Max Miller Marine Parade Plaque

Bearing in mind that many local heroes don’t get a single plaque after they pass away, which great Brightonian now has two blue plaques, a stone tablet, a bronze statue and a double decker bus dedicated to his memory?

The unveiling of the new plaque dedicated to the late comedian, Max Miller, at 160 Marine Parade was hilarious. And with Michael Aspel and Roy Hudd doing the unveiling, I expected nothing less! The first plaque dedicated to Max is on 25 Burlington Street, off the Kemp Town seafront, where he lived from 1948 until his death there in 1963. Max, often referred to as ‘the pure gold of the music hall’, was born in 1894 at 43 Hereford Street (a possible site for a third plaque?!) as Thomas Henry Sargent. He began developing his stand-up skills whilst serving in the army during the First World War in front of fellow soldiers. The stone tablet that I mentioned is at the Downs Crematorium on Bear Road though, and I do apologise, I’m not too sure where the Max Miller bus is presently but it’s likely to be around town somewhere!

For fans of Max Miller, or ‘the cheeky chappie’ as he is also known, the past couple of years have certainly been an eventful period. Many showbiz stars, including Sir Norman Wisdom, flocked to the grounds of the Royal Pavilion opposite the Theatre Royal in May 2005for the unveiling of Max’s £30,000 bronze statue. The statue is excellent though it was originally rather badly positioned. Thankfully, this oversight will be corrected as part of the New Road pedestrianisation works. The latest good news is that the beautiful Hippodrome on Middle Street, where Max performed, may again become a live music venue.

Although the Max Miller Appreciation Society were responsible for the Marine Parade plaque, Brighton & Hove City Council now has a plaques committee of its own. Perhaps unsurprisingly, funding hasn’t exactly rolled in but there are plans in the pipeline to create a plaque for Charles Augustin Busby, the architect behind Kemp Town and Brunswick Town. These ideas, along with the schemes from Walk of Fame (at the Marina) and Brighton & Hove Buses, are brilliant ways to ensure that the great are not forgotten.

See the Max Miller Appreciation Society’s website, www.maxmiller.org, for more information on Max and the Society. As Max used to say, “They’ll never be another!”.