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Judy Garland blue plaque dispute ends in demolition

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  • Judy Garland blue plaque dispute ends in demolition

    Judy Garland to be denied blue plaque as London home falls victim to the wrecker's ball


    Judy Garland died at the Belgravia property in June 1969
    CREDIT: HERBERT DORFMAN/CORBIS HISTORICALTelegraph - 6 AUGUST 2019 • 9:30PM

    For two decades, English Heritage endeavoured to erect a blue plaque on the site of Judy Garland’s former London home, but were rebuffed by the owners who did not want to be associated with tragedy.

    When the property changed hands, hopes were high that the new residents would welcome the opportunity to commemorate a Hollywood legend.

    But the chance has now been lost forever after building work began to demolish the mews house in Belgravia, central London, and replace it with a luxury home complete with underground swimming pool.

    English Heritage rules state that blue plaques can only be erected on an original building connected to a person of note, and not something else built on the site.
    The news comes as a blow to the UK-based International Judy Garland Club, which fought “tooth and nail” to persuade the old owners to agree.

    Garland moved to 4 Cadogan Lane with her husband, Mickey Deans, in 1969, shortly after marrying at Chelsea Register Office She died there on June 22, aged 47, from an accidental overdose.
    T
    The house has been demolished and the site is currently being developed
    CREDIT: TRIANGLE NEWS

    Gary Horrocks, spokesman for the club, said: “We worked overtime to try and articulate an argument for the plaque, but the private owners said that they refused to allow a blue plaque to be placed on their property because Judy Garland was associated with a tragedy, because she died there.

    “We were appalled. We got really close to it. We had been pushing it for years. There was even a discussion about the proximity of the plaque and whether it could be put on the pavement and not on a wall. They had their right [turn it down], but we found it extraordinary.”

    He added: “Judy loved London. She came in 1951 after her MGM career, she came in 1957 for a season at the Dominion, and again in 1960. London was her lucky city.”

    Garland’s final months in London will be explored in a new film, Judy, which opens next month and stars Renee Zellweger.

    The house had fallen into disrepair, unlike smart neighbouring properties, and Kensington and Chelsea granted permission for total demolition in 2015.

    An English Heritage spokesman said: “English Heritage’s London Blue Plaques panel decided to award Judy Garland a blue plaque in 2001. The panel was keen to celebrate her remarkable and illustrious career as an actor and singer, as well as her cultural significance.
    An unofficial tribute outside the property
    CREDIT: TRIANGLE NEWS

    “However, in order for a blue plaque to be erected, English Heritage needs the permission of the owner of the building in question and despite our numerous requests, we were denied this permission.

    “We tried intermittently to see if the owner had had a change of heart, until we learned from the Land Registry that the building had changed hands.

    “A key criterion of English Heritage’s Blue Plaque scheme is the requirement for a surviving - and relatively untouched - building associated with the figure from the past. Unfortunately, there are currently no other known surviving addresses associated with Judy Garland in London.”

    The spokesman said other organisations run their own plaque schemes and “we would be pleased if another scheme decided to erect its own plaque to Judy Garland, so the star could be remembered at the site where her home once stood.”

    The planning application, which included an underground swimming pool, stated: “The mews is certainly not a heritage asset and it is clearly at odds with the character of the area, such that it is unquestionably a detractor.

    “Sensitive redevelopment of the mews would be more than simply acceptable: it would constitute a considerable and indisputable improvement to the quality and character of the area.”
    Last edited by Maurice; 7th August 2019, 10:44 AM.

  • #2
    We had a similar problem with the plans for the English Heritage Blue Plaque for Powell & Pressburger.

    The original plan was to get plaques erected on their houses but the owners weren't willing so finally we got a single plaque to both of them erected on their offices at Dorset House, Gloucester Place, London NW1 5AG

    But it turned out great in the end. http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Ca...ampaign1a.html

    Steve

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    • #3
      A house up the road from me has a plaque to Alfred Russel Wallace. It does not get plagued by visitors, probably because few people know who Alfred Russel Wallace is. I didn't either, until I looked it up. But what happens to your house if it hosts a plaque to somebody more famous - such as Judy Garland? Would it be disruptive to your life? Would it make your house more burglable?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by garth View Post
        But what happens to your house if it hosts a plaque to somebody more famous - such as Judy Garland? Would it be disruptive to your life? Would it make your house more burglable?
        I'm curious to know if a house is bought my someone with a blue plaque on it, could the new owner have it removed for whatever reason, or would it be conditional to the sale of the house that the plaque remains?

        OK Garth, I'll hold my hands up. I wasn't sure who Alfred Russel Wallace was either until I googled it.
        Last edited by Carl V; 7th August 2019, 09:07 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Carl V View Post
          OK Garth, I'll hold my hands up. I wasn't sure who Alfred Russel Wallace was either until I googled it.
          Not surprising, but then you discover that he was onto Darwin's theory of evolution and shared the credit with him. The upper-middle class Darwin was also very generous in sharing that credit and helping the lower-middle class Wallace with opportunities. Wallace also got involved with spiritualism and became convinced there was something in it. He later wondered about the weaknesses of the theory of evolution. Why, for instance, are some people born with great artistic abilities (or similar) when these qualities are not necessary for human survival?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by garth View Post
            A house up the road from me has a plaque to Alfred Russel Wallace. It does not get plagued by visitors, probably because few people know who Alfred Russel Wallace is. I didn't either, until I looked it up. But what happens to your house if it hosts a plaque to somebody more famous - such as Judy Garland? Would it be disruptive to your life? Would it make your house more burglable?
            I am not sure why it would make your house more susceptible to burglary, why do you think it would?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Paxton Milk View Post

              I am not sure why it would make your house more susceptible to burglary, why do you think it would?
              I would feel uneasy at potentially having extra people visiting it. Maybe it would attract the wrong type? Or am I just being paranoid?

              And you had to leave the country because people covet your four stripes. You're the only one on Britmovie who has four stripes and you're not even located in the UK. Do I think that's elitist? Yes, I do. Why not donate two of them to charity?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by garth View Post

                I would feel uneasy at potentially having extra people visiting it. Maybe it would attract the wrong type? Or am I just being paranoid?
                Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they even used to do 'walking tours' of blue plaque properties in London. I'm also wondering if it could potentially add any value to the property if you decided to sell it - possibly not, but I guess it would make it more appealing to a buyer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl V View Post

                  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they even used to do 'walking tours' of blue plaque properties in London. I'm also wondering if it could potentially add any value to the property if you decided to sell it - possibly not, but I guess it would make it more appealing to a buyer.
                  I suppose it depends on which you prefer and which you need more of: peace and quiet, or money! I'd go for the former.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by garth View Post
                    I would feel uneasy at potentially having extra people visiting it. Maybe it would attract the wrong type? Or am I just being paranoid?
                    Yes

                    Steve

                    Comment


                    • garth
                      garth commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well, you've hurt all my feelings now, and there are TRILLIONS of them! Just wait till I sue. :-(

                  • #11
                    Hypothetically speaking could you just not make your own (almost) identical plaque and put that up without the words English Heritage on it?

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by MarcusHeslop(Stonfan) View Post
                      Hypothetically speaking could you just not make your own (almost) identical plaque and put that up without the words English Heritage on it?
                      Or just do a fake one.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #13
                        That’s great!

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by garth View Post

                          Or just do a fake one.

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                          Won’t English Heritage object to that? Especially the way it claims to be an EH plaque

                          Steve

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post

                            Won’t English Heritage object to that? Especially the way it claims to be an EH plaque

                            Steve
                            I expect it's just photoshopped, Steve.

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