The late Arthur Francis has just been honoured (by friends from the South London Lambretta Club) with a ‘blue plaque.’
Usually reserved for recipients deemed worthy by English Heritage, blue plaques are an official way of marking the birthplace – or former home of a person of merit. In the Lambretta world, Arthur is certainly a legendary name and is one that will live on forever.
Friend, Frank Brown bought this temporary plaque after speaking to the current owner of Cooper’s Yard, Gavin (pictured above). Arthur had lived there for over 30 years and knew Gavin well, according to Frank “They got on like a house on fire!” The Yard is in Crystal Palace and is used primarily as a publishing house for Rooks Books and by a collection of other creative businesses. Arthur was a part of the community there and also ran the Holly Bush pub nearby.
Arthur’s house is coming up for sale soon so Frank decided a temporary plaque should be erected as quickly as possible, just in case the new owners didn’t want hordes of Lambretta riders turning up to visit. He’s currently making a ‘proper’ cast plaque to replace it in the foundry at Chelsea College of Art, where he works as a studio manager. Frank told us “Crystal Palace has a huge ‘movement’ of blue plaques all over the place, so it was pertinent that he had one too and hopefully the new owners will approve and keep it”. You can read more about the life of Arthur Francis in the latest issue of ScooterNova – out now.
The more permanent blue plaque has since been made in earthenware, glazed blue and the letters sandblasted through a stencil to appear white. It now proudly adorns Arthur’s old stomping ground. However Arthur, his family and friends don’t want to turn the place into a Lambretta tourist attraction.