Remarkable career of Wigan opera singer and spy Margery Booth honoured with Blue Plaque

The extraordinary life of an opera singer from the Wigan borough who played an important role in the nation’s war effort has been marked with a permanent honour.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 4:23 pm

Margery Booth, who gathered valuable information during World War Two, is the latest recipient of Wigan Council’s Blue Plaque scheme.

The plaque was unveiled at Wigan’s Queen’s Hall and was attended by the Mayor of Wigan Yvonne Kliev and Tommie Harte from the Notre Society.

The location of the plaque is where Margery Booth made her professional debut in her hometown.

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Yvonne Kliev and Tommie Harte with the plaque for Margery Booth

Coun Chris Ready, cabinet portfolio holder for culture, said: “The Blue Plaque scheme provides an important link between the past and present and highlights the rich heritage we have in our borough.

“The career of Margery Booth and her support of the British war effort while in Germany is truly remarkable and we are delighted that her links to her hometown have been formally recognised.”

A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event or former building on the site.

It serves as a historical marker to increase interest in local heritage and culture and the scheme is part of the borough’s five-year cultural manifesto The Fire Within.

The blue plaque

Born in Hodges Street in 1906, Margery Booth was a member of the Wigan and District Operatic Society who established a successful classical music career in Germany prior to 1939 and the outbreak of war.

Working as an highly-regarded opera singer who performed in front of Adolf Hitler, she was able to obtain valuable information for the Allied Forces during the war, risking her life by doing so.

She passed away in New York in 1952, aged 46.

Her Blue Plaque nomination was submitted by the Notre Society.

The plaque unveiling ceremony

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Margery Booth
Queens Hall where Margery made her professional debut