British Blue Plaques
Plaques unveiled by the British Plaque Trust in the UK
Plaques unveiled by the British Plaque Trust in the UK
On 25th October 2019 we unveiled our latest blue plaque to commemorate the long history of the iconic & influential Radio Luxembourg. 1933-1991 with the Luxembourg Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Jean Olinger & many of the broadcasters. The plaque is at 38, Hertford Street, Mayfair, the headquarters of Radio Luxembourg and where all the recordings of both artists and broadcasters were made. The main programmes came live from the Villa Louvigny in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
On the 4th April 1963 The Beatles played what was possibly their most unusual concert. Stowe School pupil David Moores booked the group to play at the school for just £100. They fulfilled the contract and performed at the school’s Roxburgh Hall to rows of polite schoolboys, just as their debut album was hitting No.1. The building and stage remain the same as they were at the time of the Beatles performance. On 31st January 2020 our plaque commemorating the unique event was unveiled on the same stage, with a concert of Beatles songs performed by three generations of Wakeman, Rick, Adam & Skyla, Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden and some of the teachers and pupils. Headmaster Anthony Wallersteiner and the British Plaque Trust’s Mike Read also took to the stage, Mike reading a special massage from Paul McCartney. The plaque is now fixed to the front wall of the Roxburgh Hall.
On 13th July 1954 in Decca’s Studio Two at their recording complex in West Hampstead, Chris Barber’s Jazz Band were recording their first album. At the end of the one-day session it was decided to record a couple of skiffle songs they’d been featuring in their show. With Lonnie Donegan on vocals and guitar, Chris Barber on double bass, Beryl Bryden on washboard they recorded a song that would become a ground-breaking, revolutionary and influential record that would change the course of the UK music scene….Rock Island Line. Lonnie’s sons, Lonnie Jnr and Peter unveiled the plaque and organised a tribute concert in the evening at the Cadogan Hall off Sloane Square. The 65th anniversary concert featured the Donegans, Van Morrison, Leo Sayer, Billy Bragg, Joe Brown, Paul Jones, Chris Farlowe, Dave Peacock, Chas McDevitt and Mike Read.
Our plaque to the world’s first recorded game of baseball was unveiled on July 7th 2019 at Walton-on-Thames Cricket Club in Ashley Park, Walton on the same spot that the original game was played 270 years earlier. It was unveiled by 94-year-old local Olympian and world record-breaking athlete, Bill Nankeville, the father of comedian Bobby Davro who was also present on the day. A match between the USA & Great Britain was preceded by the national anthems of both countries. Baseball historian David Block flew over from the States for the occasion and spoke about his book, Pastime Lost, The Humble. Original, and Now Completely Forgotten Game of English Baseball. Surprisingly the American media took the revelation to their hearts and the unveiling was featured on US TV News, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and dozens of UK newspapers and magazines.
The plaque to Buddy Holly & the Crickets was unveiled in March 2018 at what was the Gaumont when Buddy, Joe B. Mauldin and Jerry Alison played there on March 22nd 1958 as part of what would be their only UK tour. They played three shows at the Salisbury venue and were supported by Des O’Connor, The Tanner Sisters, Gary Miller and Ronnie Keene & his Orchestra, the tour promoters, coincidentally, being Lew and Leslie Grade, the uncles of the British Plaque Trust’s Ian Freeman. Kevin Montgomery, the son of Buddy’s original partner, Bob Montgomery (who wrote such songs as Heartbeat and Wishing) was present to assist with the unveiling. As the plaque was part of BBC Music Day, BBC Wiltshire broadcast a live show on the day.
Our Blue Plaque to film pioneer Cecil Hepworth was unveiled on June 17th 2018 by actor William Russell Enoch on the only remaining building from the once great complex that began life in 1899 as Hepworth Studios. During the 1920s it became Nettlefold Studios and among it’s successes were the adventure series’ The Buccaneers, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Sir Lancelot. The latter starred William Russell and was produced at the studio in 1955 and 1956.he later landed a major role on the first series of Dr. Who and later still appeared in a major role in Coronation Street. Several other actors, actresses and other people who’d worked at the studios attended the day, which included a day of old films and interviews courtesy of the highly-successful TV Channel, Talking Pictures TV.
