Have you seen this article about children working in the theatre ? It describes how the
eight were formed. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/di ... id=8481997
This paragraph might be of interest :
Eight Lancashire Lads
Some companies did not aspire so highly.
John Willie Jackson was a white-lead worker
and paper stainer who taught clog dancing
to children in his village of Golbourne near
Manchester. A widower with four children,
Jackson had remarried and had another son.
In 1896 the family went to Blackpool where
they won a clog-dancing contest at the
Central Pier. The pier’s manager, Robert
Bickerstaffe, offered the group a twelveweek
contract which persuaded the family to
relocate to Blackpool and to increase their
number to eight, with the inclusion of three
more children, the sons of Bill Cawley, a
family friend from Golbourne.
The troupe had a series of successful
engage ments and were noted by the Era at
Rochdale. By April 1897 they were appear -
ing at Gatti’s music hall on the Westminster
Bridge Road in London:
The article goes on to talk about the family's difficulty in obtaining an extension
to their licence and mentions the three Cawley children being taken out of
their father Bill's direct care , describing him as a miner . It seems to me
that Bill Cawley's involvement in "founding" the Troupe was simply in
providing the additional 3 members.