By happy coincidence, shortly after writing the last entry, I found myself heading into the Western suburbs, or the “wild west” as they are popularly known. I figured I could take some photos to illustrate the last entry, which was visually very lacking. But I also found some other items of interest.
Fans of Culture Club may recognise this boat. It was used in the video for ‘Karma Chameleon’ and is available to hire from Turk Launches of Kingston. Boy George lied to you – that video wasn’t filmed in Mississippi at all.
Teddington School. A number of Yr. Humble Chronicler’s friends went there (as children, not recently). Probably the most famous pupil of recent years was someone called Keira Knightley, to whom they have actually put up a plaque. A friend holds the distinction of having actually turned Keira Knightley down when she asked him out. To be fair, at the time the only big thing she’d done was The Phantom Menace, and it’s not like you want to be known as someone who dated a minor cast member in that. For those of you who are interested, she played Sabe. I’m not sure which one that was, but she was one of the people whose job was to look like Natalie Portman.
Teddington Studios has had so many famous comedians that they can actually use blue plaques as wall decoration. Some of the names commemorated here include Tony Hancock, Sid James, Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper and Kenny Everett.
Interesting fact about blue plaques: anyone can put one up. I thought there was some sort of law, but turns out not. If you really wanted to stand out, you could even hang one on your house. Then people could look at it and say, “Wow, I’ve never heard of them!”
The weir at Teddington Lock, limit of tide.
Fans of Monty Python may get a vague twinge of recognition at this. This is where the Fish Slapping Dance was filmed. The event is commemorated with, yes, a blue plaque. It’s just visible there in the window, having been presented to the lock keeper by Michael Palin.
Behind that is the boatyard of the Tough Bros., who were among the organisers of Operation Dynamo during the Second World War. Operation Dynamo was the occasion when, following a spectacular defeat at the Battle of Dunkirk, it became necessary to evacuate thousands of Allied troops. In a strategy believed to have been borrowed from an Ealing comedy, 0ver 700 “little ships” were pressed into service. Everything seaworthy, from tramp steamers down to fishing boats, from pleasure cruisers to private yachts, took part. The end result was not only a successful evacuation, but a perverse propaganda triumph for the Allies. The wonderfully-named Tough Brothers assembled over 100 of the final total at their wharf.
Peg Woffington Cottages. Margaret Woffington was a star of the stage in the 18th century, one of the best-known actresses of her day and apparently something of a hottie. It is known that she moved to Teddington after 1744, following a celebrity split with David Garrick, but it’s not clear exactly where she was. The above cottages are one popular suggestion. In their defence, it’s no less likely than anywhere else. Let them have their fun. Also, I’m told the tea room that is now there does some excellent cakes.
Search term that brought people here:
“bald headed old men”