machine Review, 1982).