17 October 2008
Bert Hardy’s family at his plaque unveiling
By John Prendergast
THE FAMILY and friends of wartime photographer Bert Hardy turned out in huge numbers last Sunday, to witness the unveiling of his Blue Plaque.
Four generations of Hardys watched with pride as Bert was honoured at his former home The Priory, on Webber Street in Blackfriars.
The plaques are voted for by the people of Southwark, with Bert Hardy being one of six winners to be announced from the 2007 list.
Bert's sister, Dolly Thorne was delighted at the honour bestowed on her brother and said his eye for a good snap could be seen from an early age. She said: "He was always taking photos and he was much loved, but all of my brothers and sisters were. We all lived in there (The Priory), we were poor and my mum did office cleaning so we could all have a meal."
Hardy is known for his wartime work, but his peacetime collections are also held in the highest regard.
In 1948 he spent a three week period taking pictures around the Elephant & Castle, the resulting collection known as 'Life in the Elephant' is regarded as an important part of documenting history in post war London.
Hardy lived in the Blackfriars house for sixteen years, and when he eventually moved out to Surrey he called his farm 'The Priory' to acknowledge the love he had for the area.
Michael Hardy, Bert's son said since the news was announced it has filled him with pride. He added: "When I go to dinner parties and they ask what you are doing over the next few weeks, it makes me happy to say that my dad is having a Blue Plaque unveiled in his honour."
Bert Hardy's plaque is the third 2007 winner to be unveiled, following ceremonies for boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper and wartime singer Anne Shelton over the last few weeks. Motorbike engine designer Edward Turner's plaque unveiling is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to take place some time in November. The remaining 2007 winners are Sands Films Studio and John Harvard, with the latter due to be erected once the work on the John Harvard Library is completed.
The Blue Plaque scheme was conceived by the 'News', which now works on the scheme along with Southwark Heritage Association and Southwark Council.
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