Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Marquis of Queensbury, South Wigston, and Gertie Gitana

I was in South Wigston to but a new cooker - where else would one go? - and this building was across the road from the shop.

The Greater Wigston Historical Society tells us:
The Marquis of Queensbury, formerly known as the Duke of Clarence and the Gaiety, is a relatively large two storey structure of red brick under a pitched slate roof. Although now converted to apartments, the building was constructed as a hotel with ballroom at first floor. 
Despite the building's size and commanding presence, it sits well within the street scene. The building has been awarded a Blue Plaque by Wigston Civic and Historical Societies.
That plaque is in honour of the music hall artist Gertie Gitana.

That Wikipedia entry records other memorials:
In the early 1950s, Frederic Street in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, was renamed Gitana Street in her honour;the street leads to the rear of the Theatre Royal in Hanley and the public house now called 'The Stage Door' (at the corner of Gitana Street) was at one time called 'The Gertie Gitana' and it still has her portrait over the door. Her name continues at 'Gitana's', a public house in Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent. 
Her London memorial — 'The Nellie Dean' at the corner of Dean Street in Soho (renamed thus in her honour) — at one time had a shrine of her stage memorabilia. In Cockney rhyming slang, Gertie Gitana means a banana.
Her grave is in Wigston cemetery and some recordings of her singing have made it on to YouTube. Try My Dear Marie.

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