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: 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).
Other Castling and Godfrey songs are as follows:
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)