Take a look at Sunderland’s Rosslyn Babes who took the theatre world by storm

The Rosslyn Babes

The Rosslyn Babes

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Who remembers the Rosslyn Babes?

Plenty of people, it seems, as many of them will be re-united in Sunderland next month with a capacity audience already expected.

The Rosslyn Babes in the 1940s

The Rosslyn Babes in the 1940s

Richard Geere shared memories of the Wearside-based group which took the country by storm from the 1940s to the 1980s.

He was the Babes’ accompanist and arranger from 1974 to 1980 and now performs at Disneyland’s “Royal Theatre” as the accompanist, ensuring that the Babes legacy lives on.

And it was Richard who filled us in on the history of the ladies who first performed during the 1940s including the Second World War. He said the reunion was “going to be quite the evening.”

It all started for the Babes when they were formed by Sunderland-born Mary Harbord of Rosslyn Street. Their first professional appearance was in Bernard Delfont’s production of Dick Whittington at the Lewisham Hippodrome in 1944. “Some of those Babes will be attending the reunion,” said Richard.

They truly were magnificent ambassadors for Sunderland. As television became more widespread, the Rosslyn Babes also appeared on TV numerous times

Richard Geere, the Rosslyn Babes accompanist from 1974 to 1980

“The Babes must have been a big hit, because they went on to perform in pantomimes all over the country.”

Appearances at theatres in London, Stockport, Barnsley, Harrogate, Margate, Maidstone, Keighley followed as well as Sunderland, Newcastle and Gateshead.

“They truly were magnificent ambassadors for Sunderland. As television became more widespread, the Rosslyn Babes also appeared on TV numerous times,” said Richard.

Mary Harbord had four sisters and they were also involved in the theatre.

On the bill at the Empire

On the bill at the Empire

“Norah was the Babes costume designer,” said Richard, “and Silva, Doris and Audrey were their own specialty act in variety shows throughout England and the continent.”

Richard is Norah’s son and joined in with the family tradition by singing and dancing.

But more of that when we continue our look at the Babes next week.

Mary Harbord, the founder of the Rosslyn Babes

Mary Harbord, the founder of the Rosslyn Babes