MELLY, George  [1926-2007]

 I saw George Melly the singer perform live just once. It was at the opening of a nightclub in Dale Street in the early 1980’s and as a warm-up to the show I’d had several pints in nearby Rigby’s pub. Getting into the club I found that they didn’t serve beer, the only ‘long’ alcoholic drink on offer being ‘vintage’ cider. I had several pints of this with the result that I became very, very drunk and subsequently very, very sick. Sadly, ever since then any mention of Melly has conjured up vivid memories of my night of shame, an undeserved connotation for this multi-talented man.

A larger than life jazz singer, often performing with John Chilton’s Feetwarmers, he was also a writer and lecturer on art, with a life-long interest in surrealism. He had a spell as film and television critic for the Observer, and in the 1980,s he and John Chilton had their own BBC TV show, Good Time George.

The third volume of his autobiography, Scouse Mouse, gives an unrivalled picture of his early life in and around the Sefton Park area. He was born 17th August 1926 at his grandfather’s mansion The Grange, which then stood down by the banks of the Mersey close to St.Michael’s station. He was christened Alan George Heywood Melly. At the time of his birth his parents lived in flat at 26 Linnet Lane L17, but soon moved to a substantial house at 22 Ivanhoe Road. Melly recalled that besides he and his parents the occupants included his nanny, Bella, a cook and house-parlour maid. After the arrival of his sister, André, the family moved to a larger house at 14 Sandringham Drive. The close proximity of these various homes perhaps has something to do with the fact that his father “used The Albert almost every day of his adult life and twice on Sundays”. The Albert pub still thrives in Lark Lane.

26 Linnet Lane L17

At the time of his birth his parents rented a small flat in this house.

22 Ivanhoe Road L17

Melly recalled that the house backed onto Hogg's dairy.

14 Sandringham Drive L17

Melly's father bought the property freehold for £1000 in the mid-1930's.


There is no better source for information about Melly than his three volumes of autobiography. Owning Up [1965] Rum, Bum and Concertina [1977] and Scouse Mouse [1984]. The Guardian obituary is a worthwhile read. There are countless sources to be found on the internet, including an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was the subject of a This Is Your Life programme in 1993 which can be viewed on YouTube.