From a captive queen to the father of the NHS, and from a medieval hermit to a reggae superstar, discover the stories of the people who shaped our country's past.
Henry II, Becket and Dover Castle
How the consequences of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral 850 years ago may have influenced Henry II in creating Dover Castle’s Great Tower.Discover More
ANEURIN ‘NYE’ BEVAN AND THE NHS
Discover the story of the visionary who founded our beloved NHS to provide free health care services to the nation – an act commemorated with a blue plaque at his former home.Discover more
More Past Lives
Pioneering dentist Lilian Lindsay in London
The accomplishments of Britain’s first female dentist are commemorated by a blue plaque, which also had to overcome adversity of a different kind.Discover More
The hermit of Barnard Castle
A visit to Barnard Castle in Durham should include a visit to Frank’s Cell, once home to its most eccentric resident.
George Orwell in London
It is more than 70 years since the novel 1984 was first published. Its author, George Orwell, is now commemorated with a blue plaque.
St Godric at Finchale Priory
Finchale Priory was founded in about 1196 on the site of the hermitage of St Godric, a former sailor who settled here after years of adventure.
Sir Walter Scott at Conisbrough Castle
Following the 200th anniversary of the publication of Ivanhoe, we reveal the role of this romantic fortress in Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
How this formidable French princess and former queen of England came to be imprisoned in the windswept castle of Old Sarum in Wiltshire.
Bob Marley in London
The Jamaican reggae star came to regard the capital as a second home, and has been honoured with a blue plaque at his former Chelsea base.