You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Every Tuesday we track down a London plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the London Walks Blog. This week…
Wandering around London and looking at the plaques as they loom up around, it sometimes seems, every corner, one can notice a changing attitude. Where once only generals and statesmen and scientists were the subject of such tributes, the early 21st century sees a more popular turn in the business of “plaquery”.
Much ado was made of John Lennon’s plaque last year. Once-scandalous jazz musicians are also enjoying tributes. Even Keith Moon, the legendarily wild drummer of The Who has his name on one.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the name Jessie Matthews would have been considered equally as inappropriate for a plaque. Born in London 1907, she graduated from the music halls to become one of England’s first screen and recording stars. A career on the stage not being outré enough on its own, she was also the subject of a scandalous divorce case in the 1930s, which made all the papers and caused a dip in her popularity. As we said, not so long ago but in many ways also a far off time indeed.
As a singer she was the first British performer of such classics Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) and Noel Coward’s A Room With A View.
Her plaque can be found in Berwick Street, Soho on the building in which she was born.
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