Marchmont Association
Bloomsbury London WC1

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Commemorative Plaques Scheme by rdef

  Commemorative Plaques Scheme


Commemorative Plaques Scheme

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In 2009 the Marchmont Association established its own independent commemorative plaques scheme, with a view to raising awareness of the area's rich and varied social history. Our first plaque was unveiled at 57 Marchmont Street on 11th October 2009, to honour Kenneth Williams - Comic Actor and star of 26 'Carry On' films (sponsored by The Heritage Foundation). This was followed on 30th November 2009 by plaques to two accomplished early nineteenth century artists - William Henry (Bird's Nest) Hunt and John Skinner Prout - who lived at 41 and 43 Marchmont Street, respectively. They were unveiled in a combined ceremony by Rupert Maas of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow and the Australian Cultural Attaché, Vivien Allimonos, respectively. On 19th December 2009, Ann Wroe, the acclaimed author of "Being Shelley" (photo link below), unveiled a plaque to two of our most significant former residents - Percy Bysshe Shelley - Poet and Radical Thinker - and Mary Shelley - author of 'Frankenstein' - who lived in a house on the site of 87 Marchmont Street.

On 27th April 2011, Griff Rhys Jones unveiled a plaque at 60 Marchmont Street to (George) Emlyn Williams - the iconic Welshman, Actor and Playwright, who is credited with giving Sir Richard Burton his first break in films (sponsored by One Housing Group). On 1st June 2011 a plaque was unveiled at 65 Marchmont Street to Sir William Empson - Poet and Literary Critic, by his sons Jake and Mogador, in the presence of three generations of the Empson family, writers, academics and literary critics (substantially funded by Miki Fukayama of Tokyo, Japan and Prof. John Haffenden, Empson's acclaimed biographer). On 18th November 2011, a plaque was unveiled to Sir John (Giovanni Battista) Barbirolli C.H. - World renowned Cellist and Classical Music Conductor - by the only surviving Barbirolli, Cecilie. This is our only plaque to be installed on a plinth, because English Heritage objected to it being fixed to the front of the Grade II listed The Brunswick (substantially funded by Dame Janet Smith and Skoob Books). On 30th November 2012, Prof. Bill Bowring unveiled a plaque to commemorate Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's stay at 36 Tavistock Place, which triggered a 'heated debate' in the Letters pages of the Camden New Journal.

A less controversial plaque to Alexander Herzen's Free Russian Press was unveiled at 61 Judd Street by Dr Sarah J. Young on 26th June 2013. However, on 10th July 2013, we commemorated two very unusual people, the celebrated Victorian cross-dressers, Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, aka 'Stella & Fanny', who stayed at 13 Wakefield Street from 1868 to 1870, now the UK headquarters of the United Reformed Church. We unveiled 3 plaques in 2014: William Reeve, prolific 18th century composer for Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells Theatres, who lived and died at 56 Marchmont Street, unveiled by Ed Reeve, his Great Great Great Great Grandson, on 30th May 2014; Jerome K. Jerome at 32 Tavistock Place, unveiled on 21st May 2014, with special guests Griff Rhys Jones & Rory McGrath (thanks to Imperial London Hotels Ltd and the Jerome K Jerome Society for funding this plaque); and Roger Fry - Artist and Art critic and member of the Bloomsbury Group at former 48 Bernard Street, unveiled on 16th May 2014 by Sandy Nairne - Director of the National Portrait Gallery (thanks to the Morton Hotel ILHL for funding this plaque).

On 28th March 2015 the Mayor of Camden, Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli, unveiled a replacement plaque for Charles Fort, founder of Forteanism, the study of anomalous phenomena, who lived at 39 Marchmont Street (thanks to Bloomsbury Building Supplies for their generous donation). On 22nd April 2015 surviving relatives of George Orwell, Sir Stephen Spender and Cyril Connolly unveiled a plaque commemorating Horizon Magazine, which was based at 2 Lansdowne Terrace in the 1940s (thanks to the University of London for funding this plaque). On 25th April 2015, the Deputy Mayor of Camden, Cllr Larraine Revah, and Dr Ros Stanwell-Smith of LSHTM unveiled a plaque to Mary Anne Clarke, Mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York, who lived at former 31 Tavistock Place (thanks to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine for funding this plaque and for hosting the reception). Our first history board depicting the story of the site of LSHTM's building in Tavistock Place was simultaneously revealed (Our thanks to LSHTM for sponsoring this). On 15th May 2015 a plaque to Dorothy Richardson, Writer, was unveiled by Professor Laura Marcus at 6 Woburn Walk in the presence of a throng of Richardson 'fans' (thanks to the University of Ulster TGA for funding this plaque). A plaque to Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Duncan Grant and Adrian Stephen, was unveiled on 23rd October 2015 by David Keynes, the great, great nephew of JMK. They all lived at 38 Brunswick Square in 1911/12, where they were visited by other members of the famed Bloomsbury Group (thanks to UCL School of Pharmacy for sponsoring this plaque and the 'tea & cakes' reception). A plaque to J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, was unveiled by Barrie's great, great nephew, David Ogilvy Barrie at the site of JMB's former home, 8 Grenville Street, on 30th November. We are grateful to 12 individual donors for making this possible and to the Curzon Cinema, Bloomsbury, for hosting the informal reception for our guests. This plaque was unveiled , at 2pm on 30th November 2015. A plaque commemorating Robert Owen - founder of the Co-operative Movement - was unveiled at his former home (1832-40), 4 Burton Place (plaque sponsored by One Housing - reception hosted by wallacespace) on 5th September 2016. A plaque commemorating Dr Alphonse Normandy, inventor of indelible ink, 'hard' soap and distilled water, who lived and worked at 91 Judd Street in 1850-59, was unveiled on 23rd September 2016 (sponsored by the International Desalination Association). We have installed a replacement plaque for Sir Rowland Hill, founder of the modern postal service, who lived at 2 Burton Crescent, later named Cartwright Gardens (the plaque is on the wall of the new Garden Halls and was sponsored by the University of London). We are considering the feasibility of organising a dedication ceremony for this important figure in British history. A plaque commemorating Charlotte Mew, Poet, was unveiled on Saturday 22nd October 2016 at 30 Doughty Street, where she was born and lived from 1865 to 1890. The plaque was unveiled by Mew's biographer, Julia Copus in conjunction with Mew's surviving relate, 84 year old Heather Greetham, whose great-grandmother was Charlotte Mew's sister. Poems were read by Julia and Michele Roberts. We are grateful to Goodenough College for graciously hosting the VIP reception.

We have several plaques in the pipeline, including: James Burton (pictured), prolific builder and developer of the Foundling, Bedford and Skinners' Company Estates, who built and lived in Tavistock House (later the home of Charles Dickens), which stood on the site of the British Medical Association's headquarters; George Jacob Holyoake, who lived at 4 Woburn Walk; Richard D'Oyly Carte, theatre impresario, who lived at 71 Russell Square; & the Pankhurst family, who lived at 8 Russell Square. We are indebted to our dependable plaque maker Ned Heywood and his talented ceramicist, Julia, for manufacturing and installing such high quality plaques and to all our generous donors who have helped to fund the plaques. If you have suggestions for subjects of further plaques, please contact us via the link in any of the 'Get Involved' boxes on this web site. Photographs of our plaques are posted in an album on Flickr.com, accessed via the link below.

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Created On 14 December 2010

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