Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Plaque of the Week No.54

Every Tuesday we track down a plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the London Walks Blog. This week…

Commemorating: The great thesp Herbert Tree
Street: King Charles II Street
Postcode: SW1
Borough: City of Westminster

Far be it from us to suggest that these theatrical types are adept at elbowing their way to the front. But… this is a helluva plaque (below). It’s topped only by the memorial to the same chap at Hampstead in the churchyard where his ashes rest – a gravestone that upstages all the others.

The magnificently-handled Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852 – 1917) was the actor-manager of His Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket – the building upon which this mighty plaque is situated. He is among the first of the great Shakespeareans to leave his work behind for future generations, having made several recordings of famous soliloquies for The Gramophone Company – the label which became HMV. Some of these recordings can be heard at the great Globe Exhibition on Bankside.

At His Majesty’s, Tree played Henry Higgins in Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, opposite Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle.

Keep an eye out for His Majesty’s Theatre on the Secret West End Walk every Monday.

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