Blue plaque unveiled at Southgate home of Dame Flora Robson

First published in News by

A HOLLYWOOD star who grew up in Palmers Green was honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque at her former home on Sunday.

Dame Flora Robson, who lived in the area between 1907 and 1921 and attended Palmers Green High School, was commemorated with a plaque at her childhood home, The Lawe, in The Mall, Palmers Green.

Around 50 people gathered to witness the unveiling, including members of Southgate District Civic Trust and Palmers Green High School, who jointly sponsored the plaque, as well as the family of current resident Peter Wurr and members of the Robsons’ former church, the United Reform Church in Fox Lane.

Richard Purver from Southgate District Civic Trust said: “It was from this house that Flora went out with her parents all over London, giving her early performances in concerts and recitals. And finally in 1919, it was from there that she went off to study at what is now the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

“She is someone from our area who achieved a great deal in her chosen profession and in public life, and as well as her accomplishments there, she always took an interest in charitable work and helped other people. It just seemed fitting that she should be remembered in his kind of public way.”

Born in 1902 in South Shields, Flora Robson moved with her six siblings to Devonshire Road, Palmers Green, in 1907, before living at The Lawe between 1910 and 1921.

She began her career on the stage in London and Cambridge, although the uncertainty of acting meant she also worked for a time at the Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City.

But by the mid-1930s, she was a regular star of the silver screen, appearing in The Rise of Catherine the Great and Fire Over England with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. She became a dame in 1960 for her contributions to drama.

Despite living in Hollywood and various cities in the south of England during her life, she maintained contact with her former school and was the guest of honour at several prize-giving ceremonies including the school’s diamond jubilee in 1955.

She is the second former pupil from the same year group to receive such an honour, as poet and novelist Stevie Smith, who was just a few months younger than Flora Robson, was also given a blue plaque outside her former home in Avondale Road in September 2005.

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