A house in Chelsea which was home to both the dramatist Samuel Beckett and the eminent physicist Patrick Blackett has become one of the few buildings in London to bear two official blue plaques.
Famed author Samuel Beckett lived at 48 Paultons Square for seven months in 1934, during which time he was working on his first novel, and his first full-length work, a series of short stories, was published.
Scientist Patrick Blackett then moved into the same address in 1953 and lived there for 16 years. His revolutionary work on U-Boat detection helped secure the Battle of the Atlantic victory, and he also undertook ground-breaking research into cosmic rays.
Living at the same house was not all that connected the two, as Beckett and Blackett were also Nobel Prize winners, for Literature and Physics respectively.
The unveiling comes after an enthusiast looked at the value of properties in Kensington and Chelsea and surrounding area which have blue plaques .
The Grade II listed three-storey terraced house dating from 1840 becomes the nineteenth to claim the ‘double blue’ distinction, joining among others, 29 Fitzroy Square in Fitzrovia, home of George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf.
This year the blue plaque scheme is celebrating its 150th anniversary , and Ronald Hutton, chairman of the English Heritage Blue Plaques Panel, said: “It is a very special occasion to unveil two new blue plaques at once, let alone for two Nobel Prize winners. Beckett and Blackett are giants in their fields and these two plaques mark their achievements and celebrate their connection to London. This unveiling is a fitting opening to the 150th anniversary year of the blue plaques scheme.”
Beckett, author of Waiting for Godot, lived at the address while undergoing psychoanalysis and seeking literary work. Though mostly associated with Paris and Dublin, he lived in London on-and-off for three unhappy years. He was unhappy with his work, grieving the loss of his father who died in June 1933 and suffering from a long list of ailments including boils, pelvic pains, tachycardia, panic attacks and insomnia.
Yet despite this, it was a significant and formative period in his life. It encompassed the writing of most of his first novel, Murphy, the book that Beckett considered to be the foundation of his subsequent works.
The plaques were unveiled by Downton Abbey actress Penelope Wilton, who has starred in Beckett adaptations, and astronomer royal Arnold Wolfendale.
West London is blessed with plaques celebrating great people who lived in the area . Famously, Jimi Hendrix and George Frideric Handel have plaques on neighbouring houses in Brook Street, Mayfair.
As part of its 150 year celebrations, blue plaques will go up commemorating the lives on comedian Tommy Cooper in Chiswick and Queen singer Freddie Mercury in Feltham .