Hylda Baker (Hylda Baker)

Hylda Baker

Entertainer. She was one of Britain’s best loved comediennes in the 1960s/1970s. She was born in Farnsworth, Lancashire and began to perform in the musical halls at the tender age of 10. As an adult she continued to work in the music halls, teamed with a male stooge – always mute, and always called Cynthia, and was a smash hit bringing her own catchphrases “She knows, you know”, “be soon” and “Big girls blouse” among several others, some which are still used today. Eventually Hylda worked in radio and made the jump to television in the 1950s. Her greatest success came when she teamed with the comedian Jimmy Jewel in the tv series Nearest and Dearest which aired in the UK from 1968 until 1973. As Nellie and Eli Pledge, the bickering brother and sister having to live in the same house to inherit money from a will left by their pickle factory owning father, their hilarious performances drew millions of viewers in its heyday. Hylda also gave standout performances in several British films such as the musical version of Oliver, and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. Another show “Not on Your Nellie” followed to a lesser success, however, by this time Hylda was showing the first signs of Alzheimers Disease and after a hit single teamed with Arthur Mullard based on the Grease song “You’re the One that I Want”, Hylda went into retirement. Sadly, Hylda spent the last years of her life as a patient of Horton Hospital, where she died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 82 on May 1st 1986. Alone and forgotten, her death drew next to no media coverage and her funeral service was attended by only a dozen people. Hylda was cremated and her ashes placed in a plot used for retired variety performers. She has no stone of her own, but is just listed on a cenotaph with her name and date of death. Today Hylda is vaunted by several of today’s female comedians as an influence and releases of her tv shows on DVD show that her talent still endures.Hylda was Cremated at Twickenham (not buried) and her ashes were then transported up to Bolton, Lancashire to be scattered in the grounds of Overdale Crematorium with her parents and brothers and sisters. The picture of the memorial plaque is in the Overdale grounds.


  • February, 04, 1904
  • England


  • May, 05, 1986
  • England


  • Twickenham Cemetery
  • England

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