Monday, October 10, 2022

August Strindberg and Gravesend star in Trivial Fact of the Day

The Swedish dramatist August Strindberg once lived in Gravesend. That's our Trivial Fact of the Day taken care of.

I discovered it through my admiration for Freda Jackson. The video above shows her in the town with Michael Redgrave to present a plaque honouring the centenary of Strindberg's birth.

A paragraph in The Stage (Thursday 20 January 1949) tells us exactly what was going on:


The centenary of the birth of August Strindberg falls on Saturday next. The occasion is being marked by the placing of a commemoration plaque on Gravesend Pier, where, in 1893, Strindberg first set foot on English soil and was welcomed by J T. Grein. 

The plaque is the gift of Anthony Hawtrey, together with Michael Redgrave, Freda Jackson, and the members of The Father company now playing at the Embassy, and to open at the Duchess on Monday next. 

Sponsored by the Strindberg Society, it is to be carried down the river in Sir Alan Herbert's boat and presented to the Mayor of Gravesend.

J.T. Grein was an impresario and critic who helped establish modern theatre in London. 

Anthony Hawtrey was an actor and the director of the Embassy Theatre in Swiss Cottage, from where many productions transferred to the West End, including No Room at the Inn, which made Freda Jackson famous and which he directed. 

Alan Herbert was better known as A.P. Herbert and was a considerable figure of the day.

The plaque is though to be in storage somewhere in Gravesend, while there is talk of selling the pier to Uber Boat, which runs a service from it to the City of London.

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