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Dudley Moore was born on Good Friday 19th April 1934 in Charing Cross Hospital and he and older sister Barbara were brought up in Monmouth Road, Dagenham. He attended Fanshawe Infants’ School, but in November 1940 his home was hit by a bomb and the family was moved to a council house in Baron Road.
From there he went to Green Lane Junior School and sung in the Choir in St. Thomas Church, Becontree. He passed the eleven-plus exam and entered Dagenham County High School in Parsloes Avenue and attended the Youth Club at Kingsley Hall.
Dudley had been born with talipes or club-foot. His left leg was withered and his foot deformed – a condition that was to affect his entire life. While others of his teen age played sport or went dancing, Dudley became more and more submerged in music and showed remarkable talent, especially on the piano.
The Minister-Warden of Kingsley Hall, Sydney Russell, recognised this burgeoning talent and not only allowed him to practise on the K.H. piano (the one in the Main Hall), but paid for many of his lessons and recruited someone to make a special shoe for him so that he could more easily play the piano and organ (a story that Dudley himself relates on a DVD that he recorded in 1989 to mark Kingsley Hall’s 60th Anniversary).
Dudley never forgot the kindness of Sydney Russell and the friendship he received from members of Kingsley Hall. Even though he went on to become a world-renowned film star, comedian and jazz musician, he never took any commission during August, when he would always travel back to England from wherever he was in the world to celebrate sister Barbara’s birthday. During this visit, he would always pop into Kingsley Hall to have a cup of tea, to chat to members or to play the piano – or even give a fund-raising concert for the Work.