The picture above is of my great great grandparents, John and Mary Stacey, and probably their 4 youngest children.
Their youngest son George was born in 1882 so that would date this photograph mid to late 1880s.
I will start my thoughts with John and Mary who are the maternal branch of my family.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Beryl Ingham

When I was growing up I was often told that my granddad Samuel Henry Cox was related to George Formby. While researching I discovered that it was George's wife Beryl Ingham who he was related to.

Samuel was the son of William Cox and Hannah Ingham.  Hannah's parents were John Ingham and Mary Whittaker.  John and Mary had 10 children, Hannah being the ninth.  Their fourth daughter Mary had an illegitimate son, John James Ingham.

John James Ingham and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Jackson, had two daughters.  May was born on 20th May 1899 and Beryl was born on 9th September 1901 in Alliance Street Baxenden, Lancashire.  My grandfather Samuel and Beryl were first cousins once removed and she was my second cousin once removed. Their father John James was landlord of the Bull Inn in Darwen.

At the age of 11 Beryl won the all England Step Dancing Title and later formed a clog dancing act with her sister May called the Two Violets.  

In 1923, when they were performing in Castleford in West Yorkshire, she met George Formby.  They were married on 13th September 1924 at Wigan Register Office.  George's real name was George Hoy Booth, and his father James Booth was also a music hall artist and also used the name George Formby.

From all the biographies of George it is clear that Beryl was a very strong woman and was the driving force behind his career and really kept him under her thumb.  She starred with him in some of his films and also decided which actresses could star in his films. She found many of them a threat and was very jealous.

More information about George and Beryl can be found here

And here is a link to George and Beryl performing together in the 1935 film Isn't Love A Very Funny Thing

Beryl died of leukaemia on 24th December 1960.


  1. I have grown up to believe I am also related to Beryl. My grandmother was an Ingham before marriage and was apparently cousin to Beryl. I would like to do more research into our family history some day!

  2. Hi

    Does anyone know what happened to Beryl's Sister May?

  3. Hi Amy,
    May married Richard Thomas Knowles on 18 Nov 1926. He was a sergeant in the Lancashire police force. May died in Dec quarter 1979 and Richard died 3 Nov 1959. I have no information about any children

  4. My fellow members in the George Formby Society would be most interested in hearing (and maybe meeting) from you. Please get in touch!