Thursday 15 November 2018

A new Blue Plaque in Wembley – remembering Henry Cooper

Guest post by Philip Grant

For the past 40 years, Wembley has only had one Blue Plaque commemorating a famous former resident*. This week it got its second!

Thanks to the efforts of local resident, Tony Royden, the plaque was installed on the wall above a shop at 4 Ealing Road, near the junction with Wembley High Road:

        A new Blue Plaque in Wembley – remembering Henry Cooper

Photo of the plaque, courtesy of Tony Royden

As well as fighting some of his most famous boxing matches in Wembley (at Wembley Arena, and most memorably against Cassius Clay - later known as Muhammed Ali - in front of 55,000 people at Wembley Stadium in 1963), Henry Cooper lived at 5 Ledway Drive (near Preston Road) from 1960 until 1975.

He is probably less famous for his three years as a greengrocer (while still British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion), at the shop which he opened on 9 November 1965. His former home is a bit off the beaten track, so the plaque above the shop is a much better location to publicise this famous Wembley resident.

Cuttings on the shop’s opening from the “Wembley Observer” and “Wembley News”, November 1965

If you don't know who Wembley’s first blue plaque commemorates, or where it is, you can find the answer on the Brent Archives website LINK .

Philip Grant


Philip Grant said...

Thank you, Martin, for adding a photo of Henry Cooper with Muhammed Ali. It is, of course, one taken much later than their two fights in the 1960's.

It is a mark of them both, as boxers and as men, that despite their violent clashes in the ring, they had a great respect for each other. They met, as friends, a number of times over the years.

When Henry Cooper died in 2011, the man who claimed to be "The Greatest" (and many boxing fans would agree with that) said of him: 'I will miss my old friend. He was a great fighter and a gentleman.'

Philip Grant said...

A short follow-up blog on 27 December at:

has a link to an illustrated article about Henry Cooper, on the Brent Archives website.