George Orwell’s son Richard unveils plaque in Canonbury Square (this time with the correct dates)

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he lived for three years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A historical plaque is taken down and replaced with a near-identical sign – save one detail.

George Orwell. Picture: PA/EMPICS

George Orwell. Picture: PA/EMPICS - Credit: PA/EMPICS

It sounds rather like the Ministry of Truth’s efforts to cover up the posters proclaiming that Oceania is at war with Eurasia – sorry, Eastasia – in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four.

But this time, no one is denying the switch took place.

More than 100 people watched as Richard Blair, the writer’s adopted son, unveiled a plaque at 27B Canonbury Square on Monday – this time bearing the correct dates of his father’s residence.

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he lived for three years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The writer lived there between 1944 and 1947, but the old plaque said only 1945.

Canonbury Square was where Orwell, real name Eric Arthur Blair, began writing the dystopian masterpiece.

Richard, now 72, told the crowd: “It’s [nearly] 70 years since I was here. I don’t remember a great deal about this place!

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he lived for three years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

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“I do remember sticking my finger into the cell-powered doorbell: it gave me a bit of a blast.

“And I recall my father was very keen on woodwork as he would make me little toys upstairs.

“Animal Farm really launched him into the world. It gave him the freedom to step back from journalism and start writing what would be his final novel, Nineteen Eighty-four.

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he

Richard Blair, the adopted son of George Orwell, unveiling a new plaque in Canonbury Square where he lived for three years. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

“When my mother Eileen died in 1945, he was adamant he was going to hang on to me. I am very proud to be his adopted son.”

Philip Walker of the Canonbury Society, which organised the plaque unveiling with Islington Council, said: “I think George Orwell would have been impressed by the simple arrangements for this unveiling: no political interference or Thought Police.

“We in Canonbury are so grateful that he spent time among us here, enriching our heritage.”

Mayor of Islington Kat Fletcher added: “George Orwell is critically important to Islington’s history. It gives me shivers that parts of Nineteen Eighty-four were written here.”

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