Florence Stafford and Percy Boggis – De De Cottage
In 1927 the property known previously as “Hebron” and “Pats Cottage” was sold to Florence Boggis, who owned it until 1933. Florence changed the name of the property to Dede Cottage.
The sisters Ada, Florence and Pauline Stafford, were a family of serpentine dancers. (Serpentine dancers portrayed movement and light cast from different angles on chiffon or gauze which, when waved around, revealed the inside form). Florence danced professionally as “De dio” (Dede) with her sisters (Ada) as “La Pia” and (Pauline) as “Mlle Nero”. Their brothers included Harry Stafford (comedian) and Ernest Stafford (electrician and projectionist).
De Dio married Percy Boggis, a maestro of electrical effects in June 1896. Boggis had worked as one of a team of electricians touring with Loie Fuller (an early free dancing practitioner, who had performed at the Folies Bergere).(1) The best of the “copycat” acts that followed is the act of the Stafford sisters. With this experience added (no doubt, to his own ingenuity) Boggis masterminded the technical aspects of the sisters’ individual acts (he was later a pioneer in the use of UV lighting for stage effects). La Pia appeared in the Royal Command Music Hall Performance, at the Palace Theatre, London and the Hippodrome, London in 1912 with her Spirit of the Waves and Fire Dance. (2)
(2) The Variety Theatres.” Times (London, England) 8 Jan. 1912. The Times Digital Archive.