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The Blue Plaque Scheme - A Very English Obsession

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I was thinking today that the blue plaques seen in many english towns but mostly London, are really a very strange English tradition. The idea has spread to a few other countries but not to anything like the same extent.

You become a very successful explorer, artist, politician whatever, and most important accolade this country awards you is to recognise the house that you lived in - isn't this kind of messed up?

The scheme was founded in 1866 and passed through several hands until passed to English Heritage in 1986.

In January 2013 English Heritage suspended proposals for plaques owing to funding cuts.

The scheme was relaunched in June 2014 with private funding (including support from a new donors' club, the Blue Plaques Club, and from property developer David Pearl)

The blue plaques outside London are a bit of a disorganised free for all, I did a bit of digging into blue plaques in my town and some of the awards are to complete non-entities who just happend to be rich and have a big house, I even found one for someone famous who just stayed in a hotel for a few weeks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_plaque

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I was thinking today that the blue plaques seen in many english towns but mostly London, are really a very strange English tradition. The idea has spread to a few other countries but not to anything like the same extent.

You become a very successful explorer, artist, politician whatever, and most important accolade this country awards you is to recognise the house that you lived in - isn't this kind of messed up?

The scheme was founded in 1866 and passed through several hands until passed to English Heritage in 1986.

In January 2013 English Heritage suspended proposals for plaques owing to funding cuts.

The scheme was relaunched in June 2014 with private funding (including support from a new donors' club, the Blue Plaques Club, and from property developer David Pearl)

The blue plaques outside London are a bit of a disorganised free for all, I did a bit of digging into blue plaques in my town and some of the awards are to complete non-entities who just happened to be rich and have a big house, I even found one for someone famous who just stayed in a hotel for a few weeks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_plaque

Call me cynical, but could it have been re-introduced because having a blue plaque increases your house asking / selling price ?

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Call me cynical, but could it have been re-introduced because having a blue plaque increases your house asking / selling price ?

I have seen estate agent blurb that quotes nearby blue plaques word for word

You wonder where it will end, new build estates will feel obliged to put up a plaque: "Bruch Forsythe once drove past this estate"

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This seems to me to be part of the wider listing craze. We have far, far too many listed buildings (about half a million). Keep grade 1, and abandon the rest I say.

Perhaps with half a million listed building, blue plaques offer a little more exclusivity?

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I kinda like them but think they should be limited to not only people of note but where they carried out their noteworthy work. So get rid of ones saying Charles Darwin lived here for a bit once and replace with Charles Darwin wrote "On the origins of species" here. 'People of note' in this case meaning great scientists, politicians and campaigners who made big social changes, authors who's work has stood the test of time etc - people you'd put on a banknote.

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They could issue a lot of plaques. Like they do with degrees. Then you get plaque "inflation", they become less valuable at some point on the graph of No. Blue Plaques Vs House Price bonus multiplier.

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I think each town should do their own scheme if they want as part of a tourist drive. Not far from here are the childhood homes of one of the Take That lads and Brian Cox.

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The Samarkand Hotel could have a black plaque with 'Jimi Hendrix died here on the 18th of September 1970'.

He already has a blue plaque on Brook Street, Mayfair ;)

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I don't see what's wrong with these, as long as they don't start putting them up for every vacuous 'celeb' who's only famous for being famous.

There is one not far from us, for an Eadweard Muybridge, who was a pioneer of motion photography and was I think the first person to photograph a horse in mid gallop. Personally I had never heard of him, but it was interesting to find out that apart from the photography at one point he had shot and killed his wife's lover! But was acquitted on grounds of justifiable homicide - this was while he was living in the U.S.

As for putting prices up, I'm not sure it'd make much difference unless the person was very famous. Not long ago I saw the former home of Thomas Hardy for sale (in or very near Tooting) and I suppose that would add a few K. But the price was about right for the local (daft) norm at the time.

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If it was me I would be worried about people visiting or hanging around outside of my house. sounds like added hassel. Suppose you could always take it down?

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