The unveiling, in April 2014, commemorated almost a century of songwriters and publishers who made Denmark Street (aka Tin Pan Alley) their home. Donovan, whose early songs were recorded here, unveiled the plaque after singing a song he’d written especially for the occasion, Tin Pan Alley. Donovan is an inductee of the US Songwriters Hall of Fame and the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Vera Lynn recorded a special message for the day and several eminent songwriters attended, including Don Black, Guy Fletcher, Tony Hiller, Bill Martin, John Carter and Mitch Murray.
The plaque was unveiled in 2014 The Cavalry and Guards Club, 126 Piccadilly, which once housed Francis Barraud’s London studio and where he re-worked and put the final touches to his iconic painting of what became known as Nipper the HMV dog, through the phrase ‘His Master’s Voice.’ The plaque was unveiled by HMV CEO Ian Topping.
In October 2013, the FA flew in sixteen descendants of the Founding Fathers of Football from around the world. Sir Trevor Brooking CBE, Director of Football Development at the FA unveiled the plaque, at Wembley Stadium, with the youngest of the descendants, Isaac lord. Guests included Sir William and Lady McAlpine, William’s family having built the original stadium in 1923. The event launched a week of celebrations for the FA’s 150th birthday.
A plaque was unveiled to the poet Rupert Brooke at the Orchard Grantchester, where he lived during 1908 and 1909, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Brooke’s death. Special guests included Dame Pippa Harris and Tamsin Amour, whose grandmother, Noel Olivier, Was a close friend of the poet and for many years the object of his love. William Pryor, the grandson of Brooke’s close friends, Jacques and Gwen Ravarat, Pippa and Tamsin, unveiled the plaque.
In 2016 a plaque was unveiled at was once Pinoli’s Restaurant at 17, Wardour Street, London, the organisation having been founded there in 1905. Twenty- three amateur and professional magicians formed a club that was to become known as the Magic Circle. The first meeting was chaired by Belgian magician Servais Le Roy, and just over one hundred years later dozens of magicians and illusionists gathered to see Dynamo unveil their blue plaque.
Local dignitaries, local rabbis and old scholars gathered at the West Norwood health and Leisure Centre for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque marking the site of the original orphanage. Built in 1866, the Orphanage was responsible for educating and caring for hundreds and hundreds of Jewish children. The plaque was unveiled by the Rev. Alan Greenblatt OBE who was joined on stage by the President of the Norwood Old Scholars Association, The Mayor of Lambeth, 103-year-old former Norwood Scholar, Kitty Freund and the Chairman of the British Plaque Trust.
At the unveiling in Winchcombe, attended by Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, the Chairman and others discussed possible alternative names for ‘English Sparkling Wine,’ thus providing a brand name and an umbrella for home-grown sparkling wines. ‘Royale’ seemed to be popular as Merrett’s discovery came at the time of the Restoration.
This plaque is at the old Trident Studios building in St. Anne’s Court, Soho, where Bowie recorded the Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums. Singer songwriter Billy Bragg and Bowie’s lifelong friend, painter and designer George Underwood, who also designed some of his album covers, unveiled the plaque.
During the Easter holidays in 1960, John Lennon and Paul McCartney hitched from Liverpool to Caversham, near Reading, to stay with Paul’s Auntie Bett and her husband Mike Robbins who ran the Fox and Hounds public house. John and Paul worked behind the bar but also performed for the customers as a duo, calling themselves The Nerk Twins. The plaque was unveiled by Paul’s cousins, Kate and Jane Robbins who grew up in the pub.
John Peel was an innovative broadcaster who championed many new acts down the years and although a BBC broadcaster succeeded in never becoming part of the ‘establishment.’ His plaque was unveiled in Great Finborough by his wife Sheila who said, “It is such a brilliant way to honour him. It is really rather nice, and I will pass it several times a day with a smile. It is truly incredible that people still remember and talk about John, no one forgets him and this is a nice way to honour him permanently.”
Just two years earlier on the 24 March 2015, Sir Neville Marriner unveiled blue plaque in central London to celebrate the work of the composer Joseph Haydn. The plaque is the first dedicated to Haydn in London, which he visited for the first time in 1791. Marriner recorded over a hundred CDs of Haydn’s music. Marriner died the following year, with his own blue plaque being unveiled in 2017.
Constance Shacklock spent ten years with the Covent Garden Opera Company and was in the Sound of Music for six years. As well as teaching singing at the Royal Academy of Music for a decade. Constance Close in Kingston Vale, Surrey, was created on the site of her residence in her memory. The plaque was unveiled at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham where she began her career.
