Blue plaque unveiled in Leeds in memory of Dame Fanny Waterman

29 March 2023
By Ellie Palmer
Leeds International Piano Competition founder commemorated for her incredible contribution to the city of Leeds


Leeds Civic Trust unveiled a plaque today, on World Piano Day, to commemorate the life of Dame Fanny Waterman (1920-2020).

The Leeds piano teacher is remembered for co-founding the Leeds International Piano Competition, which is one of the world’s most revered contests for pianists, and her series of educational piano books, co-authored with Marion Thorpe, Countess of Harewood. The books have sold more than two million copies, introducing generations of children to the instrument.

The blue plaque was unveiled today at the Carriageworks as part of Leeds International Piano Competitions musical show for Leeds primary schoolchildren, ‘Count Me In,’ and featured a performance by special guest Lucy Illingworth, star of the Channel 4 programme 'The Piano'.

Lucy is a Yorkshire-born pianist who rose to fame as a contestant on the recent new Channel 4 show, featuring judges Lang Lang and Mika, and presented by Claudia Winkleman. Her exceptional talent and captivating performances made her a fan favourite and she received a standing ovation and was named ‘the performance of the evening’ when she played at the finale in the Royal Festival Hall, London, in front of an audience of thousands.

You can watch her performance at Leeds Train station in the previous round below.

Content continues after advertisements


Lucy, who is blind, performed at the Carriageworks today alongside her teacher, Daniel Bath. Daniel met Lucy when she was just three years old through the Amber Trust, a charity which provides musical opportunities for blind and partially-sighted children and his work has highlighted the important role that music can play in promoting social inclusion and accessibility for all.

The blue plaque is the first in Leeds to be cast in braille and will be placed on the entrance to the iconic Leeds Town Hall, where Competitions have been held since 1963.

Main image: ©Leeds Piano