FILMS

 

Albert William Jeffery
1913 - 1984


Jeffie & Ted Andrews

The love of Rita Webb's life Albert William Jeffery was born in London on 23rd August 1913 at 2 Dufours Place, St Martin.
His father George Edwin Jeffery was a Porter, it is unknown what occupation if any his mother Elizabeth (formely Gray) (Jeffie was the youngest son, his brother George and sister Clara were several years older than him.)

Very little is known about Al Jeffery's life. It is known that they were very poor and his parents died when he was quite young. Although Al never spoke much about his life to anyone.

He met Rita around 1938 while in a show. He always called her "Podge" and she called him "Jeffie" he was Britain's premier Banjo player and toured for many years in music hall and variety. He also recorded with many top muscians including Ewan Maccoll.


Jeffie (seated front left) as one of the Minstrels


In the mid 1940's he performed as part of a double act called "The Jeffery Brothers" with his friend, Ted Andrews, later they would become "The Jeffersons". Jeffie also appeared several times on Tv playing his banjo, shows included "The Minstrel Show", "The Appleyards", "Georgia Story", "Music for You", "Music In Camera", "Merry Go Round", "Til Closing Time Us Do Part" and "Tarbuck"


Rita's niece Louise Webb told me "Jeffie was cutting records in the 1930's with a Ted Andrews. They went under the name of Andrews Brothers. After Jeffie died Ted had all the music that they did together as well as all the instruments. Jeffie was a great banjo and mandolin player and Pete Seeger used to jam with him. I was about 15 in 1966 and remember Jeffie's soundproof basement at 66 Chepstow Rd. He had a mogue synthesiser and his organ guitar. I know that it all ended in great disappointment-Jeffie's ideas Were plagerised and he missed out on the technological changes in the music industry of late 60's. For many years he taught at the Hendon School of Music. Jeffie was a Black and White Minstrel- Al "Mr. Banjo" Jeffery. We had a great night with Jeffie at The Players' Theatre in Nov 1981 not long after Auntie died. There was a fantastic photo of Jeffie hanging in the theatre".


After Rita died in 1981 Al seemed to lose the will to live. He stayed on at 66 Chepstow Road and wrote out his will in 1982. He died on 7th April 1984 at Westminster hospital. He was a quite and talented man. The love Rita and Al shared was truely remarkable. Like his beloved "Podge" he was cremated at Kensal Green cemetery, and at his request no religious service was to take place.


Jeffie with his beloved "Podge" 1966

Information and Photos copyright Geraldine Lewis and Louise Webb
Additional material and information supplied by Aaron Smith
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