Wednesday, 24 August 2016

#plaque366 Fred Russell

A London commemorative plaque for every day in 2016. 

The plaques are selected from all walks of life, and all points of the London compass – and I'm taking requests too!

DROP ME A LINE or leave a comment below if you'd like to nominate a plaque for inclusion in the series

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 £10 – £8 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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