MATCHETT, William Charles 'Billy' [1889 - 1974]

Billy Matchett, sometimes billed as the 'Mirthquake' was probably at the height of his fame as a comedian during the 1920s and 1930s. Throughout the 1930s he appeared in many touring shows with 'The Two Leslies' - Sarony and Holmes - and often with Sandy Powell in summer seasons. He frequently broadcast on radio, from the 1930s to the 1960s in variety programmes such Workers' Playtime. In later years he specialised in 'Old Tyme Music Hall' either with his own act or as Chairman. Rare film footage of him in his music hall role was included in a 1963 promotional film for the resort of Great Yarmouth which can be viewed in the East Anglian Film Archive. (He appears about 12 minutes into the film).

Roy Hudd wrote of him "A Liverpool comic of the old school. I saw him as Chairman in Old Tyme Music Hall. He had all the attack and gusto of the music hall, having learned his trade the traditional Scouser way, via smokers, working men's clubs and concert party. He graduated to play variety, revue and pantomime (always as the dame) at almost every theatre in Britain. He was a regular broadcaster in John Sharman's Music Hall."  [Roy Hudd's Cavalcade of Variety Acts 1998 Robson Books]

He was born in Toxteth at 46 Merlin Street L8, the son of George Matchett, a docker. The family later lived in Beaufort Street [177 in 1891 and 143 in 1901 both now demolished]. In 1911 Billy was a lodger at 3 Powis Street. By the time of the Second World War he was living at 507 Mather Avenue L19. Subsequently, until his death at Alfred Jones Memorial Hospital in Garston in 1974 he lived at 165 Booker Avenue L18 a house which he named Vaudevilla. He carried on working until the early 1970's and was the subject of a short article in the Liverpool Echo (24.7.1971) in which he prudly recorded that in his entire career he had never told a dirty joke on stage.

A small piece of trivia - I was at school with his nephew Paul Matchett.

46  Merlin Street

Liverpool Echo 24 July 1971

507 Mather Avenue L19

The council house in the leafy Allerton suburb was marked contrast to his early homes in Toxteth.

165 Booker Avenue L18


There is no single biographical work but various bits and pieces around the internet.