Oscar Wilde Society considers moving Worthing plaque

The ''Oscar Wilde plaque at Esplanade House

The ''Oscar Wilde plaque at Esplanade House

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MEMBERS of the Oscar Wilde Society are exploring the possibility of getting the blue plaque dedicated to him in Worthing moved.

It comes after one of the group’s members, Antony Edmonds, completed exhaustive research that found the plaque dedicated to the famous playwright is in the wrong place.

Around 20 members from the Oscar Wilde Society visited Worthing to see the plaque, and Antony gave a talk and tour.

He said: “We visited locations associated with the great playwright during the two months he spent in the town in August and September, 1894, with his wife and two young sons.

“It was during this holiday that Wilde wrote his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Demolished

Antony showed members the correct location of The Haven, the house where Wilde and his family stayed in 1894.

The Haven was one of a terrace of four houses that stood on the east side of the Esplanade, the short street that runs between Brighton Road and the sea from just opposite Selden Road.

The terrace was demolished in 1974, and Esplanade Court and a car dealership now stand in its place.

It has previously been thought The Haven was a house either in the middle of the terrace or at the sea end.

However, it has now been established that The Haven was, in fact, at the northern end of the terrace, on the corner with Brighton Road.

So, the blue plaque that was placed near the sea end of Esplanade Court in 1994, is in the wrong position.

Antony said going forward, the society would now like to get the plaque moved.

Speech

During the visit, members of the society also visited other locations that would have been familiar to the playwright. At the end of the pier, Antony also recited the amusing speech that Wilde gave in the old southern pavilion after a Venetian fête held on the evening of September 19, 1894.