Princess Tiny: A Celebrity


The Weekly Sentinel, 3rd March 1918 contained the following item, headed:


 Mary Johnson Burrows:

There are many in North Staffordshire who will recollect MARY JANE BURROWS, a dwarf, who was born at Halmerend in 1869, and joined Wall’s (or Well’s) Ghost Show at Tunstall about 22(?) years ago.  Since then she had been travelling about England, Scotland and Wales from time to tome until her death last year.  She was only 42(?)inches in height, 48lb in weight, and when she died was in her 48th year.  She was known in Halmerend district as “Little Polly,” and in the Potteries as “Dot.”  In later years she travelled about in the summer months, and was in Dublin at the time of the rebellion in 1916, being advertised as one of the attractions at the “Worlds Fair Waxworks” as “Princess Tiny, the renowned lady midget.”  In consequence of the disturbances, however, she had to keep indoors for a fortnight, and the experience so upset her that she never seemed to get over it.  She died at the house of her brother, Mr Thos Bailey, 18 Fields New road, Butler Green, Oldham, whose son has been reported killed on the Western front.  For a time also May Burrows lived in Well-street, Hanley, and then with friends in Sneyd-street, Sneyd Green.


This item raises many interesting questions, not least which of the three versions of her name is correct.  But why and how did she come to join the travelling shows?  How did she feel about being on display?  How was she treated in her native Halmerend?  If anyone can remember any stories about her, we would be pleased to hear from you. Write to Ian Bailey, address in introduction.