Skip to main content

Noel Coward

A memorial to composer and playwright Sir Noel Coward was unveiled by H.M. The Queen Mother on 28th March 1984 in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. The black marble stone is inlaid with white marble mastic and was cut by Ralph Beyer. The inscription reads:

NOEL COWARD. Playwright. Actor.Composer 16 December 1899 26 March 1973. Buried in Jamaica. 'A Talent to Amuse'

At the unveiling a wreath was laid by Lord Olivier and four other wreaths were laid on the stone by actors associated with Coward's films or plays. A selection of his songs, including 'The Stately Homes of England', 'London Pride' and 'Mad dogs and Englishmen' were played or sung. Readings included extracts from 'Cavalcade'.

He was born in Teddington in Middlesex, a son of Arthur Coward and his wife Violet (Veitch). His grandfather James had been a chorister at Westminster Abbey. He started acting at an early age and by the 1920s he was well known for his plays, of which 'Blithe Spirit' and 'Private Lives' are well known. He wrote screenplays for films such as 'Brief Encounter' and 'This Happy Breed' and acted the lead in 'In which we serve'. During the war he did secret service work and entertained the troops overseas. In 1970 he was knighted. After the war he took up residence in Jamaica and is buried there at Firefly.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

16th December 1899

Died

26th March 1973

Memorial

28th March 1984

Field

Playwright; actor; composer; musician

Location

South Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Stone

Material Type

Marble

Noel Coward
Noel Coward (b/w photo), Wilding, Dorothy (1893-1976)

Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

Noel Coward
Noel Coward memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

Sir William Walton

Sir William Walton

1902-1983
Musician and Composer
Osborne Peasgood

Osborne Peasgood

1902-1962
Musician
Herbert Howells

Herbert Howells

1892-1983
Musician and Composer
Dame Peggy Ashcroft

Dame Peggy Ashcroft

1907-1991
Actor
Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier

1907-1989
Actor
Sir Adrian Boult

Sir Adrian Boult

1889-1983
Musician

I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

spacer

Pamela - Rector's Secretary

Twitter logo Tweet this