Tubby Hayes blue plaque unveiled

The childhood home of renowned saxophonist Tubby Hayes in Kenwyn Road, Wimbledon has been formally recognised by the installation of a blue plaque

Tubby Hayes, London's very own jazz legend, has at last been awarded a coveted blue plaque. On Wednesday, 31 August 2016, a small crowd gathered at 34 Kenwyn Road, London SW20, to witness Tubby's son Richard unveil a Heritage Foundation plaque in honour of his father, who lived in the house from 1936 to 1951.

Plans for such an award had been proposed for some years, but had come to nothing.The Heritage Foundation's interest was piqued by writer and film-maker Mark Baxter, the man behind the recent documentary film Tubby Hayes: A Man In A Hurry (Mono Media Films, 2015). The Foundation has previously honoured pop and rock icons including John Lennon, George Harrison and Dusty Springfield, among others. Thanks to Baxter's dedication and belief, the plaque for Hayes marks its first award to a jazz legend.

Those who attended the unveiling included the director of A Man In A Hurry, celebrated film-maker Lee Cogswell, and saxophonist Simon Spillett, a long-time Hayes champion and author of The Long Shadow Of The Little Giant: The Life, Work And Legacy Of Tubby Hayes (Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2015). (Simon Spillett, Lee Cogswell, Mark Baxter and Richard Hayes are pictured right.)

Spillett said “The awarding of a blue plaque to Tubby's childhood home is, I think, a long-overdue acknowledgement of his cultural importance. His story and music are well known, but this award gives credit to his being a key figure in what was a truly special era for the arts and entertainment in the UK. In fact, there's a slightly surreal feeling in realising that Tubby's world-class jazz talent was incubated not in New York or Los Angeles but in post-war suburban London. You can just imagine him as a teenage lad, saxophone case in hand, trotting off down Kenwyn Road to catch a train into the West End. His career may have been on an international level, but the plaque plants him firmly on the map as a London icon, a distinctly British jazz legend”.

Hayes frequently returned to his family home during his stormy 23-year professional career, living there again briefly during the early 70s while recuperating from open-heart surgery. His mother, Dorothy Kenyon, lived in the house until the 80s.

A short video of the unveiling can be found here.

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