H. Vernon Watson (1886–1952), was a popular English variety artist. He toured the music halls before World War I. However, he remained relatively obscure until the 1920s, when he became increasingly popular, despite his terrible routines, often misogynistic jokes and the fact he blacked up, taking to the stage with the name Nosmo King.
We had it all along. Smoke.
Until recently, I assumed Nosmo King was a relatively innocent (non-blacked up) character who my dad often referred to when we were on a fun-packed family holiday back in the mid eighties. A typical Wells reference to Nosmo King began with an hour long hunt around a drizzly Cornish tin mining town or a Welsh coal mining village for a pub which:
- Was willing to allow children in
- Served food for lunch
- Had a tiny area of about three tables with little plastic signs declaring it a “No Smoking” zone
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