Richard Anthony Baker, (author and broadcaster) writing in the journal of the British Music Hall Society called The Heaviest of Swells:
‘The music hall publishing event of 2011 … The first thing to say about this book is that it is extravagantly produced. The binding is superb, the paper is of the high quality and the coloured illustrations, many of them rare, are exquisitely reproduced. The beauty of the book is matched by its academic excellence. No biographer of Leybourne will ever equal or exceed the attention to detail that is lavished here. …
In the first place, Leybourne’s real name, wrongly given in so many standard works, had to be confirmed, as did his place of birth. For Britain’s first real super-star, similar sleuth work had to be carried out to flesh out the detail of his two greatest songs, Champagne Charlie and The Flying Trapeze. Beeching has nailed down the venue where Champagne Charlie received its premiere…
The first volume takes us up to 1872… The second promises to be equally detailed… This is the finest music hall biography you will have read for some time…’
Catherine Comerford ( Judge for STR Book Prize, speaking at the Drury Lane presentation):
Marvellous illustrations … detailed, but accessible; paints a picture of the life and times of Leybourne and his fellow performers on the halls which really does live – greatly recommended.