Curator's choice - artefacts
William Wilberforce plaque from Lauriston House 1950s
Wilberforce came to live with his childless uncle, William, and aunt, Hannah, in Lauriston House (originally called Laurel Grove) on Southside, after his father died in 1768. The house had been built in 1724. Young William lived there for four years, until his mother recalled him to Hull. When his uncle died in 1777, he left Lauriston House to William, who used it as a country retreat when he became MP for Hull in 1781. William Pitt, a close friend, stayed in the house on many occasions.
When he became involved in the Abolition of the Slave Trade movement, Wilberforce decided to move nearer London: he went to live in Battersea Rise House, owned by his cousin, Henry Thornton, and sold Lauriston House in 1786.
During the late 1940s and 1950s the John Evelyn Society (now known as The Wimbledon Society) commissioned ceramics students at the Wimbledon School of Art in Merton Hall Road (now the Wimbledon College of Art), to make a number of these large ceramic plaques for erecting to commemorate local Wimbledon residents. This one came to the Museum after Lauriston House was demolished in 1959, but the stable block survives as Lauriston cottage and still has a smaller blue plaque on its wall commemorating Wilberforce.
Width: 410mm; height: 340mm; depth 60mm. LDWIM : S001