London Walks – The Blue Plaque hunt

If you’ve been walking around London and randomly staring at houses, walls and doors, you can’t help but notice the Blue Plaques. Not interesting to any average Londonder. You need to have the tourist eye. When you move to a city, it is amazing what things you end up noticing, as compared to a local.

As explained in the English Heritage website –

The London blue plaques scheme – administered by English Heritage since 1986 – has been running for over 140 years and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world. In a unique way, plaques bring buildings to life, showing us the places where important people in history lived and worked, demonstrating the capital’s remarkable historical significance, and uniting the past and the present.

For English Heritage, plaques are as much about these buildings as they are about the subject being commemorated. The form of a building can say a great deal about the character of the particular person who lived or worked there; it can confirm assumptions or, in other cases, come as a complete surprise, casting a new aspect on the individual concerned.

It was also hoped that the plaque scheme would play a role in encouraging the preservation of houses of historical interest, many of which were then threatened with demolition back in those days.

The English Heritage receives 100s of proposals for installation of Blue Plaques and the process can take anywhere between 4 to 6 years.The selection criteria is a fun read if you are interested. It will also remove any ideas you have in your mind about recommending your friend for a blue plaque.

I love the way they have tried to preserve so much of their history through this scheme. Could do wonders in a place like India, where history is rotting blatantly, without people really caring. That’s a separate topic all together and one which I cannot claim to do something about, though I deeply wished that I could.

Back to London walks and Blue Plaques, I didn’t really bother taking pictures of every blue plaque I stumbled upon, but I intend to do that in the future. Here are a few that I remember…

George Orwell Blue Plaque in Portobello Road

Recently, I read the book ‘Down & Out in Paris & London’ and a perspective of poverty in Europe, which is something Indians don’t tend to imagine. Apparently, there is a movie being planned around this now – apt time?

George Orwell

Simon Bolivar Blue Plaque – Duke Street

And, don’t I love everything Latin American? 🙂

Simon Bolivar

Anonymous Blue Plaque in East London

This one is my favourite. There are people who think its unnecessary. Like everything else. And, that’s what makes London a diverse city, one where people aren’t afraid to hide their opinions.


Need to walk around more…


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