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George ‘Dolly’ Gray  (1875-1947)


Dolly Gray was mentioned by Billy Bennington, who remembered him playing on the streets of Norwich with the dulcimer on a pram.

Many years later, as a result of publicising our search, a granddaughter of Dolly Gray contacted EATMT with information about him, and also her father and uncles who played, tuned and repaired dulcimers in the mid twentieth century. Dolly was a family nickname, handed on to the oldest son in each generation.



A newspaper article appealing for information about a photograph of a fishing trip leaving from the Albert Tavern, Norwich, which had been presented to the Brideswell museum. The landlord of the pub is identified as Herbert Ernest Jefferies which dates the photo between 1910 and 1912.


A handwritten note on the top right hand corner of the newspaper clipping identifies members of the Gray family in the photo. The concertina player is unidentified.

George was born in the Coslany area of Norwich and worked in the boot trade all his life. He is known to have played in pubs and played the banjo as well as the dulcimer.


His three sons, Albert, Johnny and Billy could all tune and repair dulcimers. Albert, Johnny and their youngest sister Harriet could all play too, although their playing tended to be limited to the home. Albert stepdanced and played the spoons too.

Albert’s daughter and son remember their father restringing dulcimers for other people and making bridges and beaters.


Further back in the family, George Gray’s father, Everitt (1838-1916) was licensee of the Golden Dog in Magdalen Street in Norwich in the 1890s, and then of the Dove on Barrack Street, subsequently run by his son John until its closure in 1907. A photo from the 1920s has been unearthed, showing a fishing trip from the Golden Dog, with a dulcimer in the foreground – this may well belonged to one of the Grays, but unfortunately it’s not possible to identify the people in the photograph now.


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Photo descriptions & sources



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