I have never unveiled a plaque before and so pulling the cord to unveil a blue English Heritage ‘I lived here’ plaque for Edward Whymper recently was a new experience for me. It’s amazing how much you find out doing things like this. For example I never realised that this was apparently the first blue plaque for a mountaineer in Britain. Also, I never realised that Whymper carried out revolver practice at this suburbian address in Teddington. Before all that of course he made the first ascent of the Matterhorn. But then mountaineers know all about that – although most probably don’t know that he had a habit of surprising his female servants by wandering around naked.
A happy band comprising English Heritage people, the property owners, Alpine Club members (including Ian Smith and Peter Berg who have both written books on Whymper) and members of the Whymper family enjoyed tea and biscuits, a few short speeches and then retired pleasantly to the pub. There’s a lot to be said for blue plaque ceremonies. I would recommend them.