Sir Henry Cotton’s home receives blue plaque

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 8, 2017 07:33

The three-time Open winner and founder of the Golf Foundation, Sir Henry Cotton, has become, it is thought, only the second golfer in history to have a ‘blue plaque’ installed on one of the London homes he lived in.

Run by English Heritage, the blue plaques scheme was started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world. Across London over 900 plaques, on buildings humble and grand, honour the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them.

Cotton, who died in 1987, had the plaque installed on one of his boyhood homes, thanks to collaboration between English Heritage, junior golf charity the Golf Foundation, Aquarius Golf Club and Alleyn’s School in East Dulwich.

A special ceremony took place in front of an enthusiastic crowd at 47 Crystal Palace Road.

Henry Cotton’s family moved from Cheshire to London in around 1913, with Henry first attending school in Peckham and then Reigate Grammar, before winning a scholarship to Alleyn’s School, Dulwich.

Rupert Hambro, Blue Plaques Panel member for English Heritage, explained that Henry moved to the modest house on Crystal Palace Road at aged 15 with his parents and brother Leslie (who would also become a professional golfer) in 1922. Young Henry would practice his golf swing in the back garden and in adjacent garages.

Jim Halliday, secretary of Aquarius GC, said: “Our historical connection with Henry Cotton remains an integral part of the heritage of this club.”

BBC broadcaster Peter Alliss, who performed the unveiling of the blue plaque, said he felt “very proud” to have known Cotton. Alliss said: “I still cherish the letter that Henry wrote to me, congratulating me on my first win in the Assistants’ Championship… I am sure this plaque for Sir Henry will create great interest in this local area and for golfers and other members of the public who see it when passing by.”

Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, added: “When starting the foundation with his friends he summed it up so well when he said ‘we should give the game, without compromise, without intimidation, without prejudice, to as many as we possibly could’.

“The Golf Foundation works hard to help youngsters from all backgrounds to secure a pathway from golf in schools to enjoying life as a junior player at club level, and we hope Sir Henry would be impressed with our reach and impact as a charity today, while our values still correspond closely with those of the great man.”

There is a blue plaque dedicated to Harry Vardon, who died in 1937, in the London Borough of Barnet.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 8, 2017 07:33
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  1. Mark Stilwell August 11, 16:53

    Henry was employed by my father John B. Stilwell to design the Penina Championship Golf Course. Later he lived at “Casa Branca” on the first hole, and was director of golf for several years.
    The final resting place of Henry, his wife Toots and two step daughters is at Mexilhoeira Grande, overlooking Penina, because Henry said that on the last day, the first thing he wanted to see was the course he wished to be remembered by, Penina.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ian August 11, 16:48

    Glad to see Sir Henry’s plaque but Portrush ahead of the curve as usual…..

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mike August 9, 11:32

    Not true Harry Vardon has a plaque in Ganton

    Reply to this comment
  4. Howard Swan August 8, 11:00

    A privilege for the Swan family to have known and worked with the Great Man over so many years …

    Reply to this comment
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