Greyscale photograph of Bessie Bellwood wearing an elaborate hat. White background. Black text centered on bottom portion of button.
Sweet Caporal Cigarette Buttons Manufactured by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. Badges & Buttons Newark, N.J.
Pat. July 21 1896 Pat. July 17 1894 Pat. April 14 1896
Bessie Bellwood was a popular music hall performer in the Victorian Era. She sang "Coster" songs, taking the onstage persona of a fruit vendor, and was very popular with working-class audiences. She was skilled in improvisation, and often incorporated audience members into her songs. She was a woman of some notoriety: a skilled boxer, she was arrested for striking her maid. She was also known for her "relations with the Duke of Manchester and subsequenty with the Marquis of Ailesbury," and became an alcoholic before her death from heart disease at age 39.
SOURCE: Bessie Bellwood Dead. (1896, Oct. 7) The Evening Telegram.