Wigan-born composer for the Royals recognised with Blue Plaque

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By Joshephira Honey

Wigan-born composer for the Royals recognised with Blue Plaque

A Blue Plaque has been unveiled to honour the life of a Wigan-born composer who spent his early years singing at Wigan Parish Church and later years composing music for Royals.

Sir Ernest Bullock began his musical career as a chorister at Wigan Parish Church under director of music, Sir Edward Bairstow.

Continuing his musical education with Bairstow, Sir Ernest went on to become a prominent figure in the musical world.

He became assistant organist at Manchester Cathedral, then Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral before moving to Westminster Abbey as Director of Music.

Whilst at the Abbey, Sir Ernest was responsible for the music two Royal Coronations – for King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, said: “Sir Ernest Bullock’s journey began right here in Wigan Borough, and his contribution to the musical world was immense.

“Sir Ernest’s anthems are still sung in churches and cathedrals across the world to this day and we’re incredibly proud we could recognise the contribution he’s made through our Blue Plaque scheme. He’s an incredibly worthy recipient.”

Following his employment at the Abbey, Bullock became the Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow and Principle of the Scottish Academy of Music which became the Royal Scottish Academy of Music during his time in charge.

In 1952 he was appointed Director of the Royal College of Music and was knighted in the King’s honours list of 1951.

Coun Ready added: “We’re proud that over the last five years we’ve been able to recognise two notable people each year through our Blue Plaque scheme as part of our borough’s cultural manifesto, The Fire Within.”

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, serving as a historical marker to increase interest in local heritage and culture.

The recipients of the 2024 Blue Plaque scheme will be announced in the new year.

Find out more about those recognised by Blue Plaques by visiting: Blue Plaque Scheme.

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