Violinist George Bridgetower

Violinist George Bridgetower

The former home of black violin virtuoso George Bridgetower.

Location: 12 Reedham Street, Peckham Rye, SE15 4PH

Description: Musical child prodigy George Bridgetower (1778-1860) was born in Poland, and became a friend of Beethoven. He played violin in most major European capitals, including Paris and Vienna, and was a protg of Britain's Prince Regent and even entertained Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor of Austria-Hungary, at the age of seven!

He and his family father Frederick (of African descent) and his German-Polish mother Maria and his siblings moved to London when he was still young.

By the age of 10, Bridgetower was a soloist at the Drury Lane Theatre. For a decade, he toured Europe, performing with Beethoven in Vienna in 1803 and becoming known as the greatest violinist on earth. Beethoven dedicated a sonata to him and gave Bridgetower his tuning fork, which is now in the British Library.

A probable falling-out with Beethoven and a failed marriage followed, and Bridgetower settled here at what was then called 8 Victory Cottages in Peckham, where he lived until his death in 1860.

In 1970, his former home was demolished and a retirement complex was built on the site a few years later named Jack Jones House. It was named in honour of trade union leader and Spanish Civil War International Brigade veteran who had also lived there. A blue plaque was added here in October 2022.

Bridgetower appears as a character in the 1994 film Immortal Beloved, where he is shown playing the Kreutzer Sonata while Beethoven watches.

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Violinist George Bridgetower

The former home of black violin virtuoso George Bridgetower.

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