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Dora Bryan OBE: Blue Plaque unveiled

Roy Hudd shows a photo of himself and Dora Bryan in a production

Clarges Hotel

A blue plaque in memory of much-loved actress Dora Bryan has been unveiled at the former Brighton hotel she lived in for more than 40 years. Dora and her husband Bill Lawton, owned Clarges Hotel at 115–119 Marine Parade. After her husband died Dora was herself in frail health and spent her last years in a nursing home in Hove; she died on 23rd July 2014.

Plaque funded by MMAS

A ceremony to mark the unveiling was conducted by a long time friend and fellow performer, Roy Hudd.  Roy is President of The Max Miller Appreciation Society (MMAS) which raised the £1,200 needed for the plaque. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Lynda Hyde, Dora’s family, friends, fellow entertainers, and fans. Talking about Dora’s appeal as a person, Roy Hudd said:

“She was greatly loved, anyone who had any sort of relationship with her just loved her. She was a tremendous actress. Somebody who can make us laugh is much more important than some great serious actor luvvie or lady.”

Dora Bryan’s career

Dora Bryan was born in Lancashire and made her first stage appearance at the age of 12 in a pantomime, during the Second World War she entertained with ENSA. Her career saw her work on over 30 Films including the 1961 Kitchen Sink drama ‘A Taste of Honey’ which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress. She appeared in numerous television shows including ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, ‘Dinnerladies’ and ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. On stage she showed her versatility performing in plays, most notably Harold Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party’ which she won the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Actress and many Musicals including the title role in ‘Hello Dolly’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Dora Bryan’s blue plaque

Comments about this page

  • How wonderful for this plaque to be placed where Dora and Bill lived, well deserved. Before my mum passed away in 1985 herself and Dora sat on a bench outside of the cricket pavilion in East Brighton park on most fine days and spent a half hour or so just chatting. They both walked their dogs in the park. Dora had an Old English Sheepdog at the time and my mum had her Jack Russell. My mum always said how nice she was and how naturally funny she was.

    By Mick Peirson (06/03/2016)
  • Dora Bryan was Patron of Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals from approx 1996 until 2010.  She was a great supporter of this charity and the work we did providing equipment for patients at local hospitals.  Dora was always a welcome visitor to our Kemp Town Office and she enjoyed the bed race and carnival, sometimes acting as a judge and always accompanied by her dog/s.  She opened our Christmas Fair at Hove Town Hall and took time to talk to all the stallholders.  It’s brilliant she has been honoured with a blue plaque on the building she lived in for many years in the community that she loved.  Dora will always be remembered in Kemp Town.

    By Suzy Horne (27/05/2016)
  • I remember Dora from working with her on the National Theatre Production ‘She Stoops to Conquer’. I was the Wig master. We became quite close, as you do as a member of a touring company. I can well remember when on tour in Norwich when walking back to the Stage Door of the Theatre Royal in 1985. I discovered her walking around the market in the city centre.. She looked a little worried when I saw her . I walked up to her and immediately a look of relief came over her face when she saw me. ‘ Thank goodness a face I recognise . They’ve moved the theatre darling ,’ she said as she took hold of my arm ..’Where has it gone?, I could have sworn it was around here somewhere’. We both laughed out loud to the amusement of passers by.. I walked with her to the stage door. ‘Oh that was fun’ she said ‘I can just see it now, Tonight’s performance cancelled due to losing Miss Bryan, somewhere in the market , thank goodness you came along when you did ‘.

    By Peter Grice (07/02/2021)
  • I remember around 1994-95 she used to come to our church at St John the Baptist in Kemp town to do the reading at the mass from time to time. She was always very nice and chatty afterwards.

    By John Henry (28/07/2021)

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