Friday 15 May 2015

Carry On Blue Plaque Spotting

The other week I published a blog that took me down memory lane. I remembered a Carry On location spotting tour I did with my dad some years ago. You can read more about that here.

Today I want to continue on a similar theme but instead of focusing on filming locations I want to talk about some of the famous blue plaques that have been displayed on the homes of our favourite Carry On actors. As part of my trip round filming locations, we also tried to track down as many of the blue plaques as possible. Looking back I think we did quite well.

We started off with my favourite Carry On star of all, Joan Sims. For most of her adult life Joan owned a large house in Hurlingham, Fulham. However after a series of break-ins and attacks by vandals, Joan sold up in 1980 and moved to a smaller flat off Kensington Square, just back from Kensington High Street in London. A blue plaque was unveiled after her death in 2001. Barbara Windsor, John Inman, Jacki Piper and Joan's close friend Liz Fraser all attended the ceremony. You can spot the plaque on the block of flats situated on Thackeray Street

Not far away from Joan's final home is the final home of Carry On co-star and comedy legend, Frankie Howerd. Frankie also lived in Kensington, in a villa on the far side of Edwardes Square. Not far from Frankie's home, on the other side of the square is an excellent pub, The Scarsdale, which I can thoroughly recommend!

Our next stop was out at Earl's Court where we managed to track down Hattie Jacques' plaque at the home she shared with her family and several friends for most of her life. I can remember standing outside the the house and thinking back to all the parties I'd read about - the famous Christmas shindigs with Kenneth Williams and Joan Sims. So much history! Hattie's plaque can be found here

Moving on, we visited Gunnersbury Avenue in Ealing. It was here that Sid James and his family lived from the mid 1950s until 1963. After this point, the James family relocated to a brand new home built a stones throw away from Pinewood Studios. 

The final plaque we tracked down is sadly no longer there. Comedy legend Kenneth Williams lived in a tenement flat in Osnaburgh Street, just off Great Portland Street, from 1972 until his death in 1988. This was the famous flat that shared a landing with his dear mother, Lou. We visited the site a good few years before the local council decided to pull the building down. However, you now have a choice of two plaques to visit for Kenneth Williams, one outside the flat he lived in at Farley Court opposite Madame Tussaud's and the one I am more familiar with, at the Williams family home and place of work, the hairdressers shop on Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury. 

I'm sure there are other plaques around you can visit but these are my own favourites. If you know of any others please let me know!

Open Plaques have a superb website where you can search for people and places who may have a blue plaque -

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