The first man to climb the Matterhorn has been commemorated with an English Heritage plaque at his house, 100 years after his death.

Edward Whymper, one of the best-known climbers of the golden age of British mountaineering in the 1850s and 1860s, lived at 82 Waldegrave Road, Teddington. It was his final home and the only one he ever owned.

He was the driving force behind the first ascent of the Matterhorn, in the Pennine Alps between Switzerland and Italy, but four of the seven-man party lost their lives on the way down, a tragedy that cast a shadow over the rest of his life.

Mick Fowler, mountaineer and president of the Alpine Club, unveiled the blue plaque during a special ceremony on Friday, September 16.

He said: “The Matterhorn is without doubt one of the most spectacular and readily recognised mountains in the Alps. Whymper’s ascent of this outstanding peak has gone down in history as one of the most audacious but tragic first ascents of the golden Victorian era.”

Howard Spencer, English Heritage blue plaque historian, added: “Whymper stands among the most prominent of early English mountaineers.

“A solitary man, he was more at home among the inhospitable peaks of the Alps than in the company of others, and the Matterhorn tragedy only exacerbated his tendency to morose introspection.

“Yet he deserves to be remembered for being the first to plot a successful route up a peak long thought to be an impossible climb, and for inspiring many other similarly brave endeavours.”

Whymper was born in 1840, in Lambeth, and was a wood engraver and illustrator by trade.

He first travelled to Switzerland in 1860 to make sketches of the Alpines. He became interested in the new pursuit of mountaineering - which was then regarded as an extreme sport - and in 1865, after eight attempts, finally reached the summit of the Matterhorn.

However, tragedy hit the expedition on the way down when the most inexperienced climber Douglas Hadow lost his footing and took three other men with him.

Whymper rarely climbed the Alps again but visited the area regularly and was much in demand as a lecturer.

He lived at the house in Teddington with his wife Edith Levin, who was 45 years younger than him, before they separated in 1910. They had a daughter Ethel, who also became a mountaineer.