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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
20th November 1906 George Bernard Shaws Doctor's Dilemma, premieres in London
20th November 1898 John Fowler, English engineer (London Metropolitan Railway), dies
20th November 1852 Charles Reade/Tom Taylor's Masks and Faces, premieres in London
Eaglesfield's Famous Comedy Son
Frankie Howerd was lightly educated at this school in Eltham.
Location: Red Lion Lane, SE18 4LD
Description: Now this school has a changed it's name and identity a number of time over the last 80 years - it was known as Woolwich County School when it opened on 1st May 1928, it then became 'Shooters Hill Grammar School', after amalgamating with Bloomfield Grammar in 1977, and finally was officially reopened as Eaglesfield Secondary School on 9 November 1978.
So what is the significance of all these name changes... well non really, but 'Shooters Hill Grammar School' was the childhood educational home of 'Mr Frankie Howerd', (born Francis Alex Howard) who was a distinctive English comedian and comic actor.
Lightly educated at this school in Eltham, his early hopes of becoming a serious actor were dashed when he failed an audition for RADA but subsequently got into entertaining during his wartime stint in the army.
Howerd's face was a gift to comedy but a testament to tragedy. When a reporter wrote that he had a face like a landslide of sadness, it transpired that Frankie got in touch with him to say how right that was.
He was famous for his seemingly off-the-cuff remarks to the audience, especially in the show Up Pompeii! His television work was characterised by addressing himself directly to the camera and littering his monologues with verbal tics: Oooh, no missus, Titter ye not - these alone became perhaps his most identifiable gags.
In the last years of his career, Frankie developed a cult following with student audiences and performed at universities. He was also a regular and popular guest on the late night BBC Radio 1 programme Into The Night, hosted by Nicky Campbell.
After suffering respiratory problems at the beginning of April 1992, he died in hospital of heart failure on April 19. He posed for his last photograph with friend Cilla Black when she went to visit him.