18 June 2014

London Blue Plaques Re-Open for Nominations

London's famous Blue Plaques scheme has reopened for nominations. The memorial scheme is one of the oldest of its kind in the world and the inspiration for many similar schemes across the UK and around the world.

The Blue Plaque to film director Alfred Hitchcock in South Kensington

The Blue Plaque to film director Alfred Hitchcock in South Kensington

Founded in 1866 and run today by English Heritage, the Blue Plaques scheme celebrates the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked. In 2012 nominations were temporarily suspended while new funding to support the scheme was found. Thanks to the generosity of one individual, the scheme has now re-opened while English Heritage has also launched the Blue Plaques Club, a donors group, to secure the scheme's long-term future.

Today 880 official plaques can be found on London's streets. The people they commemorate range from famous figures to less familiar names but all are distinguished in their respective spheres. They include musicians, artists, writers, engineers, politicians, captains of trade and industry, scientists and sportspeople. Blue Plaque recipients include Florence Nightingale, Alfred Hitchcock, Mahatma Gandhi, Virginia Woolf, Fred Perry, John Logie Baird, Vivien Leigh, Charles Darwin, Emmeline Pankhurst, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jimi Hendrix.

The Blue Plaque for nurse Mary Seacole

The Blue Plaque in Soho to the 19th century nurse Mary Seacole

"Blue Plaques bring London's past to life," said Simon Thurley, English Heritage's Chief Executive, "those small roundels are reminders of the people and places that made history. We are delighted to re-open nominations to the scheme."  

"Public nominations are the lifeblood of the London Blue Plaques scheme and we are looking forward to seeing lots of new proposals," said Ronald Hutton, Chair of the Blue Plaque Panel. "We would ask people to think carefully about their nominations. Does the London building where the person lived or worked still stand? And has the person been dead for more than 20 years? If the answer to those and a few other questions are 'yes' then we want to hear from you!" 

Almost all the proposals for English Heritage Blue Plaques are made by members of the public. English Heritage's in-house historian then researches the proposal, and the expert Blue Plaques Panel makes the final decision on who gets a plaque and where it should go.

Blue Plaque Criteria

In order to be approved for a plaque, nominated figures must be judged by the Blue Plaques Panel to have met a set of criteria. These include:  

  • they should be regarded as eminent within their own profession or calling
  • their achievements should have made an exceptional impact in terms of public recognition or their achievements deserve national recognition
  • they should have been dead for twenty years
  • they should have lived in London for a significant period, in time or importance, within their life and work
  • the London building in which they lived or worked should still survive and must not have a significantly altered exterior

To make a nomination, visit the Blue Plaques pages on our website, read the selection criteria, and then complete the nomination form.

The English Heritage London Blue Plaques scheme is generously supported by David Pearl, the Blue Plaques Club, and members of the public.

The Blue Plaque to architect Christopher Wren outside his home in Hampton Court Green

The Blue Plaque to architect Christopher Wren outside his home in Hampton Court Green

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