London's Most Outspoken Plaques

M@
By M@ Last edited 48 months ago
London's Most Outspoken Plaques
APOLOGETIC: A plaque on the north-west corner of Russell Square is very, very sorry. Image by Simon Gregor.
APOLOGETIC: A plaque on the north-west corner of Russell Square is very, very sorry. Image by Simon Gregor.
VICIOUS: a plaque commemorating local boy Ken Livingston on the wall of the Leigham Arms, Streatham. Image by M@.
VICIOUS: a plaque commemorating local boy Ken Livingston on the wall of the Leigham Arms, Streatham. Image by M@.
LIBELLOUS? Gordon Brown is most certainly unwelcome in the Leigham Arms, Streatham. Image by M@.
LIBELLOUS? Gordon Brown is most certainly unwelcome in the Leigham Arms, Streatham. Image by M@.
SURREAL: One of many plaques around the country declaring a lack of happenings (do an image search), this one can be found on Old Gloucester Street near Theobalds Road. Image by M@.
SURREAL: One of many plaques around the country declaring a lack of happenings (do an image search), this one can be found on Old Gloucester Street near Theobalds Road. Image by M@.
PLAYFUL: We're not sure if this one's still there, but it could be found among other thoughtful plaques on the riverside benches of the Olympic Park. Image by M@.
PLAYFUL: We're not sure if this one's still there, but it could be found among other thoughtful plaques on the riverside benches of the Olympic Park. Image by M@.
PASSIVE-AGGRESIVE: Do NOT mess with David Garrick's things. Please. Found in Samuel Johnson's House. Image by M@.
PASSIVE-AGGRESIVE: Do NOT mess with David Garrick's things. Please. Found in Samuel Johnson's House. Image by M@.
SORROWFUL: Postman's Park contains a famous wall commemorating those who died saving others. Each plaque is written in emotional Victorian language, including this tear-jerker. Image by M@.
SORROWFUL: Postman's Park contains a famous wall commemorating those who died saving others. Each plaque is written in emotional Victorian language, including this tear-jerker. Image by M@.
ACCUSATORY: Although long removed, the Monument to the Great Fire once carried a plaque blaming 'Popish frenzy' (i.e. Catholics) for starting the conflagration. The accusation is still recorded as a footnote on the plaque: http://bit.ly/1btvd2D
ACCUSATORY: Although long removed, the Monument to the Great Fire once carried a plaque blaming 'Popish frenzy' (i.e. Catholics) for starting the conflagration. The accusation is still recorded as a footnote on the plaque: http://bit.ly/1btvd2D
OBSEQUIOUS: This memorial to William Pitt Byrne is so gushing, we suspect Mr Byrne had his own Smithers. "Erected by the friends of William Pitt Byrne, Esq. M. A. after a design by his widow in affectionate remembrance of the rare combination of estimable qualities which in life his modesty concealed. To his strict integrity, political consistency, noble disinterestedness, and uniform determination to vindicate the cause of independent journalism, may be ascribed his success as proprietor of the Morning Post, in maintaining the elevated tone it had attained under his father. His acquirements in classical and general literature, his love of science and art, his proficiency in music and the countenance by which he promoted their cultivation, were not less attractive than his singleness of heart, forgiving temper, generous appreciation of others, unobtrusive piety, and practical charity, rendering this refreshing fountain a suitable memorial of his worth." Image by London Remembers.
OBSEQUIOUS: This memorial to William Pitt Byrne is so gushing, we suspect Mr Byrne had his own Smithers. "Erected by the friends of William Pitt Byrne, Esq. M. A. after a design by his widow in affectionate remembrance of the rare combination of estimable qualities which in life his modesty concealed. To his strict integrity, political consistency, noble disinterestedness, and uniform determination to vindicate the cause of independent journalism, may be ascribed his success as proprietor of the Morning Post, in maintaining the elevated tone it had attained under his father. His acquirements in classical and general literature, his love of science and art, his proficiency in music and the countenance by which he promoted their cultivation, were not less attractive than his singleness of heart, forgiving temper, generous appreciation of others, unobtrusive piety, and practical charity, rendering this refreshing fountain a suitable memorial of his worth." Image by London Remembers.
ADMONITORY: Up on Harrow-on-the-Hill, a plaque marks a dark day for motoring, with a prominent TAKE HEED! Image by Plaques of London.
ADMONITORY: Up on Harrow-on-the-Hill, a plaque marks a dark day for motoring, with a prominent TAKE HEED! Image by Plaques of London.
INSULTING: But we suspect 'Old git' Joe Jenkins would be smiling at this commemoration on the Newman Arms, Fitzrovia. Image by Plaques of London.
INSULTING: But we suspect 'Old git' Joe Jenkins would be smiling at this commemoration on the Newman Arms, Fitzrovia. Image by Plaques of London.

Not all the city's commemorations restrict themselves to a prosaic name-occupation-dates formula. Some apologise, some rant, some are gushing while others are simply surreal. Above, we present a selection of London plaques to make you laugh, weep or otherwise take heed. Feel free to suggest additions in the comments below.

Images by M@, with kind contributions from Simon Gregor, London Remembers and Plaques of London.

Last Updated 11 November 2013

Nicolas Chinardet

the word for the Pitt fountain should have been "gushing", shirley? ;)

Pete

Not sure if it's still there (English Heritage get a bit sniffy about it as it looks like one of theirs) but there is/was a blue plaque in Golden Square, Soho inscribed: 'Jacob van Hogflume 1864-1909 Inventor of Time Travel Lived here in 2189'

Jason B. Standing

My heart swells with joy every time I walk past 71 Kenilworth Court in Putney and am reminded that Fred Russell - the father of modern ventriloquism - lived there between 1914 and 1926. Does that count as "outspoken"?