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"
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