Silent film star Charlie Chaplin and painter Francis Bacon are among those whose contribution to London life will be commemorated with their own English Heritage blue plaque this year.
The lives of performer Sir John Gielgud, women’s rights campaigner Mary Macarthur, dancer Rudolf Nureyev and volunteering advocate Stella Lady Reading will also be celebrated with new plaques this year.
The English Heritage London blue plaques scheme, which has been running for 150 years, link significant figures of the past to the buildings in which they lived and worked.
Anna Eavis, Curatorial Director at English Heritage, said:
“The London blue plaques scheme continues to go from strength to strength. This year, we are honouring some of the greatest artists and actors as well as those unsung heroes who transformed our society.
“We also continue to work hard to ensure that figures of national and international importance across all sectors of society are nominated. As ever, suggestions from the public remain the lifeblood of the scheme – if there is an important person from the past who you think should be honoured and the London building in which they lived or worked still survives, we want to hear from you.”
We are currently working with the property owners and all blue plaques are subject to approval.
Further announcements about new blue plaques to be unveiled in 2017 will be made later in the year.
NEW BLUE PLAQUES FOR 2017 INCLUDE:
- Francis Bacon – South Kensington
Francis Bacon is widely regarded as one of the most significant painters of the 20th century. His blue plaque will mark the converted stable block in South Kensington where he lived for more than 30 years. It was here that he painted some of his most celebrated works including Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1962) and Portrait of George Dyer Talking (1966).
- Charlie Chaplin – Kennington
As one of the greatest stars of early cinema, Charlie Chaplin’s famous ‘tramp’ guise is among the most iconic characters of film. Although fame and fortune came to him in America, Chaplin began working on comedy in the music hall and vaudeville scene of his home city – London. This is the flat he shared with his brother, Sydney, when they moved here in 1908.
- Sir John Gielgud – Westminster
One of only a handful of people to receive an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony award, Sir John Gielgud has an accomplished career spanning eight decades. This was his home for 31 years during some of the most important moments of his life including his knighthood in 1953 and his arrest that year for contravening laws against homosexuality.
- Mary Macarthur – Golders Green
Mary Macarthur was one of the most important figures in the history of women’s trade unionism. A champion for working women, she fought for equal pay and backed the first strike for female workers on London’s buses and trams. Macarthur lived here until her death in 1921, aged 40.
- Rudolf Nureyev – Kensington
Rudolf Nureyev revolutionised the role of the male dancer from supporting the ballerina, to becoming a star in his own right. He was one of the first classically trained dancers to embrace contemporary dance, and his partnership with fellow-dancer Margot Fonteyn brought him fame in London and beyond in the 1960s. Nureyev frequently stayed with friends at this address, with a self-contained apartment kept especially for him.
- Stella Lady Reading – Westminster
As founder of the Women’s Voluntary Services, one of the largest voluntary organisations in British history, Stella Lady Reading transformed the way volunteering was perceived. This building served as the organisation’s headquarters for 28 years, where Reading worked, often for up to 18 hours a day. Today the organisation is known as the Royal Voluntary Service and its focus is on helping the elderly.