Harry Castling (1865–1933)

One of the great lyricists of the Music Hall, Harry Castling could not play a note on the piano, according to his obituary in the Gloucester Citizen (28 December 1933). He nevertheless had many hits, including Charles Bignall’s What Ho, She Bumps (with A.J. Mills, 1901); Marie Kendall’s Just Like The Ivy (with A.J. Mills, 1903); Charles R. Whittle’s Let’s All Go Down The Strand (with C.W. Murphy, 1909); and Kate Carney’s Are We To Part Like This, Bill? (with Charles Collins, 1912). Lily Morris sang his and Herbert Rule’s Turned Up (1924); and Don’t Have Any More, Mrs. Moore (with J. Lloyd, as “James Walsh”, 1926).

Like many of the songwriters of those days, Castling was destitute in his later years. Fred Godfrey’s youngest daughter Peggie (1912–2001) remembered that she and her mother ran into him in 1933, much the worse for wear, in a Lyons Corner House in London and bought him something to eat. He died in a London hospital in December 1933, leaving three daughters (Nottingham Journal, 28 December 1933, p. 4).

Castling was one of Fred’s favourite collaborators. They were particularly active in 1907–08, but continued to work together sporadically into the 1930s. Several of their songs were substantial hits, including: I’ll Tell Tilly On The Telephone (1907); Meet Me Jenny When The Sun Goes Down (1907); I Want You To See My Girl (1908); When They Ask You What Your Name Is (Tell ’Em It’s Molloy) (1908); and Take Me Back To Yorkshire (1910), which Noël Coward selected for use as a typical Edwardian-era song in his Academy Award–winning 1933 film Cavalcade. Australian star Billy Williams, “The Man in the Velvet Suit,” successfully sang and recorded their It’s The Only Bit Of English That We’ve Got (1907); Put A Bit Of Powder On It, Father (1908) and Save A Little One For Me (1909); while Mark Sheridan scored with In The Days That Are Coming By-And-By (The Budget Song) (1909).


Castling and Godfrey trade paper advertisement, 1908.
Nine-year-old Charlie Chaplin lived next door at No. 287 for a while in 1898, but had long since moved on by the time the two songwriters set up shop.


Other Castling and Godfrey songs are as follows:

Buffalo (with Daisy Dormer); Can’t You Spare One Little Feather? (Mister Ostrich); Come In My Submarine (A Honeymoon Under The Sea); The Day You Became My Bride; Here Comes The Ragman; I Am Thinking Of You, Just You; In Demerara; Julia (I’ve A Peculiar Feeling Round My Heart For You); Mr. Smith, From Aberystwith!; My “Are You There” Girl; My Housetop On The Trees; Rosebud; Send Us A Few More Girls; Sunbeam; Take Me Up In The Mountains Sammy; Take Me With You; Take Your Greedy Eyes Off My Little Girl; Two Little Wooden Shoes; You Shall Have A Shalimar (Indian Garden)

Diabolo Mad; Grow, Little Mushroom, Grow; His Lordship; I Was Lonely And You Took Me In; I’d Be Happy In A Wigwam With You; I’m Not Going Away From This Little Lagoon With You; In A Cheap Excursion Train; In The Fire-Fly Glow (with A.E. Sidney-Davis); In The Merry Month Of May; It’s Not So Much The Waltz Dream As Her Dreamy Eyes; Lovetime (Any Old Time Will Do); Oh! The Girls Of Gottenberg (with Billy Williams); Over The Hills And Far Away (A Dutch Girl’s Lament); Shine, Little Moonflower; Where Are All The Girls?

Because I Love You That’s All; The Colliers (with Billy Williams); If You Haven’t A Girl In The World; Mister Hippopotamus; My Moonlight Girl

Don’t Tell The Wife! (with John A. Glover-Kind); In My Home At Bantry Bay; Liza’s Wedding Day (with Alice Lloyd); Not A Single Girl To Kiss; Take It Nice And Easy (with John A. Glover-Kind); Take Me Back To New York; Togo (Over In Old Japan)

I Do Like To Be Where The Girls Go; Uncle Billy Was A Fireman

We’ll Have A Night Out Together Tonight (with Billy Williams)

Don’t Forget Your Little Dickey Bird

How Do, Little Miss Santa Claus?; Hullo Jack, Glad To See You Back; Hullo! Wedding Bells

Don’t You Ever Want To See That Old Hometown?

Would I Like To See My Old Hometown? (with Charles Collins)

Arm In Arm Together (1931).

Date unknown:
All Day Long I’m Thinking Of You, Just You; Birdie Birdie Playing Her Hurdy Gurdy; Have Another One (with Charles R. Whittle); I Knew I Loved You When You Went Away; I Suppose You’ll Come Down There Too (with Arthur Woodville); Love Star; The Old Man’s Looking In The Moon; Pretty Little Sansy Pansy Soo; What’s Your Name, Little Girlie?; When You’re Tired Of All The Others; and Yolanda.