In September Filey’s third blue plaque was unveiled at the White Lodge Hotel. The plaque celebrates the Victorian and Edwardian actress Dame Madge Kendal who lived at the White Lodge between 1896 and 1920.
The current owners of the White Lodge, James and Kim Hodgson, worked alongside the Scarborough & District Civic Society to bring the project to fruition. The plaque was unveiled by Filey Town Mayor Cllr Jacqui Houlden-Banks, whose father was a previous owner of the White Lodge Hotel.
Dame Madge Kendal, alongside her husband William, owned the White Lodge when it was a private villa. The couple managed the St James Theatre, London, but Dame Madge also trod the boards for fifty years in the West End. She was friends with luminaries such as George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, who visited Whitby to research his Dracula novel and John Merrick, better known the Elephant Man. As a consequence, Dame Madge was featured as a character in Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 play and in the 1980 film of the same name, where she was portrayed by Anne Bancroft. Dame Madge died aged 87 in 1935. She is featured in the National Portrait Gallery.
The two other blue plaques in Filey are for Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre, and Herbert Liddell Cortis, the first cyclist to achieve a speed of 20mph on a penny farthing, in 1882.