Actor honoured in wake of MP's call

A CAMPAIGN by Driffield's MP Greg Knight to honour Bridlington's famous actor A E Matthews with a blue plaque has been successful.

The MP and other guests will celebrate the actor’s achievements on Saturday November 22 at the Expanse Hotel in the resort.

A E Matthews, better known as ‘Matty’ was born in Bridlington on November 22 1869 in a cottage which once stood on the current B&Q site.

He went on to become one of Britain’s most prolific and oldest working thespians - still acting into his 90’s.

Mr Knight began campaigning in January after discovering Matty had not yet been honoured locally.

At first the campaign was snubbed when the taxpayer-funded blue plaque scheme run by the English Heritage revealed that they only erect plaques in London. Mr Knight then started a local campaign to honour the Bridlington born actor.

Mr Knight said: “This has been a great local campaign and credit is due to B&Q, who have now provided the funding for the plaque.

“The Rotary Club of Bridlington have also been very supportive. Now we’re not only honouring Matty, we’re also starting a tradition of recognising Bridlington’s unsung heroes.”

The anniversary of Matty’s birth will be celebrated at the Expanse Hotel where the actor Bill Maynard and ventriloquist Ray Alan with his doll ‘Lord Charles’ will join guests to watch clips from old Matty movies over dinner and recognise Bridlington’s more contemporary, unsung heroes.

A E Matthews OBE (November 22 1869 - July 25 1960) was christened Alfred Edward Matthews. He was born in Bridlington, in a small cottage, now demolished, which existed on the site of the current B&Q store in the town.

The actor was affectionately regarded by the British public, playing innumerable character roles on the stage and in film for eight decades, including the wartime tour of The First Mrs. Fraser, with Dame Marie Tempest and Barry Morse and later in the extremely popular films Carry on Admiral, Doctor at Large and Around the World in 80 Days, amongst many others.

From World War Two until his death he enjoyed renown as one of British cinema's most famous crotchety, and sometimes rascally, old men.

Matthews’ other most well-known films include The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Million Pound Note (with Gregory Peck), Inn for Trouble, The Magic Box, The Ghosts of Berkeley Square and Just William’s Luck.

In 1951 Matthews was made an Officer of the British Empire by King George VII.

He was working as an actor right up to the time of his death aged 91, which makes him Britain’s oldest-ever working thespian.

In his 90th year, A E Matthews made national headlines by sitting, for several days and nights, on the pavement outside his beautiful Georgian home near London, his purpose being to prevent the city council from installing a new streetlight, the design of which he felt was totally out of keeping with the neighbourhood and which badly needed improvement.


1960s: Inn for Trouble (1960).

1950s: Find the Lady (1958); The Royalty (1957); Carry on Admiral (1957); Doctor at Large (1957); Three Men in a Boat (1956); Around the World in 80 Days (1956); Loser Takes All (1956); Jumping for Joy (1956); Miss Tulip Stays the Night (1955); Aunt Clara (1954);Happy Ever After (1954); The Weak and the Wicked (1954); Skid Kids (1953); The Million Pound Note (1953); Penny Princess (1952); Castle in the Air (1952); Who Goes There! (1952); Something Money Can't Buy (1952); Made in Heaven (1952); The Magic Box (1951); Laughter in Paradise (1951); The Galloping Major (1951); Mister Drake's Duck (1951).

1940s: Landfall (1949) ; The Chiltern Hundreds (1949); Whisky Galore! (1949); Britannia Mews (1949); William Comes to Town (1948); Just William's Luck (1948); The Ghosts of Berkeley Square (1947); Piccadilly Incident (1946); Flight from Folly (1945); They Came to a City (1945); Twilight Hour (1945); Love Story (1944); The Way Ahead (1944) ; Escape to Danger (1943); The Man in Grey (1943); The Life and Death of Cl. Blimp (1943) ; Thunder Rock (1942); The Great Mr. Handel (1942); 'Pimpernel' Smith (1941); This England (1941); Quiet Wedding (1941).

1930s: Men Are Not Gods (1936); The Iron Duke (1934).

1910s: Castle of Dreams (1919); The Lackey and the Lady (1919); Once Upon a Time (1918) ; The Lifeguardsman (1916); The Real Thing at Last (1916); Wanted: A Widow (1916).

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