Dan Leno (1860-1904) was a famed music hall performer, and one of the chief forerunners to today's pantomime dame. Born in London, he appeared first alongside his brother Henry as a dancing duo, and later became World Champion Clog Dancer. However, during the 1880s Leno's routines focussed increasingly on Cockney comedy patter and comedic characters identifiable from London's streets. At the height of his popularity he would move between music halls, performing in up to 20 shows in one night. As a dame, he performed in pantomimes including Babes in the Wood, Aladdin as Widow Twanky and Jack and the Beanstalk as Dame Trot.
Dan Leno wrote an autobiography, His Book: A Volume of Frivolities Autobiographical, Historical, Philosophical, Anecdotal, and Nonsensical (1899). His life has also been written up by Barry Anthony, and he appears as a character in Peter Ackroyd's Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem (1995).
Fevvers' quote is genuinely attributed to Dan Leno, although it more often opens as "a large village on the Thames..."