Willy Clarkson - Wardour Street, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.688 W 000° 07.937
30U E 698987 N 5710603
Quick Description: A plaque to a theatrical wig maker!
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/24/2011 9:28:30 AM
Waymark Code: WMC4DN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member miatabug
Views: 2

Long Description:
People passing by the Wong Kei Chinese Restaurant on Wardour street, London today may be intrigued by the plaques on either side of the building's entrance which point towards it having been the home of something quite different in years gone by.

On the left side of the door is a plaque that reads:
"Sarah Bernhardt Laid The Foundation Stone Of This Building 1904".

And on the right side of the door is a plaque that reads:
"Sir Henry Irving Laid The Coping Stone Of This Building 1905".

A clock on the wall of Clarkson's Wigs reads "Costumier Perruquier". Higher up on the wall of the building is a modern plaque which explains what was going on in this building a hundred years ago. The Plaque reads:
"Willy Clarkson 1861-1934 Theatrical Wigmaker lived and died here".

The name of the road may have changed - in Clarkson's time it was called Wellington Street - but the building, designed by H M Wakley remains, and its exterior is in delightful condition even though it is now used as a restaurant.

The Business of Clarkson's Wigs actually began in 1833 and Willy Clarkson, whose full name was William Berry Clarkson, took over the business from his father after he died in 1878. He was so successful that he had new premises built in Wellington Street, designed by H M Wakley, in 1904.

The foundation stone was laid by the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt but although there is also a Coping Stone on the building supposedly laid by Henry Irving in 1905, it is thought that although he had agreed to do it, it is unlikely that he actually ended up laying the stone himself. Irving was not in London much that year, and, as this was the year of his death and he was not very well for much of it too, he probably could not find the time for the ceremony. Willy Clarkson, who had had the plaque made by then anyway, probably ended up laying it himself. There is no mention of Irving laying the plaque in contemporary newspapers.
Blue Plaque managing agency: London County Council

Individual Recognized: Willy Clarkson

Physical Address:
Wardour Street
London, United Kingdom

Web Address: [Web Link]

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The Mekon visited Willy Clarkson - Wardour Street, London, UK 9/21/2013 The Mekon visited it