Blue plaque

Blue plaque

In the United Kingdom, a blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event. It serves as a historic marker.

English Heritage scheme

Perhaps the best-known blue plaque scheme is that which is run by English Heritage in London. The scheme was founded by the (Royal) Society of Arts, in 1867, which erected plaques in a variety of shapes and colours. Most RSA plaques were chocolate brown in colour, and made by Minton, Hollins & Co. In 1901 the scheme was taken over by the London County Council (LCC), which gave much thought to the future design of the plaques, and eventually it was decided to keep the basic shape and design of the RSA plaques, with the exception that they would from now on be blue. Though this design was used consisently from 1903 to 1938, some experimentation occurred in the 1920s, and plaques were made in bronze, stone and lead. Shape and colour also varied. In 1921, a revision on the most common, blue, plaque design occurred, as it was discovered that glazed Doulton ware was cheaper than the encaustic formerly used. In 1938 a new plaque design was prepared by an unnamed student at the LCC's Central School of Arts and Crafts and was approved by the committee. It omitted the decorative elements of earlier plaque designs, and allowed for lettering to be better spaced and enlarged. A white border was added to the design shortly after, and this has remained the standard ever since. On the abolition of the LCC in 1965, the scheme was taken over by the Greater London Council. The scheme changed little, but the GLC was keen to broaden the range of people commemorated. The 252 plaques erected by the GLC include those to Sylvia Pankhurst, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Mary Seacole. In 1986, the GLC was disbanded and the Blue Plaques Scheme passed to English Heritage. So far, English Heritage has erected over 300 plaques in London, with many more shortlisted.

English Heritage selection criteria

Please note that the following are selection criteria for English Heritage's Blue Plaque Scheme. They do not apply to all plaque schemes in the UK and elsewhere.

In order to be eligible for an English Heritage blue plaque, a figure must have been dead for twenty years or have passed the centenary of their birth.

Nominated figures must also meet the following criteria: be considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession; have made an outstanding contribution to human welfare or happiness; have resided in a locality for a significant period, in time or importance, within their life and work; be recognisable to the well-informed passer-by, or deserve national recognition.

In cases of foreigners and overseas visitors, candidates should be of international reputation or significant standing in their own country.

It should also be noted that: EH plaques can only be erected on the actual building inhabited by a figure, not the site where the building once stood; buildings marked with plaques should be visible from the public highway; unless a case is deemed exceptional, a single person may not be commemorated with more than two plaques nationwide; proposals are be considered for the commemoration of sites of special historical interest.

Other plaque schemes

The notion of commemorative plaques and tablets is a very ancient one. Not all plaques are blue, and many are not ceramic.

There are thriving commemorative plaque schemes in Bath, Edinburgh, Brighton, Liverpool, Loughton, and elsewhere. A scheme in Manchester uses colour-coded plaques to commemorate figures, with each of the colours corresponding to his/her occupation. The Dead Comics' Society installs blue plaques to commemorate the former residences of well-known comedians, including those of Sid James and John Le Mesurier. In 2003, the London Borough of Southwark started a plaque scheme which included living people in the awards. [cite web|url=|title=Blue Plaque Winners 2007|publisher=Southwark Borough Council] Notably, a green plaque scheme is run in London alongside that of English Heritage by Westminster City Council, which is sponsored by groups campaigning for memorials. These schemes are often run by civic societies, district or town councils, or local history groups, and often operate with different criteria.

Abroad, commemorative plaques schemes exist in Paris in France, Rome in Italy, Oslo, Norway and the USA (where they are known as 'Historical Markers', see below), among other countries. Many foreign schemes were founded around the time of the London blue plaques scheme, and others pre-date it.

Notable plaques

* Plaques for George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix stand side by side on 25 and 23 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1.
* The fictional character Sherlock Holmes has a blue plaque on the supposed site of 221B Baker Street, London, W1, placed there on behalf of the Sherlock Holmes Museum which now occupies the site.
* William Wymark Jacobs author, had two blue plaques unveiled to him on the same day in 1998 in London and Loughton.
* Willie Rushton has his blue plaque in Mornington Crescent tube station in recognition of the game played on the UK comedy radio show, "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue".
* Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) once owned a property in Preston city centre, on the corner of Cheapside and Friargate. A Blue Plaque on the wall of the building commemorates the spot.

ee also

*List of blue plaques
*Historical marker




External links

* [ Blue plaque section of English Heritage's site] — includes a list of London plaques organised alphabetically by person
* [ London blue plaque scheme] — allows searching by address
* [ Blue Plaque Blog] — A personal exploration of London's Blue Plaques
* [ Ulster History Circle]
* [ Ulster History Society] — links to blue plaque schemes in other areas
* [ Bourne Society] — Croydon
* [ Loughton Town Council Blue Heritage Plaque Scheme] — Loughton, Essex
* [ Blue Plaques of Muslim London] — current and proposed plaques for London Muslims
* [ A list of Blue Heritage Plaques in Kingston upon Hull]
* [ The Birmingham Civic Society] — Blue Plaques
* [ Birmingham's Blue Plaques] — Photographs of some of the plaques and sites where located.
* [ The Shady Old Lady's Guide to London Plaques] — The stories behind the locations, plaques or no plaque.
* [ Manchester Blue, red and black plaques]
* [ Cambridge City Council] — Blue Plaque Scheme
* [ Llanelli Community Heritage blue plaques]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Blue Plaque — für Sherlock Holmes in der Londoner Baker Street Blue plaque bezeichnet im Vereinigten Königreich eine öffentlich angebrachte Plakette, die auf eine berühmte Person oder ein Ereignis hinweisen soll. In der Regel handelt es sich um eine Scheibe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • blue plaque — UK US noun [countable] [singular blue plaque plural blue plaques] in England, a round blue sign on the wall of a building, giving the name of a famous person who lived there Thesaurus: notices and signpostshyponym …   Useful english dictionary

  • Blue plaque — de Charles Davenport à Cambridge, Massachusetts Une blue plaque ou plaque bleue est un signe permanent installé sur un bâtiment pour figurer un lien avec une personnalité, le plus souvent décédé ou ayant vécu dans le bâtiment. Le système existe… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • blue plaque — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms blue plaque : singular blue plaque plural blue plaques in England, a round blue sign on the wall of a building, giving the name of a famous person who lived there …   English dictionary

  • blue plaque — n any of the round blue notices that are attached to the front walls of houses especially in London to show that a famous person once lived there. * * * …   Universalium

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