Blue Plaques

Composite showing a selection of blue plaques

London’s Blue Plaques

London’s famous blue plaques link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. Now run by English Heritage, the London blue plaques scheme was started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world.

Across the capital over 900 plaques, on buildings humble and grand, honour the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them. Discover some of the people commemorated with blue plaques, or search for a plaque, below.

Dame Patricia Routledge holds a helmet with ’WVS’ written on it and looks out of a window up at the plaque to Lady Stella Reading. Three women dressed in WVS uniforms look up from opposite window.

NEW BLUE PLAQUE TO STELLA, LADY READING

Stella, Lady Reading was the founder of the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS), which provided much-needed aid in the UK during the Second World War. Lady Reading was awarded a blue plaque on Tuesday 4 July at an event attended by the ambassador to the Royal Voluntary Services, Dame Patricia Routledge (right). The plaque marks the former headquarters of the WVS at 41 Tothill Street in Westminster.

English Heritage has awarded four other new blue plaques so far in 2017. They are to Sir Henry Cotton, Charlie Chaplin, Sir John Gielgud and Mary Macarthur.

Celebrating London’s Blue Plaques

Famous Londoners show us their favourite blue plaques around the city in celebration of the original scheme, now over 150 years old. Sir Ian Mckellen tells us the story of the Flying Bomb plaque at Mile End, Sir Robert Winston talks about the Moses Montefiore plaque in Hyde Park and Shami Chakrabarti explains why she’s chosen Mary Seacole’s plaque in Soho Square.

Image of the front cover for ’London’s Blue Plaques’ with illustrated depictions of Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Sylvia Pankhurst, Amy Johnson and John Lennon.

The Blue Plaques Book

The lives of London’s most significant residents are placed at your fingertips in this new book. With all 900-plus official plaques mapped onto the city, The English Heritage Guide to London’s Blue Plaques is the definitive companion to London’s iconic memorials and the people who have helped shape the history of this city. Use it to explore the capital at street level, or read it in the comfort of your own home and discover little-known stories from London’s past.

Order your copy now

London’s Activists

To celebrate the new blue plaque to trade unionist Mary Macarthur, we look at some of the other Londoners who have campaigned for change. From anti-apartheid campaigners to suffragettes, click on the images below to explore London’s history of activism.

Blue Plaque Stories

Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested outside Buckingham Palace, 1914

Behind every plaque is a story. From the creative output of international composers to the campaigns for women’s rights, discover the personal journeys and historic achievements of London’s notable former residents with our series of in depth articles.

Discover the stories behind the plaques
Blue plaques app walking tour

Blue Plaques App

The official blue plaques app is now available to download for free for iPhone and Android. Use the app to follow guided walks around Soho and Kensington, or explore all of the 900 plaques by finding ones nearby and searching for your favourite figures from history.

From Sylvia Pankhurst’s former home in Chelsea to Jimi Hendrix’s flat in Mayfair, let English Heritage’s blue plaques guide you through the streets of London.

Download the free app now from the Apple App Store for iPhone or the Google Play Store for Android.

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