One of Croydon's most famous sporting sons has been honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque outside the house he was born in, but the achievements and varied talents of Charles Burgess Fry remain largely forgotten.

Born on April 25, 1872, at 5 Edinburgh Villas (now 144 St James's Road), Charles Burgess Fry known as CB has been described as a phenomenon, possibly the greatest sportsman of all time and the most variously gifted Englishman of any age.

His life was filled with successes which most could only dream of achieving, including a dazzling sports career, becoming a respected journalist, novelist, would-be politician and almost being crowned king of Albania.

Best remembered as a cricket genius who captained England without losing a test, CB was also a soccer player who reached the FA Cup final with Southampton, a rugby player for Oxford, Blackheath and the Barbarians who also held the world long-jump record at the 1900 Olympics.

Chris Bennett, archivist at Croydon Local Studies Library and Archive Service, said: "CB Fry wasn't just a cricketer but an all-round sportsman. He was an international athlete and represented the country in the Olympics, in the long jump.

"He was also a rugby player, an all-round sportsman. Nowadays you could not get away with that. You could not imagine international footballers' agents agreeing to them competing in several different sports.

"It is true that he is not as well remembered as he should be. In terms of famous figures from Croydon, people only tend to think of those who were successful in artistic fields, such as Dame Peggy Ashcroft, David Lean, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Kingsley Amis, and forget the sporting connections to Croydon."

But CB Fry was much more than a sportsman. After winning a major scholarship to Oxford, he also became a novelist and one of the most successful and influential journalists of his day.

A friend to many prominent Labour and Liberal politicians, CB had a brief flirtation with fascism even meeting Hitler in 1934 before reverting to Liberalism and coming very close to becoming an MP.

He toyed with launching a movie career after a visit to Hollywood in the 1930s, meeting Mary Astor, Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff.

Perhaps the more bizarre incident in his life was when he was offered the throne of Albania after the country's German-born royal family departed in the 1920s an offer he was forced to decline because he did not earn the £10,000-a-year required to take up the post.

CB Fry died in 1956 at the age of 84.

English Heritage unveiled a plaque honouring CB Fry outside his birthplace and former home at 144 St James's Road, Croydon, on the anniversary of his birthday, April 25.