The plaque was installed on Friday 29 September by the Nubian Jak Community Trust in partnership with the Sony Music UK Social Justice Fund, which has funded scholarships at the Academy since 2020. The plaque is the first of its kind in Wandsworth dedicated to a woman of colour, and the unveiling launched the borough's Black History Month. It recognises and celebrates the incredible contribution that Evelyn Dove's career made to UK culture.
Evelyn Dove graduated from the Academy in 1919, having studied piano, contralto and elocution. She then embarked on a successful international jazz and cabaret career, and became the first woman of African heritage to be broadcast on BBC Radio, three years after its launch in 1925. She starred in various productions for the BBC during the 1930s and 1940s, and had her own music series, ‘Sweet and Lovely’.
For the unveiling event, hosted by The Battersea Society and the Nubian Jak Community Trust, Wandsworth Council’s Deputy Leader Kemi Akinola was joined by MP for Battersea Marsha de Cordova and family descendants of Evelyn Dove. The Academy's Dean of Students, Liz Kenny, and Members of the Academy's Widening Participation team also attended in recognition of Evelyn's connection to the Academy.
To find out more about Evelyn Dove's time at the Academy and career, and to hear archive performances of her singing, listen to the third episode in our podcast series, Short Stories, 200 years of the Royal Academy of Music.
Image of Evelyn Dove © Stephen Bourne Collection/Mary Evans Picture Library
Event image © Patrick Lewis Photography: Kemi Akinola, family descendants of Evelyn Dove and Marsha de Cordova pictured with the plaque at Evelyn Dove's former Battersea home