Just Like That! Comic Genius Tommy Cooper Recognised With Blue Plaque

Crowds turn up to English Heritage ceremony at his former home in Barrowgate Road


Tommy Cooper in characteristic pose

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Jokes, laughter and magic tricks marked the unveiling of the English Heritage Blue Plaque on Tommy Cooper's former home today (May 12th).

Dozens of local residents, fans of Tommy Cooper and members of magic clubs turned out for the ceremony at the Barrowgate Road house which took place in bright sunshine. Many of those who turned up were wearing the characteristic red 'fez', and several had stories and anecdotes to tell of the well-loved comedian, who lived in Chiswick for over thirty years.

Cllr John Todd makes a speech

Famous for his comedy act as a hapless and incompetent magician, the comedian's catchphrase was "Just Like That!"

Local councillor John Todd, who started the campaign to get the Blue Plaque said; "I am delighted that there is now a permanent memorial to Tommy Cooper in his beloved Chiswick."

He described Tommy Cooper as "a giant of a man", 6 foot 4 tall and weighing seventeen stone.

He described how he was inspired to start a campaign for a Blue Plaque in 2011 when his car broke down right outside Tommy Cooper's house. He had knocked on the door and asked the owners if they would agree and then wrote to Ken Dodd seeking his endorsement (Ken Dodd was unable to attend the ceremony but sent best wishes).

Getting ready to pull away the balloons

The plaque is unveiled

Greg Dyke, speaking on behalf of English Heritage, said that Tommy Cooper was joining a small handful of comedians to receive Blue Plaques, including Kenneth Williams and Tony Hancock.

Tommy Cooper was a "comic genius" who had been voted the sixth funniest comedian of all time by his peers. He told a story of how Tommy Cooper was appearing on an LWT show, of which he was producer and Michael Aspel was host. Cooper had rehearsed his magic trick involving tumblers, for the show, but when the show went out live, had decided to change the trick to one involving setting fire to a handkerchief, without telling anyone.

"Everyone, from health and safety, to the presenter, to myself as the producer was terrified- the only person who remained completely calm was Tommy Cooper.The audiance naturally was rolling around laughing."

He thanked Noel and Amanda Sharman, the owners of the house for their consent to having the Blue Plaque erected.

Cllr John Todd, Noel Sharman, Amanda Sharman, and their children, on right Clive Greenaway

Impersonator Clive St James Greenaway, who is famous for his tribute act to Tommy Cooper, flew in from the US for the ceremony, and said that as a small boy he had stopped at the gate and told the comedian, that he wanted to be a magician when he grew up.

He then gave a performance of some of Cooper's favourite tricks, which had the gathering laughing loudly.

Then as everyone chanted the Tommy Cooper catchphrase-'Just Like That'- John Todd, Greg Dyke and Clive St James Greenaway pulled the rope from the balloons covering the Blue Plaque which is placed on the outside wall above the front door.

You watch this on video from chiswickbuzztv


Others who attended the ceremony included former MP Mary Macleod and the Mayor of Hounslow, as well as neighbours and friends of the family.

James Mathews of Whitmans was a fan, and he also tipped off the current owners when the house was up for sale.

Mary Macleod and the Mayor of Hounslow

Lots of people had a connection or had a story to tell. Louise Coyle (above) said " Our house in Barrowgate Road was formerly the Larches Hotel and we were told he used to drink there when the Hole In the Wall was closed."

Paula, a Barrowgate Road resident, "I remember him walking down Barrowgate road on his way to and from the pub."

Tommy Cooper's former home in Chiswick

The current owners bought the house from Tommy's daughter Vicky about five years ago. An ITV drama, starring David Threlfall which was broadcast in 2014, was partly filmed in the house.

Tommy lived with wife Gwen - known as Dove - at the house from 1955 until the day he died in 1984 while performing live on TV at Her Majesty's Theatre. He was sixty-three.

The Blue Plaque scheme was founded in 1866, by the (Royal) Society of Arts, "to increase the public estimation for places which have been the abodes of men who have made England what it is."

May 12, 2016

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