Historic old cine film has surfaced on the diamond anniversary of the unveiling of a blue plaque at one of Hammersmith’s most historic houses.
The two minutes of footage – from an era when ladies wore hats and gloves, and no gentleman would be seen without a tie – records the day on 19 October 1959 when the great and the good gathered for the official ceremony to reveal the plaque at Sir Emery Walker’s house at 7 Hammersmith Terrace.
As with most unveiling ceremonies, it doesn’t go quite to plan! The task of pulling off the drawstring is given to the daughter of the Arts & Craft Movement’s leading light… and poor Dorothy struggles to yank the union flag clear of the new blue addition.
Discovery of the silent film footage – which can be viewed on the Emery Walker website – coincides with the 60th anniversary of the unveiling.
Sir Emery lived at the address from 1903 to 1933. Today, his former home, now open to the public, is seen as being one of the best-preserved Arts & Crafts interiors in Britain.
The film’s discovery followed a visit to the house by Ian and Jan Jacobs from Ascot, earlier in the year. They mentioned to the tour guide that they had discovered an invitation to the London County Council unveiling and some cinefilm, taken by Jan’s grandfather, Herbert Waddams.
After being digitised, the film has been made available for all to view. Amusingly, the road has so little traffic that seats were able to be set out in the street, for the benefit of those less able to stand.
Mr Waddams was a printer who worked for Emery Walker. When Jan’s parents died, Ian helped clear out their house and discovered artefacts dating back to that era, including printed booklets and letters.
“My wife and I visited Emery Walker’s house and enjoyed the excellent tour given by the two volunteers,” said Ian, adding that they had been pleased to pass the items to the trust which conserves the house.
The blue plaque commemorates the ‘typographer and antiquary’ Sir Emery Walker and was organised in 1959 by the Kelmscott Fellowship and the William Morris Society.
The riverside home is a charming time capsule packed with Arts & Crafts treasures, including one of the largest in-situ collections of Morris & Co wallpapers in the world.
The Emery Walker Trust is keen to hear from anyone who recognises any of the participants or guests who were present at the unveiling.
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