The buildings marked with a blue plaque in London commemorate the places some of the most important figures in history have lived and worked. Founded in 1866, the English heritage scheme is apparently the oldest of its kind in the world. Before our upcoming concert on 16 June at Shoreditch Church, we took a blue plaque tour of Georgian London to see where the composers whose music we perform next month worked and took residence when they visited this fantastic city.
First up on our tour is Haydn who made two prolonged visits to London, once in 1791-2 and 1794-5, making a considerable impact on English musical life. He had a very strong audience here in England, composing his famous set of ‘London’ symphonies especially for the city, one of which (‘The Clock’) we perform at Shoreditch Church on 16 June. Haydn’s blue plaque in London was revealed in March this year by the Haydn Society of Great Britain at 18 Great Pulteney Street, London W1F 9NE, the site where he stayed on his first visit to the city.
Mozart was brought to London in 1763 with his sister to perform as child prodigies and impress English audience as much as they had done on the Continent. His father first lodged them in at Cecil Court off Tottenham Court Road, and then in Frith Street in Soho. Later the Mozarts moved to Ebury Street, where another blue plaque can be seen, after his father had fallen ill. Mozart left London in 1975, having only been in the city for 15 months, but his impact on the London audience was nevertheless substantial. His stay is commemorated by three plaques, one in Frith Street, a brown ‘blue plaque’ on Ebury Street at his house at Mozart Terrace, and Cecil Court, his ‘first London address’ as part of his ‘Grand Tour of Europe’.
The German composer came to London in 1712, becoming a British citizen in 1727. He settled in London 1712, going AWOL from his employment as court musician to George, Elector of Hanover, later ingratiating his music with the King. Handel’s blue plaque was erected in 1951 on 25 Brook Street, Westminster, W1K 4HB; the site of which the composer lived for over 25 years.
You can find out more about London’s blue plaques at: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/
Georgian London – as part of Spitalfields Music Summer Festival
Tuesday 16 June, 7.30pm
Shoreditch Church, London
Tickets from £5 available from Spitalfields Music Box Office