Blue Plaques Quiz

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the installation of the first official London blue plaque. How much do you know about the scheme and the people it honours? Select each question to reveal the answer.

  • 1. Who was the first official Blue Plaque, in Holles Street, near Oxford Circus, to?

    Answer: Lord Byron

    The poet Lord Byron was awarded the first blue plaque in 1867. His house was demolished in 1889 and the site is occupied today by a John Lewis department store.

    There is no clear evidence though to show which house in Holles Street Byron lived in, so it's possible that none of his plaques, past and present, has actually marked the correct spot. 

  • 2. Who is the oldest surviving London Blue Plaque to?

    Answer: Napoleon III

    The plaque to Napoleon III, the last French emperor, was installed in 1867. The design includes the French imperial eagle.

    It is said that he left his London home in King Street in a great hurry to return to France when he heard of the overthrow of King Louis Philippe in 1848. His bed was left unmade and the bath was full of water.

  • 9. How many houses in London have two official Blue Plaques?

    Answer: 19

    There are currently 19 examples of London homes with double commemorations.

    These include 20 Maresfield Gardens (Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud), 29 Fitzroy Square (George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf), 48 Paultons Square (Samuel Beckett and Patrick Blackett) and 4 Carlton Gardens (Lord Palmerston and Charles de Gaulle).

  • 10. What is Benjamin Franklin's Plaque made of?

    Answer: Bronze

    Bronze was the favoured material for the plaques put up by the London County Council in the years just before the First World War.

    These plaques are elegant but do not call out to passers-by in the way that blue ceramic roundels do.