New plaque planned for Kilburn flat – Mortimer Crescent residence set to get new tribute of George Orwell

Thursday, 6th January 2011

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Published: 06 January 2011
by JAMIE WELHAM and CONRAD LANDIN

WHEN the frieze of George Orwell’s face disappeared from a Hampstead plaque it looked like he would be confined to Room 101, never to be seen again.

But in death it seems you can’t keep the writer down and out in London for very long and fans have now announced plans to erect a new plaque in his honour in nearby Kilburn.

It will go up on the site of the flat in Mortimer Crescent where Orwell moved in 1942 with his mother and sister for two years. 

It was where he wrote his satirical masterpiece Animal Farm before he was forced to abandon his home when it was reduced to rubble in the Blitz.

Former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Ed Fordham, a member of the historic Kilburn plaque scheme, said they had tracked down Orwell’s adopted son Richard Blair in America to be present at the unveiling, which he said could take place within a “matter of weeks”.

“We have been thinking about this for a while now, before we heard about the plaque in Hampstead going missing,” said Mr Fordham. 

“It was coincidental but I suppose it helps with the publicity. 

“I’ve been in touch with his adopted son who was in America and he will be at the unveiling.

“This is about recognising the historic contribution that Kilburn has made in London. There are so many important figures that have lived here and this is about reminding people what an amazing place it still is.”

The plaque will read: “George Orwell (Eric Blair) 1903-1950 lived at 10a Mortimer Crescent which stood on this site. He was also literary editor of the left-wing Tribune magazine while living at the property.”

Those behind it are proposing placing the plaque on Kingston House, part of the Greville Estate built on the site of the house destroyed by a German bomber in the Second World War. 

A plaque to Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne sits on the same estate.

Judith Sewards, a resident of Kington House, said the plaque would restore pride to the area. 

She added: “We have Japanese tourists coming on pilgrimages, asking us if this is Orwell’s house. 

“Of course, you get into a difficult diplo­matic situation, as you have to tell them the house was bombed during the war!”

Mr Fordham and members of the scheme must raise around £700 to put the plan into action and are asking for donations.

Last year vandals chipped away at the face on the commemorative plaque outside the site of a former bookshop in South End Green where Orwell once worked. It fuelled speculation the face may have been stolen by a fan as a souvenir. 

The plaque was outside what was Book­lovers Corner – the second-hand book shop where Orwell worked for a year in the 1930s.

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