Jerry Lordan wrote Apache, Wonderful Land, Atlantis and other tunes for the Shadows, Diamonds and Scarlett O’Hara for Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, A Girl Like You for Cliff Richard as well as writing for such artists as Shane Fenton, Mike Preston and Louise Cordet. The plaque was unveiled by British Plaque Trust Chairman, Mike Read at Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire.
The plaque was unveiled by Colin Baker, who played the sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant who played Peri, the pair joning Vic Minett from BBC Coventry & Warwickshire for the ceremony. The plaque is in Cedars Avenue, on the former home of BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Delia Derbyshire, an enormous influence on the course of electronic music and the person who turned Ron Grainer’s tune into the iconic Dr. Who theme.
John Entwistle, the Who’s bass player moved to Stow-on-the-Wold in 1976 and lived there until his death in 2002. In May 2000 he famously stood in for the bass player of a local band the Stowaways at the Royal British Legion Club, Well Lane, Stow, so it was deemed to be fitting that the plaque should be unveiled there. BBC Radio Gloucestershire did a live broadcast from the plaque unveiling
This blue plaque is on the wall of the Harbour Lights Pub in Cosham, Hampshire, for it was this pub name that inspired Jimmy Kennedy. After dropping off members of his family to catch a ship at Southampton, he got lost in the fog on the way back to Weybridge and took a wrong turn. The car headlights picked out the name ‘Harbour Lights’ and by the time he was back in Surrey he’d written most of the words. The plaque was unveiled by his son, Jimmy Kennedy jnr.
The plaque for Emile Ford is at 10, Kensington Church Street, London, which used to house a coffee bar in the basement in the 1950s, called the Buttery, which is where he first played publicly. The reception was held next door at the Prince of Wales Pub, with speeches by His Excellency Guy Mayers, High Commissioner for St Lucia, St Lucian actor Joseph Marcell and Emile Ford’s eldest daughter, Sonia.
The plaque for Bristol’s legendary Bamboo Club to commemorate its influence on Bristol’s music and the city as a whole, was unveiled on the site of the venue at St Paul’s Street. The venue, which was open for eleven years from 1966, was host to many major artists including Bob Marley and Ben E King. The plaque was unveiled in St Paul’s at the site where the famous club stood; a major venue for Bristol’s West Indian community and one of the most important reggae and ska clubs in the UK. It burned down in December 1977 and everything was destroyed, including 15,000 records.
Another Bowie plaque was unveiled at the Royal Star Arcade in Maidstone, where he played with the Band the Mannish Boys many times between 1964 and 1965. The plaque was unveiled by Bowie’s ex-bandmate Bob Solly and Nick ‘Topper’ Headon former drummer with The Clash.
Sidmouth Folk Week patrons, Steve Knightly and Phil Beer unveiled the plaque to recognise the importance and influence of the Sidmouth Folk Festival, at the Ham where the festival is held. Folk Week director John Braithwaite said : “It’s pretty exciting for Sidmouth to be selected. It really is quite a recognition for the town.
Founded in 1970 by Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine it has a programme which includes four hundred annual concerts, workshops and music courses. Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive & Artistic Director of The Stables said: “It’s a real honour for The Stables to be recognised with this award.” The plaque was unveiled by Alex Ridout the 2016 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year.
The plaque commemorating the influential Factory Records was unveiled on the building which housed the label in Palentine Road, South Manchester. Founded by Alan Erasmus and Anthony H. Wilson the label was home to such acts as New Order, Happy Mondays and Joy Division.
Ferrier sadly died of cancer at the height of her fame in 1953. The Kathleen Ferrier Scholarship Fund was established in her honour in 1956 and has since made annual awards to aspiring young professional singers including Bryn Terfel and Lesley Garrett. The plaque is on the Aspatria Parash Church, King Street, Aspatria, Cumbria and was unveiled by relatives of the singer.
A plaque to one of Alnwick’s most influential sons, William Davison, was unveiled in Bondgate by the Mayor of Alnwick, Coun. Alan Symmonds at the site of Davison’s business. The printer, pharmacist and philanthropist worked there from 1802-1858 working to improve the life of the local people and bringing gas to the town.
Born Wally Stott, Angela Morley underwent sex reassignment therapy and became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Oscar.
