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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Britain's Blue Plaques

London and other towns and cities in Britain display plaques, usually, though not always, blue in colour showing where famous people have lived. If can be fun to spot these blue plaques on your visit to Britain's cities so keep your eyes on the brick walls.

With all the news this month about Andy Murray becoming the first British man to win the single's title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, I wonder if Andy's house in Dunblane, Scotland will get a blue plaque like Fred Perry's birthplace in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Britain's Blue Plaques Sir James Barrie

English Heritage describes how the blue plaques scheme started in London in 1866 and spread to other places in the UK. The scheme was first administered by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), followed by the London County Council (LCC), the Greater London Council (GLC) and since 1986, English Heritage.

Britain's Blue Plaques George Eliot

There are around 850 blue plaques in London alone. The first plaque commemorated the poet Lord Byron at his birthplace, 24 Holles Street in Cavendish Square - a property that was demolished in 1889. The earliest plaque to survive and thus the oldest in London is the plaque dedicated to the French King Napoleon III at 1C King Street, St James's.

Britain's Blue Plaques Alfred Hitchcock

The blue plaque scheme aimed to provide a link between people and buildings where they lived as well as promote the conservation of certain buildings, many of which were threatened with demolition.

Britain's Blue Plaques Dr Johnson

The plaques shown in the images above are the homes of James Barrie, George Eliot, Alfred Hitchcock and Dr. Johnson. Interestingly, the plaque at Dr. Johnson's home is the only one in the City administered by English Heritage as the City of London authorities (Corporation of the City of London) are responsible for any more.

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