London’s iconic blue plaques, which serve as historical markers honouring notable individuals and events, are a common sight throughout the city.
However, a recent analysis by memorial plaque specialists Brunel Engraving has shed light on the distribution of these plaques across the different boroughs. Surprisingly, Harrow has emerged near the bottom of the list with a mere four blue plaques to our name.
According to the data compiled by Brunel Engraving, the City of Westminster claimed the top spot with a staggering 320 blue plaques, closely followed by Kensington/Chelsea and Camden. In contrast, Harrow’s meagre count places it at the 24th position, firmly positioning it in the lower half of the league table.
The findings revealed a stark concentration of blue plaques in central London, leaving many areas on the outskirts with little or no recognition of their historical figures. The statistics prompt an important question: Should more effort be invested in uncovering noteworthy figures from the past in these overlooked areas?
The boroughs with the fewest blue plaques were identified as the City of London, Barking and Dagenham, and Sutton, each having only one plaque. Even more surprisingly, Havering and Hillingdon did not have a single blue plaque to their name.
The lack of representation for historical figures in these lesser-visited areas has sparked discussions, reminiscent of previous conversations surrounding the underrepresentation of women on blue plaques. Perhaps it is time to not only address the gender imbalance but also pay heed to the historical significance of individuals in London’s less frequently acknowledged regions.
To illustrate the potential candidates for blue plaques in Havering and Hillingdon, Stuart Olof Agrell, known for his involvement in the Apollo program, who was born in Ruislip, Hillingdon, and Edna Clarke Hall, an esteemed artist from Upminster, were suggested as worthy contenders.
Individuals or organisations interested in submitting nominations for blue plaques must adhere to specific criteria set by English Heritage, the organization managing the official plaques. These criteria include erecting only one plaque per person, ensuring a minimum of 20 years have passed since the candidate’s death, and guaranteeing the existence of at least one building associated with the figure within Greater London.
Buildings with numerous personal associations, such as churches, schools, and theatres, are generally not considered for blue plaques. Additionally, only two plaques are permitted on a single building, and resources allow for the consideration of nominations that commemorate buildings of historical significance or a group of individuals.
While the process of obtaining an official English Heritage Blue Plaque is rigorous, Brunel Engraving has recently announced its ability to fulfil orders for blue plaques online. This opportunity allows individuals to commemorate their own local historical figures and locations. For more information, interested parties can reach out to Brunel Engraving via email at email@example.com.
The scarcity of blue plaques in Harrow, along with the wider distribution imbalance across London, highlights the need to celebrate the historical significance of individuals and events in all corners of the city.