55 Graham Road, E8 1PB
The Blue Plaque on the outside of 55 Graham Road (between London Fields and Dalston Junction) commemorates Marie Lloyd, a “Music Hall Artiste.” Seeing as I have walked so much in this area and not seen many of the famous plaques on small residential streets, this one caught my eye.
Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) was born Matilda Wood and chose this stage name in 1886. At 16, she was performing all around the East End in venues in Bethnal Green, Hoxton and Old Street. Soon she had a West End career and a solid income to match.
She appears to have been a ‘scandalous’ character, with three very publicly unhappy marriages and a songbook full of saucy lyrics and double-entendres. This worried organisers of the 1912 Royal Variety concert so much that they refused to invite her to perform. In sassy style, she sold out a theatre nearby instead!
Named the “Queen of the Music Hall” she was not only a commercial success but played for troops and factory workers in World War One to boost morale.
I wonder what she would make of the sometimes scandalous popstars who now live in this trendy part of town!
Make a detour on your way to/from Dalston or London Fields