Plaque: Eric and Stella Newton
3 Cumberland Gardens
Site: Eric and Stella Newton (1 memorial)
WC1, Cumberland Gardens, 3
Somewhere we read about this house where the "surname is recorded in a rebus in the tiling of the front step". On our first visit, 2008, the porch floor was covered with a doormat and moving that felt a step too far, even given the importance of our researches.
Come 2020 the doormat had gone and we got some photos, but the strong sun created extremely dark shadows in the porch. Luckily we were in contact with David Sulkin, the theatre and opera director but, more importantly for us, a local with a love of the locality, who has allowed us to use his excellent photo.
The image created in this mosaic is an example of a rebus, where a phrase, or in this case, a name, can be punningly read from the symbols depicted. Since you already have the answer, Newton, we'll leave you to decode the imagery.
We noticed an extra, very nice touch: the centre of the sun in the image is formed from a round pavement light. Presumably this provides daylight to the space below - exactly like the real sun.
The sense of fun displayed here prompted us to think of other memorials that have also taken a witty, light-hearted approach: the coded plaque to GCHQ; the visual and verbal puns on John Romer's plaque; the absurd connection between the Great Fire of London and a drinking fountain. Four memorials out of over 6 thousand. Come on plaque committees, lighten up!