On Friday 19th November at 3pm, a blue plaque was unveiled at Jack Leslie’s former home at 12 Gerald Rd, Canning Town, E16. Members of the Jack Leslie Campaign attended, together with Jack’s grand-daughters and great-nephew, football historians David Gleave and Bill Hern (co-authors of “Football’s Black Pioneers”) and representatives of Newham Council including councillor Terence Paul.
The event happened thanks to the inspiration of Newham resident and campaigner Neandra Etienne, who curated the recent acclaimed exhibition “Newham’s Black Footballers through the years” (see also https://jackleslie.co.uk/news/jack-leslie-in-newham-exhibition-and-talk/)
The unveiling was shown live on the Jack Leslie Campaign facebook page and highlights are on the West Ham website here.
This plaque is be the first permanent legacy of Jack Leslie, ahead of the unveiling of the crowd-funded statue of Jack in Plymouth, scheduled for next year. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jack-leslie-campaign
History: Jack Leslie was born on 17th August 1901, to John Francis Leslie a sailor from Jamaica, and Ann Regler, a seamstress from Islington.
At the time of his birth the family lived at 60, Clifton Road, but later moved to 12, Gerald Road, Canning Town, which would remain the family home for many years.
Jack played football for nearby Barking FC, before signing for Plymouth Argyle in 1921, where he remained for 14 years, scoring 137 goals in 400 appearances. In 1925 he became the first black footballer to be selected to play for England, before being dropped because he was black. Full bio, story of the England call-up, and stats here: https://jackleslie.co.uk/jack/