West End Stripper To Get Blue Plaque

By M@ Last edited 78 months ago
West End Stripper To Get Blue Plaque

English Heritage are embroiled in a minor tussle over the wording of a new blue plaque:

Phyllis Dixey 1914 to 1964, Striptease Artiste lived here in flat number 15.

The proposed plaque would adorn an Art Deco mansion block in Surbiton, and would presumably be the first English Heritage recognition of this form of entertainment in London.

Its dedicatee was the first stripper to appear in the West End, starting a tradition of performance nudity whose ever-raunchier protagonists made Soho famous in the post-war years. Phyllis Dixey's relatively tame shows in the 1940s attracted police attention and she soon became a household name, dubbed the Queen of Striptease. Her life story was told in the 1978 film The One and Only Phyllis Dixey, starring Lesley-Anne Down.

Dixey's life sounds remarkable, and she certainly influenced London's cultural scene. A plaque, then, seems appropriate. Disagreements over the wording threaten to derail the gesture, however. On one side, English Heritage and the British Music Hall Society (who proposed the plaque) favour the phrase 'striptease artiste'. Residents of the Surbiton block and Dixey's family would prefer something less ouvert. Nobody can think of a wording that keeps everyone happy. 'Actress' is too bland, and 'burlesque' is inaccurate.

So, can we think of a description that would do Dixey justice without compromising the prudish sensibilities of the Surbitonians?

Last Updated 15 November 2011


Didn't Gypsy Rose Lee describe herself in polite society as an 'ecdysiast' - he who, or that which, sheds its skin ,,,  surely that would satisfy the Surbitonians.

Unprudish, of Surbiton

"So, can we think of a description that would do Dixey justice without compromising the prudish sensibilities of the Surbitonians?"

Not all of us here in Surbiton are so sensitive. I think Striptease Artiste would do as that is what she most famous for, although it overshadows the rest of her talents - she did a lot of Revue theatre and straight plays as well!

Johnny Fox's idea works too, I would thoroughly look forward to asking the residents of said block to explain what one is and have them resort, red-faced, to explaining in straight forward terms.


Also from the area and think the plaque as illustrated would be just fine!


"The prudish sensibilities of the Subitonians"?  Clearly the person who wrote this article has never been to Surbiton or heard of the wonderful and wacky community events that now happen with pleasing regularity.    I suggest the author visits www.seethingwells.org to see the warm and unconventional side of Surbiton.  Prudish we are most certainly NOT!!!!


Ignorant question, but why is burlesque inaccurate? What is the difference between striptease and burlesque?