Ben Brown was a popular comedian who formed part of the burnt cork minstrel act Brown, Newland and Le Clerq, whose sketch "Black Justice" was an enduring success.
He was born Benjamin Brown on 23rd November 1848 at Cirencester in Gloucestershire to parents Edward and Mary Brown.
Ben's father was a carpenter and it was expected that Ben should follow in his father's footsteps but instead he became a miner until the notion of appearing onstage as a comedian became so great, that he teamed up with James Newland (1843 - 1931) and together they started out performing as minstrels on the music hall circuit until eventually they joined ranks with George Le Clerq (George Henley 1848 - 1911)) and success came their way.
Ben played Will Atkins opposite Marie Loftus (1857 - 1940) in Howard and Wyndhams lavish pantomime, Robinson Crusoe at the Glasgow Royal in December 1889. James Newland and George Le Clerq also appeared.
He wrote, composed and sang the song I COULDN'T HELP BUT LAUGH (Eccentric Banjo Song).
Ben had two daughters; Flora Beatrice Brown (1874-1848) from his first marriage and the popular star of stage and screen Marie Cecilia Loftus (1896-1943) aka Cissie Loftus from his relationship with the legendary music hall star Marie Loftus.
Ben Brown and James Newland later teamed up with Charles Wallace (1849 -1903).
Ben Brown passed away on 16th December 1926 aged 78 at a nursing home in Upper Norwood.
SONGS BEN SANG WITH NEWLAND AND LE CLERQ:
I COULDN'T HELP BUT LAUGH
THE COFFEE CAN BROTHERS
THE DARK NIGHT BEFORE US
GO AS YOU PLEASE
HE WOULD BE AN ACTOR
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS