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Rudolf Nureyev English Heritage plaque


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Strange that the Nureyev plaque simply commemorates a place where he stayed occasionally when for many years he lived in his own home in East Sheen, has it been pulled down or something?

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The 'Old Farm' residence is showing as last being on the market in 2013, until removed from the listings, either due to sale or some other reason. It is certainly an attractive property, apparently the most prominent in Fife Road, East Sheen.

My ST has gone for recycling - I assume - but as I recall, English Heritage which runs the Blue Plaque scheme, takes its lead for siting the plaques from public nominations. From what I can tell of the online picture of the Kensington property, also up for sale a few years ago, perhaps it was thought a plaque might also be more visible there than East Sheen?

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Jacqueline, on 31 Jan 2017 - 11:07 AM, said:

 From what I can tell of the online picture of the Kensington property, also up for sale a few years ago, perhaps it was thought a plaque might also be more visible there than East Sheen?

 

At first I was thinking like you, Jacqueline, but then I had a second thought. The Central London already has many blue plaques because there are also many institutions to which great people were linked to.

The Old Farm was Nureyev's OWN home, chosen, bought and arranged by him to his taste and pleasure. He really enjoyed it and entertained friends as well as kept his collection there.

I know that ballet fans do go to see the tiny Rutland Gardens Mews where Fonteyn lived although it is very well hidden. And Frognal at Hampstead where Karsavina lived. And Pavlova's Ivy House in North End Road. And they do visit East Sheen even now when there is no Nureyev’s plaque there. Even when the fans will come to see the plaque in Kensington, they will be still interested to know where Nureyev's own house was. I think that significance of the building in the life of the commemorated person is more important.

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I agree that significance of the building in the life of the commemorated person is important but I have seen a number of blue plaques where the link between person and actual residence seems quite tenuous. Somebody may have lived there, written a book/music or whatever at a certain address. We may not know whether the person had any particular attachment to the property, unless it is documented. It may just have been a roof over their head.

In Nureyev's case, it has been said that he had a particular attachment to the Kensington property, considering it a refuge both at the time of his defection and afterwards. I suggest that the story of his defection and early career in London is quite well known to people who may not necessarily be ballet fans. Such people might notice a blue plaque and think oh yes, I know that name. Much as I have done with various plaques I have seen that jog the memory, but are not really of great or specific interest.

As English Heritage appears to allocate plaques according to public vote, perhaps the East Sheen des res just didn't get as many as Kensington, or the current owners didn't want a plaque. I doubt they would be obliged. Anyway, we'll probably never know. It is a bit like travel programmes that go to a location you know, but then, disappointingly, don't cover any of the places you expect or want them to. Why this one and not that one?

The best plaque* I saw was some years ago, which said something like Nobody of interest has ever lived in this house, nor has anything of significance occured.

 

Edited to say it wasn't an English Heritage plaque*. Just on a particularly attractive house in a lovely old village, where apparently the owners were sick of tourists trying to peer through the windows!

Edited by Jacqueline
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Can there be a plaque to the same person on more than one building? i.e. could there be one in East Sheen be as well as in Kensington? Though if it wouldn't be sufficiently visible I suppose it wouldn't get round that problem. Shame if so.

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In Nureyev's case, it has been said that he had a particular attachment to the Kensington property, considering it a refuge both at the time of his defection and afterwards. I suggest that the story of his defection and early career in London is quite well known to people who may not necessarily be ballet fans. Such people might notice a blue plaque and think oh yes, I know that name. Much as I have done with various plaques I have seen that jog the memory, but are not really of great or specific interest.

 

 

Just to make things clear, Nureyev defected in Paris, not London and immediately started working in France before embarking on his international career.   The word refuge does not sit well with the character of Rudolf Nureyev.

 

On his first trip to London he stayed with Fonteyn.  At the time he was giving a number of performances in London he lived in a flat in Eaton Place before settling permanently in East Sheen.  It was only in the Later stages of his career that he sold his Fife Road home and stayed with Maud and Nigel Gosling in Victoria Road on his visits to London.

 

Nureyev owned a very large number of properties for his personal use in France and Monaco, the US, Italy and the West Indies.  In his later years his main residence was a riverside flat in Paris which also has a plaque indicating he lived there, I doubt very much if the French would consider places he ever crashed out at as significant when a main residence exists.

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There is an article online from The Daily Telegraph 3rd May 2005, which may be of interest, regarding the Kensington property when it was for sale in that year and its links to Nureyev.

Assuming it is accurate, the article is worth reading. I am sorry I cannot give a link but it is easy to find if you look up Nigel and Maude Gosling.

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I believe that English Heritage blue plaques are restricted to one per subject in Greater London. Other plaque schemes exist, e.g. local authority heritage plaques, so there would be other routes to try, assuming the property owners give consent. English Heritage will not place a plaque in a location where the subject is already commemorated by a plaque from another scheme.

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Can there be a plaque to the same person on more than one building? 

 

 

There are 2 blue plaques - of different shades - for V.I.Lenin:

16 Percy Circus (London Borough of Islington) and

36 Tavistock place (London Borough of Camden).

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The two London plaques for Lenin are not English Heritage plaques. The Islington one is a private plaque (I think) replacing a former LCC plaque. The Camden one is from the Marchmont Association. It's certainly possible for a person to have a commemorative plaque in more than one location, but I believe that English Heritage plaques are restricted to one per person, as I mentioned above. Sorry if this is too much off topic.

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I think it may well have been with another Balletcoforum member .....a very long time ago now.....and both very young at the time.....who made a trip out to Nureyevs home in Sheen.....for my part absolutely terrified he might just happen to be outside etc. I seem to remember we knew we were there by his car....a bit of an old but very distinctive style Mercedes sports type car!!

I will pm the person who I think it is!!

 

It's difficult with this plaque thing because unless his former home in Sheen can be used currently as some sort of "museum" maybe the Kensington plaque ....which would obviously ....though probably less loved by Nureyev... be more accessible would be better I'm not sure.

 

The road he lived in is in a very private residential area and am not sure how much anyone living there currently would appreciate people turning up etc.

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