Search

Give town’s musician a noteworthy tribute’

PUBLISHED: 12:16 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:52 25 August 2010

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858 - 1944), the English composer and suffragette who composed the battle song of the women's social and political union and also wrote two autobiographical works.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858 - 1944), the English composer and suffragette who composed the battle song of the women's social and political union and also wrote two autobiographical works. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A VIOLINIST wants a blue plaque on the site where a composer turned suffragette was born more than 150 years ago.

A VIOLINIST wants a blue plaque on the site where a composer turned suffragette was born more than 150 years ago.

Music teacher Janet Newis from Sidcup would like English Heritage to honour the site of the house in St John's Road, Sidcup, where Dame Ethel Smyth was born in 1858.

The house was demolished in 1929 to make way for the Market Parade shops and is currently the home of a boarded up Urwin's off licence.

Despite her parent's opposition to a music career, Smyth studied music in Leipzig and composed the opera The Wreckers which received its premiere in Germany on November 11, 1906.

In three acts set in a Cornish fishing village, two lovers try to warn ships of a trap which will lead to their destruction.

Next Saturday Sidcup Symphony Orchestra will be playing the opera at Towley Grammar School in Townley Road, Bexleyheath.

The violinist in the orchestra Mrs Newis described the Smyth's work as rousing and spirited.

She said: "We thought it was quite jolly and her music is rousing, spirited and quite challenging to play.

"Her music is not ladylike as it is not elegant music. It is well written.

"In her time she was an enterprising young woman when there were not a lot about. It would be nice to see her remembered locally. We have not got many celebrities locally.

"I don't know how to go about it getting a plaque. It would be good to get local people's support. She was quite a character."

Smyth met Tchaikovsky and later became friends with Schumann and Brahms. The atheist, who also wrote German songs became close friends with the author Virginia Woolf in her later life.

In 1910 she became a militant suffragette, joining the Women's Social and Political Union, sacrificing music for two years to dedicate herself to the cause.

She served two months in Holloway Prison after breaking the windows of anti-suffrage politicians.

English Heritage receives approximately 100 suggestions a year for blue plaques in London, almost all of which come from members of the public.

To be successful a London building associated with them must survive, and the person must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Latest Bexley news

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A man who ran over two elderly women with his electric wheelchair was sentenced on Friday, November 16 at Southwark Crown Court.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas 2018 and the Northern Lights are welcomed to Bexleyheath on Saturday, November 17 with a spectacular mix of music and dance from stilt walkers to bhangra dancers, and acoustic artists to fire shows.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Now back from recording the second series of All Together Now, Brit School teacher and Bromley local Georg Tormann is now warming up for Christmas with his Beckenham-based choir.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wildlife enthusiasts are calling for “embarrassing” fly-tipping that is blighting marshland in Bexley to be cleared up.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas expressed concerns that an energy park in Bexley will lead to “toxic fumes” billowing across the Thames to the Rainham and Beam Park development area.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Bexleyheath pub will be offering free gin and tonic today, in exchange for a very unusual currency - cake.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24