Winifred Emms (Hetty King)

Winifred Emms

Winifred Emms was born in New Brighton, a seaside resort in Cheshire, and performed with her father on the beach in a company of minstrels. Winifred Emms adopted the name Hetty King when she first appeared on the stage of the Shoreditch Theatre, at the age of six with her father, William Emms (1856–1954), a comedian who used the stage name of Will King. For the week commencing 10 December 1904 she topped the programme at the newly opened (by 10 days) Empire-Hippodrome in Ashton-under-Lyne, billed as “The Society Gem”. It was her first of many appearances at this theatre, part of the Broadhead circuit. By 1905, she was appearing in music halls, with her solo act, as a male impersonator, often dressed as a “swell”. Her career spanned both World Wars when she performed in the uniform of either a soldier or a sailor. In the First World War her act included, in 1916, “Songs the soldiers sing” in which she sang some of the less ribald songs invented by soldiers in the trenches. She also played the “principal boy” in many pantomimes. She continued to entertain until the end of her life, touring with the show Thanks for the Memory.

She was married to actor and writer Ernie Lotinga (aka Ernest) (1876–1951), born in Sunderland. Her husband was a music hall comedian, singer and theatre proprietor, appearing as Dan Roe from 1898, who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s, often as the comic character PC Jimmy Josser. They divorced in 1917, decree nisi being granted on Friday 16 March by Sir Samuel Evans on the grounds of Miss King’s misconduct with the vaudeville artist and actor Mr Jack Norworth. The divorce was not contested. Her half sister Olive Emms was also an actress and her half brother, Harold Emms, wrote many of Hetty’s songs with his French wife, Francine. The family were not related to H. Vernon Watson (1886–1949), the music hall artist performing under the sobriquet Nosmo King. Winifred Emms was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.


More Images

  • NPG x160520; Hetty King (nÈe Winifred Emms) published by The Philco Publishing Co -

  • Hetty -


  • April, 21, 1883
  • United Kingdom
  • Wallasey, Cheshire, England


  • September, 28, 1972
  • United Kingdom
  • Wimbledon, London


  • Golders Green Crematorium
  • Golders Green, London, England
  • United Kingdom

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