Blue Plaques

JFK Blue Plaque
My mom and I were discussing what she wanted to do the next time she came out and brought up the blue plaques system that was mentioned on one of the travel channels that she was watching. She gave me a list of the ones she wanted to see but said that if it was any trouble that I was not to worry. So I looked up where we were going and where the locations of the plaques were and tried to work them in.

The Blue Plaque system was founded in 1866 and they are found all over the UK. Some councils run their own scheme but the official one is run by English Heritage.

It takes between 4-6 years for an application to go through. Every nomination has to meet basic selection criteria before it can be considered. Most importantly, a London building associated with the subject must survive, and they must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth.

Here are the other requirements for the suggestion to be passed from the English Heritage website:

Nominated figures must also:
  • be considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession or calling 
  • have made an important positive contribution to human welfare or happiness 
  • have had such exceptional and outstanding personalities as to be recognisable to the well-informed passer-by, or deserve national recognition 
  • have resided in London for a significant period, in time or importance, within their life or work 
In the case of overseas visitors, candidates should:
  • be of international reputation or significant standing in their own country 
Additionally, it should be noted that:
  • plaques can only be erected on the actual building inhabited by the nominated figure, not the site where the building once stood. However, consideration may be given in cases where reconstructed buildings present an exact facsimile frontage on the identical site. 
  • buildings marked with plaques must be visible from the public highway. 
  • plaques can only be erected on buildings, not on boundary walls or gate piers. 
  • each figure may only be commemorated with one plaque: unless a case is deemed exceptional, suggestions will not be considered for figures already commemorated by a plaque erected by the (Royal) Society of Arts, the London County Council, the Greater London Council or English Heritage. 
  • proposals will not be considered for the commemoration of individuals still living. 
  • proposals will be considered for the commemoration of sites of special historical interest, though these should be of national (or even international) significance. 
  • a building shall not be commemorated solely because it figures in a work of fiction. 
  • the erection of plaques on blocks of flats is not excluded, nor are significant places of work. 
  • unless a case is deemed exceptional, plaques shall not be erected on educational or ecclesiastical buildings or Inns of Court. 
  • the City of London and Whitehall are ruled out for consideration under the blue plaques scheme. 
You can find a list of plaques and their locations here. It can enhance any of your trips.

All the Best!

American to Britain