Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Plaque of the Week No. 110 – Fred Russell

Return of the Plaque of the Week!

Our Plaque of the Week series returns for a 12 week run…

You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Wednesday is our new day for tracking down London plaques (Blue or otherwise) and putting them centre stage on the Daily Constitutional. This week…

Fred Russell

Where: 71 Kenilworth Court, Putney, SW15

Fred Russell (born Thomas Frederick Parnell in 1862) is widely regarded to be the founding father of modern ventriloquism. It was Russell who pioneered the single, knee-sitting dummy.

He started his working life as a journalist and although his “hobby” eventually made him an international star in his day, his life is shot through with London locations and references. He was born in London, edited the Hackney & Kingsland Gazette, his dummy was named Coster Joe, he lived in Putney and died in Wembley at the age of 95.

His career spanned the eras of both Music Hall and television, and by the end of his career he was billing himself as “The World’s Oldest Ventriloquist”.

In his honour I have typed this post without moving my lips.

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at


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