COMMEMORATIVE BLUE PLAQUES
All across London, the lives of many famous and some not so famous people are recognised by commemorative plaques on buildings that in some way have a significance to their life and career. The London theatrical community is not excluded from this and countless actors, performers, directors, songwriters and designers are commemorated in this way which also demonstrates the rich theatrical and cultural heritage that can be found on the residential streets of our great capital.
As London expanded, so did the enclaves of theatricals, who by the turn of the twentieth century had congregated in South London, where the public transport routes allowed very convenient access into the heart of London’s theatre-land. This is why so many are found in the Brixton, Streatham, Tooting and Lambeth areas and why this virtual trail is so weighted towards the “south of the river”.
The trail identifies the plaques to those performers who all made a significant impact on our collective cultural heritage. It was the organ of government for London, whether the London County Council or the Greater London Council, who have over the years taken the responsibility for the installation of blue plaques right up to 1986 when the responsibility was taken over by English Heritage.
However, this trail mainly show plaques that have been installed more recently as part of our commemorative plaque programme that was developed in response to the mothballing of the English Heritage plaque scheme and the difficulties experienced in convincing the awarding panel of the merits of a particular plaque. All of the plaques are made of cast iron and are a similar shape and style to the English Heritage plaques.
Whatever the origin of the plaque, they play a vital part in recognising those performers who have all made a huge impact on London’s theatrical heritage.
Click here to see biographies of those performers found on this trail: Hetty King, Marie Studholme, Stanley Lupino, Dan Leno, Harry Lauder, Herbert Campbell, Fred Karno, George Leybourne, Austin Rudd, Marie Kendall, Marie Lloyd, Gus Elen and Lupino Lane