The world-renowned Tottenham-based textile artist and Windrush elder Althea McNish has been honoured with a blue plaque at her former home on West Green Road in Tottenham.
The plaque was unveiled at a ceremony on Monday 15 May, coinciding with the 99th anniversary of her birth.
Althea McNish, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 95, was born in Trinidad and migrated to the UK in 1951, settling in Tottenham in 1957. After achieving a postgraduate degree in textile design at The Royal College of Art, Althea went on to become an acclaimed and internationally important textile designer and artist. She designed for companies including Liberty’s and Hull Traders, and her work is also represented in the V&A collections. She was closely associated with the Caribbean Artists’ Movement.
Althea lived and worked for over 60 years on West Green Road in Tottenham, a street renowned for being the home of many pioneering businesses, entrepreneurs and artists of the Windrush Generation.
Leader of Haringey Council Cllr Peray Ahmet said:
“In Haringey we are incredibly proud of Althea McNish and her unparalleled achievements in the art of contemporary textiles. We’re delighted to see her honoured with a blue plaque on West Green Road, which she called home for so many years. As we prepare to celebrate Windrush Day in June, which this year marks 75 years since the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, it’s wonderful to have this opportunity to reflect on the immense contribution that Althea and other members of the Windrush Generation have made to Haringey and the rest of the UK.”
Jak Beula from Nubian Jak Community Trust comments:
“We are delighted to work with London Unseen to make Althea McNish the 84th recipient of a Nubian Jak London Blue plaque. Her impact on the capital resonated for over half a century, and we trust the plaque will help in making her legacy better known and no longer unseen to future generations.”
London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said:
“It is vital that London’s public spaces celebrate and commemorate the many different communities that make up our great city, and I’m proud that Althea McNish is being honoured with a London Blue Heritage Plaque. Her contribution to the fabric and textile industry cannot be understated and her works will continue to inspire London’s artists and creatives for generations to come.
“All Londoners should be able to take pride in our public spaces and by raising awareness of the capital’s heritage and history we are creating a fairer, more equitable city for everyone.”
The installation of this plaque is made possible by the work of the Nubian Jak Community Trust, and funding from London Unseen – part of the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. It is supported by Haringey Council and marks the start of a longer, local focus on Althea’s work leading to a celebration of her centenary in 2024. The production of the plaque is the result of proactive and sustained support for Althea’s work by the staff and students of Earlsmead Primary School in Tottenham.