Weston-super-Mare Town Council are launching a blue plaque scheme for the town, to recognise those from the past who have made significant contributions to local life, or whose presence has some how enriched the home story. The first of the blue plaques is honouring Olympian Paulo Radmilovic and will be unveiled at the Imperial on Thursday 30th March at 12.30pm by Councillor John Crockford-Hawley who Chairs the Town Council’s Museum Working Party, Councillor Alan Peak, Mayor of Weston-Super-Mare, and members of the Radmilovic family.
Following this unveiling for Paulo Radmilovic, we will be asking the public to choose who else they feel most deserves a blue plaque. We have identified 12 potential recipients including artists, actors, campaigners, an architect and political figures from the international stage whose names will be published in the Mercury on the 6th April. The public’s choices will help to determine who is next to receive a blue plaque – assuming that the land/property owner agrees!
Olympian Paulo Radmilovic, Raddy as he is affectionately known, competed in six Olympic Games between 1908 and 1928 in swimming and waterpolo. His record haul of four Olympic gold medals remained unbeaten until Sir Steve Redgrave won a fifth gold in 2000. Following the Rio Olympic games in 2016, Raddy is still listed as Team GB’s 6th most successful Olympian, along with Matthew Pinsent, Laura Trott and Mo Farah.
Raddy was born in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay on 5th March 1886. His father had migrated from Croatia in the 1860s becoming a well-known publican at the Glastonbury Arms and Bute Dock Hotels. His mother was born in Cardiff of Irish immigrants. When the Radmilovic family moved from Cardiff to Weston in 1904, nineteen-year old Paulo made straight for the newly opened swimming baths on Knightstone Island. His talent soon became obvious and over the following half-century Paulo became the world’s greatest Olympian.
For two decades from 1905 Paulo was Licensee variously of The Globe, Cavendish (followed by a period at the York Hotel, Bath), Sutherland Hotel and Glasses Hotel in Weston, then between 1927 and 1936 was at the Railway Hotel (today’s Tavern Inn) before a short spell at the Plume of Feathers in Minehead. He returned to Weston in 1950 when he became Licensee of the Imperial.
Town Clerk Malcolm Nicholson said “The blue plaque scheme is a great opportunity for Weston to recognise those from the past that have made a significant contribution to our town, who have achieved great things in their chosen field or who link Weston to the significant historical events, both nationally and internationally. The plaque for Paulo Radmilovic is the first in a series of plaques and we look forward to seeing the results of the poll as to who the people of Weston would like to see get a plaque next.”