London’s Blue Plaques are iconic, but they are deeply unrepresentative of our city.
The scheme, which has been running since 1866 and overseen by English Heritage, honours Londoners who have made a positive contribution in their field, communities and wider society.
But of the 943 plaques installed to date, only 14 per cent commemorate women.
As part of this centenary year, the London Assembly is seeking to submit 100 nominations of women worthy of a Blue Plaque.
Caroline Pidgeon has long supported ensuring more women are recognised for their record, and three years ago highlighted that incredibly the suffragette Emily Davison was not even recognised by a Blue Plaque.
It is great news that her fellow London Assembly Members are now backing an issue Caroline has long championed.
Caroline and the London Assembly thinks that the criteria being used by English Heritage when considering submission are totally unfit for a modern London.
English Heritage incredibly refuse to consider a Blue Plaque if the original house no longer exists. Yet Emily Davison’s home no longer exist due to a V2 rocket demolishing the property she lived in. Many other properties across London were also destroyed during the Second World War.
English Heritage seem to think that remembering properties is far more important than people.
The underlying principle of celebrating the relationship between people and place is an important one, but the absolute insistence of only placing plaques on a surviving building is a disservice to the ideas and contributions made by female and male Londoners.
We need to ensure English Heritage reviews their criteria to make it fit for purpose.
If you have a suggested nomination for a female Londoner that passed away and made a positive contribution to London please email BackthePlaque@london.gov.uk.