London Needs More Blue Plaques For Women

By Zoe Craig Last edited 32 months ago
London Needs More Blue Plaques For Women
Virginia Woolf and her plaque. Plaque photo by Diane Griffiths

English Heritage has totted up the numbers and they're not good: only 13% of London's blue plaques are dedicated to women.

It's the 150th year of the blue plaque scheme (the first plaque was to Lord Byron at 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square — unfortunately demolished in 1867), and the first day of Women's History Month, leading English Heritage to call for more female nominations.

Do you know of a local London heroine who should be given a plaque?

According to a survey by EH, 4 in 10 people think women had a lesser impact on history than men.

Many notable women do have plaques in the capital, including writers like Virginia Woolf and Agatha Christie; Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole; the co-discoverer of DNA Rosalind Franklin; computing pioneer Ada Lovelace; and aviator Amy Johnson.

Rosalind Franklin and her plaque, which is located in Fulham. Photo of the plaque by Spudgun67

The scheme relies on nominations from the public, and so English Heritage are reluctant to give a list of women they think have been overlooked.

"The scheme relies on public nominations. We want people to get in touch and tell us who they think deserves a plaque," said Anna Eavis, curatorial director for English Heritage.

"Is the person a significant figure who made a positive and lasting public impact? Does the London building where the person lived or worked still stand? And has the person been dead for more than 20 years?"

We don't know about you, but here in the Londonist office, we'd like to see plaques for the following: actress and singer Judy Garland; creator of Mary Poppins PL Travers; Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti; cryptanalyst and Bletchley Park codebreaker Joan Clarke.

PL Travers and Judy Garland: could their plaques be the next to be unveiled in London?

Any other ideas? Let us know the comments below.

Last Updated 01 March 2016

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