Flanders and Swann (Donald Ibrahim Swann and Michael Flanders)

Flanders and Swann (Donald Ibrahim Swann and Michael Flanders), by (Edward) Russell Westwood, 1957 - NPG x35582 - © estate of Russell Westwood / National Portrait Gallery, London

© estate of Russell Westwood / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Flanders and Swann (Donald Ibrahim Swann and Michael Flanders)

by (Edward) Russell Westwood
bromide print, 1957
7 5/8in. x 8 7/8in. (193 mm x 226 mm)
Given by the photographer's daughter, Jacqueline Galton, 1990
Photographs Collection
NPG x35582

On display in Room 16 at the National Portrait Gallery

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The musical comedy duo Flanders and Swann gave their first performance together while pupils at Westminster School in 1940. This photograph shows them performing their hit revue At the Drop of a Hat, which played for two years in the West End before transferring to New York. Their songs were performed with Swann seated at a piano and Flanders in a wheelchair that he used after contracting polio in World War II. The only prop in the performance was the rakish top hat worn by Flanders for the song ‘Have Some Madeira, M’Dear’.

Placesback to top

Events of 1957back to top

Current affairs

Harold Macmillan takes over as Conservative prime minister, manoeuvring Eden out of power after his poor handling of the Suez Crisis the previous year.
The Wolfenden Report recommends that homosexuality should no longer be a criminal offence. It still took ten years, however, before any changes were made to the law on homosexuality with the Sexual Offences Act in 1967.

Art and science

The Today Programme is first broadcast on Radio 4. This early morning current affairs programme is known for breaking major stories early, and for its hard-hitting approach and touch interviewing style. Presenters have included: Robert Robinson, Brian Redhead, Libby Purves, Jenni Murray, Sue MacGregor, John Humphrys, Anna Ford and James Naughtie.


The Treaty of Rome leads to the formation of the European Economic Community. Officially beginning on 1st January 1958, the EEC established a European Common Market, where goods, services, labour and capital could move freely within the European member countries, and shared policies were agreed for labour, social welfare, agriculture, transport, and foreign trade. The EEC preceded the European Community, and the European Union.

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