Comedian, Musical Artist
1867 – 1928
Who was Little Tich?
Little Tich, born Harry Relph, was a 4 foot 6 inch tall English music hall comedian and dancer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was best known for his acrobatic and comedic Big-Boot Dance, which he performed in Europe and for which he wore boots with soles 28 inches long. Aside from his music hall appearances, he was also a popular performer in Christmas pantomimes and appeared in them annually at theatres throughout the English provinces. He repeated this success in London, where he appeared in three pantomimes at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane between 1891 and 1893 alongside Dan Leno and Marie Lloyd.
Born in Cudham, Kent, Little Tich began performing aged ten when he developed a dance and tin-whistle act which he showcased at public houses in Sevenoaks. In the early 1880s he formed a blackface act and gained popularity with performances at the nearby Rosherville Pleasure Gardens and Barnard's Music Hall in Chatham. He travelled to London and appeared at the Forester's Music Hall in 1884. Later that year, he adopted the stage name "Little Tich", which he based on his childhood nickname of "Tichborne", acquired through his portly stature and physical likeness to the suspected Tichborne Claimant Arthur Orton. The term "titchy" was later derived from "Little Tich", and is used to describe things that are small.