The nomination was for work on The Little Prince and The Slipper and the Rose. As Wally Stott he left Leeds, became a dance band saxophonist and later worked with Scott Walker and was also famous for the incidental music for Hancock’s Half Hour and the Goons. The plaque is in Leeds.
Built in 1938, Watford Colosseum received a Blue Plaque to recognise the historic music venue’s outstanding acoustics and ongoing contribution to our music heritage. The soundtracks for films such as The Sound of Music and Lord of the Rings were recorded here. The plaque was unveiled by the Elected Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill in the presence of Councillor Peter Taylor, the Deputy Mayor of Watford and Derek Nicholls, Chairman of HQ Theatres.
Raised in Newlyn, Wootton is the most famous folk singer to emerge from Cornwall. A great ambassador for Cornwall, she took Cornish song and poetry to all the Celtic nations and as far as Australia and Canada. She was commemorated 23 years after her death, with a blue plaque in Truro.
Andy Kershaw unveiled the Blue Plaque to Kevin Coyne at the University of Derby Art School in the presence of friends and family. Andy said: “I first encountered Kevin Coyne, and his extraordinary music, on a Whistle Test appearance in about 1973. Soon after that, I would hear him regularly on the John Peel programme. On all those occasions, Kevin’s music, his songs, had that fabulous quality of making me think “what the heck is this?” He moved me. His recordings shook me. And that, too, was true of his live performances, which were riveting.”
Mayor Dave Hodgson has unveiled the plaque at the Bedford Corn Exchange to commemorate the BBC music broadcasts from Bedford during the Second World War. In the period 1941-45 there were an incredible 8,000 broadcasts from Bedford, across seven different studios including the Corn Exchange. A long list of internationally-renowned musicians and performers played in Bedford during the period, including Dame Vera Lynn, Sir Henry Wood and perhaps most famously, Glenn Miller and his band. BBC announcements referred to the broadcasts as being from simply ‘Somewhere in England.’
The plaque to commemorate the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle was unveiled by Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw outside The Gate, where the club stoof from 1061 until 1999. It was there that the early incarnation of Led Zeppelin made its UK debut in 1968, Laidlaw having been on the bill that night with his group at the time, Downtown Faction.
The Blue plaque to Hull musicians who worked extensively with David Bowie, The Spiders from Mars, was unveiled by drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey who paid tribute to fellow band members the late Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder. Woody said; “I’m so proud to be unveiling this plaque in Hull Paragon Station awarded to The Spiders from Mars. It’s a surprise, this, but I’m really proud to be doing it for Mick, for Trevor, and their families and for Hull and the City of Culture.”
In 2017 BBC Asian Network and the British Plaque Trust awarded three blue plaques to commemorate people or places from the past that made a significant impact on the wider musical landscape. An Asian advisory panel helped to select the first British Asian artists ever to be honoured as part of the scheme.
Born in 1948, Nusrat was commemorated with a plaque in Birmingham around the 20th anniversary of his death on 16 August 1997. A Pakistani vocalist and musician who was considered by many to have one of the greatest voices ever recorded. He is credited with introducing the 600-year-old Qawwali music to international audiences. He was known as The Emperor of Qawwali.
Haroon Shamsher was the founder of pioneering collective Joi founded in the 80s with his brother Farook, whose father – a Bangladeshi immigrant – ran a traditional tape shop in London’s East End. The group’s initial aim was to fuse traditional Bengali music with the energetic funk attack of James Brown. The plaque was unveiled in London’s Brick Lane by his brother Farook, on the building where the family lived.
A Blue Plaque was unveiled at Brawby, North Yorkshire to commemorate The Shed, a venue that attracted artists from such countries as Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Japan, Finland and Alaska. Based in the Village Hall, The Shed is a miniature arts venue which has hosted music, poetry, art and comedy for over twenty-five years.
Domenico Santangelo is commemorated with a plaque on the site of St. Julian’s Theatre, Guernsey. Santangelo composed the music for the Island’s anthem, Sarnia Cherie (Dear Guernsey) in 1911. He was also a founder member of the Guernsey Music Society in 1920.
John Fry Lobb and his brother Arthur and sister Amy (Mrs Luce) formed and conducted many choirs and taught and inspired generations of Jersey children. Their choirs, notably the Jersey Festival Choir, have performed at this venue (where the plaque was unveiled) for over 60 years. The blue plaque is at the Helier Methodist Centre, St Helier, Jersey.