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Colour-phaal tribute to Brighton-based curry pioneer
A culinary pioneer who introduced curry to the English should be recognised with a blue plaque, campaigners have said.
Indian born Sake Dean Mahomed, who opened the first ever curry house in London in the 1800s, lived for much of his life in Brighton – yet few in the city know his name.
The British Curry Awards and British Curry Club, along with local cultural and business groups are now backing a bid to have a commemorative blue plaque placed outside his former 32 Grand Parade home.
Enam Ali MBE, the founder of the British Curry Awards, said: “Curry is an important part of British culture and something that has galvanised our people.
“That is largely thanks to this man and I think it is important to remember and recognise his contribution.”
Avril Older, chair of Brighton and Hove’s Blue Plaque committee, added: “I think it would be great to see a plaque at his former home.”
Mr Mahomed, who was born in Bengal, was taken under the wing of a captain in the British East India Company when his father died when he was 10.
Soon after, the soldier returned to England and took Mr Mahomed with him.
After initial difficulties he soon found his feet and opened the country’s first ever curry house, the Hindoostanee Coffee House, near Portman Square.
In 1814, he moved to Brighton where he made his second important contribution to English life – shampooing or Indian massage as it was then called.
He opened the first commercial shampooing vapour bath on the site now occupied by the Queen’s Hotel.
Hospitals referred patients to him and such was his reputation, he was appointed as shampooing surgeon to both King George IV and William IV.
He died in 1851 at his Grand Parade house and is buried in St Nicholas’ Church.
Lisa Reynolds, the co-founder of the Brighton Business Curry Club, said: “I think it is fantastic that he lived in Brighton, it is something to be celebrated.
“Everyone loves curry and without this man we wouldn’t have the fantastic food.”
Rosena Alim, from the British Curry Club, added: “Early pioneers like Dean Mahomed made a path for so many in the industry today.”
Campaigners must submit an application and, if approved, raise the required funds.
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