The expansion of the official Blue Plaque scheme beyond London is being considered, which could see more buildings across the country recognised for their connections to notable people.
Speaking at the 2023 Heritage Day, Minister for Arts and Heritage Lord Parkinson said he is ‘keen to explore’ adding Blue Plaques to places outside of the capital.
The Blue Plaque scheme is run by English Heritage, which confirmed that the idea is being explored. A spokesperson told Advisor: “We’re delighted that the Minister is so passionate about blue plaques and we are exploring this idea further with him.”
Currently, English Heritage stipulates that new plaques are only installed on buildings in Greater London which are associated with a notable person who died at least 20 years ago.
It also stipulates that the building must survive in a form that the commemorated person would have recognised, and be visible from a public highway.
In 1998 English Heritage initiated a trial national scheme which saw 34 plaques installed in Birmingham, Merseyside, Southampton and Portsmouth. The scheme was discontinued in 2005.
English Heritage has run the scheme since 1986. This year will see plaques to – amongst others – violinist Yehudi Menuhin; suffragettes Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and Emily Wilding Davison; and Pre-Raphaelite model and artist, Marie Spartali Stillman.
Speaking at the 2023 Heritage Day, Lord Parkinson said: “I want neighbourhoods and communities to continue to celebrate their local heritage in places across the country, and to harness the power of the past to build links between people and the places they live and work in today.
“I know there are brilliant schemes across the country where people already recognise local figures that are celebrated in their communities, but I’d like to see [Blue Plaque installation] taking place not just in our nation’s capital.”